The Amazing Race

Good Afternoon,

We kicked off our new geography unit this week titled The Amazing Race: U.S. Geography. This unit focuses on building an understanding of the 50 United States using different types of maps, dominant agriculture and industries, social justice activists, historical events, migration, trade, cultural stories, regional dialect, and cultural activities. The students are working in teams of three to four students each to complete activities. There is a time limit to how much time we have to work on each region. After the time limit us up, groups then study a new region. The United States was split into four regions for the purpose of this unit: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. The unit is proving to be a ridiculous amount of fun and students are extremely engaged in the activities. The excitement is certainly palpable! Be sure to ask your child what they’ve learned about different U.S. states so far, specifically what’s surprised them.

We finished our read-aloud book Bud, Not Buddy last week. I believe this was my third or fourth time reading this book out loud in my teaching career. Each time I get to the end of the book, I have to hold back tears. Ask your child what they enjoyed most about the book. Better yet, you should read the book. It’s beautiful!

Last Thursday, I sent out an email with the permission slip for our overnight field trip. Please complete the permission slip as soon as possible. After you complete it, please send in the financial contribution to help cover the cost of the trip. We are requesting $45 per student, but all students will be able to participate in the trip regardless of what amount their family is able to contribute. If you’re not able to contribute the full $45, please send in what you can. Additionally, if you are able to contribute more, that would be greatly appreciated! If you plan on chaperoning, please plan on contributing between $10 and $25 to help cover the cost of your food.

We are starting our first round of state testing tomorrow, Monday 4/8. Formally, this is known as “Smarter Balanced.” Students will take two literacy assessments and two math assessments. One literacy and one math assessment will focus on answering a variety of grade-level problems in the form of multiple-choice answers. The other two assessments will focus on performing one task, may it be a complex math problem or essay, in great detail. Please feel free to send in extra snacks for your child if you’d like. Also, all students are required to use headphones during the testing as some questions involve listening. We have earbuds for all students, but if your child has their own preferred headphones, they are more than welcome to bring those into school. Lastly, please let me know if your child will be absent for any planned trips over the next month.

We wrapped up our government unit last week. We learned the basics of our government like its origins, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and branches of government. Throughout this unit, we had rich conversations about a variety of topics like taxes, jury duty, and municipal departments. Students asked engaging and truly inquisitive questions about how our government works, or sometimes doesn’t work, that blew me away. It was a lot of fun!

~ Mr. B

Idiom of the Week: Piece of Cake