Challenge Yourself in Math!
This year we will be focusing on the power standards of 5th grade and organically enriching with some of the 6th grade standards. The anticipated plan is to cover: all operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) decimals 1st trimester, all operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) fractions 2nd trimester, and area/perimeter/volume/coordinate graphing in 3rd trimester. We will be engaged in Math Talk, modeling math concepts, 3-Act math, finding the strategies for solving problems that work best for each of us.
Bringing Science Alive!
Our science curriculum has been designed to provide a balance among the disciplines of life, earth, and physical science. The life science we study is ecosystems and our impact upon our environment. For earth science we study two units: earth's systems and space. Lastly, in physical science we study matter, especially changes in matter. Within each science unit, students utilize a variety of scientific skills: predicting/hypothesizing; observing; researching; sampling and collecting data; experimenting; changing variables; performing multiple trials; questioning; justifying with evidence; responding to counter-opinions; sketching; and exploring real life situations where science plays a role.
History in the Making
We begin our year by experiencing the native experience during the time of exploration. We will then focus on the adventure and courage our explorers endured in order to discover the Americas. In order to grasp the hardships and excitement, we will participate in a captivating simulation game entitled Discovery. Once we make the trek across the Atlantic, groups will develop colonies and try to survive and prosper. Many events will impact us and change the way we think about our lives and experiences.
As we explore the colonization of our new land, we will focus on the contributions of Colonial Williamsburg and the conflicts with England. A few highlighted issues are: the Boston Tea Party, Taxation Without Representation, the Boston Massacre, the Stamp Acts, and the Quartering Act. We will trace the events and issues that led to the Revolutionary War.
Next comes the American Revolution (also known as the Revolutionary War). We will take on different identities and roles within the conflicting factions, the Loyalists, Neutralists, and Patriots. Throughout the study of the Revolutionary War, we will experience the effects of war upon our assumed identities. To close our unit, we will debate the Declaration of Independence and declare our independence from England.
Once free, we will address the struggles of both creating a solid government and being taken seriously by the rest of the world as a new independent nation. We will familiarize ourselves with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and how each pertains to our lives as well as our Founding Fathers. We will come to know our Founding Fathers and their ideals they brought forth to ensure the prosperity of our young nation.
Next, we will dive into our study of the Constitution. We will read through We the People and grapple with the issues our founding fathers had to deal with in order to get our country to agree to the Constitution and work together as a nation. Next, we split up the concepts of the Constitution and research and prepare a speech on a Constitutional right and our responsibilities. This unit will come to a close with a Congressional Hearing before local lawyers and judges on the Constitutional issues we have studied, as well as real life, current examples.
Lastly, we end the year with a specific study of our nation's geography focusing on individual states for the purpose of researching and report writing. We will simulate traveling the country in order to design our own tour guide of our diverse country. Our cross-country journey will take us from west to east coast across the major interstates. We will track our journey using Google Maps; keep a record of our finances in Excel; and research each tour stop to create a project to share with the class.
We are using Mondo BookShop Curriculum. This curriculum covers 11 units of study alternating nonfiction and narrative text (see projected curriculum map for more details). This curriculum follows the Comprehensive Literacy model, which includes:
- Word Study: Greek/Latin roots, contractions, etc.
- Read Aloud
- Shared Reading (whole class reads together)
- Independent Reading
- Guided Reading
- Constructed Responses (written responses about what was read)
For our balanced writing program, Being a Writer, several components will be practiced such as: modeled writing, guided writing, shared writing, independent writing, choice writing, and peer and teacher feedback. Students need to see that writing is a critical part of daily life and that by writing on a daily basis we become better writers.
The majority of our writing program takes place within a Writer's Workshop setting. Students brainstorm, gather ideas, organize their ideas, draft, revise, edit, publish, and evaluate their own stories and written pieces. Peer conferencing involves editing, clarifying ideas, questioning and providing positive as well as constructive criticism. Teacher conferencing happens informally and formally. As students are working on pieces, I roam around helping and asking about both the writing process as well as individual skills students are working on. Writing is published in a variety of ways to allow for creativity and student choice. Finished pieces oftentimes are shared with the class by students sitting in the Author's Chair and reading their pieces to the class or by conducting class museum walks.
By practicing particular skills and strategies, students improve their writing. We study a variety of genres and skills during the year as spelled out more on the projected curriculum map.
The specifically taught genres are: personal narrative, narrative, poetry, opinion/persuasive, expository/informational, historical fiction, fantasy, research-based argument writing, and functional writing.