WEEK ONE - WHO WE AREPosted by Nancy Wollum on 3/16/2019
HAVING FUN!!! 5/6ers celebrating the results of their hard work putting the dance together!
KUDOS to 5/6ers for planning and carrying out what many are saying was a successful and fun event. THANK YOU to all adults who helped in any way! Without your support, it might not have happened. I look at these pictures and wish even more that I could have been there. Special recognition to Ms. Burrows who led the students through the planning process and encouraged their ideas and creativity...thanks to her, it was really the students' event!
WEEK 1 (new unit) WHO WE ARE: What if...?
I introduced the unit this week; because of the sensitive nature of the content, we all agreed to a set of conversation norms that would allow all to contribute their thoughts without judgment or challenge. We learned words we hear in the world every day that may take on new meaning for us and that we have to be thoughtful about words - these and others - in how they may impact others. We will continue to discuss civil discourse through out this unit.
Students researched a culture of their choice and we combined their digital stories of cultural differences in a huge poster. We are still working on titling the poster - a more challenging prospect than we anticipated. Ask your student if they had any fresh ideas this weekend!
6th graders are reading a book review article written by local, Victor Nuovo called The Challenges of Slavery. It is an enlightening and complex piece that helps us learn about historic American/European slavery choices and how those choices still influence how we think today. The text challenges us to think more deeply about the origins of the ingrained biases held in our country and our selves.
I am so impressed with these students and how they are positively wrestling with ideas that may be uncomfortable and very new to them. They are showing energy with staying open-minded and engaged in some very interesting debates and discussions.
WEEK 2 - coming up: How we view and react to differences...STAY TUNED!
In Like a LION!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 3/8/2019
Wow! This winter is really testing a Vermonter's resolve to be a Vermonter! The good news is we are approaching the EQUINOX (ask your student ALL about this!) and that means SPRING!
Your students have just finished a TERRIFIC IB unit called SAVING THE PLANET. They learned a lot about our planet's natural support systems and worked on group research projects, chose a specific valued resource to support, and created some solutions and actions that might help "Save The Planet". Two groups chose local and personal actions to promote, one group is writing to Representative Peter Welch to encourage more oversight with the Clean Air Act and one group is connecting with a bee-saving innovator out west in hopes of securing a pilot project on saving bees right here in Vermont! I am so proud of how these kids have grown in their group dynamics, productivity, and dedication to excellence!
BEGINNING MARCH 11 we will begin our next IB unit: WHO WE ARE. We will be looking at ourselves and others culturally and diving into our innate assumptions and bias' that influence our behaviors and beliefs. All of this will be through the lens of colonial and early U.S. history and how assumptions then drove actions that impact us today. Finally, we will be looking at how assumptions and bias' are fueling conficts in the world (and in our little piece of it!) and what we can do to move toward a more open-minded approach to others. Please be aware that some of our conversations will challenge our beliefs and values and may involve difficult conversations. If you have questions about what your student is bringing home in conversation, PLEASE contact me right away. We can talk more about the context of our discussions and we can share our thoughts openly about this unit. This unit requires COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS and we will be setting guidelines and norms to help everyone feel brave at looking inside themselves without judgement and developing that open-mindedness that will lead our future world!
Sure wish I could figure out how to turn this picture! However, with alittle stretching, you can see how much Saphire and Bria are enjoying programming their Finchbot!
SNOW DAY!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 2/13/2019
What a beautiful snowy day; I hope you have been able to be out and enjoy this day. It gives me an extra moment to send out another communication to you.
First and foremost, I want to thank all of you that are commenting on the Word Webs that have been coming home with your student. I try to include at least one IB Learner Profile word in the Webs so students can continue to make connections to these words in their learning about themselves. Your comments and insights are important (especially for your student to hear) and they inspire me in selecting the next week's Word Web!
