4th/5th: Week of Oct 23

General News

Mother Nature wanted us to spend lots of time inside this week, but we enjoyed ourselves in spite of some schedule disruption. Next week, Gammas are welcome to come to school in costume on Halloween. (Be sure not to wear anything too scary for our Alphas!) We planned a host of fun activities: candy pumpkin catapults, dissolving candy corn lab and Halloween-inspired coordinate graphing. It should be a really fun day at school, and rain can’t stop that!

Reading/Writing Update

Biography writing research got into a great flow this week! We spent more time finishing our bullet pointed lists from the printed research packets we’ve been working with. We then moved into searching up more sources and information about our subject using the laptops. We talked more about what a bibliography is and why it is so important to have multiple sources, as well as why you need to cite your sources when writing a research piece. Gammas utilized webpages, official biographic websites, Ted Talks, interviews, and more to collect even more information. Towards the end of the week we spent time talking about the difference between character traits and feelings. We harkened back to some lessons we did previously on making inferences (text clues + schema = an inference) to determine the character traits of the people we are writing about. Kiddos identified many character traits they believed their biography subject possesed/possesses and then analyzed which ones they can back up with evidence from their research. Some kiddos are very close to being ready to start drafting their pieces!

Math Update

Year 1 Gammas continue to explore fractions. We practiced making equivalent fractions and explored improper fractions through models and pattern blocks. Next week, we’re aiming to put those skills to work with cooking! (Gluten-free, vegan chocolate chip cookies.) Year 2 kids learned about prime factorization and saw how this skill can make fraction life so much easier! Speaking of, next week Year 2 kids will move into Fraction Land. We’ll focus on computation with fractions—adding/subtracting/multiplying and dividing!

Theme Update

We started the week by exploring the food/diet of indigenous people and what environmental factors informed their dietary choices. We watched a fascinating TED Talk by modern chef Sean Sherman (slightly edited for age appropriateness) discussing these topics and have ordered some masa and juniper ash from Shima (Navajo) so hopefully we can cook a modern day recipe from chef Lois Ellen Frank (It’s a parfait made with masa, berries and apples and is both gluten-free and vegan!) By week’s end, we started exploring shelter, clothing, tools & weapons. Kids self-selected small groups and partnerships to create an artifact of their choice based on one of four major regions of the Americas–Pacific Northwest, Plains, Eastern Woodlands, and Southwest Desert.

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