Dear Lower School Families,

Each of our Lower School Specialists share curriculum highlights that happen in their classes each month. The most recent issue is at the top. Click on the links below to see what is happening in your child's classes! 

Please reach out to me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Please click on the header for each section to reveal or hide the contents.
 

Friday, October 13, 2023

List of 6 items.

  • Kindergarten

    Art

    • It has been a fun process transitioning the kindergarten classes into the lower school art studio. I started by pushing into their classrooms and doing projects based on Harold and the Purple Crayon, fashion design, and finally, creating a pretend camera complete with pictures they took (drawings). Since transitioning into the studio, Kindergarten has been working on an important project: creating beautiful, dynamic mobiles to decorate the classroom and designate table colors! They made observational pastel drawings from photos of birds, starting with sketching the major shapes they saw in the bird. Then they cut out the drawings to assemble into hanging sculptures. Come stop by and check them out if you get a chance! 

    Cooking/Garden

    • Kindergarten gardeners have been busy exploring the garden for the first time. We’ve begun our exploration of plants of different colors and shapes through guided scavenger hunts. We will begin a unit on seeds and apples soon! Kindergarten cooks have begun learning about their five tastes– sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami! They tasted an apple flavored with each of these tastes in order to identify which is which. Finally, we will move on to a unit on stone soup towards the end of the calendar year.

    DBi Lab

    • Kindergarten started off the year learning about what each of the letters in DBi mean: Design, Build, and Innovate. They then participated in a design challenge to build the tallest tower they could out of just index cards and tape. As part of the class, each student explored how changing the shape of an index card can change its function. They folded, bent, and rolled the flat index cards into different 3D shapes that could stand up on their own. Many arrived at common shapes: circle (cylinder), triangle (triangular prism) and rectangle (rectangular prism). With this knowledge, they designed their tower by drawing out their plan on paper. With the time remaining, they built their towers. Note: One class did not get to the building part due to a fire drill

    Library

    • Our library classes have gotten off to a great start in Kindergarten! Our first read aloud was The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara, a sweet story about a library for animals that’s only open at night. Our next lesson focused on taking good care of books, so we read A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell and discussed how to keep our books clean, dry, and out of reach of pets (and younger siblings). In honor of Latinx heritage month, we read The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel, a fun rhyming book based on acclaimed Mexican potter Juan Quezada. We looked at some photos of Quezada’s pottery, and kindergartners had a chance to design their own. For now, the kindergarteners keep their checked-out library books in the classroom to enjoy at school; later in the year, they’ll start bringing them home to share! 

    Mandarin

    • Kindergarten students will be taking Mandarin in Spring.

    Music

    • During the first two months of the school year in our Kindergarten music class, we've embarked on a musical journey enhanced by the integration of MusicFirst, an exciting music technology tool. Through MusicFirst, we dive into dynamic warm-ups and vocal exercises that not only invigorate our young musicians but also help them explore their voices and build confidence in singing with the aid of helpful visuals and interactive elements. Students connect their previous knowledge by responding to various types of music provided by MusicFirst, sparking and expanding interests and fostering a deeper appreciation for musical diversity. Beyond the realm of MusicFirst, our students are busy discovering the distinctions between high and low sounds and learning to keep the beat, laying a strong foundation for their musical education. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent their initial classes learning the dynamic exercise routine they’ll practice at the beginning of each class. This routine consists of movements designed to increase joint and muscle mobility, nerve activity, and range of motion while warming up their bodies and decreasing their risk of injury. Once learned, they will have a chance to lead the routine (if they’d like) for 2 cycle weeks before passing leadership duties off to a classmate.
    • After mastering the dynamic warmup, we began discussing and practicing proper throwing mechanics. The practice portion kicked off with target toss activities and eventually transitioned into throwing balls at a dinosaur, which was a ton of fun! Pun intended :).
    • In the coming weeks, students will participate in dynamic challenges and games designed to test their mechanics and improve their hand-eye coordination, accuracy, and agility.

    Science

    • Kindergarten scientists began the school year by exploring their five senses. We initiated the unit by investigating the contents of a pumpkin, describing its texture, and predicting the number of seeds inside before opening it. Students also made estimations regarding the weight of each pumpkin and compared the weights. Next, we will delve into our first life science unit centered around trees.

