4th/5th: Week of Mar 25

General News

  • Monday, April 8th will be a day off of school so families can enjoy the magic of the eclipse! (We will be doing a lesson on the eclipse during class this week to help kids understand what all the hype is about!)

Reading/Writing Update

This week in Gammaland we introduced our new novel Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tọlá Okogwu. On Tuesday we started the week off with an introduction to the book by Tọlá Okogwu herself and read the author’s note to learn more about why she decided to write this book. We then read chapter 1 together as a class and had a discussion about the two main characters we know so far: Onyeka and Cheyenne. On Wednesday we explored our new novel study guide and the vocabulary work we will be doing through the quarter. Kiddos should have come home with a solid sense of what this unit will look like and how to best complete this work at home (remember, write in complete sentences when you complete the reader’s response questions)! On Thursday we circled back to our opinion pieces briefly to wrap up typing. Gammas seem to be enthusiastic and motivated by this new novel – it’s a page turner for sure!

Math Update

We started new units in both classes. Year 1 students started the quarter off learning about variables and how to crack the pattern in input/output tables. (This will be a nice prerequisite for graphing on a coordinate plane, coming soon!) Year 2 students began refreshing the skills of finding perimeter and area. We practiced perimeter of various polygons—a lovely way to refresh our polygon vocabulary–using side lengths that included decimals. We learned the formula to find the area of non-rectangle shapes including parallelograms (that aren’t rectangles, that is!) and triangles. (These are both technically 6th grade skills, but this group is strong and ready for new learning!) Next week, we’ll begin to explore surface area and volume. Both groups learned a new math pentathlon game: Juggle! We had lots of fun playing as a mixed group together to learn the rules.

Theme Update

New quarter, new theme unit! We’re exploring ancient Africa this quarter and it was planning magic that we just ended the last quarter talking about fossils and archaeology! It was a lovely (natural!) segue into how we know anything at all about Africa’s first civilizations. We started with a map exploration of ancient Africa and then hosted a small group activity so kids could get an overview of the various aspects of daily life: farming, housing, clothing, etc. Mid-week, we jumped right into exploring the Nok culture: an ancient civilization from west Africa (current area of Nigeria) made famous from their terracotta sculptures of human faces and animals. Nok society also had knowledge of iron-smelting, allowing them to make tools for art and farming. Kids were divided into small groups of three to research any area(s) of Nok culture they found most interesting. Next, they began work on infographic posters to synthesize their research. Soon, Ms. Lorrie’s brother (orthodontist and sculptor) will host a Gamma class lesson so kids can make their own Nok-inspired figurines. (This lesson is currently planned for April 9th–the Tuesday after our school holiday for the eclipse.)

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*Ms. Lorrie ended up out unexpectedly following a doctor’s appointment on Thursday so there are fewer pictures than normal this week! Forgive!