Greetings from Tr. David
We have finished the guided reading book titled The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac. Based on a true story, the book follows the lives of two young boys over the course of a few days in the summer of 1777. For the young Quaker named Samuel Russell, it’s a time of fear. The British army is approaching, and the Indians in the area seem ready to make allies with the British to fight the colonists. To Stands Straight, the young Abenaki scouting for King George, it is a time of fear. The colonists seem dangerous, unpredictable, and a threat to his family and home. However, when Stands Straight’s scouting party enters the Quaker Meetinghouse where Samuel and his community are worshipping, the two groups realize that they share at least one thing in common, a desire to live peacefully with one another. The book was a terrific introduction to Quaker beliefs and also the Revolutionary War.
During November, we finished reviewing how to add and subtract large numbers in preparation for the real fourth grade work - multiplying and dividing two and three digit numbers. We have reviewed how to multiply by 10 and 100 and also how to multiply using partial sums. The work of becoming fluent and comfortable working with large numbers will continue through the end of December and after the winter break.
As reported in the last update, fourth graders interviewed four women who are first generation immigrants living at the Bellingham retirement community adjacent to our property. The children asked them lots of questions about their journey and how their lives are different today from the time when they immigrated. We recorded these interviews and took pictures and videos. Just a few weeks ago we began the process of using the information we gathered in order to turn it into a power point presentation. This will be a five slide presentation and will include a personal biography writing piece with imbedded voice audio and picture links on the other slides. The children have a lot of energy around this project and I am just as eager to see what they put together. Stay tuned and hopefully a link will be live on the website sometime after winter break.
We recently started our year-long investigation of Pennsylvania. We have learned who the founder is, how he acquired such a large piece of land, and how he intended to make Pennsylvania different than the other colonies. Very soon, we will backtrack and look at the geology of the state and its physical features. The highlight of this work will be to make salt dough maps of the state!
We continuing our physics unit on simple machines. So far we have learned what friction is and how it can helpful and ways in which simple machines help to overcome the effects of friction. Most recently we have started learning the amazing lever and the various classes of levers. The highlight of this investigation will be building a catapult! Future work will include learning about the inclined plane, the wheel and axle, and the pulley.
Fourth graders have spent a large amount of time this month working on their independent study research projects. The project gives students an opportunity to focus their attention on a topic which interests them, it teaches them basic research skills, reinforces writing and editing skills, and gives them exposure to writing and organizing complex information. This is not easy for children this age, but they have done well. Now that the paper is written, students will turn their attention to creating a presentation format to share their research. Possibilities include: a Power Point presentation, the traditional poster board, students could make models to help explain their findings, and so on. Presentations will be on January 9, 2015.
November 25 - 30: Thanksgiving break – NO SCHOOL December 17 &18: 4th and 5th grade perform with the preschool during their holiday concert. December 18: Lower School concert December 22 - January 4: Winter holidays break
Wishing everyone a joyous Thanksgiving holiday filled with love and laughter
Graduates of Quaker elementary schools know themselves and are able to recognize the strengths of peers. Because they are effective communicators and creative problem solvers at an early age, the fifth graders approach transitions with self-assurance. They are not only prepared for a middle school setting; they are “ready” in every sense.