    Spanish

    • During the month of September, Kindergarten Spanish students have been working on learning the classroom expectations and routines. We discussed the importance of listening and looking in Spanish class, and many students are already saying, “Mira y escucha.” Each class starts with our song, “Es un buen día” which is also sung in their core classroom, but in English. Our Spanish learners have been experimenting with the words: pequeño, grande, niño, niña, se llama, salta, corre, camina, para and much more!
  • 1st Grade

    Art

    • The art studio is alive with creativity! First graders were very excited about making Mix-Up Books, books where pages are split in thirds and can be flipped to make silly mix-ups of all the characters inside. First graders are working on sculpting clay “sugar skulls” in preparation for Dia de los Muertos and the ofrendas that will be displayed in the gallery.

    Cooking/Garden

    • First-grade gardeners have spent the first bit of the year making observations about our garden and preparing our garden beds for new growth. We’ve also harvested our carrots that we planted when students were in Kindergarten! We celebrated the harvest with a “carrot dance party” and roasted these carrots in cooking class. First-grade cooks are beginning their year-long exploration of rice around the world. We’re starting by exploring how rice is grown.  

    DBi Lab

    • First grade started off the year reviewing what each of the letters in DBi mean: Design, Build, and Innovate. They then participated in a design challenge to build the tallest tower they could out of just index cards and tape. As part of the class, each student explored how changing the shape of an index card can change its function. They folded, bent, and rolled the flat index cards into different 3D shapes that could stand up on their own. Many arrived at common shapes: circle (cylinder), triangle (triangular prism) and rectangle (rectangular prism). With this knowledge, they designed their tower by drawing out their plan on paper. With the time remaining, they built their towers.  

    Library

    • The First graders have been very enthusiastic and attentive during their library visits so far! We kicked off our read-alouds with The Book of Rules by Brian Gehrlein and Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (ask your 1st grader about the magical sound effects!). In honor of Latinx heritage month, we read Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, and the 1st graders colored bookmarks with their own names on them. They have loved checking out books, and I’ve been enjoying getting to know their reading preferences and interests. Since it can be hard to remember when the next library class is coming up, students are encouraged to bring their library books back as soon as they’re finished with them; they can put them in the library book drop when they arrive at school or during most recesses. This way, they’ll be able to check out two new books at their next library visit! 

    Mandarin

    • First graders will continue to practice classroom language, such as “how to say…”, “can I have…” “can I use…”, “can I go…”, etc. in mandarin. We will be learning about the proper way to write numbers in Chinese stroke order. We will also be learning a new nursery rhymes (上山找老虎 Looking for the tiger) and a song “两只老虎 Two tigers”. Students will be working on Pinyin and characters by digital game-based learning apps on iPad. Besides, they will brainstorm Halloween vocabulary in groups.

    Music

    • During the first two months of the school year in our first grade music class, we've embarked on a musical journey enhanced by the integration of MusicFirst, an exciting music technology tool. Through MusicFirst, we dive into dynamic warm-ups and vocal exercises that not only invigorate our young musicians but also help them explore their voices and build confidence in singing with the aid of helpful visuals and interactive elements. Students connect their previous knowledge by responding to various types of music provided by MusicFirst, sparking and expanding interests and fostering a deeper appreciation for musical diversity. Beyond the realm of MusicFirst, our students are busy furthering the understanding of between high and low sounds, singing in head voice, discovering vocal improvisation, further developing a strong foundation for their musical education.  

    Physical Education

    • Students spent their initial classes learning the dynamic exercise routine they’ll practice at the beginning of each class. This routine consists of movements designed to increase joint and muscle mobility, nerve activity and range of motion while warming up their bodies and decreasing their risk of injury. Once learned, they will have a chance to lead the routine (if they’d like) for 2 cycle weeks before passing leadership duties off to a classmate. 

    • After mastering the dynamic warmup we began discussing and practicing proper throwing mechanics. The practice portion kicked off with target toss activities and eventually transitioned into throwing balls at a dinosaur. Which was a ton of fun! Pun intended :).
    • In the coming weeks students will participate in dynamic challenges and games designed to test their mechanics and improve their hand-eye coordination, accuracy and agility.

    Science

    • First-grade scientists started the year by familiarizing themselves with science tools and their usage. They also took on a STEAM challenge at the beginning of the year involving the concept of density. They aimed to determine how many marbles it would take to submerge the tin foil boats they designed in class. After these initial weeks of inquiry, they have now embarked on their first earth science topic, "Spinning Earth." Here, they make observations of the sky and question how it can be daytime in one place while nighttime in another. 