We are finishing up our Sharing the Planet unit (a bit behind because of all the calendar interruptions this year), but the finishing project has been exciting; your students are showing their understanding of all the connections in our world. In our final phase of this unit, they will use this understanding and further research to consider next steps to help our planet.
February break is next week...if you are wanting to chat about your child's progress, I would welcome a conference time that is convenient for you. If you just want a brief update, please let me know and I will communicate in any format (email, phone call, letter) that is most conventient for you. And of course, if you have any concerns, please let me know asap - together, we can fix anything if I know what to fix! ;-)
Happy Valentine's Day to one and all; not just a 'love' day - it is a great day to send out appreciations to anyone. I appreciate these kids and your contributions! THANKS!
FebruaryPosted by Nancy Wollum on 2/9/2019
Fifth and sixth graders are growing as independent and introspective learners. We are working hard on our personal 'Goals to Change Our Lives' - every day noting our steps toward growth and every week celebrating our successes.
Since semester break we have been meditating daily after lunch on important words to know and apply to our lives: humility, principles, morality, collaboration, empathy, open-mindedness, and more. At weeks end, we try to connect the words of the week in a word-web theme; these come home for your review and your comments so THANK YOU to those of you broadening our learning through your comments.
We are nearing the end of our unit - SHARING THE PLANET. Students will be connecting the smaller cycles within each of Earth's spheres into the great cycles of Earth and doing some research on how we might be able to positively impact each of the spheres. Ask your student about it!
February Break is coming up; we are all looking forward to a rest and then the tremendous momentum of the last 12 weeks of school. Lots and lots to do in 12 weeks! I am still very open to conferencing with you if you have any questions on your child's progress. Just send an email and a few dates/times that are good for you!
Mai and Ruby rocking on ukeleles!
SEMESTER TWO 2018-19Posted by Nancy Wollum on 1/24/2019
Nick, Kisung, and Carter programming a Beebot!
A new semester and, just like every day, a new start! The 5/6 students have always set daily goals for individual improvement but early in January, we all selected a single personal "Goal-That-Could-Change-My-Life" to work on every day until the end of the school year. It had to be a goal that addressed a challenge that felt like a roadblock to personal success-academic or social- in school. It had to be a goal that was measurable and achieveable, daily and by the end of the semester. Each student has selected a goal and is reflecting on their progress toward that goal every day. We know that goals are achieved and good habits are formed through day-to-day baby steps so we reflect on the progress we are making at the end of EACH day. At the end of each week, we celebrate our successes and make plans on how we can improve on our progress in the next week. Now into our second week, some students are already seeing growth...and I can see the hard work they are all doing attending to that goal achievement! Ask your child about his/her goal and how you can help them achieve their goal.
Progress Reports will be out by the end of January. Once you have an opportunity to review and discuss your child's report with him/her, please let me know if you (or you AND your child) would like to conference on any questions or concerns you have about the report. I would welcome the chance to visit with you to share further details about your child's progress and to perhaps hear your suggestions on how you think I can best support your student. Just give a call or send an email!
January 2019!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 1/5/2019
We are back and we have 'hit the ground running'. Here's a quick summary on what we are working on and how this month will look:
THINK!...and Do The Right Thing! This is our whole school theme for January. When you visit, please check out the front hallway bulletin board where students are adding their ideas to this theme daily. YOUR 5/6 graders have written some contributions on how it is sometimes hard to do the right thing and they are worth taking the time to read!
Math - 5th and 6th graders are all working on various skills for manipulating and understanding fractional parts.
GUIDED READING - guided reading groups have been reconfigured again and continue to morph depending on student growth and needs. Ask you student what they are working on or reading about right now.
IB Transdiciplinary Unit: SAVING THE PLANET ...We have just started with geography and migration (why people live where they do) and will continue toward some foundational understanding of the Earth's spheres: hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere. Students will complete the unit with research toward a recommended action for improving our impact on Earth using their new knowledge of our planet's construction AND the economics and demographics of societies.
