From the Gamma Classroom…
December 19th, 2014
- Have a safe and healthy Winter Break! See you back at AHB on January 6th, 2015.
- A huge THANKS to parents for all the sweet gifts from Ms. Amanda and Ms. Dee! They are much appreciated!!
Gammas continue to share their accomplishments and enthusiasms in Circle!
We continue our bi-monthly yoga classes with Ms. Stacie, who is helping Gammas make the connection between their bodies and their minds. Gammas have been working on breathing and relaxation postures to help them focus on classroom work and playground excitement.
We also managed to make “space” (a really bad pun on our theme ~ get it?) for some cultural studies. We marked the Mexican celebration Día de los Muertos in Gamma with food and typical crafts. We set up an offrenda (offering) that included some of the items that one might find in a remembrance of those family and friends who have died. Gammas made papel picado (cut paper flags), calacas (decorated sugar skulls), paper cempasuchitl (marigolds) and even made our own horchata (rice water drink)!
We’ve done some amazing work, giving Gammas a feeling of confidence in understanding multiplication concepts, as well as some techniques for approaching new problems into simpler steps of math skills they have already mastered. The big topic this quarter has been multiplication, as well as reinforcing the addition/subtraction facts and place value concepts we worked on in the first quarter.
In January, we’ll come back to working on multiplication, and begin to reinforce rote memory of basic facts by applying them to two-digit-by-two-digit problems. We’ve been using a grid method, which has the added bonus of reinforcing basic addition facts as well as place value concepts. Gammas who already know the more standard algorithm for two-by-two problems will be stepped up to more complex multiplication. After Winter Break we’ll also begin to reinforce multiplication facts with simple division concepts. Ideally, all of these things together will have students memorizing their times tables: for the second year Gammas, this will be ALL of the basic facts (through 10s), and for the first year Gammas it will be committing the 0s through the 5s facts to memory.
Weather work will continue throughout the Spring semester, culminating in a graphing project at the end of this school year. We’ll also begin to practice all five of the Math Pentathlon games in preparation for the spring MP Tournament.
Literacy has been action packed over the past few weeks and quarter. With our focus in theme being the Solar System, we’ve brought that topic to our work in literacy as well. Gamma students did research and read non-fiction books in order to get more information and write their own brochures. They had to write a rough draft, final draft, illustrate their work and come up with titles for each section of the writing. Hopefully you were able to take one with you at POP or look at a final draft!
One other area of focus during literacy has been writing refection sheets as we look over our work from the past quarters and compile our portfolios. It’s been interesting to have the students go back and think about previous projects in terms of what they’re proud of, what they would change, and skills they needed to use for the finished product.
We have also been reading the book Frindle as a class with each student taking turns to read specific pages. We’ve been working on reading strategies that can help us when we get stuck, recalling details from past chapters, and summarizing events in our literacy notebooks. The Gamma class has really enjoyed reading a book all together and following along with the story as a group.
Our Solar System unit culminated in POP, with a display of some of the fantastic work that the Gammas have done in recent weeks. Each Gamma participated in the Solar System Reader’s Theater, a tale of empowerment and teamwork on the part of each of the Solar System family in letting the Sun know that she was “outshining” other smaller but equally important member in her realm.
We rode the UT Shuttle down to the university campus to check out the Solar Observatory on top of one of the taller buildings in Austin! We picnicked outside the Texas Memorial Museum and then visited the small collection of items that have fallen from space into Texas.
Gammas each researched either a personality or a program related to space, and presented it to one another. Subjects from Skylab to Stephen Hawking sparked questions and conversations! Gammas got to interact with individual pieces by taking notes on what they heard during each presentation.