What Our Students are Learning

Ms. Wilson- We had a very energetic return from April break, everyone was so happy to be back with friends! We took advantage of non-rainy weather and extended our outside times on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday we helped Mrs. D establish an asparagus bed in the community garden, and had snack & story time in the “garden tent”. On Tuesday we donned our orange safety vests and practiced walking safely down to the Brooklin School sign to check on the daffodils and look for other signs of spring. During our writing blocks this week Pre-K students illustrated and wrote about important playground safety rules. In math Pre-K students explored subtraction sentences and created subtraction stories using manipulatives. We are looking forward to our upcoming trip to Carding Brook Farm, which was scheduled for Friday, May 6th- but will be postponed to a later date when we are all well enough to participate.

Mrs. Baird- This week in Math the Kindergarten and First grade students were introduced to a new math activity called a Mathematical Opener. This is an activity that helps students transition into Math. They look at an image and I ask them two questions . How many are there and how do you see them? Their responses are written on the whiteboard as it gives meaning to their thoughts. Both classes played some math dice games to help practice their addition. Both classes continued  to use e-spark to help them grow as mathematicians.

In literacy, kindergarten and first grade students worked on breaking words down into smaller pieces, searching for mini words within a word. For example, the word “his” has the word “is” in it, and we know what the “h” sound makes, so we know what the word says! Students were reading books at their own levels, and are working on becoming stronger readers every day. We have also been working on writing our own books during writing time. Students have written about cheetahs, deer, and houses! Everybody is working very hard!
Mrs. Thoner- 2/3 ELA
This past week students learned (or reviewed) that the suffix -ed indicates that something happened in the past.  They practiced forming past tense verbs that needed to have the consonant doubled before adding -ed (i.e. pat becomes patted, not pated).  They also started to investigate irregular past tense verbs, such as “ran” – not runned.  My focus is not only in teaching them the standard mechanics or grammar, but in using it in their personal writings.  This last trimester, more focus is being put on personal follow-through of generalizing grammar and mechanics into all of their independent work automatically.  By now, all students in 2/3 should be independently beginning sentences with a capital letter and ending them with a punctuation mark, spelling all c-v-c words correctly that follow the rule (cat, dog, ran, etc.), spelling most consonant blend words correctly that follow the standard decoding rules (i.e., “bland”), and putting commas in when there is a list of nouns or adjectives.  Not all students will hear the difference between /ch/ and /tr/ at this point, as that sometimes requires them to visually see the difference being modeled, and masks have hampered that opportunity.
Students also continue to read daily from the “Wit and Wisdom” series of books.  This week they have been reading some short biographies about individuals in the 1800’s and 1900’s who took it upon themselves to create a better world for others.  One story was about Jane Addams, who grew up in an idyllic setting and later learned there were young children who were growing up in bad conditions.  She spent her adult life starting kindergartens and places for child care, and in working towards passing child labor laws.
4/5 ELA
Students are reading a novel called, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg.  We are approaching this novel using literature circles.  This means that they are working in groups of 3 or 4 to read the chapters together, then discussing the chapters using 4 specific roles: director, predictor, visualizer, and connector.  The discussion roles rotate, so students have a different role for each chapter.  I have been very impressed with how nicely the groups are working.  Of course, the first session was a little rough as students explored this new way of reading a book, but by the third session students within each group were rising to the occasion, taking their turn reading and totally engaging in the conversations.
6-8 ELA
Students are reading I Am Malala.  Discussions are often lively – students are trying to wrap their heads around understanding a totally different culture and how others might perceive something differently from how they perceive something.  This is a timely book, as it is set in Pakistan during the time the Taliban was actively attacking anyone that would not follow their fundamentalist ideas.  This ties in with their Super Studies unit of “World Studies.”
Students are also trying to wrap up their “Ellen Writing” stories.  They have been meeting with Ellen Booream weekly for the school year, writing, reading their writing for others, revising, rewriting portions, etc.  If you have not read your child’s story, I encourage you to do so.  They are all really terrific! We hope to get them published in book form this year!
