In Social Studies, students will begin our last unit this school year, Unit 6 - the Revolutionary War. Students will be learning how the American colonies defeated Great Britain, how other nations helped the Patriots, the role women played in the Revolutionary War, and how the American Revolution affected the creation of state governments. This unit ends with a final test on May 17th.
Last week we began our Genius Hour Project. The project aims to increase your child’s self-motivation for learning by allowing them to choose a passion project. The project is based on Google’s 20% time model that allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on a passion project. The rationale behind this practice is grounded in the research around intrinsic motivation for learning and psychological well being. Students who have the autonomy to make choices in their learning, the opportunity to learn something deeply, and the opportunity to share with others are more intrinsically motivated, happy, and they even perform better in school.
How it Works
Students will develop a focus question that they would like to research. Then, each week during their enrichment rotations, students will have one hour to work on their passion project. The students will be responsible for finding a question to research, keeping research in a notebook or Google Docs, completing weekly reflection worksheets, creating a project that displays their learning, and presenting their new knowledge. Regardless of their topic, the above meets at least six Common Core standards in Language Arts.
The project’s timeline is below:
Students came to school with two possible research questions they would like investigate.
Student and teacher approved one of the driving questions.
Mar. 23rd - April 4th
April 5th - April 26th
Ted Talks given in class (4-5 min. speeches)
Genius Hour projects presented in class
Open House - students will have their tri-folds and projects out for the entire Sedgwick Community to enjoy!
The students are allowed to research and/or build anything they choose, but here are a few topics that students have investigated in the past:
Development of the Universe/Solar System
You can’t make the choices for your child, but you can help them generate ideas, assist them, or participate in learning alongside your child. If your child wants to learn how to sew or make a computer, they’re going to need your help. They will need to come prepared each week. Students that are not prepared will miss our Genius Hour work time in class.
We’re excited about Genius Hour! We look forward to seeing what our students are passionate about and capable of creating. Thanks in advance for your support and engagement!
If you would like more information about the project, please feel free to watch the video at the following link: www.geniushour.com
Or, refer to my website at http://msgoularte.weebly.com/genius-hour.html
In Social Studies, we will finish unit 4 on March 8th. Next, we will begin learning about the causes of the Revolution. We will learn about the events that led to the American Revolution, how the colonists worked together, why the colonists declared independence and finally, who caused change in the colonies.
In Social Studies, we have begun Unit 4, Life in the Colonies. Students are learning about what influenced Europeans settled in North America, Who founded the colonies and why, and learn what systems developed in the colonies. Finally, we will learn what role slavery played in colonial America, and what brought democratic ideas to colonial America. Our end of the unit test will be on March 8th.
Today in Enrichment we were introduced to our new unit, coding! Kids were excited to share their experiences with coding and jump into using pseudocode to write their first sequences today. We are using code.org because it is a very simple and effective curriculum that introduces all students to the basics of coding while allowing each child to work at their own pace. Students are expected to keep their own notes based off the presentations and videos watched in class as well as the lines of code they complete on each level. In addition to these notes, students will creating their own coding project at the end of this unit. Feel free to check out some of these resources with your children and talk about how coding has affected your daily life. https://code.org/careers-in-tech
We are almost finished with our Mixtures and Solutions (Chemistry) unit and will be moving on to Living Systems (Biology). Students are working on using specific scientific vocabulary to explain the world around them.
In Living Systems, we discuss the vascular structure of plants as well as the human digestive and circulatory systems. We do NOT discuss reproduction. Look forward to your child sharing some fun facts about the human body with you!
In Social Studies, students will begin our unit, The Fight for A Continent. Students will be exploring why European nations and American Indians competed in North America, how colonists and American Indians cooperated, what the major conflicts were, and how American Indians were forced off their land. Additionally, students will learn who the leaders were in the struggle to gain new land.
In Social Studies, students will begin to learn about the Age of Exploration. Students will be learning how to take detailed notes about the explorers, focusing on country of origin, purpose for exploration, and area explored. Additionally, students will learn about technological developments that made sea exploration possible.
Students will also learn about obstacles and accomplishments of the explorers and learn the reasons why Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world.
Lastly, we will create a project that displays information on explorers in an artistic way.
Our unit 2 test will be on Friday, November 3rd.
We are well into our first unit, Mixtures and Solutions. This unit is the Chemistry section of the curriculum and one of my personal favorites. Students learn about mixtures and solutions and also some examples of them in our lives (soda is a supersaturated solution once you open it!). As we continue in this unit, we will explore chemical equations, chemical formulas, and we will finish up with an introduction to the elements. But we work on more than just Science in this class. Students are learning how to read and glean information from non-fiction text. We also work on developing study habits and answering questions with specific answers.
It’s been a great year so far, and I’m excited to keep learning and investigating with these students. Have a look through your child’s Science notebook to see what we’ve been up to!
This last year of elementary school will be a year of huge growth for your child. Not only academically, but also emotionally and socially. Since technology has become such an integral part of our everyday lives, it is crucial that the lessons we teach translate over to students’ digital lives as well. Luckily, there are so many resources out there to help guide us.
In Enrichment, we will begin this unit by completing lessons from Common Sense Media. These lessons will address password security, cyber bullying, managing our digital footprint, safe searching, and more. Since we have a 1:1 ratio for iPads to students, all students will complete these lessons before using technology independently.
In addition to the in-class lessons, I encourage you (and all parents/guardians/older siblings in your household) to sit down with your child and discuss your family expectations around technology use at home. To help begin these discussions, feel free to look through the Google Safety Center and the Family Online Safety Institute. Both have numerous articles geared toward specific age groups and topics. A few topics that are usually relevant for many students in 5th grade include safer gaming, Youtube videos, and being a “good friend” online.
The Internet, and technology overall, continue to change and enhance the ways in which we live and learn. However, it is not without it’s challenges and dangers. My main goal for your child’s online safety and security is an open line of communication between you and your child about what they are doing online. This way, when your child is faced with a tough decision or challenge, they will know exactly who they can go to for help and guidance.
So where do we start with this long and rapidly changing journey? The 7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting is a great resource to begin with. Start with step one and take each step at a pace that is comfortable for your family’s needs.
I look forward to being a part of this journey with you and your child!