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
REFLECTIONSPosted by Nancy Wollum on 10/7/2018
Reflecting on our learning and ourselves as learners is an an essential part of growing toward responsible independence and becoming the best we can be. It is also an essential part of the IB curriculum. My students are learning - in every part of their school experience - how to evaluate their personal learning, set goals for future learning, and assess the progress of those goals, setting new goals in the process. This is taking action for our own learning. We celebrate our successes and make plans for future growth where we need more work. I hope you can encourage your student to work on 'reflecting' in outside-of-school activities as well; it will help your student feel more in control of their world, and more able to affect their own growth.
STAR BASE has concluded and in student reflections there was not a single student with a complaint on any of the STAR BASE experience (even with the assessments and reflections I required!)
Below: Using coordinates in map locations
Below: inquiry into endothermic and exothermic chemical reactions
OCT. 20 and Nov. 24 9-11:45am
at Shoreham recycling center -please encourage all you know to deliver coin-value bottles and cans to help support KEEC this spring. Many thanks to Kyle for spearheading this action with the support of Aiden and Joe and of course, all student and parent volunteers helping on these Saturdays. Let me know if you are an adult that can help supervise part or all of these Saturday bottle drives.
SHAKESPEARE Production training begins...the kids are SO excited!
Information CLICK HERE: Shakespeare
CONNECTIONS everywhere!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 9/29/2018
*On the Autumnal Equinox, students learned why we have seasons. We modeled the earth's tilt and the orbit around the sun. Then we went outside to check exactly where the sun was at 8:30am (lucky it was one of Vermont's sunny days!) and we will continue to check the sun's location at that time throughout the year to make some generalizations about its path in connection to us.
*Everything is about connections in the 5/6 classroom! In math this week, a student respectfully asked 'why do we have to learn this?' This shows a student really involved in personal learning. It was a perfectly timed question too..the next part of the lesson was "WHY we do this."!
*The Starbase activities are stimulating and FUN! Do ask your student about the activities they had this week and how they connect those activities to the real world.
Below: students programming their robot
Below: students testing Bernoulli Principle
At Shoreham, we go beyond those activities: students are expected to be INVOLVED (shown by team participation and attempts to respond to instructor questions.) Students are beginning to understand that any learning or goal achievement - any kind of 'change-making'- can only happen with active participation and involvement. I expect note taking on the instruction and personal learning; plus, students must find key take-aways from the lesson and make connections on those take-aways to their world. Many are getting the hang of this now that we are heading into our last week of Starbase.
*In math, 6th graders are finishing their first unit in number patterns including the division algorithm, factors/multiples, order of operations, and a little review of area and perimeter. This is the foundation for all future units this year.
*In math 5th graders are array modeling multi-digit multiplication problems and making connections between the array model and the standard algorithm. They are also doing preliminary work in factors/multiples.
*While 5th graders are extending their mathematical pattern connections in number corner, 6th graders are working on using pronouns correctly and writing a procedural essay.
*The dramatic news this week in the U.S. Senate connects our U.S. Constitution and government study into the real world! Students come into school now using government vocabulary they heard on the news saying "Now I know what they are talking about!" This week we begin the very important exploration of our rights guarenteed in our Constitution and our responsibilities that go with those rights.
♥ Parents and caregivers: thank you for your communications! Your sharing of compliments, concerns, and excitment your student might share with you about the school day is truly valuable to me. Please contact me anytime via email or phone call! email@example.com or 897-7181
Organizational StructuresPosted by Nancy Wollum on 9/23/2018
Hello All -
THANK YOU TO ALL THAT ATTENDED THE OPEN HOUSE LAST WED. - IT WAS THE BEST TURNOUT IN YEARS AND I HAD SOME TERRIFIC CONVERSATIONS WITH MANY OF YOU! If you were unable to attend, I look forward to chatting with you soon!
We are deep into discussing how organizational structures affect us everywhere in our lives.
