When one study ends, another begins! This week we moved on from the study of the physics of sound to the exploration of water. Water is a part of everyday life but is not often observed for its many properties. Students began this week by observing water, specifically looking at the absorption of water in some materials or how water beads up on others. Spilling water happens, but now we can notice the way the water interacts with the surface it is spilled on.
This week we began reading a totally different genre… nonfiction! Students were excited to start reading all about bugs! This unit focuses on the central idea of how bugs are essential to the survival of life on earth. During this unit, students focus on nonfiction reading skills of identifying the main idea, using evidence to support answers, identify word meanings using context, and much more. These nonfiction-reading skills can then be applied to a variety of subject areas. The topic of bugs builds on the insect study in First Grade and Third Graders get to collaborate with the First Graders as “bug experts.”
Third Graders were excited to begin the routine of Scholastic News each week. This means that they receive a 2-page magazine with news and information geared specifically to Third Graders. Each magazine also includes a graph with questions that help students to practice applying data analysis and graph reading skills in real world applications. This is followed by a brief comprehension review of the articles they read. Look for your student’s Scholastic that will be sent home each Thursday. It often has extensions that can be explored at home including videos and quizzes online.
Young pumpkin enthusiasts are deep into our study of pumpkins. Kindergarteners learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin during Science this week, through read-aloud and class discussions. We read Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, and Pumpkin Jack. Our young scientists learned about the life cycle and parts of a pumpkin. They know that the beautiful yellow flowers that grow from a pumpkin vine are the promise for a future pumpkin. Scientists also observed our “Pumpkin Jack” and recorded daily observations of the changes occurring. So far they have noticed that it is getting “fuzzy” or “furry” and there is a lot of pumpkin juice at the bottom of the container. Stay tuned as we continue to learn more about the decomposing process through our pumpkin unit!
Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin experts were thrilled to go on their first study trip to the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch on Wednesday. Kindergarteners spent the morning jumping in the sun on a gigantic trampoline, going down giant slides, and just having lots of fun! Your child then enjoyed going on a hayride through the plantation. They saw ghosts, spiders, pirates, witches, and so much more!! Kindergarteners learned all about the life cycle and acted it out in movement and song and then picked a pumpkin in a large field. Pumpkin experts then enjoyed eating lunch together among the pumpkins. It was a fantastic time!
Kindergarten scholars have been learning sophisticated words each week during their vocabulary study. These rigorous words come from our Text Talk curriculum. In this curriculum, we focus on one book each week. The book is read aloud to the class on Monday and Tuesday with frequent pauses to scaffold comprehension. Students develop deep understanding through comprehension skills such as summarizing, identifying problem/solution, recognizing story structure, clarifying story ideas, making inferences, and building prior knowledge throughout each story. Wednesday and Thursday’s lessons each explicitly teach 3 new words with robust conversations about the words in child-friendly examples. Students extend their understanding by illustrating examples of our vocabulary words. They have quite a collection of illustrations in their vocabulary journals!
Kindergarteners are so excited to be learning these robust words. They delight in hearing these words outside of our vocabulary instruction and enjoy applying them to different situations throughout our day.
Fourth Grade mathematicians charged full speed ahead into multiplication this week. They began by reviewing key vocabulary terms like product, multiple, and factor. The class began keeping track of multiples on the class number line. This will become extremely helpful when we begin our discussion of numbers that share a common multiple. On Friday, students played math games to help reinforce some of the concepts they are learning in class. Games play an important role in the Everyday Math curriculum. While students are learning new concepts through the math lesson each day, math games provide extra practice for students to master those new concepts. This week, students learned the game Name That Number. In this game, students have 5 cards. Using those 5 cards, they are asked to add, subtract, multiply, or divide their numbers to reach a target number. The goal is to use as many cards as possible making the target number.
Fourth Grade continued their novel study of Shiloh this week. As the students became immersed in the story, the class took a closer look at Mores or social norms accepted within a group of people. Fourth Graders contrasted Mores from the story versus acceptable behavior within society today. For example, in the story staying out of people’s business is the social norm that is followed in this small town. However, in today’s society social media makes it hard to keep anything to yourself.
Fourth Graders are quickly becoming honeybee experts! This week, students discussed two very important bee topics, bee communication and threats to the hive. On Wednesday, students discovered that one of the ways that bees communicate is through a series of dances. The two most important dances are called the round dance and the waggle dance. Students have been observing the bees perform these dances in the hive for a while, and now they know what the bees were trying to communicate to the rest of the hive! On Friday, students were introduced to the devastating effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon that is plaguing honeybee communities throughout our country.
