Today in class we began work on our puppets that will be at the center of our playwriting unit. Students worked with a simple foam ball and sculpted facial features using sculpey clay. We had a real wide variety of characters created including a rooster, giraffes, a young Medusa, cats, snakes, mohawked and spiky haired boys, and pigs. Tomorrow we will work to paper mache over the clay, and then we will let the paper mache dry a bit before painting and working on costumes and accessories next week. The puppets will be used in conjunction with a wide variety of writing tasks focusing on dramatic elements and conventions. It should be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see more of the creativity that I got a taste of when I read the character sheets the students already wrote. Also, we are going to be collaborating with the Art teacher to work on landscapes and paint background scenery.
Yesterday we had our second art class. The students created a pattern quilt out of paper, and did a great job of inventively using paper scraps and saving them from the recycling bin. We will continue to have art for the following 10 weeks every Tuesday. I need to go get a new card reader for my computer to upload some of the pictures I have been taking, but I hope to put some pictures up each week of what the students are working on.
In P.E. news, we will shortly be starting Physical Fitness Testing. We did a mile today, but may do another to allow students a chance to better their times. I will be working with Miss Klein and Coach Danielle to organize the testing, but we could use the help of a few parent volunteers to help run a testing station. If you are available on Wednesday’s and are interested in helping out, let me know. Also, I found out today that B.A.M. is not currently set up to receive awards through the President’s Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program. I will be working to get the school registered so our physically active students who are consistently doing their best can get some recognition for their efforts.
In Mathematics we have been working on subtracting with mixed numbers. The process of “renaming mixed numbers” to allow subtraction of the fraction parts has been difficult for many of the students. Please make sure they are carefully and correctly doing their homework. I sent home a pink quiz yesterday in the Tuesday folder in which students had to provide reasoning to back up the process that they used to find a common denominator and solve a mixed number addition problem. As you are working with your child, ask them to explain their reasoning using equations, words, or pictures. This will help them greatly to develop their conceptual understanding as well as to hone their communication skills in mathematics.
Here is a video on working with mixed number fractions and a video on adding and subtracting fractions brought to you by the wonderful Khan Academy (I’ll be mentioning it more in a later blog post, but feel free to check out the plethora of videos linked on his website for all kinds of mathematics tutorials. It also might be a handy resource to bookmark if you have older children in junior high, high school or even college studying advanced mathematics.)
Adding and Subtracting Fractions
- Language Arts: Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle. You can find it and the answer key here.
- Mathematics: Renaming Mixed Numbers and Fractions Practice Sheet.
- Reading: Read for 20 minutes and fill out pink reading log.
- Permission Slips: Sign and return permission slips for the field trip on Friday to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and for next week Tuesday at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.