    Spanish

    • First Grade students will be taking Spanish in Spring. I look forward to having them again!
  • 2nd Grade

    Art

    • This year is off to a great start in the art studio! Second Graders started the year by exploring the unique and expressive work of artist Keith Haring. They learned about his life and made their own Haring-inspired figures interacting in colorful, lively scenes. Next, Second Graders attempted a foundational yarn weaving technique as they created colorful God’s Eyes (Ojos de Dios) - an indigenous craft and art from what is now Mexico, as well as other parts of Latin America. They’re still in progress, but we’ve been discussing the best way to display these beautiful sculptures.

    Cooking/Garden

    • Second Grade gardeners have spent the first bit of the year working on their observational skills by practicing drawing in the garden. We’ve planted pea shoots and sunflower seeds and watched them grow, making observations. We’ve also painted the 2A and 2B garden beds! Second Grade cooks are starting a unit on mushrooms! We’ll be cooking, eating and learning all about this important fungi. 

    DBi Lab

    • Second Grade started off the year reviewing what each of the letters in DBi mean: Design, Build, and Innovate. They then participated in a design challenge to build the tallest tower they could out of just index cards and tape. As part of the class, each student explored how changing the shape of an index card can change its function. They folded, bent, and rolled the flat index cards into different 3D shapes that could stand up on their own. Many arrived at common shapes: circle (cylinder), triangle (triangular prism) and rectangle (rectangular prism). With this knowledge, they designed their tower by drawing out their plan on paper. With the time remaining, they built their towers.

      During our second class, Second Graders learned about the design thinking cycle with the goal of redesigning a lunchbox for their classmate. They practiced the “Empathize” step by interviewing their classmate about their current lunchbox and learning about what they like about it, what they don’t like about it, and any things they would improve about the lunchbox. Based on their partner’s feedback, they designed the front and inside of their partner’s new lunchbox.

    Library

    • The Second Graders have been very enthusiastic during their library visits so far, and have a lot of great ideas to share! We kicked off our read alouds with The Book of Rules by Brian Gehrlein and The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt (ask your 2nd grader about the magical sound effects!). In honor of Latinx heritage month, we read Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown, a fictional story based on a real library that travels by donkey in rural Colombia. We watched a short clip about Luis Soriano, the librarian, and discussed the similarities and differences between this library and our library here at Redwood Day. The Second Graders have loved checking out books, and I’ve been enjoying getting to know their reading preferences and interests. Since it can be hard to remember when the next library class is coming up, students are encouraged to bring their library books back as soon as they’re finished with them; they can put them in the library book drop when they arrive at school or during most recesses. This way, they’ll always be able to check out new books at their next library visit!

    Mandarin

    • Second Graders will continue to practice classroom language and read the calendar daily, such as “how to say…”, “can I have…” “can I use…”, “can I go…”, etc. in Mandarin. We have been practicing reading numbers in Chinese characters in groups. We will be learning about the proper way to write numbers in Chinese stroke order. We will also be learning a new nursery rhymes (上山找老虎 Looking for the tiger) and a song “ 两只老虎 Two tigers”. Students will be working on Pinyin and characters by digital game-based learning apps on iPad. Besides, they will brainstorm Halloween vocabulary in groups. We will study and practice the sentences “I like…” and “I don’t like” on different topics.

    Music

    • During the first two months of the school year in our Second Grade music class, we've embarked on a musical journey enhanced by the integration of MusicFirst, an exciting music technology tool. Through MusicFirst, we dive into dynamic warm-ups and vocal exercises that not only invigorate our young musicians but also help them explore their voices, site reading abilities, and aural skills with the aid of helpful visuals and interactive elements. Students connect their previous knowledge to responding to various types of music provided by MusicFirst, sparking and expanding interests and fostering a deeper appreciation for musical diversity. Beyond the realm of MusicFirst, our students are busy furthering their understanding of singing in head voice, pitch identification, site reading, vocal and instrumental improvisation, further developing a strong foundation for their musical education. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent their initial classes learning the dynamic exercise routine they’ll practice at the beginning of each class. This routine consists of movements designed to increase joint and muscle mobility, nerve activity and range of motion while warming up their bodies and decreasing their risk of injury. Once learned, they will have a chance to lead the routine (if they’d like) for two cycle weeks before passing leadership duties off to a classmate. 

