In April, we looked at common fiction story elements. We read the book, "The Quiltmaker's Gift" and mapped out the story, exploring common elements such as characters, setting, conflict, events, solution, and resolution. The children practiced mapping additional stories, both independently and as a class. We then used this knowledge to help us write more detailed fiction stories. Using the website, "ReadWriteThink", each child created a story map to help them brainstorm each section of their story. We then learned how to turn our story maps into fiction stories. The children were eager to discover that after including all of the different parts of a story into their writing, their stories spanned many pages in their journals. We also wrote fiction stories inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's illustrations in "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick".
This month, we also found new and creative ways to practice our spelling. On Monday, each child receives an individualized list of words. The children meet in small groups to sort their words, looking for common spelling patterns. Some of the word work that we have done this month has focused on digraphs & blends, long vowel patterns, and prefixes and suffixes. Each day, the children choose from a variety of options that will allow them to practice their words. They might type their words in different fonts on the computer, write their words on a dry erase board, trace the letters of their words in a bucket of birdseed, or build their words using colorful tiles. On Friday, we have individualized spelling quizzes to allow the children to see how they have mastered their words. We've all enjoyed this fresh, new approach to spelling.
We studied measurement and probability in math this month. We explored different ways to measure length, height, and width, capacity, weight, and temperature. For each of these areas, we looked at both the standard and the metric systems of measurement. We also discussed probability and did several experiments that allowed us to explore this concept. In May, we will be exploring three and four digit numbers, before learning how to add & subtract these larger numbers.We returned from spring break and kicked off the start of our final science unit of the year – tropical rainforests. We began by looking at the globe and identifying the five continents that currently contain tropical rainforests. The children then filled out the first two portions of a KWL chart, listing what they already know about rainforests and what questions they would like to have answered. Students then broke into small groups to examine the various layers of the rainforest. Each group created a poster on their layer, identifying characteristics of the layer and common plants and animals that could be found there. The children are now focusing their research on one specific rainforest – Central & South American, African, Australian, or Asian. They have been using books and internet resources to learn about the plants and animals located in their specific rainforest, and will then be sharing their research with written paragraphs and visual representations.This month, we welcomed our pen pals to Goshen. Our friends from The Miquon School joined us for a fun science project. The children divided into small groups with their pen pals to engage in the Egg Drop Challenge. Each group used recycled materials to design a container that they believed would protect their egg in a fall. After planning for and building the containers, we took them outside to the playground, where we inserted the eggs and dropped them from the top of one of our playground structures. Six out of the seven eggs survived without a single crack, and we proclaimed the experiment a great success!The entire Lower School took a field trip to Willistown Conservation Trust in celebration of Earth Day. During our trip, we learned about how they band birds, took a nature walk through the woods, and discovered some of the ways that they support sustainable agriculture. We also assisted with some planting and had the opportunity to bring home our own individual lettuce plants.At the end of April, we joined with the entire Goshen Community to celebrate International Week. Over the course of four days, we participated in a variety of activities that taught us more about our countries of study – Japan, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. We heard from several speakers who have lived in or visited these countries. We tasted food from Turkey and had the opportunity to try our hand at making our own sushi. We also participated in some Japanese martial arts and worked with third grade students on Sri Lankan research projects. The week culminated with One World Café, an opportunity for the entire community to gather together to sample dishes from these three unique cultures.
May will bring us the Clothesline Art Show, Celebration of Friends Day, the Spring Concert, a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, and a few more weeks to learn and grow together.In friendship,Tr. AmandaPlease note the following upcoming events:Friday, May 3rd – School closed due to teacher in-service dayTuesday, May 7th – Celebration of Friends Day at 2:00pmTuesday May 7th – Clothesline Art Show at 3:00 pmWednesday, May 15th – Lower School Spring Concert at 7:00 pmThursday, May 16th – Field trip to The Philadelphia ZooMonday, May 27th – School closed due to Memorial DayThursday, May 30th – Game DayFriday, June 7th – Last Day of School
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Goshen teachers are not married to “Teaching to the Test.” They tailor their teaching style to the needs of each class. The freedom to be flexible allows each teacher to discover and address the strengths and weaknesses of each boy and girl.