BOOK BUDDIES: I hope your student has shared about our book buddy sessions on Fridays: THEY LOVE THIS! 5th graders read with kindergarteners and 6th graders read with first graders. But it is not just reading! Students prepare to be with their buddies by creating a lesson plan around a reading strategy that will help their buddy be a better reader. Your student practices reading aloud all week and works on developing questioning strategies that will help their buddies with conprehension and engagement in the book. As a result, your student is getting fluency, prosody, AND reading strategy practice along with their book buddy!
BELOW: one of our special events concluding 2018: Our Solstice Celebration on Dec. 21! We privately wrote down things we wanted to get rid of in ourselves and symbolically burned those papers! Then we wrote down a wish or hope for 2019 and burned those to symbolically sent them out to the world. Even in the rain, it was a mindful, and meaningful end to 2018!
2018 comes to a closePosted by Nancy Wollum on 12/16/2018
The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of activity! Shakespeare was a resounding success. Your students worked so hard at becoming their characters: trying to understand and express what their characters were thinking and doing. I believe we have some new 'thespians' in the making! (I'm working on moving some pictures in this space... check back soon!)
Your students just finished original projects that they felt best demonstrated their learning from our unit HOW THE WORLD WORKS. They had a dead line and had to manage their choice of project and their time to meet that deadline. They learned a LOT about who they are as learners and how to estimate a timed production - a very real-world experience. We will finish this unit building catapults this week, exploring the forces involved and the purposes and extensions of those forces in some original adaptations using the engineering design process (Can you hit a target using your redesigned catapult?) Pictures to follow later!
REMINDERS for this week:
Winter Concert Monday, Dec. 17 - Students should arrive by 5:30 for 6pm show. I WILL BE TAKING AN UPDATED CLASS PICTURE; your kids have changed so much since September!
H.O.P.E. supplies drive for December ends the 18th. When you come to the concert, please consider bringing a donation to help our neighbors in need this holiday season! (AND please help spread the word to your friends and relations attending the concert!)
CRAFT FAIR- Friday, 12/21(morning-whole school) Your students will be helping with a craft table thanks to the efforts of Ms. Burrows and the Student Council.
WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION - Friday- 12/21 afternoon (pictures to follow...)
Happy Peaceful RESTFUL Holidays everyone!
SEE YOU JAN.2, 2019!
GRATITUDE!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 11/11/2018
This month our school theme is
GRATITUDE GOES HAND-IN-HAND WITH ACTION
Students have identified at least one thing they are thankful for and the action they are inspired to take based on that gratitude. Please enjoy the front hallway bulletin board of "GRATITUDES AND ACTIONS" and please include a pair of hands with YOUR gratitude/action as well!
AS long as you are in the front hallway, don't miss the 5th/6th grade posters displaying their research on a 'CHANGEMAKER' they chose and how they were inspired by this changemaker's actions and attitudes. It has been a major project for the kids, and it is quite moving to read what they are inspired to do. They will be presenting to their classmates this week
Last week we enjoyed some time exploring, creating and using the design/engineering process while building 'creations' in the woods behind the school. Hoepfully, students are beginning to see how the design/engineering process is a big part of our everyday lives.
Our Book Buddies in Kindergarten and First Grade are learning about reading strategies 5th and 6th graders use though the "lesson plans" the 5th and 6th choose to feautre in their reading book. It is a challenging teaching exercise for the older students, but they are really learning a lot about even their OWN reading with their book buddy picture books.
We will be attending a Shakespeare performance on Tuesday in Castleton: AS YOU LIKE IT. As you may know, Shakespeare can be challenging, but it is a great way to learn how to understand complex text. Friday we read a summary of the play and 'mapped out' the characters in this very convoluted but funny play. When we were done, several students asked for more Shakespeare stories! (When have you heard about 5th and 6th graders ASKING to read more Shakespeare?? Pretty cool! )
THank you to all who have taken the time to come in for conferences! Our conversations are enlightening for me (and I hope for you as well) and I often have new ideas for supporting the kids after our conversations!