    • After mastering the dynamic warmup, we began discussing and practicing proper throwing mechanics. The practice portion kicked off with target toss activities and eventually transitioned into throwing balls at a dinosaur, which was a ton of fun! Pun intended :).
    • In the coming weeks students will participate in dynamic challenges and games designed to test their mechanics and improve their hand-eye coordination, accuracy and agility.

    Science

    •  Second Grade scientists are currently immersed in their first earth science unit, where they explore earth materials and their properties. Throughout their investigations, they will study the particle sizes of pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, and clay. This unit offers them extensive opportunities to work with materials, observe, compare, and communicate their firsthand experiences with earth materials. Towards the end of the unit, students will be introduced to the concept of fossils and what they reveal about Earth's history.

    Spanish

    • Second Grade Students spent time reviewing the classroom expectations, learning and practicing new classroom routines and building our learning community. Both classes were excited to be “hired” for their student jobs. Jobs are an important way for students to contribute to the class environment and to support our goal of staying in Spanish during class. Students quickly learned how to respond to the “class starter” and how to earn a quick class celebration during class. Students have been reviewing the calendar and beginning each class with a brief discussion of the date and weather. Most recently, each class co-created a character out of an inanimate object. This activity is called “One Word Image.” We start with one word, thus the name of the activity, and build upon that word to create a character that becomes alive in our minds. We describe the character’s color, shape, physical attributes, personality, feelings and likes & dislikes. Student-artists further bring our character to life through illustration. Upon revealing the character, the class discusses the drawing and collectively we write about the character. Students will be doing this guided writing next week.
  • 3rd Grade

    Art

    • This year is off to a great start in the art studio! Third Graders began by trying their hand (figuratively and literally - ask them about it) at creating an Op Art illusion drawing. They’ve recently moved on to their third grade self-portraits, influenced by the mesmerizing work of contemporary painters, Kehinde Wiley or Frida Kahlo (or both). Students will each render an observational self-portrait drawing, decide how they will color it, then collage the drawing onto a separate drawn or painted background. When complete, students will compare these to the self-portraits they made in second grade. 

    Cooking/Garden

    • Third Grade gardeners have spent the first bit of the year working on their observational skills by practicing notebooking in the garden. We’ve planted pea shoots and sunflower seeds and watched them grow– marking and observing in our notebooks. We’ve also painted the 3A and 3B garden beds! Third grade cooks are about to start a unit on the indigenous growing practice of the three sisters. This will include cooking a three sisters salad!

    DBi Lab

    • Third Grade started off the year reviewing what each of the letters in DBi mean: Design, Build, and Innovate. They then participated in a team design challenge to build the tallest tower they could out of just index cards and tape. As part of the class, each student explored how changing the shape of an index card can change its function. They folded, bent, and rolled the flat index cards into different 3D shapes that could stand up on their own. Many arrived at common shapes: circle (cylinder), triangle (triangular prism) and rectangle (rectangular prism). With this knowledge, they worked in teams to design their tower by drawing out their plan on paper. With the time remaining, they built their towers with their partners. Many tested the strength of their towers by adding objects on top to see if the towers could support weight.

    Library

    • In Third Grade library class, we have focused on the joy of reading. After beginning with a library orientation which included a scavenger hunt for students to explore different kinds of books and locate different sections of the library, we discussed how to find and pick good books. Then, we played a fun variation of musical chairs involving some of our favorite books to share recommendations with our classmates. In our third and most recent rotation during Banned Books Week, we learned about the rise in book bans, read the first chapter of Answers in the Pages by David Levithan which is a fictional story about book banning, and participated in the Banned Books Week photo booth. 

    Mandarin

    • Third Graders will continue to practice classroom language and read the calendar daily, such as “how to say…”, “can I have…” “can I use…”, “can I go…”, etc. in Mandarin. We have been practicing reading numbers in Chinese characters in groups. So far, we focused on the proper way to write characters in Chinese stroke order. We will also be learning a new nursery rhymes (小白兔 Little white rabbit) and a song “ 拔萝卜Pulling radish”. Students have been working on Pinyin and characters by digital game-based learning apps on iPad. Besides, they will brainstorm Halloween vocabulary in groups. We will study and practice the sentences “I like…” and “I don’t like” on different topics.

