I am not sure if you have heard but next week is March Break!
Students have been working extremely hard wrapping up a number of major projects over the last two weeks. Science experiments have all been completed, data collected, and they have been presented. We will spend a period or two when we return analyzing results and drawing conclusions but these are essentially finished. So many great experiments! When we return, the grade 5s will begin finishing the construction of an 8 ft human named Igor that my grade 5s a couple of years ago began. Although Igor has a musculoskeletal, working nervous and circulatory system, he is incomplete. He is hungry and needs a digestive system and, of course, he will need air if we are to animate him :). I am hoping to get the grade 4s involved in some aspects of this construction. They, however, will be on a quest to find experts in the fields of rocks and minerals. We haven’t decided exactly how we will do this but the aim is to reach out to professionals in the field for interviews, surveys, invitations to speak, etc. This “Find an Expert” project will be front and centre when we return.
Social studies will also be a major priority upon our return. Students have been developing ideas for projects they will create relating to Early Societies (Grade 4) and contact between First Nations and Europeans (Grade 5). We have spent several periods the last couple weeks getting this going and students should have posted a preliminary proposal on their blogs for what it is they want to do and how it connects to the curriculum. Our first priority when we come back is to finalize these written proposals and to get started. There are so many great, creative ideas!
In Math, we have spent the last two weeks working with Living Fractions/Decimals lines, dividing a set line to conform to a variety of preconditions (e.g., length, orientation, assigned fractions and decimals). After, they began comparing these lines to each other, to notice equivalencies between the lines. We have worked on a number of mathematical concepts in the course of this project (properties of parallel lines, measurement, conversion between metric units, identifying cardinal directions, strategies for breaking up wholes into fractions/decimals, representations of both, equivalent fractions). When we return, we will be turning away from the number sense strand for a bit and dipping our toes into geometry. I have not decided on the precise form this will take but I will keep you posted when we get back after break.
Finally, in Language proper (though as you can see Language skills are being developed in other areas), our advertisements are reaching a head. Students are in the process of assembling their ads. All the preparation and planning is complete, materials collected, and actual production has begun. This will be the next project we will aim to wrap up in entirety. Students have also begun some creative writing, using a series of ambiguous images from a Chris Van Allsburg book entitled The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Students chose an image and began by compiling descriptive words about the picture (we have been talking about adjectives and adverbs lately). They then wrote a descriptive passage of what they saw in the image. Next, they started brainstorming some ideas using this image as a writing prompt. As always, students will employ the full writing process we have been working on all year long as they begin planning out their story.
Lastly, in Music, student compositions are getting to a workable stage. Almost all groups have used the score written by another group and, using their understanding of written music, have programmed this into a Garage Band song project. Most are finished this stage so we took a period last week and began practising playing the chords on ukulele over these programmed chords. Going forward, we will explore different rhythms and how they can achieve different moods. We will go on to write melodies and eventually lyrics. We are still a few weeks out on this one!
I wish everybody a happy and refreshing break! See you in (almost) spring.