Greetings from Fifth Grade!
This year, in conjunction with Learning Pathways, the fifth (and fourth) graders have been conducting an independent study project. An independent study is a student-centered project that involves students working individually to investigate self-selected topics. These topics are connected to the curriculum and the students' personal interests. Differentiating the curriculum remains at the center of our new initiative – Learning Pathways. An independent study project is the most effective strategy to use in addressing the needs of all learners in the group. It provides an opportunity for students to study topics of interest in-depth while learning and practicing a variety of skills.
And independent study meets the needs, readiness, interests and learning preferences of students. It also allows students to experience learning beyond the classroom and encourages independence. Additionally, it teaches research skills and improves reading, writing and presentation skills. The semester-long project provides opportunity and time to explore in-depth topics. The fifth graders came to school in September with a chosen topic to study, and hit the ground running on their research and planning.
The goal of having the student's conduct an independent study project was to:• Develop in-depth understanding of a topic• Provide an opportunity to develop independent learning and research skills• Develop self-directed learners who can investigate real-life problems in areas ofinterest and value to them• Introduce students to the techniques of organizing, researching and presenting the results of their studies• Stimulate critical thinking and logical analysis• Develop individual abilities and initiative
The outcome of the independent study project was to create a formal writing piece at the completion of this assignment, as well as a presentation that reflected the child's learning preference. Focus topics that were chosen by the fifth graders included Italian architecture in Rome, stingrays, Chester County's involvement in the Civil War, and placodermi. The fifth graders chose to present their findings in a variety of ways. John read from his written report and then shared his 3-D model of an architectural structure that had elements influenced by classic Italian architectural designs. Joe also read from his written report, shared a model of the railroad that led to the expansion of Chester County, and concluded his presentation with a jeopardy-style question and answer session that tested the audiences knowledge of the information he shared. Jonathan shared what he learned through a PowerPoint, and Lindsey created a museum for the audience to enjoy and view the placodermi fossils she had excavated over the summer on a fossil dig.
Please click on the following links to read the student's independent study reports.
Lindsey's Placodermi report
John's Italian Architecturein Rome, Italy report
Jonathan's Stingray report
Joe's Chester County andthe Civil War report
Upon completion of the independent study project, the fifth graders reflected on what they had learned over the course of the five-month project.
"I learned that it is good to get a project finished early before it's too late. Also, pick something you can handle in the time given. My favorite part of the project was seeing my project come together at the end because all your hard work shows." Jonathan
"During this project I learned that the project takes time to finish because it is a very big project. I enjoyed learning and seeing other peoples' projects and the activities that other people were doing. Also, the work sessions in school were helpful because it helps to have people around you, supporting you and your report to make it better." John
"Other than learning about placodermi, I learned how to budget when you have a time line of when things are due. Also, how to organize a certain type of project, and to problem solve. I liked putting together the final presentation and getting the facts. Putting things together is art for me (I like art). Getting facts was fun because you find out interesting things." Lindsey
"Other than learning about Chester County's involvement in the Civil War, I've learned about others' projects, they were really interesting. My favorite part of the project was finishing it, because it was a long-term project and it was a relief to be done." Joe
.Upcoming events for January:1/16 –All-School Gathering. Fifth grade will be honoring Nelson Mandela during their presentation at 10:00 am1/20 – Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Upcoming events for February:2/10 – Community Cares event for the lower school students at 11:00 am2/13 – Valentine's celebration at 2:00 pm2/14 – 2/17 NO SCHOOL in honor of President's Day2/21 – Fourth and Fifth Graders travel to Philadelphia for the day2/28 – 3rd Annual Joint Concert with Frederick Douglas Christian School
Upcoming events for March:3/4 – Third – Fifth grade travels to Philadelphia to enjoy a presentation by the Philadelphia Orchestra3/10 – Community Cares event for the lower school at 11:00 am3/12 – All-School Gathering at 10:00 am3/21-3/28 – NO SCHOOL – SPRING BREAK
FIFTH GRADERS' GOALS FOR 2014:" ... become a better person – find more ways to be kind or make a difference. To stop getting used to auto corrections and punctuation. I want to REALLY know how to type.""...my goal is to perform to the best of my ability.""...my goal is to learn new things in school and be confident at my next school.""...that I am the best student in the sixth grade."
We provide a quality education where children are empowered as learners.