Second SEMESTERPosted by Nancy Wollum on 1/25/2020
Well, it has been a busy time since welcoming in 2020 and our SECOND SEMESTER!
*As a class, we have been recalibrating the tenor in our classroom to regain the growth mindsets we worked so hard to develop in the beginning of the year. We have been working on positive attitudes and personal growth goals. We have been reexamining our classroom tenet (and international maxim) "Treat others the way you want to be treated".
*Ms. Burrows and Ms.McDonough have been joining us for special sessions on positive action and effective problem solving. We are learning again that direct and immediate communication is the essence of change; none of us can try to fix a problem without knowing that there is one.
*I have had my individual conferences with all students (that I always do at this time of the year). It takes a lot of time but it allows students to privately share with me anything they enjoy or not enjoy, anything they would like to keep doing or stop doing, anything they think could be adapted or added, to make our daily school time together better. I appreciate how students try to be candid and honest; I have already implemented some of their suggestions in our day!
*We are concluding our unit HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES with a research project on some spectacular space photos on generous loan from the Ilsley Library. I encourage you to come and see the photos and student research; I will send a note home when the research is complete. The photos will be with us until February break.
*As we complete this unit, the students are going to experience "a final". We have reviewed all three final questions so students know what parts of their notes to be focusing on. I have given them a study guide that connects with the review session we did in class. And I have suggested some of the details in their notes that might be the most useful in supporting the writing they are going to be doing. Now it is time for them to review and think about their notes in relation to how they will write their well supported paragraphs. The three questions relate directly to NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) that were part of this unit. If you have any questions about this, please let me know; hopefully you will be seeing your student reviewing their notes nightly for the next week!
*As with your students, I appreciate your suggestions and comments on the direction of our classroom! Progress reports should be out by February; please let me know if you would like to conference on the progress report - or anything you would like to talk about. I will prioritize the first week of February to your requests of time to meet; let me know what is convenient for you.
Happy New YearPosted by Nancy Wollum on 12/29/2019
Happy New Year One and All!
To conclude 2019, 5/6 graders had a winter solstice ceremony. We wrote our most private hopes and dreams for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world; then, we lit a small fire to honor light on the shortest day of the year. Keeping in mind the Law of the Conservation of Matter, we quietly and slowly burned our wishes and watched them change into new forms (gas and ash), and float out into the world. We silently honored the changes that are constantly happening in our lives and our efforts to remain resilient in, to grow with, and to positively influence those changes.
As the days begin to grow longer, my hopes and dreams for 2020 are the increasing 'enlightenment' of the wonders, joys, and growth that happens every day, and the embracing of renewed tolerance, open-mindedness and love for all near and far. See below some of the the wonders and joys of MY days:
I hope to hear from all of you in 2020 via email, snail mail, or phone call with suggestions, comments, thoughts, ideas, and/or hopes and dreams for your child and our class. It is the best way to make this the BEST year for everyone!
BUSY days!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 12/15/2019
Well, it has been a crazy, busy two weeks. Shakespeare, all agree, was a tremendous success; the kids speak so highly of it.
We enjoyed our brief free time between shows and in Middlebury; ask your child about the global woolen industry once in Middlebury!
Then there was the preparation and presentation of the winter concert; I love the school concerts and I regret so that I could not get back in time for it.
We have finished our culminating writing for our SHARING THE PLANET unit and are beginninng our HOW WE EXPRESS OURSELVES unit starting with understanding winter solstice and all the darkness right now. We'll be doing some reader's theater with some ancient cultural myths about this loss of light and then connect the darkness with our current traditions.
I really appreciate your comments and appreciations shared directly with me; your students may have shared with you that I am not on any form of social media - a philosophical choice. As always, I cannot change anything I do not know about, so if concerns or suggestions or even appreciations are not shared with me directly (phone call or email), I can not know your opinions on how I can help/adapt/change things... OR even do more of what your child enjoys! Of course, I appreciate your encouraging your child to share their thoughts directly with me as well; with every suggestion, I have made or tried to make changes based on a student's idea!
REMINDER: CRAFT FAIR is THURSDAY, Dec. 19. If you can share your talents at a craft table, please contact Irene.
New IB UnitPosted by Nancy Wollum on 12/2/2019
Our New IB unit begins (probably) the week of the 18th with a study and celebration of the Winter Solstice.
How We Express Ourselves
Humans seek opportunities to create meaning by applying patterns.
- how a human may approach the unknown
- the exploration and discovery of patterns in natural laws
- needs and wants change over time and lead to new discoveries
Happy Thanksgiving!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 11/27/2019
I hope you are enjoying your FULL week off! Teachers have been working hard on Monday and Tuesday developing future IB units with colleagues and getting some new math coaching. As a result, 6th graders will see some new math strategies in their math class immediately and some other strategies phased in. Some other expectations our leadership is encouraging - growth mindset, motivation driving personal growth, developing independent thinking and working habits, ownership of success (work habits and attitudes that contribute to personal success) will CONTINUE to be emphasized throughout the 5/6 learning day.