Wednesday, October 25th Parent Lunch 11:15 am
Tuesday, October 31st Halloween Carnival ½ Day
Thursday, November 2nd Middleton Plantation
Friday, November 3rd Bee Presentation
Non-Fiction Readers Use Text Features!
This week our brave readers examined non-fiction text features to learn how they help us as readers. Scholars examined a variety of non-fiction books and practiced locating and using four special text features. Readers learned to use photographs to imagine and understand what the text is describing or explaining. First Graders closely examined captions to see how they explain what is happening in a photograph or picture. Scholars practiced using a Table of Contents to locate specific information about a topic. First Graders know how to locate and use an Index to look for important keywords in a non-fiction text.
This week our young scientists welcomed a new insect into our classroom! First Grade scientists observed wax worms very closely during Science and noticed so many new and interesting body parts that these insects have! We discovered that wax worms have dots along the sides of their bodies called “spiracles” and they allow the wax worms to breathe. We learned that wax worms have an extra set of legs called “prolegs” that work like suction cups! First Grade scientists used hand lenses to look closely at our wax worm larvae and create detailed drawings with labels. Ask your brave scientists what else they learned about wax worms this week!
This week, First Grade friends discovered new ways to be the boss of their learning during Writing Workshop! These wonderful writers know to reread their writing independently and think about what to add next. When they finish a piece of writing, First Grade scholars know to then edit their work, and start a new piece of writing. These busy writers were writing so much that they needed more pages added to their writing booklets. They have learned how to independently add pages to their booklets using a stapler! Ask your brave First Grader how they show independence during Writing Workshop!
Students have been working toward the end of the first unit of Narrative writing. The students have been working on stories based on small moments in their life. We are working on our second story for the Publishing Party. Students have been focusing on creating tension, adding details and dialogue to their stories. We will be having our first Publishing Party along with our Parent Lunch October 19th.
Our class is very excited to get started with the Halloween Carnival planning. We have created a vision board to inspire our thoughts about the Carnival. We have created a preliminary blueprint for the playground and worked individually on different booths. Students are working individually or in pairs to create spooky spectacular games. We hope all the parents will be able to help and come enjoy the festivities!
Students complete vocabulary tests every two weeks. Students have learned 36 new words this year. We use these new words in writing, communication, and reading. Students each week use the words we are studying in discussion, in writing, in drawing and in dramatic interpretations. Parents can help develop vocabulary by reviewing our study words with their child and playing games like charades or Pictionary.
October 9th & 10th –Fall Break
October 19th – 11:00 am Publishing Party and 11:45 Parent Lunch
October 31st– Halloween Carnival
This week was the end of our Sound Unit. Third Graders greatly enjoyed learning all about sound, vibration, frequency, pitch, volume, and all the ways to change sounds. Through hands-on investigation, students learned that sound needs matter to travel through; either gas, liquid, or solid. They were surprised when they found that sound traveled faster through solids than it did through liquids or gas.
To celebrate the end of our reading unit, Third Graders chose their favorite Julian story to share with a Kindergarten buddy. Students got to share their stories and their reading skills with a friend while outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather. After reading, buddies got to play and eat lunch together. Cross grade play and work is a great way to build a sense of community here at The Cooper School.
Third Graders love Rocket Math! Rocket Math is a program that helps students gain automaticity with their basic math facts. The expectation is that students know their addition and subtraction facts as fast as they can read a number. Third Graders start in subtraction and then move to multiplication. Rocket Math is an everyday practice that involves two minutes of oral practice with a partner, two minutes checking a partner’s oral practice and a one minute timed test. They begin at the letter A and move through all the basic facts until they master it and complete letter Z. Ask your child what letter they are on today!
What do you do at TCS and how long have you been here?
This is my eighth year teaching at The Cooper School. I have taught all grades except 5th. This year I am in Grade 3. I am also involved with curriculum development, and enjoy writing and honing various pieces of the curriculum.
What do you value about being at TCS?
I believe that a sense of community helps everyone to be their best selves. TCS is a community on many levels. From staff, to students, to families- we all support each other.
What’s something you’ve learned teaching or working here?
Everything. I have been supported and coached into a strong and loving teacher. I have learned that being in deep relationships with my students is the most important thing that I can do to be a successful TCS teacher.
Which educator has influenced you most in your life, and how?
Kate Shorter, the Founding Director of TCS, was a tremendous influence on me as a teacher. She taught me how to be in control of a class while maintaining a calm and respectful tone.
