4th/5th: Week of Jan 8

General News

It was delightful to get the ol’ gang back together again following a nice, long break. We implemented a new routine to try: Tune-In and Tune-Out Tuesdays! During morning meeting, we’ll alternate between exploring an SEL power skill (Tune-IN! This week’s was “Be Kind to Your Mind!”) and musical performances (Tune-OUT! Kids can volunteer to play us a little diddy on Ms. Lorrie’s keyboard she purchased on impulse a month or so ago!)

Reading/Writing Update

Gammas came back from the break refreshed and ready to work hard! We needed to power through the final chapters of the The Birchbark House this week and Gammas showed tons of executive function and planning skills by making good use of reading time at school and at home to get 4 – 5 chapters read in one week! We alternated reading and discussion days at school and had some wonderful conversation about the book. We used guiding comprehension questions and written responses to fuel our conversations. We also talked about different learning styles – some folks live for contributing to discussion, while others would rather write, read, or listen. We made space for all different preferences and and reflected on our preferences as well.

Math Update

Year 1 kiddos took the plunge and started learning/practicing the steps to long division. This is always a tricky skill to master and can be a wee overwhelming when first learning “the moves!” The group did amazing! We did some “division karate” to learn the moves and also modeled the standard algorithm using money so kids could see “how” it works (ie, considering that 245 is 24 tens and 5 ones.) They showed lots of grit and all students were willing and able to practice independently (with a few supports along the way) by week’s end. Year 2 students are spending one final week applying fraction operations. We reviewed multiplication and division with mixed numbers. Kids were tasked with the challenge of heading to their future to a time when they need to either expand (multiply) or reduce (divide) a recipe in order to feed people in their fictitious futures. While fraction operations may not be everyone’s FAVORITE skill, the group is doing wonderfully for this last little wrap-up. We’ll head into division with decimals next week.

Theme Update

New year, new you! New quarter, new theme topic! This time we’re exploring rocks through our Geology theme unit. We started the week with a faux-snowball fight: kids wrote down facts they already know about Geology, as well as things they most wonder about the topic. We dove in (no pun intended) to studying the layers of the earth–the temperature, composition and state of matter. The kids divided up into small groups and regaled us with mini-performances about their specific earth layer. By week’s end, students created their own “Journey to the Center of the Earth” comic strip to apply their new learning. Next week, we’ll highlight different types of rocks so students can begin their “Gamma Rock Journals”—an at-home project that allows students to hunt for and classify different types of rocks near home. Be on the lookout for that project coming home in next week’s P&P folder!

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