I encourage you to take 10 minutes to watch the following TED talk on growth mindset:
Your student can explain how we work to use and embody growth mindset in our everyday activities. IF you are looking for "THE KEY" to helping your child move past difficulties and creating habits leading to success, developing a GROWTH MINDSET is it!
We concluded the end of our 12th week of school with some inspiring visits:
(I'm sorry, I can't turn this...) After reading The Seventh Wish as a class - as did several other ACSD 5/6 classes - we met the author, Kate Messner, and she talked about her writing process. She also talked about book's challenging theme of addiction and the impact it has on families. Feedback indicates it was a powerfully successful presentation and an important book for our students. We will have more on this in the future.
After some team background research on Fair Trade systems (see the research team of Kisung, Addie and Jalynn above), Emily from the Middlebury Co-op visited our classroom and explained how and why the Co-op works hard to have Fair Trade system items in their store. We also learned about how a store operates and the process of getting product from farmers to the store. It was a great conclusion to our IB unit with the Central Idea of
- The production and trade of goods and services contributes to economic interdependence between nations.
When we return to school, students will finish the production research on their choice product with a professional digital presentation to their classmates.
SHAKESPEARE is DEC 5th!!! Performances are at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. If you have not ordered your tickets, you may be out of luck, but contact me anyway if you are hoping to see your child in HAMLET on stage that night, and I will see what I can do!
LET ME KNOW IF YOUR STUDENT NEEDS A RIDE TO THE THEATER (students must be there by 5:30pm) or A RIDE HOME (probably somewhere around 10pm).
Exciting timesPosted by Nancy Wollum on 11/10/2019
THANK YOU all that attended your child's conference. Our conversations are incredibly valuable to me; you know your child best and you can let me know what you think is most important for your child's learning. I am discovering more about each child's learning and social needs every day and am very impressed with how your children are reflecting about their OWN learning. Please keep the conversations alive; contact me whenever you have suggestions or concerns and we will work together for the best learning experiences for this group of really wonderful kids.
I don't think I share that enough: what a fine classroom community we have this year. Teachers who come in to our class almost ALWAYS comment about how curious and hardworking and repectful this group is. AND we have special events because of that: last week we had a special visitor from Middlebury College (Thank you, Ms, Koretz!) who shared about her native Thailand.
Clint Bierman (of THE GRIFT) joined our Shakespeare class recently and helped our students write a song for their Act in the play. They all have their lines now and are hopefully working hard on learning them. I hope you have received the notes home about Shakespeare. Our performance NIGHT is Dec 5. (students will need to get to Town Hall Theater that evening (time to follow soon) on their own and I would encourage carpooling!
We are deeply involved in our second IB unit- SHARING THE PLANET - and having incredible discussions about international trade, product development, supply/demand cycles, and the impact of our consumer choices. Current events right now (tariffs on China, Singles Day shopping events, upcoming holidays...)keep this topic VERY current indeed! Students are making great connections in class by being more alert to the news they hear. We are beginning a research project on the production and marketing of a product of their choice. Next week we will have the education outreach director from the Middlebury Foods Co-op to share about how the Co-op works and how they choose the products they sell.
Students are finishing up Seventh Wish, a novel all district 5/6 graders are reading. There have been LOTS of questions (see above about 'curious'!) and vivid discussions. If you have questions, I encourage you to reach out to Elizabeth Burrows or Eva McDonough for more details. We will be joining a 5/6 district wide AUTHOR VISIT event with Kate Messner on the 18th. The kids are really excited to meet her!
As we approach the Thanksgiving break, I just want to express my gratitude in your trust and in your communications this year and how blessed I feel every day to be working and learning with this terrific group of YOUR kids! Thank you and have a wonderful family-gratitude-week together!
Such Great Kids!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 10/14/2019
Some photos from recent activities:
Great audience at a fascinating Gary Kisinsky Science performance at Castleton!
Tenny showing how the rope swing is done @ LCMM
Jason's performance as a NYC businessman in our Canalling Role Play @ LCMM
We are finishing our first IB unit. I am so impressed with how independent most students are with their time management in class and their effort to try to understand and courageousness to ask questions when they don't! Their engagement and contributions in class are inspiring!
Our New Interdisciplinary Theme is: SHARING THE PLANET
CENTRAL IDEA: The production and trade of goods and services contributes to economic interdependence between nations We will be INQUIRNING into: where products come from, how trade has pros and cons, and that consumer choices affect the fair trade of goods. We'll be looking at key concepts of Form (or what is it like?), Connection (or how it is connected to others things?), and Change (how is it changing? A compelling question we will be exploring throughout will be: Is it important to help others have a better life?
