Math with Ms. Rodgers:
This is a wonderful group of students! Each student is eager to learn and build on the math concepts they have previously mastered. The emerald class has students with varied math experiences. In order to meet the needs of the entire class, I am allowing students to progress through the math curriculum at their own pace. How can we do this? I am using a modified “flipped” classroom model. Students will watch videos at home that correlate to their lessons to complete notes and examples. This will serve as an introduction to the lesson topic. In class, I will meet with student clusters, who are working on the same lesson, to review/reteach concepts and work examples. Students will then work through what would be traditionally considered the “homework” in class. This allows me to visit each student cluster for direct instruction, but frees most of the class for me to provide help during independent practice. Students who are struggling can spend more time on a concept if necessary, while students who have mastered a topic can progress to the next lesson. If you have any questions about your student's pacing, please let me know!
Science with Ms. Rodgers:
Our Premo 5th-8th graders are all focusing on the life sciences during the fall semester. While all three groups Marigold, Emerald, and Rose Quartz touch on the same concepts, each level increases the depth of study. For example, our current science unit is on The Characteristics and Classification of Life. Our Marigold students are learning about the Linnean Classification System and will learn how this applies to the classification of animals and plants. Emerald students will extend this topic to the study of the other kingdoms (fungi, protista, monera), while Rose Quartz students will also learn about the connections between the Linnean Classification system and the evolution of organisms through phylogenetic trees and cladograms. Experiments and activities in this unit will include growing potatoes, a leaf study/classification of plants at school, and developing a dichotomous key to classify “alien” species.
After the conclusion of this unit, students will begin a unit on adaptations (Marigold), genetics/heredity (Marigold and Emerald), and evolution/natural selection (Rose Quartz).
Literature with Dr. Thomas:
After finishing One Crazy Summer, students began American Born Chinese and This Book is Anti-Racist. The first book explores the experiences of a Chinese American student as he navigates middle school, stereotypes, and racism. The second book, This Book is Anti-Racist, is a companion text that is helping us develop the language to talk about these big topics. The students have engaged in thoughtful reflection and meaningful discussions throughout this unit! Our next text will be the fantasy novel, The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
Writing with Ms. McGlathery:
Hello Parents! For the month of September, the Emerald group worked on creating fairytale books, using both images and words in tandem to tell a story, before transitioning into a bit of Journalism. We reviewed the proper structure of news articles before creating our own articles based on fictional accounts of an event. This allowed that knowledge to be applied in a creative space before delving into creating nonfiction articles that reflect a current issue the students are passionate about. Topics include: Masks during sports, the difference between professional swimmers and recreational swimmers, how we’re combating climate change, and depictions of Tourette’s Syndrome in film. Going forward, we will be working on creative pieces as we tackle the importance of dialogue in our narratives.
History with Ms. Freck:
We wrapped up our unit on Japan with an amazing time wood carving, learning about Ninjas, and a test for concepts and vocabulary. Everyone did a great job studying and understanding this turbulent time in Japan's history. We have now moved on to Medieval China. We have learned about vocabulary, landforms, and landmarks of China. We will be wrapping up our unit on China at the end of the month with a shadow puppet show of ancient Chinese myths and fables for the K and 1st graders. The students have all been placed in groups and given the stories that they will act out. This week will begin learning about the different dynasties in China and how the people were affected by the Mongols. We also spent a day working on our long term board game projects. Your scholars have now moved onto the prototype phase. They have written down rules for their games and will be playtesting with mockups so we can see which rules work.
Art with Ms. Cornwall:
The Emerald team focused on line and value for our realism chapter. At the beginning of the month, we finished our surrealism collage projects and began learning about realism. The students were introduced to drawing pencils and blending sticks. They were taught various shading techniques and learned how to create a value scale by drawing a gradient. We learned how to make flat shapes look three-dimensional by applying a blended value scale while focusing on creating highlights and shadows.
Each team created different projects that focused on line and value. The students learned how to make a contour line drawing. They chose random objects in the room and set up their own “still life” and drew it from observation. We also created a pattern line project where we practiced drawing different patterns and added different values to each pattern.
Yoga with Ms. Hurst:
This month we are focusing on learning new backbends. Students enjoy these postures as they are fun and create more space in the spine. We are still working on breath concentration, working to be mindful of how we breathe throughout the entire class. Students are encouraged to move inward while we practice, giving their full attention to their own movements and staying present throughout class.