This week we took a detour from our regular morning routine as the students took the CTP5 test. They persevered and did their best to work through each sub test. On Thursday we joined together for a vital functions lesson about the circulation. The students were shown models of an open system versus a closed system. At the end of the lesson they worked in teams to complete tasks and record their heart rate on a data sheet. These tasks included walking, catching, planking, jumping jacks, and a card game. Next, we will analyze the data to make connections between activity level and heart rate. The students were excited to complete this activity and worked well in their respective teams!
This week we spent a lot of time preparing for research night which takes place February 6. On Wednesday we visited the CT Science Center in Hartford. The students had a great time exploring the exhibits and visiting the newest exhibit, Mazes and Brain Games. In between that time, we took part in a lab focused on electromagnetism. The students worked in pairs to create an electromagnet and then tested the electromagnetic power.
Although it was nice to enjoy some time off with friends and family during the holiday break, there is something calming about returning to school and following the natural routines of the day with the students. We moved on to new units in both readers and writers workshops. Our readers workshops are centered around nonfiction, and informational books. As for writers workshop, we focused on research writing, specifically based on ancestry, since that is the topic for Research Night. This year students will gather information about their family history and then make a slideshow presentation. They each brought home a blue folder with helpful resources to get started. Research Night is scheduled for February 6th at 6:30. While we were discussing the annual research fair a group of FWM alumni stopped by to say hello. They recalled their time researching their ancestry and I was able to pull up some old photos from their research night 9 years ago!
We concluded our final week of school before holiday break with some memorable times together. It began with a sad event as we said goodbye to our beloved hamster, Chicken Little. The students decided the best way to honor Chicken Little was by saying some kind words of remembrance and then burying him next to a former Lower Elementary class pet, Yoda. The remainder of the week was more joyous as we prepared for the holiday concert, participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange, celebrated a December birthday, and wrapped gifts for children at the St. Vincent DePaul Shelter in Waterbury, CT. A few students assisted some class parents to deliver the gifts on Monday after school. Thank you for the donations of gifts for the shelter, food for our class celebration, and parent help this week! The weather was a nuisance, but we accomplished all we planned to end our school year before winter break. I want to wish you all a peaceful holiday and Happy New Year!
This week we spent time completing fun cultural lessons. Some students presented one of those lessons to a classmate. It is one of our most memorable lessons about the vital function of nutrition. The follow up lesson is the nutrition layout based on a variety of animals from protozoans to mammals. One student commented and said, “Wow, this is really interesting!” The other most recent cultural lesson was based on the study of humans. We met a ramapithecus (extinct anthropoid from 8 to 14 millions years ago). We had an excellent discussion about the ramapithecus and the students are eager to begin another lesson. In our next lesson we will discuss the Australopithecus. To conclude our week we had a very successful and joyous Happé “Holiday” Café! This café included a soft opening of drive thru service. Each month when we evaluate the café and reflect on the progress made we are able to come up with new and fun ways to try different things. Thanks once again for the support!
One of the things I love about our school is the opportunity to spend a great deal of time outdoors. There are so many positive benefits for children from spending time in nature and being active outside. We begin our day outdoors, which the students look forward to, and if weather permits we get outside for recess every day, even in the snow! In the classroom we are wrapping up our reading and writing workshops in preparation to begin new units in January.
We had a great time on Tuesday visiting New Pond Farm in Redding, CT! The students learned about animal adaptations by observing live specimens and taxidermy mounts. These included a fox, turtle, tortoise, skunk, raccoon, beaver, snake, and groundhog. After lunch the students explored the outdoors. While on a short hike they learned about the types of rocks in CT and glacial formations that carved the land. The instructor made connections to historical storms in CT that caused erosion and how they had to construct a man-made wall to slow water flow around the farm. They ended the day doing some experiments about erosion. Both lessons were a perfect connection to our class studies about animals for zoology and erosion for our water studies.
The students worked extremely well together this week preparing for their second cafe opening. They worked in teams of two, following recipe directions to make some tasty pumpkin doughnut muffins. On Thursday afternoon they paired off in teams once again to prepare signs, organize items, and set up the cafe. We agreed to adjust some cafe pricing to reflect what we learned from the owners of Sugar Magnolia. The students decided to donate the proceeds from the first two cafes to the Red Cross to provide relief to those affected by the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, CA. Once we determine our sales we will provide an update of how much we were able to raise. Lastly, it was nice to see many of you get a chance to spend time with your child at Parent/Child Night Thursday evening!