Fifth and Sixth Grade News:

March 5, 2013

The, extreme cold in February has kept us inside more than we would like. Many of our outdoor walking and exploring activities have been put on hold until the extreme cold passes. During January, we wrapped up our two month-long immigration theme, employing independent research conducted in December as the raw material for presentations. As you read this newsletter, our students are making the last of their PowerPoint presentations to the class. We’ve learned from our students as they’ve taught the class about topics of their expertise. A few examples include an overview of immigration to the United States, DNA evidence of three waves of migration of Native Americans into North America, Slavery as forced immigration of Africans to North America, the Gullah people as an example of preserving ones culture of origin, Ellis Island, Angel Island, Irish immigration, Chinese immigration, the history of intolerance in America, and many others.

Our January mini-theme on the Civil Rights Movement in the US provided a nice foundation and depth to our understanding of American History of intolerance for our annual Social Action Day activities. Students went to a variety of informational and hands-on workshops over the course of our Day On, Not a Day Off celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s important work. During a short break in the grip of extreme cold, we walked to the Monroe County Historical Museum for a guided tour of their new exhibit on Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement in Monroe County. In addition, we are sharing two read-aloud books related to Civil Rights. We read Jackie and Me together in preparation for our annual trip to Indianapolis to see a play (of the same name) at the beautiful, historic Indiana Repertory Theater. As usual, the production was exceptional. Currently, we are sharing The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, also related to the history of intolerance and the Civil Rights Movement in America.

Our 6th grade graduates began stage 1 of their elementary school graduation projects. Up to this point, our grads have completed an extensive proposal and begun their Community Service projects. After completing stage 1 in mid-January, they will give a short presentation to 5th graders before mentor-intern partnerships will be matched up. Beginning in stage 2, our 5th graders will join in the graduation project process as interns while the grads serve as mentors. In the meantime, 5th graders will have a try at the California Achievement Test (CAT) in order to gain some test taking experience for their future education.

With completion of CAT tests, we’ll find time in our curriculum to add a new theme, ornithology. We’ll learn about birds in the classroom while winter has its grip, and move outdoors to observe them as spring brings a welcome thaw, encouraging outdoor experiences.

Our Legal Literacy curriculum is continuing throughout this spring semester. We’ll surely benefit from continued tutelage of IU Law students on the basics of civics and law early in the semester and move on to prepare for our mock trial at the IU law school as the culminating event later in the spring.

Of course, February was laced with some of the typical activities, Creation classes, Clubs, spontaneous field trips, and ice skating. We seek to get outdoors whenever the weather allows, and work hard to complete many of our indoor academic goals while winter’s chill keeps us indoors.

Thanks again to all of our amazing parent volunteers who continue to support us with cleaning, providing snacks for after school tutoring time, tutoring, field trip transportation, chaperones, and other essential jobs. We are greatly appreciative of all that you do.
-Scott and Kathy

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