4th/5th: Week of Apr 1

General News

  • Monday, April 8th will be a day off of school so families can enjoy the eclipse!

Reading/Writing Update

On Monday we started the week off reviewing our at-home study guides and going over the new vocabulary and questions for this week. We then read chapter 5 all together and answered some response questions and had a lively class discussion. On Tuesday we learned all about present-day Nigeria so that we can better compare and contrast the fantasy Nigeria from the book and modern day Nigeria. We learned about Nigeria’s economy, government, and farming and agriculture. We also got to use Google Earth to walk around Lagos (where Onyeka is headed in the book). On Wednesday and Thursday we did an in-depth study into African hair. We learned about traditional African hairstyles throughout history and read two articles about hair discrimination and the CROWN Act, which ensures protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles. We then watched the Oscar-Winning short film Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and discussed how the themes of the film are similar to the themes in our book.

Math Update

This is that magical time of the year when Year 1 and Year 2 skill focus aligns and it happens to be one of our most useful/hands-on/exciting units: finding perimeter and area of polygons! Year 1 students explored rectangles (both area and perimeter–I find it helpful to teach these in unison so they aren’t confused later.) We learned the importance of starting with a formula and then learned how to ‘substitute’ the values in a way that will make for a great transition to algebra! Year 2 students technically are meant to stay in rectangle-land, as well, but we went ahead to some 6th grade shapes to keep these eager learners challenged. We explored the formulas for finding area of parallelograms (non-rectangular), triangles and even trapezoids! Both groups had a week filled with lots of hands-on applications. We calculated the “FURR-imeter” of polygons and then proved our math by cutting some furry yarn to measure the length around the ‘rim’ of our shapes. We also made our own polygons, calculated the area, and then used these handy-dandy garage sale stickers that were the most beautiful 1-inch squares so we could “prove” that our area calculations were correct.

Theme Update

On Monday this week we introduced our at-home research Theme project for the quarter. As a class we went over the different components of the project and when they will be due. We then worked to answer the same research question from the P&P about ancient Egypt in small groups to get a taste of how FUN this project will be. For the rest of the week we did a speed-run through the remaining seven major kingdoms of Africa, just to dip our toes into the water and to help facilitate curiosity for the project. On Tuesday we read an interview with an expert about the kingdom of Kush and compared and contrasted Kush with Egypt (spoiler alert: they were very similar!) On Wednesday we learned about the mysterious and lost kingdom of Punt and wrote expert interview skits to get creative with our learning. Finally, on Thursday we broke into small groups to research the remaining 5 kingdoms in small groups and prepared brief presentations on them for our classmates so that they can make an informed decision for the research projects. Hopefully kiddos are feeling intrigued and eager to get started with researching and creating at home!

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