Friday, March 10, 2017

Classroom Update

The past several weeks before vacation have been busy! Students have been studying early American history from both the European and Native American perspectives, and we are currently engaged in a colonization simulation. This simulation will lead into study and application of economic concepts including supply and demand and patterns within different areas of the United States regarding production and distribution of goods.

Our next integrated unit will focus on a variety of social equality issues including gender, race, poverty, immigration, and disabilities. Students will be reading several fiction books with themes that address these issues, and they will also be reading nonfiction text about these topics. We will have class discussions around social structure, identity, and distribution of power, and my hope is that students take these ideas home with them and have conversations with family members about what they are learning. Students will showcase their learning in an original podcast that they write, record, and edit.

As a class, we spent the first few days after February break building up our classroom community. I partnered with Melissa Gosselin, one of our guidance counselors, to facilitate several team building activities. Today in particular was an intense activity, and the group was not successful at first. Throughout the activity, we took time to process strategies, communication, and balance of access and social power. The standards we held ourselves to were You worked well as a team and Everyone contributes value. Students had opportunities to evaluate the group and their role within the group before proposing next steps. In the end, the team objective was completed.  We will refer back to today's success and processing again next week as we identify 3-4 key behaviors that everyone can commit to in order to make our classroom a place were everyone feels they are part of a team, everyone contributes, and everyone feels valued.

Big news: Fifth grade is going on a field trip! As a complement to our learning about early America, Mr. Herrick and I are planning an overnight field trip to Plimoth Plantation May 17-18. An information sheet was sent home with students today. Please contact me if you did not see one. The cost for the trip is $65 per student; we are asking for $50. If you feel that you can pay more, the extra money will help to ensure all students can attend. If you feel that $50 is too much for you at this time, let me know and something can be figured out. We will also need at least 3 chaperones to join us. Chaperones will need to be finger-printed and approved before May. If you are interested in chaperoning, please let me know. The fifth grade is really excited about this trip!