Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Heat is ON

Greetings! Hopefully you all got the green field trip form on Friday. We were asked to change the initial iteration of this trip to include the whole 5th/6th team, so I apologize to those of you who were caught off guard by a permission slip. I know many of you were looking forward to a weekend trip with the whole family, as was I (Andy and I love Fort Ti!) and that a lot of you who work won't be able to join us for a weekday trip during school hours. But we are still hoping some of you can; as you read, we are slashing costs by using parent drivers instead of the bus company. So there are some new details and old details merging together to make this trip possible--a trip so nice, I thought I'd plan it... twice!

Last week, we collected reading homework for the first time. We will continue to do so until the end of the year. To clarify, students need to read at least two hours per week and obtain an adult's signature as verification. We have shared several examples of how students can track their reading: 1) list the number of minutes read on the Reading line of their planner each night and collect a signature next to it; 2) tally all the minutes at the end of a given week with one signature; 3) a paper note containing the same information in the event of a forgotten planner. Students also must write what they read each time. Please help your student collect all of the necessary components, in whatever format works best.

We will be having a test on the U.S. map and all 50 states and capitals on September 29th. Mastery of this level of U.S. geography is essential! Please make sure that studying is happening at home; everyone is given time during the school week to quiz themselves with games, apps, and other mechanisms. Because it is a lot of content, students may have a mulligan if the first go 'round is unsatisfactory. The components of the test are a blank map where state abbreviations are filled into the corresponding state and a list of state names next to which each capital must be provided. Spelling and capitalization count!

In the Science portion of our Humanities time, we began our study of the universe. The idea of a "big bang" 13.8 billion years ago really blew everyone's mind, but it is such an elegant explanation for the origins of space and time. Our first unit focuses on matter and its interactions and we will be grappling with these essential questions:
  • If matter is too small to be seen, does it exist? 
  • When physical or chemical changes occur with matter, is matter conserved? 
  • How can you identify materials based on their properties?
  • When 2 or more substances are mixed, do they create a new substance?
Some students are using Genius Hour time to dig deeper into this. Others are taking on an investigation or study of their own. Please ask your scholar what topic(s) are occupying this think time. I would also encourage you to watch Neil deGrasse Tyson's reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. It's pretty stellar (wah, wah) as is the Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking series and, really, anything those two guys ever say or do. I watched the Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything over the weekend and was so moved by the story... and the science!


On Friday, the class attended the Chorus introductory meeting with Ms. Karwen. We have a good-sized bunch of kids who are interested in making this commitment and a couple more who are going to give it at least one more try. I was pleased that everyone attended the meeting willingly; it's important to know as much about something as possible before you decide it's not for you. Ms. K. will be sending home a contract after her trial period is over. It is very important that students plan to stick to the contract if they sign it.

Gee, Thanks!

  • To the Kelliherd for a fan for the classroom and zucchini for me!
  • To Jamie Oberle for extra supplies for the classroom!
  • To Kim Clark and John McNerney for purchasing items from our Amazon Wish List!

Rude Mechanicals, unite!
Important Dates:
  • September 24th: MCS Open House
  • September 26th: Champlain Mini Makerfaire at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn
  • September 29th: School pictures: please bring your Rude Mechanicals shirt and a par of sunglasses to school 
  • October 2nd: Walk Around the Pond: the t-shirt contest is open, a Gagner Ganger has swept this contest for years!
  • October 8th-11th: Come see Kate in The Odd Couple at the Vergennes Opera House!
  • October 15th & 16th: Teacher in service & no school (no school for students either day)
  • November 6th: In service, no school for students
  • November 21st: K-12 Makerfaire at UVM
  • November 25th-27th: Thanksgiving Break

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