It is truly hard to believe we are already through 1/4 of our school year. I look forward to seeing you all during conferences; although our scheduled conference times will be short (only 20 min.), we can ALWAYS plan for more time later at your convenience. Of course, I am always available by email or phone with any concerns or questions or your valuable suggestions!
VERY busy photo storyPosted by Nancy Wollum on 10/1/2019
Learning to use coordinates to find locations on maps
5/6th graders wore these badges and 'paid them forward' to others in the school.
Learner Profile statues: this one is THINKER!
THANK YOU for coming to Open House; terrific amount of energy that night! Please contact me with any suggestions or comments: I really appreciate hearing from you!
GREAT start!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 9/12/2019
WE have such a hard working, throughful, kind, and focused class; what a treat for all of us excited to learn.
We are finishing up our Growth Mindset study and reflection. We are recognizing that our intelligence is GROWN not given, and there are strategies we can use to support ourselves when we are feeling frustrated or wanting to give up. CHECK IN with your student on the strategies THEY chose!
Growth Mindset exploration connects directly with our year's theme: EXPLORATION! We will be exploring many topics, themes, world views, concepts, and of course, ourselves and our learning. Our first unit is
WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE IN TIME:
CENTRAL IDEA: History Shapes Our Perspectives and Understanding of Others.
LINES OF INQUIRY: 1)How and why perspectives of people have changed over time 2)Why individuals and groups during the same historical time period differed in their perspectives 3)How people's personal stories affected their relationships
Students will be learning about human migrations and why people explore and/or move to new places. They will doing research on specific explorers and how they changed world history (for good or bad AND for whom!) We will be connecting our personal histories to migrations and explorations and culminating our study in Oct. with a trip to LAKE CHAMPLAIN MARITIME MUSEUM (with Bridport 5/6) for a morning of ropes course team building and an afternoon of historical perspectives on the economic activity on Lake Champlain.
Students will be writing a final essay supporting the Central Idea and Inquiry Questions to the learning and connections they have made throughout the unit.
I really appreciate your communications; please email or call with any comments, suggestions, or questions and I will get back to you within 24 hours!
Happy New yearPosted by Nancy Wollum on 8/28/2019
Here we go down the path of learning TOGETHER! Parent requests and communications are ALL IMPORTANT and thanks to a recent parent request, I will be posting details of our first three days RIGHT HERE; hopefully this will make for more meaningful discussions at home! Let me know!!!
REMINDER: your thoughts are MUCH appreciated and I want to thank all parents that have reached out to me for a conversation on our classroom and their students. Please keep communicating often!
Day TWO - reflection:
5th - math: multiplication page, 6th- math: packet: only #s 1, 2, 5, 7, 8; all students have assigned bookmark pages
Very active day: morning outside learning about where the sun is and how it is "moving", some aerobic exercises (ask about "knee pulls" and "speed skating") and finished with a circle of friends sharing what they are proud of - we discovered pride has to do with accomplishing something after hard work and that we can be proud of others who have done hard work too. Picture book read aloud(Potato Pants) to practice book summarizing, authors message and personal connections; kids wrote their ESSENTIAL AGREEMENTS under the Respect headings for themselves in this classroom, learned to write a proper paragraph and started building our ELA tool box, and we closed the day with math and a short write on "What I have done today that I am proud of..."
THIS is a terrific combo of kids - we are really all learning together.
Alannah shared a beautiful Monarch butterfly and we talked about Monarch facts and the fact that Monarchs (amoung other things) are important polinators. This led to going completely off plan and exploring plants (love it when this happens!). We read and summarized The Reason For a Flower and went outside to see some of the unusual flowers of fall (including a milkweek pod thanks to the butterfly). We found another little butterfly and a tiny frog and talked about camoflague. We did circle outside and shared what we each thought was important in a friend - WONDERUFL RESPONSES FROM ALL and it helped us remember how to be a good friend. Madison mentioned that if she saw someone bullying, that person could not be a friend to HER - amazing empathy and an opportunity for us to discuss the differences between bullying, harrassment, taunting, and teasing -that NONE of these are KIND but some are more serious than others and we need to work on KIND at all times. We can really change save lives with kindness! We joined our first All School Meeting and had our first fire drill. 6th grade Math was working through some review skills and working on our growth mind sets and 5th graders work on multiplication skills on paper and in a game.
The afternoon we had to have a discussion on how our behavior influences the little kids and acting 'too cool for school', or 'eye-rolling' indicates a negative attitude which is not good modeling and is disruptive to any kind of learning ANYWHERE. We discussed the word vulnerability and that this is the state of best learning because we are open to growing into being better learners, friends, classmates and generally better human beings. In short, our minds are open to new ideas and changes to make us better.
Students are bringing home their reflections on what has made them proud the last two days, and this weeks HW planner (that once you see it, you may toss!) They have school picture paperwork as well.
I hope these updates have been useful. I will begin updating weekly beginning next week.
Happy Long Weekend!