    Music

    • During the first two months of the school in Third Grade music class, we've embarked on a musical journey enhanced by the integration of MusicFirst, an exciting music technology tool. Through MusicFirst, we dive into dynamic warm-ups and vocal exercises that not only invigorate our young musicians but also help them explore their voices, site reading abilities, and aural skills with the aid of helpful visuals and interactive elements. Students connect their previous knowledge to responding to various types of music provided by MusicFirst, sparking and expanding interests and fostering a deeper appreciation for musical diversity. Beyond the realm of MusicFirst, our students are busy furthering their understanding of singing in head voice, pitch identification, site reading, vocal and instrumental improvisation, further developing a strong foundation for their musical education. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent their initial classes learning the dynamic exercise routine they’ll practice at the beginning of each class. This routine consists of movements designed to increase joint and muscle mobility, nerve activity and range of motion while warming up their bodies and decreasing their risk of injury. Once learned, they will have a chance to lead the routine (if they’d like) for two cycle weeks before passing leadership duties off to a classmate. 

    • After mastering the dynamic warmup, we began discussing and practicing proper throwing mechanics. The practice portion kicked off with target toss activities and eventually transitioned into throwing balls at a dinosaur, which was a ton of fun! Pun intended :).
    • In the coming weeks students will participate in dynamic challenges and games designed to test their mechanics and improve their hand-eye coordination, accuracy, and agility.

    Science

    • Third-grade scientists are engaged in their first earth science unit, investigating water in all three of its states. The current module focuses on helping students develop their observation skills concerning water, encouraging them to see water in a new light. Through investigations into the properties of water, its reactions to heating and cooling, and the processes of evaporation and condensation, students will gain an appreciation of the significance of this unique substance.

    Spanish

    • Students spent time reviewing the classroom expectations, learning and practicing new classroom routines and building our learning community. Students were excited to be “hired” for their student jobs. Jobs are an important way for students to contribute to the class environment and to support our goal of staying in Spanish during class. Students begin each class either reviewing the calendar, date and weather or checking in on how they are feeling. These quick warm-up activities help set the tone for only using Spanish while we are together. As a review, the class co-created a character out of an inanimate object. Through answering a series of questions, students described the color, size, physical description, personality and feelings of their created character. Student-artists brought our character to life through illustration. Upon revealing the character, the class discusses the drawing and collectively we write about the character. This activity is called “Write & Discuss.” Students will be doing this guided writing in their new Spanish folders next week.
  • 4th Grade

    Art

    • Fourth Grade students started the year with the challenging task of depicting one-point perspective in a realistic drawing, and I’ve been really impressed with their patience and precision as they work on this challenging task, and they’ve added so many fun and interesting details to their drawings. Recently, students moved on to their major ceramics project. They were given the choice of making 3D clay portraits (we looked at ancient, modern, and contemporary examples of sculpted busts), or architectural forms. Some students teamed up and combined these two options. I’m excited to see how they turn out!

    Cooking/Garden

    • Fourth Grade gardeners have spent the first bit of the year working on their observational skills by practicing notebooking in the garden. We’ve planted pea shoots and sunflower seeds and watched them grow– marking and observing in our notebooks. Fourth-grade cooks are embarking on a unit about space food. I look forward to exploring how food in space differs from food on land and other key questions with these students – far out!

    DBi Lab

    • Fourth Grade will be learning about robots in the DBi Lab this year. Our first lesson was an introduction to different types of robots and how they are being used in the world today. We learned specifically about robots that help scientists analyze water samples and how robots are used in warehouses to select goods to deliver to our homes. Students were then asked to practice their Design Thinking skills and interviewed their table partner to learn what type of robot their partner would like to have to help them with a task. Students drew a design plan for that robot and gathered feedback for design changes.

    Library

    • In Fourth Grade library class, we launched with a library orientation which included a scavenger hunt that introduced students to awesome authors and led students through the different sections of our library. Our next visit gave students the opportunity to explore Sora, a platform to access our collection of audio and ebooks, which gives kids greater access to stories! Students figured out how to navigate the website, how to browse collections, search and borrow books, and use the online tools including the dictionary, highlighter, and notes. Students saw they may also link their public library card to access even more books! During our most recent rotation, we commemorated Banned Books Week by studying infographics about the rise in book bans, examining middle-grade stories that have recently been banned somewhere in the U.S., discussed the range of reasons why people challenge and ban books, and brainstormed ways to celebrate the Freedom to Read.

