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Turning Over a New Leaf

Turning Over a New Leaf
Leslie Maus

Student-led conferences were, well, different this year! Thank you to everyone who was so flexible with the meeting times and places and especially for your patience with all of the bumps in the road. As I told many of you, in all of my years of teaching, I’ve never been ill on the days of conferences! First time for everything!

Students have stated goals they would like to accomplish this year and into next May. I encourage you to check in with your youngster regularly and ask them about any notable progress toward their own goals. Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. As we work our way toward the holiday season, find ways to encourage your students to persevere in their vision of their stated goals. Turning over a new leaf isn’t always easy, but it sure is worth it when you celebrate even your smallest victories!

Our provocation for inquiry is how humans interact with and change their natural world. Because we have a class who loves to tinker and build, we decided that we would build tiny homes first and then ramps. The ramps have led us to learn more about energy, force, and motion, Sir Isaac Newton and his three laws of physics. It also tied in nicely with our exploration of the Sphero bots which measures its own speed making it possible to mathematically work out force = mass x acceleration. No‘io 1 will be presenting at the next elementary school assembly on energy, force, and motion. I’ve attached the slideshow here if you would like to take a gander at it. Students without speaking parts are encouraged to mime the motions of work being done and energy being transferred.

Third graders are learning multiplication as repeated addition cementing their conceptual knowledge of this mathematical operation. Cuisennaire rods, counters, and arrays further illustrate the concept. The idea of inverse operations is extended from addition/subtraction to multiplication/division. Fourth graders continue to work on multi-digit multiplication.

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