Monday, April 13, 2015

Cruising Toward Spring Break!

As I type this, the students are working on their last SBAC session. Those who don't finish today will have a make-up session at some point later in the week. We will be all done before we go to Break! Ms. Yerrick did an outstanding job orchestrating this and the students have been testing like champs. I can't wait to see the results.

We had our first meeting last Wednesday as a 5/6 team to begin planning for our trip to Camp Common Ground. It's nice to have last year's experience and some veteran kids as part of the process. Having a sense of what we can expect makes planning that much smoother. As was the case with our inaugural trip, the kids have broken into self-selected committees (Food, Activities, Schedule, Supplies) to be a part of the organization process. We are still looking for chaperones (we have three from this class so far!) as well as folks to cruise by for kitchen patrol during any of the meals, no need to stay over. The schedule is roughly this:

Day 1 - Arrive at 8:30am; time to explore; lunch at 11:30am; afternoon activities (e.g., Quidditch); dinner (wood-fired pizza); siesta; campfire; bed

Day 2 - Breakfast; morning activities; lunch; siesta; swimming; pack and clean cabins; arrive at MCS for dismissal

Here is a letter that explains things in more detail, acts as a permission slip, and gives you an opportunity to sign up as a chaperone or kitchen helper (you can also just email me those details). More information will be forthcoming, so stay tuned!

After the break, we will spend more time focusing on our MCS Mini-Makerfaire projects. This will be done primarily during Genius Hour for most students and those who work with Mrs. Murray and Mrs. Davey during Humanities will be using that time to get a solid start on their projects and also work on the presentation aspect. Our vision for the Makerfaire is that students will be staffing interactive stations teaching attendees the science behind a particular invention, concept, product, or activity. There will not be experiments, per se, so don't worry about finding shelf space for three plants, one to be watered once a week, one to be watered five times a week, and one not to be watered at all. Nor will we answer the burning question, "Who chews gum quicker? Boys or girls?" We already know or can guess the answers to some of these Science Fair classics. We want students to apply process knowledge to discovering why things work the way they work and be able to explain and engage others with this information. Our guiding star will be the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Engineering and Design Tech standards for sixth graders. Students will be assessed on their ability to creatively present their information and engage the faire attendees.

Humanities time continues to be spent learning about the American Civil Rights movement and connecting it to our year-long thematic unit on human rights. The students have been really mature about the issues surrounding the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s American South; many things African- and white-American Freedom Fighters were up against are quite frankly hard to believe given the modern-day progressive sensibilities about justice and equality that we are used to in Vermont. We will spend the rest of this week building additional schema by creating a timeline of the movement. When we return from break, we will dig deeper as we move through a series of activities presented by the Teaching Tolerance program of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

There will be a budget vote at MCS on Tuesday, April 14th from 7am-7pm in the Gym. Here are the details. Should the budget pass, we will be able to have three smaller 5/6 classrooms next year. The ratio would go from the neighborhood of 25:1 per class to the neighborhood 15:1 per class. Remember to send parent input forms in if you care to give feedback about your fifth grader's placement next year.

Upcoming Dates
  • April 16th @ 1:30pm - Talent Show
  • Next Week - Spring Break (check the mail for Crew assignments, sixth graders!)
  • May 5th-7th - Fine Arts Festival (specific schedule TBD)
  • May 6th - MTA visit for sixth graders
  • May 7th - MTA Parent Info Night
  • May 8th - In service
  • May 25th - Memorial Day (no school)
  • June 4th - Makerfaire
  • June 8th-9th - Camping trip
  • June 16th - Last Day!

To all the parents of 6th graders: It's time to start planning for promotion. We have planned a meeting on Thursday, April 16th at 6:30 at the Monkton Fire Dept. If you can't attend but would like to participate you can email me at We have also started a facebook group if you want to be added you can friend me at Kristen Goodwin Howard.

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