We had an exciting and successful Rocket Launch at STAR BASE last Friday. In addition, students worked on their original CAD creations and learned about some of the rules and laws of basic chemistry in lessons on chromotography and the periodic table.
Other organizational structure study includes our work understanding how the U.S. government is organized through our Constitution. Students are currently doing research on the parts of our government; this will culminate in a final whole-class display this week. We are discovering that the rules, laws and policies we experience everywhere are there for common purposes; students are discovering this in our smaller organiztional units like families, classrooms and schools, to bigger units like our (and other) governments, and in the universal laws in math, science and language! They are really making some great personal connections to rules/laws/policies and seeing real world applications in current events.
*I will be having short conferences with all students to set personal goals and talk about the joys, hopes, dreams, and concerns in their current educational experience.
*GUIDED READING begins!
*We have our RECESS RODEO celebrating our whole school success in learning/applying the rules of our school community and in applying a growth mindset in all that we do.
*Our 4th (out of 5) STAR BASE day is Friday
Lots of Learning!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 9/17/2018
I hope you are enjoying these updates. If you know of anyone in the classroom that is unable to access these updates digitally, please tell them to contact me and I will be happy to send paper copies.
ACADEMICS this week:
◊STARBASE is 'mindblowing'! Tanner mentioned his "brain hurt from all the deep questions and thinking and new discoveries [the 6th graders are learning]about the universe." 5th graders dove into a better understanding of Newton's Third Law with Straw Rockets, Pop Ups, and Newton's Cradle.
◊6th graders are strengenthing their accuracy with multiplication/division algorithms and beginning work with factors and multiples. 5th graders are reasoning with dimension and volume of regular prisms; they have some great math projects to share at Open House!
◊We have begun our first IB transdiciplinary unit exploring organizational structures and the meaning of words like 'rule', 'law', and 'policy'. Ask your student about how they made connections to our government through our 'classroom disorganization simulation' this week. BIG IDEAS flowed!!! This week we will move forward with rules and laws and learning about the document detailing our highest laws of the land: the U.S. Constitution.
I am learning more and more about your children as learners and they are adapting very well to the expectations of a new classroom. It can sometimes feel a little challenging getting used to the new systems -both socially and academically - but they really are doing very well and especially with using the new strategies they've learned for maintaining a growth mindset! EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY to be our best.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you - your thoughts, ideas, and questions - about your child's educational plan. Please email or phone call any time!
PiCTURE DAY IS WED. Sept. 19!
OPEN HOUSE Wed. 6pm Your students will be working to prepare for your visit so I hope you will join us!
A Class of Growth Mindsets!Posted by Nancy Wollum on 9/9/2018
This has been a week of getting to know the school and classroom routines and trying to get a handle on our schedule. There is so much happening it can be a challenge to keep it straight: the kids are doing better than I am!
Along with the standards of reading, writing, math, science and social studies, we have added Spanish to our schedule and Miss Abby, our librarian, has agreed to work with the class once a week on getting to know our computers better. Next week we will begin a weekly social/emotional health class with Ms. Burrows, our school counselor, and Ms. McDonough will join in later in the year for health class. Science and social studies will look a little different now too with IB expectations. It is all very exciting.
Students are just finishing writing their personal growth mindset goals after doing some research on how to have a growth mindset. Ask any 5th or 6th grader what strategies they've selected to build their own brains this year!
Friday was our first StarBase adventure (first of five Fridays); we built rockets and designed restraint systems (with our understanding of Newton's First Law) that would save our 'special eggs' when the model shuttle crashed. I have been working with the educational specialist at StarBase to redesign a portion of the program especially for our 6th graders (who were at Star Base as 4th graders)so they might have a unique and original experience, and I am very excited about the new direction we have worked out. SO, the 5th and 6th graders will be having some different experiences at Star Base this year.
Next week begins a flurry of testing for baselines in math and reading. Guided reading will begin the following week.
Please let me know if you are hearing anything coming up about school that you would like to talk about; we can fix anything together!
Best Regards, Ms. Wollum