As the end of the school year comes into sight, I am struck by how fast our year has gone. I’m not ready for it to be over. I know all of us will be ready for a vacation, but right now everyone seem engaged with what we are learning. We’re continuing to explore fractions and measurement in math. In social emotional learning we are focusing on identifying how we feel when problems arise and finding a strategy to stay calm. We’re continuing to practice comprehension strategies through a new round of book clubs, writing book reviews and various classroom read-alouds. We’re practicing note taking, paragraph writing and developing persuasive piece to convince you our state is the best place to travel to.
We’d love to do more, but there’s just not enough time in our day. There’s always something that doesn’t seem to get the time and attention we’d like to give to it. Our days this week have often ended with, “Wait… what? It’s time to go?” I guess there could be worse problems…
This week we learned about the tools available to us when we take the state tests next week. They felt challenging for the children. The reading test felt like A LOT. The math test presents information in a very different way. Some of the children felt overwhelmed by this. If your child is expressing concern or worry, please assure them that their best is all that is asked. They need to know that therewillbe some questions they don’t understand fully. They’ll have choose, or come up with, an answer they feel is best.
While we do have allotted times for testing so we can use the computer lab and library computers, these are not timed tests. Children can pause a testing session and come back to it another day, and another, and another… as long as the tests are completed by June 6. I don’t anticipate that we will need all that time, but we have it so children should be encouraged to take their time and read all of the directions so they fully understand what is being asked of them. Some children will be in small groups in the classrooms as well as the other two locations. We do this so there are fewer people and fewer distractions in each space. When children finish they’ll be able to read, write or draw quietly at their seat until the testing session is over for the day.
Parade of the States
Thank you so much for your time and attention with this project. We’ve received the signed notes so we know families are aware of the project. The children have begun their planning at home and several of the students began their blueprints. Again, thank you for your help with those. Being aware of the front side and back side of the float is important. The children will be entering the gym from the lobby and pulling, pushing or walking their float all the way across in front of the bleachers. If you are facing forward to walk across the gym, your left side will be the front. The goal is to have the blueprints completed no later than Monday, May 13 so the children have as much building time as possible.
The research and design process is in full swing. The class is buzzing with excitement as they learn more and more about each state. The children have been exploring the various resources about their states to identify wonders. They are more than welcome to research and explore on their own. Several of the resources collected on the blog have videos that are blocked in the school. Because we no longer have an IT person, they cannot easily be unblocked. It would be helpful to view them at home.
Fractions and Equivalence
We’ve been exploring fractions and division in all kinds of ways. We’ve cut shapes apart. We’ve sorted shapes into different sized groups. We’ve explored fractions on a number line as if we are measuring with a ruler. This is really stretching their thinking and they are feeling frustrated. It’s hard for them to realize that both the number of groups and the size of the groups matter. Fractions have to be even in size. They’ll understand this with time and practice. Please encourage your children to be patient and remind them that this new, challenging thinking is growing their brains. Sometimes learning feels tough.
Bits and Pieces
- We’re starting to put lots of the pieces together as the fantasy adventure unfolds in The Green Ember. Ask your child who their favorite character or setting is in the story. This story has a complicated plot. There is a lot to keep track of because we are trying to unravel the history, while also keep track of the present and trying to understand how the two times are connected.
- This week we had a challenge with Mr. Guidi. To be successful we had to communicate, cooperate and collaborate as well. We had fun considering how the Whale Watch challenge could help us become an even more successful class.
- A Reminder – The Parade of the States will be Thursday, May 23. The children are asked to arrive at 4:45. The event – including the recorder concert and the float parade – will last about an hour to an hour and a half. It is an exciting celebration.