The Cooper School Daily

Look for New Perspectives

For years I kept this sign on my desk at a previous teaching job:

Despite its dramatic appearance, it is simply the formula that Frederick Taylor used at the turn of the century to determine how efficiently a laborer could perform “barrow work” – loading, transporting, and unloading a wheelbarrow at a steel plant. Not surprisingly, the effort to apply Scientific Management to such an individualized task was a colossal failure, and a strong indication that common goals may often best instead be achieved through individual methods. Teachers must be guided by similar thoughts and understand that students may arrive at a common destination by wildly divergent paths.

I didn’t bring the sign with me to The Cooper School because, well, we don’t really use teacher desks, and wall space is too precious of a commodity. Ironically, however, I can’t think of a better place than TCS where this sign applies. It is one of the most unique places I have ever seen. And interestingly enough, each student’s uniqueness is as noticeable in the play area as in the classroom. The cooler weather these past few days has liberated them to turn it up a notch: to chase faster, to play harder, to be themselves in ways that a 98-degree sun inhibits. They play in as many individual ways as they learn in the classroom. Maybe I’m focusing on the outdoors more than usual because it would have snowed already where I lived until 6 months ago. But change can make us aware of things that we might not otherwise have noticed. Like the idea that each kid is different: as teachers we inherently know that. But that they play differently as well as learn differently? That’s been a fun one to watch – they’re so entertaining!

Neither teaching nor learning is a one-size-fits-all. Perhaps it’s fitting that I don’t have room for my sign. I’d rather be reminded each day of its message in much more organic ways, like outdoors and in the classroom. And sign or no sign, TCS is an ideal place to celebrate that uniqueness.

Here’s a look at what is happening in each of the classes:

What’s happening in Science?

Fifth Graders learned all about National Parks this week! They learned about what they are, the purpose, and how National Parks came to be. They also learned about the difference between conservation and preservation, to consider how they want their own National Park to look. Fifth Graders worked diligently on their plans this week! Some parks are on islands off the coast of California, there is a park in Montana, one in the Appalachian mountains, and many other creative ideas! We will present our models to you before the end of the trimester. The official date will be announced next week.

What’s up in ELA?

Fifth Graders have decided what small moment in their lives they will write about. They are off to a great start in their narrative writings. Some students are writing about family trips they have taken. Other students are writing about competitions they were a part of. We looked at including imagery and dialogues in our writings. Parents, please take some time to review your kids’ writings and help them to edit. Please keep an eye out for their grammar/vocabulary rubrics that are sent home every Friday and their reading log journal rubrics that are sent home on Mondays.

What’s going on in Math?

Mixed fraction. Improper fraction. Equivalent fraction. As if fractions alone aren’t intimidating enough for Fifth Graders, why does there have to be so many of them? But it is what it is, and the students are learning to work with them a little more each day. We spent an entire class this week having each student take turns at the board converting mixed fractions into improper fractions so we could then multiply them. Talk about fun! And there’s more where that came from! We’re getting close to the end of this unit, and there is a chance we could review and assess by the end of next week. Can’t believe how quickly things are moving along!

What’s happening in Social Studies?

Students took on a challenge this week as they were asked to write a letter, using information that we learned about the Native American tribes, introducing one tribe to another. This letter answered questions about their daily lives and how the tribe was set up and managed. Students then dove into the different colonies after European colonization and created a commercial persuading people to visit a specific colony. Students were then challenged to create a colony from scratch based on the ideas we learned in class.

Next week, the students will dive deeper into how the original 13 colonies turned into the United States we see today. We then will begin a research project on Harriet Tubman and the impact that she left on our country.

Important Dates:

October 17-18 – Fall Break (No School)
October 31st- Halloween Carnival (11:30 Dismissal)
November 1st- Teacher Work Day (No School)