What do you look forward to in your role here (lesson, section, topic, etc.) each year?
I love getting to know all of the new students at the beginning of the year and teaching siblings of students I have taught previously. I also always enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of the curriculum, and teaching the big projects!
What is an example of your approach to dynamically balancing creative intelligence, self and social intelligence and academic mastery in your work at TCS?
I love how we teach Vocabulary at TCS. Students receive new vocabulary words every two weeks. During this two-week study, students are asked to interact with these words in a variety of ways. They use the words in written sentences, they illustrate the words, they use their words in their daily lives, and they even act the words out through a dramatic interpretation! In this all-encompassing way, every student is able to represent the words in ways that make the most sense to them.
If you could live in a book, what book would it be?
Harry Potter, as long as I wasn’t a Muggle and I had some sort of magical powers.
What’s something this community might not know about you?
I grew up on a Hindu-based spiritual Ashram in Florida. Subhadra is the name of a Hindu goddess. Also, I went to The University of Florida and I am a HUGE Gators fan.
Strawberries and Bananas
This week, Kindergarten writers met with their new “Strawberries and Bananas” writing partners. These helpful partners can give each other support by listening and asking questions about each other’s writing. Forming writing partnerships give students another tool in their tool belt to help prepare their writing for an audience. Kindergarten writers discussed ways to write stories that people will be eager to read. Ask your brave writer what they learned this week in Writer’s Workshop.
This week, Kindergarten storytellers worked with their “Peanut Butter and Jelly Partners” to retell storybooks! Your reader retold stories by looking at the previous page, saying the words first, next and last, and by using dialogue that the characters use. Kindergarteners can’t wait to continue learning how to make facial expressions and voices like the characters so they can act out the poplar story, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
Reading and Lunch Buddies
Kindergarteners were thrilled to the gills to participate in reading and lunch buddies with Third Grade and Fifth Grade this week. This builds a yearlong friendship and community across grade levels. Kindergarteners love spending time with these older friends talking and playing together.
This week in Reading Workshop students began Shiloh, a novel by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. This is a dramatic tale about a boy named Marty and a runaway dog, Shiloh. One interesting aspect of this book is the Appalachian dialect that it is written in. On Wednesday, we spent time deciphering this dialect and listing examples from the story. Students noticed that when the characters speak, they don’t use complete sentences when stating something.
This week students learned all about the honeybee’s hive. First, they discovered that there are three different uses of cells within the hive. The bottom of the hive contains the brood cells where the queen lays her eggs. Next, come the cells where the bees store pollen. Finally, come the cells where bees make and store the honey. During Centers students carefully measured colored strips of paper and created hexagonal cells, which were then formed into a three-dimensional model hive.
Fourth Graders are wrapping up their realistic fiction stories this week! During this unit, students learned how difficult writing fiction really is! They worked first on story planning, using charts and story arcs to organize their thinking. Students then worked with their writing partners to ensure they were showing the story, not just telling it through summarization. Next, they investigated hooking their readers with a strong beginning and concluding their story with a compelling ending. We finished the week by brainstorming a list of titles for their story. It won’t be long until these authors are publishing their pieces and signing autographs!
Monday, October 9th Fall Break – No School
Tuesday, October 10th Fall Break – No School
Wednesday, October 25th Parent Lunch 11:15 am
Tuesday, October 31st Halloween Carnival ½ Day
Newsletter Week 5
This week students have enjoyed the Charleston Stage actors instructing them in drama. Every day this week, students have been working on producing small films based on poems and books. The students have worked on collaborating as a group, using dramatic actions and expressions while producing their films. Drama will be integrated throughout the year in Vocabulary, Reading and various other projects. Ask your child what their part was in the film!
Fifth graders have been having a blast in Music this year! Ms. Hazel has split our class into two groups. The students have enjoyed learning new songs and working in either the classical or pop ensembles. Students are collaborating to teach everyone in their group “Count on me” by Bruno Mars and “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles. Ask your child what ensemble they are in?
We have begun Unit 2 in Math and the students will be focusing on estimation, addition, and subtraction of decimals, and strategies of multiplication. Friday, students played math games in groups of three practicing their skills in adding and subtracting decimals. Next week, we will focus on different strategies of multiplying whole numbers and decimals. You can have your child demonstrate one of the strategies they learned or teach you how to play one of games!
October 9th & 10th –Fall Break
October 23rd– 11:45am- Parent Lunch
October 31st– Halloween Carnival