Ms. Sproul– 2nd grade math – Students have been working on understanding place value up to hundreds place.  We worked with drawings of  hundreds, tens and ones.  They now understand that 51 tens is equal to 510.  They are able to write and read numbers in expanded form and manipulate the numbers in their heads.  For example they know that 342 is equal to 300 + 40 + 2 or even 200 + 140 +2.  They seem to really understand place value which is HUGE!!!
3rd grade math – We have been working with division and understanding the relationships between division and multiplication.  This week I saw some of the students go from being REALLY confused to totally understanding it.  One of the challenges of helping kids in math is getting them to learn that it is okay to not understand something right away.  We have to develop perseverance. We talked about how our minds get in a state of disequilibrium when we “don’t get it” right away but that is OK.  In fact it is better than okay because it is when we really learn.  They are learning to trust me that I will help them and not get frazzled right away.  One day in particular they left the class totally confused.  When they started the next day, they had a much better understanding of what I was saying.  I told them I thought their brain was working it out when they were sleeping!  There were a lot of light bulb moments this week in third grade.
4th grade math. Students have been working with the area model and partial products to figure out multi digit multiplication.  If you want to see what we have been doing, ask your child to show you what 3 x 352 is using the area model.  You may have to remind them to draw the rectangle.  Ask them what goes on the top and what goes on the side.  I PROMISE, I will teach them the standard algorithm (the way we were all taught), but by teaching them the area model first they will quickly grasp the standard algorithm because they will understand WHY it works.
6th grade math. We are starting work in fractions and decimals.  We did a review of division and multiplication and what that means in terms of groups, size of groups and total amounts.  We will spend some time now with dividing fractions.  This is an area that kids are notoriously nervous about.  Hopefully these students will learn now so fractions will be comfortable for them.
7th grade math This week we started working with negative numbers.  We looked at them in terms of climbing above and below sea level, and money and debt.  Taking the time to fully understand this now will help when they get into linear equations.
8th grade math. We are still working with linear equations.  This week we looked at systems of equations and what they look like on a graph.  We learned that if the lines cross there is one solution, if the lines are on top of each other there are an infinite number of solutions and if they are parallel, there are no solutions.
Ms. Bebell- 6-8 Super Studies
The class has been learning about the electromagnetic spectrum. This week they focused on the non-ionizing types of radiation, which are the types of waves that do not harm living cells, including radio waves, micro waves, infrared light, and visible light.
4/5 Super Studies
This week the class started preparing for their living wax museum about dinosaurs. In mid May (stay tuned for the date!) the students will host an event where they dress up as their dinosaur and tell their own stories. For Forest Friday this week, the class played a memory game in the woods and then had some time to explore and observe how a familiar forest changes with the seasons.
2/3 Super Studies
To start the week, the class made predictions and we tested if different items would sink or float. This got the students wondering… how do boats float if they are made out of materials that could sink? The class built models of boats with cardboard, aluminum foil, and some other supplies and then tested how much weight it could hold while floating.  For Forest Friday this week, the class played a memory game in the woods and then had some time to explore and observe how a familiar forest changes with the seasons.

Important Dates

Week of May 9: MEA science test for grades 5 and 8.

Tuesday May 10: School board meeting 6:00 PM

May 12-14: Dutch Soccer Camp

May 13: PTF BBQ?? Checking with PTF.

Week of May 16: Kindergarten screening.

Friday May 20 – Saturday May 21: 6th-8th grade trip to Six Flags and Basketball Hall of Fame.

Monday May 23: 4th-8th grade spring concert rehearsal at the Reach in the morning.

Week starting May 24: NWEA testing

Friday May 27: Early dismissal at 12:30,  Fun Run

Monday May 30: No School//Memorial Day

Thursday June 2: School Spring Concert on the Town Green 6:00 PM

Friday June 3: Preschool walk to Brooklin General for pizza

Friday June 3: Boat Building Class possible boat launch????

Week of June 6: Outdoor week!

  • Monday – Tuesday: Hopefully the 6th-8th grade Boat Building Class island overnight trip
  • Kim Ridley visit?
  • Clam bake?
  • Beach Day June 10

Monday June 13: Last day of classes

Monday June 13: Graduation party 5:00

Tuesday June 14: Last day – Field Day

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