    Mandarin

    • Fourth Graders have been practicing classroom language and reading the calendar daily, such as “how to say…”, “can I have…” “can I use…”, “can I go…”, etc. in Mandarin. So far, we focused on the proper way to write characters in Chinese stroke order. We will also be learning a new nursery rhyme (上山找老虎 Looking for the tiger) and two songs, “我的朋友在哪里 Where are my friends” “ 拔萝卜Pulling radish”. Students have been working on Pinyin and characters by digital game-based learning apps on iPads. We will continue to study and practice the Chinese vowels and four tones. Students will finish their DIY book by the end of October. We will study and practice the sentences “I like…” and “I don’t like” on different topics. Besides, they will brainstorm Halloween vocabulary in groups.

    Music

    • During the first two months of school in Fourth Grade music, students diligently expand their musical knowledge by focusing on developing their rhythm reading skills through number counting. Our young musicians participate in sight-reading music rhythms in every class, guided by the Rhythm Randomizer app, the "Shabooya Note Values" video, and engaging worksheets. These activities have transformed them into great rhythm readers, and their progress is truly impressive. Alongside rhythm reading, both groups are actively learning their upcoming concert repertoire. In addition, they are currently exploring Hawaii's rich history and the background of the ukulele, setting the stage for their forthcoming adventure into instrumental music.

    Physical Education

    • Students spent their initial classes learning the dynamic exercise routine they’ll practice at the beginning of each class. This routine consists of movements designed to increase joint and muscle mobility, nerve activity, and range of motion while warming up their bodies and decreasing their risk of injury. Once learned, they will have a chance to lead the routine (if they’d like) for 2 cycle weeks before passing leadership duties off to a classmate. 

    • After mastering the dynamic warmup, we began discussing and practicing proper throwing mechanics. The practice portion kicked off with target toss activities and eventually transitioned into throwing balls at a dinosaur, which was a ton of fun! Pun intended :).
    • In the coming weeks, students will participate in dynamic challenges and games designed to test their mechanics and improve their hand-eye coordination, accuracy, and agility.

    Science

    • Fourth-grade scientists are currently immersed in their first earth science unit, where they are observing soils and exploring how the weathering of rocks contributes to the formation of soil. Through stream-table investigations, they will explore how erosion and deposition transport earth materials and shape new landforms. They will also study how Earth's changes can result from both gradual processes like erosion and rapid ones such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. Additionally, they will examine a selection of rocks and minerals that make up Earth's crust, learning techniques that geologists use to identify them. Lastly, they will study earth materials as essential natural resources.

    Spanish

    • Students spent time reviewing the classroom expectations, learning and practicing new classroom routines, and building our learning community. Students were “hired” for their student jobs. Jobs are an important way for students to contribute to the class environment and to support our goal of staying in Spanish during class. Every class starts with a quick 4-5 minute review of the calendar, date, and weather or checking in on how they are feeling. As a review, each class began collectively creating a character out of an inanimate object. This activity creatively allows us to review colors, physical attributes, personality traits, feelings, likes & dislikes and more. Student-artists bring our character to life through illustration. Upon revealing the character, the class will discuss the drawing and collectively write about the character. This “Write & Discuss” activity will guide students in the writing process. This guided writing will be done in their Spanish folders. Students will be using their folders, as portfolios, to track their progress in writing this year.
  • 5th Grade

    Art

    • This year is off to a great start in the art studio! Fifth Grade students started the semester with the challenging task of drawing realistic two-point perspective. I’ve been really impressed with their patience and precision as they work on this challenging task, and they’ve added so many fun and interesting details to their drawings. Currently, Fifth Graders have been enthralled with the project of repainting the classroom stools, a fifth-grade right of passage. Most worked with a friend to create their own unique design in their sketchbooks then draw it onto the seat of a stool. Now, they’re starting the painting process, and it’s gratifying to see them work with such care and drive. 

    Cooking/Garden

    • As stewards of our garden, the Fifth Graders are integrating technology by using plant identification software to learn about organism classification. They’re labeling all the plants in the garden with the information they’ve learned. Fifth-grade cooks are starting units on bread and pasta– I look forward to delving deep into these two dishes to explore cultural context and develop recipes with the students.

