We continue to learn and grow as we analyze ancient civilizations. Currently we are reviewing the Big Ideas: (Geography, Government/Leadership, Economy, Achievements/Contributions, Religion and Social Class) of Ancient Egypt. We discovered that Ramses II was a powerful ruler who many not only considered, but called "Great." Students were challenged with informational text readings that documented Ramses's rule as pharaoh and were tasked with determining whether or not they felt he deserved such a title. Students also participated in their first Hands on History activity. "It wasn't easy running the ancient Egyptian Empire; there were bills to pay gods to please, and those pesky foreign invaders that had to be stopped. In fact, it was all a pharaoh could do just to get a decent pyramid built. You know how the ancient Egyptian saying goes, "The only thing that's certain is the afterlife and taxes." (Hands on History: Ancient Civilizations Sundem and Pikiewicz). I enjoy working with and learning from you amazing kids!
We started off this year in Science engrossed in learning about the GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE on August 21st. I hope you and your family were able to experience this unique event. We learned about the Sun and how it makes life on Earth possible through PHOTOSYNTHESIS, how it powers the weather (a perfect tie in with our quick study of hurricanes before Irma), and how it provides most of the ENERGY on the Earth. We then became fully involved in all things energy! We studied the three types of thermal energy transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. We categorized types of energy as either potential or kinetic while discovering the properties of those types of energy through interactive labs. Then we moved on to forms of energy and energy transformations while remembering the LAW of CONSERVATION of ENERGY which states; energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Building electromagnets gave us the opportunity to review the types of variables - independent, dependent and control. The students also built a working motor from simple household items. It has certainly been a BUSY beginning of school and I look forward to more fun and learning with this amazing group of children.
Our first weeks in English Language Arts have provided us opportunities to exchange ideas, participate in pre-assessments, launch writers' and readers' workshops, and collaborate during our first novel study using The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Students are working on revising and editing poems about themselves using George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From" poem as inspiration. While reading The Giver, students are learning about the elements of plot, using context clues to determine the meaning of new vocabulary, and showing their comprehension skills with periodic comprehension checks. We have had rich discussions and debates regarding the themes and ideas presented in this dystopian novel. Students are reading independently and reflecting on what they read in weekly double entry journals. We've used our iPads to explore newsela.com, a website of leveled current events articles. Students are writing their opinions about these current events that are also tied to themes in The Giver. Using paired texts like these gives students an opportunity to justify their opinions using evidence from the texts. I have truly loved learning from your children and watching them begin to bloom as middle school readers and writers!
In math we have learned about integers and plotting points coordinate plane. Some groups learned a song to aid in remembering the rules for adding integers. On BrainPop, Tim and Moby demonstrated the coordinate plane and used their "heads" to model correct order for plotting ordered pairs. In small groups, students participated in math activities involving the QR Code scanner on their iPads. Please encourage your child to complete the weekly IXL assignments as they are part of a homework grade. IXL is a great tool to practice skills learned in class with immediate feedback and explanation.