Welcome back Questers and Quest Families!
We hope you have all had a good summer. We are excited to start the 2016-2017 school year!
What's new on Quest?
Spelling / Vocabulary and Quizlet
Each week, students will have vocabulary and spelling to study for Language Arts. Students will have the first fifteen minutes of class to complete activities regarding spelling and vocabulary, or they will be able to silent read. The lists will be published on Fridays each week. We will all be studying the same rule for spelling each week, but within that rule, students will have an option of different spelling lists. Students will also be given five vocabulary words to study.
To help your child study, I have enrolled us in Quizlet. Quizlet is an online program where students can access their sets of words to study. I will be inputting our words each week. Students will be able to use online flashcards and games to study outside of school.
There are extra safety restrictions on accounts for users under 13. Students under 13 will need to have a parent's email address, and the confirmation email will be sent to parents to verify the account. When you sign this newsletter, please include an email address that students can use to sign up for Quizlet. Then, please look for that confirmation email. If you have questions about the program, you can visit https://quizlet.com or email Melissa Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aside from spelling / vocabulary, we will start our year with a fiction unit. This fiction unit's theme is empathy. Students will be reading about 20 pages a day from these books, so they might be bringing them home to read in the evenings.
After this introductory unit, we will dive into our drama unit! Students will have the choice of being a part of a traditional play such as The Phantom Tollbooth, or a part of an international Shakespeare competition. Students involved in this competition will be creating 10 minute (or less) videos based on scenes of the works of Shakespeare. I have the scenes selected. We will be studying these scenes, and then either acting them from the original play, or adapting them to students' lives. Students will then be sharing videos of these plays with a middle school class in Texas. We will evaluate each other's plays and decide on which to submit to the competition. Information about the competition can be found at: http://www.pragueshakespeare.com/shakemeup.html. The Phantom Tollbooth is based on the book by Norton Juster. This will be a more traditional drama unit, following a set script and stage directions. You might talk with your student about which play they would like to be a part of, and I will accommodate their interests as best as possible. Students will be able to vote on which they would like to be a part of during the third week of school.
Number Theory Unit (Prime Time)
6th-8th grade Math students at CBMS use a curriculum called Connected Mathematics Program. At the 6th grade level, we begin with an extension of our understanding of number theory (factors, multiples, products, divisors). Students will be learning through problem solving, projects, playing games, and computer simulations. Throughout the year, students will also be working with online learning programs such as Tenmarks and Khan Academy to increase fluency. All homework assignments will be posted in Schoology. Please contact us if you need information regarding how to check your student's Schoology account.
IS will continue to have lessons in both science and social studies. We will begin the year with a unit on geology, plate tectonics, natural disasters, and using models. Watch for a project that will be coming home, with the option of making a model of the Earth's layers out of whatever you'd like. In the past, most of the students have chosen edible models :)
Schedule for the year
Our schedule for the year has changed. This is the new schedule:
|5th and 6th|
|8:00-8:50||IS (Science and S.S.)|
|11:00-11:30||Lunch (11-11:30) Music (11-11:40)|
|11:40-12:10||Study Hall (11:30-12:10) Music Lunch (11:40-12:10)|
|12:30-1:30||Math / LA|
|1:30-2:30||Math / LA|
For those of you with older students in the building, iBlock may sound familiar. The basic structure of it will be similar, although students will be working with teachers across the first floor. Our primary purpose of this block is intervention, keeping all students in mind of what they might need. Here is the definition from two years ago:
iBlock Defined: The "i" in iBlock stands for "individual". iBlock is a 30-minute block that happens each day on each core team, and is focused on the specific needs of individual students as determined by a combination of local assessments, teacher observation and opinion, and student voice. Each iBlock session will last either 3 weeks or 6 weeks, depending on the area of focus. During iBlock, we aim to bring in additional school-wide staff members to partner with core staff and keep iBlock groups small and focused. The goal of iBlock is simply to put a daily focus on the needs of individual students in order to bring timely improvement to those specific areas. Examples of areas of focus for this block can include, but are not limited to:
- math reasoning and strategies,
- reading comprehension and fluency,
- geography and spelling skills,
- technology skills such as keyboarding and website design,
- individual areas of focus such as foreign language acquisition
- organizational and social skills.
Please sign this newsletter and return it with your student.
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