    DBi Lab

    • Fifth Graders will be building a deep repertoire of prototyping skills this year. For their first lesson, students worked with cardstock to make slots, flanges, smooth bends, cones, spirals and tabs in a line that allows you to create curved walls with paper. We will learn new skills each class and ultimately apply many of these techniques in a final build project.

    Library

    • In 5th grade library class, we launched with a library orientation which included a scavenger hunt that introduced students to awesome authors and led students through the different sections of our library. The next time we met, we began honing our research skills by investigating our collection of online databases–a great place to start the research process. Students looked up one of their favorite celebrities to play with the various online tools and features built into Encyclopedia Britannica and Gale in Context. We also discussed the benefits of using library databases to access reliable information that is vetted and fact-checked. During our most recent rotation, we commemorated Banned Books Week by studying infographics about the rise in book bans, examining middle-grade stories that have recently been banned somewhere in the U.S., discussed the range of reasons why people challenge and ban books, and brainstormed ways to celebrate the Freedom to Read.

    Mandarin

    • Fifth Graders have been practicing classroom language and reading the calendar daily, such as “how to say…”, “can I have…” “can I use…”, “can I go…”, etc. in Mandarin. So far, we focused on the proper way to write characters in Chinese stroke order. We will also be learning a new nursery rhyme (上山找老虎 Looking for the tiger), tongue twisters, and a song “ 拔萝卜Pulling radish.” We have been studying and practicing the Chinese simple finals and four tones, and we will continue to learn the compound finals in Pinyin. Students have been working on Pinyin and characters by digital game-based learning apps on iPads. We will study and practice the sentences “I like…” and “I don’t like” on different topics. Besides, they will brainstorm Halloween vocabulary in groups.

    Music

    • During the first two months of school in Fifth Grade music, students diligently expand their musical knowledge by focusing on developing their rhythm reading skills through number counting. Our young musicians participate in sight-reading music rhythms in every class, guided by the Rhythm Randomizer app, the "Shabooya Note Values" video, and engaging worksheets. These activities have transformed them into great rhythm readers, and their progress is truly impressive. Alongside rhythm reading, both groups are actively learning their upcoming concert repertoire. In addition, they are currently exploring Hawaii's rich history and the background of the ukulele, setting the stage for their forthcoming adventure into instrumental music.

    Physical Education

    • Students spent their initial classes learning the dynamic exercise routine they’ll practice at the beginning of each class. This routine consists of movements designed to increase joint and muscle mobility, nerve activity, and range of motion while warming up their bodies and decreasing their risk of injury. Once learned, they will have a chance to lead the routine (if they’d like) for 2 cycle weeks before passing leadership duties off to a classmate. 

    • After mastering the dynamic warmup, we began discussing and practicing proper throwing mechanics. The practice portion kicked off with target toss activities and eventually transitioned into throwing balls at a dinosaur, which was a ton of fun! Pun intended :).
    • In the coming weeks, students will participate in dynamic challenges and games designed to test their mechanics and improve their hand-eye coordination, accuracy, and agility.

    Science

    •  Fifth-grade scientists have begun their first physical science unit, focusing on basic concepts in chemistry and how materials interact with one another. Students will explore the outcomes of combining simple materials like gravel, salt, and water. They will also learn techniques for separating resulting mixtures and solutions. As our studies progress, we will investigate combinations of materials, such as baking soda and calcium chloride (the salt used for de-icing roads), that react when mixed, producing new products like chalk, carbon dioxide gas, and table salt.

    Spanish

    • Las Tormentas Negras spent time reviewing the classroom expectations, learning and practicing classroom routines and were “hired” for their student jobs. The student jobs allow us to create a calm, supportive and safe learning environment. We discussed how language is acquired and agreed that the students’ main responsibility in Spanish class is to look and to listen with the intent to understand. Every class starts with a quick 4-5 minute review of the calendar, date and weather or checking in on how they are feeling. Most recently, Las Tormentas Negras have been working on a guided writing project about themselves. This exercise has allowed them to review and practice responding to questions in the first-person. Students have been navigating between the second-person and first-person conjugations of many of the most frequently used verbs. They have been working with eres/soy, estás/estoy, tienes/tengo, puedes/puedo, quieres/quiero and te gusta/me gusta while describing themselves, their family, their likes/dislikes and more. Students will be turning their writing into a Google Slide presentation which they will present to their classmates. I am looking forward to their illustrations and presentations.