I look forward to this week's conferences!
I have not heard from anyone about supporting the bottle drive on Nov. 24th. We will cancel this bottle drive and hopefully find a more convenient time for folks to help in the future.
I hope you have a wonderful break and can spend some quality time with your family. (teachers will be working Monday and Tuesday...) I am truly grateful for your trust and communcations; your kids are my daily inspiration that the world will be OK when they get a chance to run it!
Your students have a reading expectation for the break: students record at least 8 hours of reading (you will need to initial their charts) and get those book summaries caught up! The 8 hours-of-reading chart is due on Monday Nov. 26th to participate in the 'reward' on Monday!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Let's talk about READING!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 10/27/2018
This picture is of the books your students were taking home this weekend for reading! The kids are doing great with reading their daily assigned pages. I think they understand that the more one practices reading, the greater growth one will see IN ALL SUBJECT AREAS. Of course this means understanding what one reads as well. That is where the required book summaries come in. You student should have 5 summaries in by now (5 every quarter; that's 20 independently read books for the year). Check in with your student about where they are with their book summaries. This is a time management skill as well. Students know there is a book summary due every 2 weeks. Students should be thinking "what do I need to do with this book to be done with reading and a summary written on time?" This is a learned skill and many students are showing great progress with this thinking!
ABOVE: Shakespeare is going WELL! Students love it, are learning a lot about language and writing and connections to today...and a little about stage fighting as well!
This week students were introduced to the IB unit HOW THE WORLD WORKS in an exploration of forces with a tug-o-war. One student's reflection read: 'I would never have thought I could learn so much about forces with tug of war.'
THANK YOU to those who came to the KEEC meeting. Your opinions were so vauable in helping us determine what our actions will be this year.
WE will need lots of family support to fund raise this year...it is an expensive opportunity but incredibly valuable to your child's growth is so many ways.
STay tuned for requests for help and please: VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER VOLUNTEER!
No School Friday Nov. 2
SEEKING VOLUNTEERS: NOV. 24 the students have decided to have another bottle drive. Last weekend we accumulated over $140 in bottle redemptions and donations. Several students have volunteered to be at the Shoreham recycling center (behind the Congo Church) on that Sat. morning but WE MUST HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION (I wll be away) AND we will need a 'trucking volunteer' to take all the bottles and cans to the MIddlebury redemption center for cash. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU CAN VOLUNTEER FOR A COUPLE HOURS (9-10:30, AND/OR 10:30-12:00), NOV. 24 AND/OR IF YOU ARE WILLING TO TRUCK THE BOTTLES INTO MIDDLEBURY.
SIX WEEKS!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 10/13/2018
It is hard to believe that we have reached the 6weeks-of-school mark ALREADY this year. And it is amazing to think of what your students have accomplished in that short period of time (I remind them of all we have done in 6 weeks and they are amazed too!)
We started Shakespeare this week. This 'acting business' and 'pretending' to be something or someone else - publicly - is more difficult for some than for others but everyone gave it their all last Thursday and everyone had a great time. The Town Hall Theater folks that come every Thursday are true professionals and have created a learning program that is exceptional. Ask your kids about it - Also, PLEASE let me know if you see any problems for you or your child with the Shakespeare schedule, especially the performance dates.
Imagining the Scots/Welsh/English battle
Please remind friends, neighbors, and anyone you meet:
5/6 BOTTLE DRIVE IS OCT. 20 at Shoreham Recycling behind the church to raise money for KEEC. A sign up for working Sat. morning will be coming home this week!
OCT. 25 6pm PARENT MEETING on KEEC - decisions will be made about how this year will work so your opinion is important; Please join us!
NO SCHOOL FRIDAY OCT. 19TH