This Week in 4th/5th

We had a few absent Gammas this week (we missed you!) and otherwise had another great week of learning in
Gamma-Land! It appeared we were all a little more settled into the routine which helped ease new Gammas out of the nervous phase and into a lighter, more relaxed place. Yay! We celebrated a few recess days indoors, due to rain. Overall,we’re noticing lots of interconnectedness between all Gammas and it really cool to watch our group dynamic evolve.

Memorable Moments

We started our class jobs (pictured in the photo montage!) along with a financial-based incentive system for helping boost motivation for extra effort, while also helping to teach kids about personal financial literacy. (Kids will be keeping a ledger of their ‘account balances’ and will be able to fill out a purchase order request–after calculating our class sales tax–to buy items like custom stickers and iron-ons as well as other class treats throughout the year.)

What’s Up in Math Class

In math class, both groups explored the topic of rounding (Gamma 1 with whole numbers, Gamma 2 with decimals through the thousandths) We used cash register paper to craft number lines so that kids could understand what is happening when we round to a specific place value. We explored the importance of estimation before you solve so you know if your answer is reasonable (a concept Ms. Lorrie never understood as a child when her math answers were completely wacky!) Especially in the post-virtual learning environment, kids have more variety of math gaps/needs–including both remediation and extension! We tackled a little math “check-in” to help Ms. Lorrie get a better understanding of which skills need work for which students. This will make great data for future planning and in fact, informed our next topics: Subtraction with regrouping for Gamma 1 and order of operations for Gamma 2 students.

P&P was completed by all students (yay!) and you can look forward to a little P&P feedback form (“Grows and Glows”) in next week’s folder. Don’t forget to remind your Gamma to fill out the feedback/time spent areas on the cover to help Ms. Lorrie gauge if the P&P needs to be beefed up or toned down. (We also added a little ‘how much help did you need’ barometer!) Thank you!

What’s Up in Language Arts

This week we talked about perspective or “point of view.” We analyzed how point of view affects how a story is told and how, depending on the character, we could get very different sides of the same story. An author gets to decide which “person” or voice he/she wants to use. As you read this week, be noticing which “person” your book is narrated in. The three main points of view we learned an author might choose to use are: 1st person: I, my, mine, we. 2nd person: you, yours, your, you all. 3rd person (limited and omniscient): He/she, himself/herself, they, it, or a character’s name (ex: Rose). In writing this week we started holding our writing classes in the music room! Kiddos loved the space and also it was great to have some tables to utilize. The “cozy room” is an awesome space but sitting at a proper table will be great as we move into our unit on “professional” writing (and it is also great for handwriting). We analyzed several articles together and independently this week pulling out the topic, main idea, and supporting details for each piece using a graphic organizer. This is all leading towards gammas writing their own informational pieces! We also snuck in a little time to play story cubes where Gammas create fun, silly, and creative stories in partnerships using dice as prompts. This was a huge hit and a writing highlight of the week for Gammas.

What’s Up in Theme

In theme, students began to explore different types of energy: mechanical, electrical/light, sound and heat/thermal., We sent students on a webquest in partnered pairs and they were tasked with researching each type of energy first, then selecting their favorite to focus on for a presentation poster. Finally, on Thursday partnered pairs got to present their findings to the class and it was really neat to see how excited kids were to show their work to the class on the big screen. We captured many great photos of these beaming faces but since this week’s photo gallery was already action-packed, we will wait until next week to give you a peek at those adorable action shots.

Next week, we’ll begin exploring the scientific method and conducting mini-experiments so kids can begin percolating on Science Fair ideas. Also, we’ll have a guest presenter next Wednesday–Ms. Lorrie’s friend and former colleague–who will bring in her harp for a lesson on sound energy. (It was one of Ms. Lorrie’s favorite science lessons to watch back at her former school. We hope the kids love it!)

Gamma August 29