MUSIC Dave duMonde
We've been testing on ukulele in each of our Music classes all this week. As a teacher, it's so rewarding to see how far they've come in learning a musical instrument! While some students catch on quickly playing chords and songs in no time, others take a little time just to remember how to hold the uke correctly; they forget that their thumb always needs to be pressed on the back of the ukulele neck; they have a tough time learning where to place their fingers for the chords. Many struggled through the test material with mistakes, but nonetheless, they made it! It's a learning process, and this week has been remarkable--despite the anxiety of the "big" test, it's so cool to see students breathe a sigh of relief and light up with a sense of accomplishment when they finish playing the last note of their aural assessment.
Many new purchases later, we've got a little uke culture happening at Selma. Every recess has seen several students hanging out with their brand new ukuleles playing newly learned songs, showing each other tricks and practicing together. We even have several songwriters in our midst (psst--our Songwriting unit is coming up soon!) and we've recorded a few songs in the "studio" (my office). As we move past learning the basics about melody & rhythm, we'll begin to see students stretch out into their creative space, writing songs, learning cover tunes and adding music to their projects in other classes. What a thrill to have a creative culture at our school!
Enjoy this lil' ditty by Ada, Mae & Ella...
Spanish Miguel Alvarez
Student Support Team Dallas Washburn
The student support staff continues to provide accommodations and modifications to ensure all students have access to the curriculum. In 5th grade ELA, we are continuing to read the novel “Blood on the River” and students are starting to conduct research on a Human Rights Figure for our informational writing unit . In 5th grade Math, we have started to teach the concept of multiplying decimals, including estimation, to ensure answers are reasonable.
MUSIC Dave duMonde
It's amazing to see a kid pick up a musical instrument for the first time and light up when they play their first song. This has been happening in 5th & 6th grade this month on ukuleles! We've learned so much together--tuning our ukes, playing notes, chords and the pentatonic scale, and we're working on "La Bamba." Several of you have already succumbed to your kid's request to buy their own ukulele. Well, you've made a great investment!
The ukulele test is at the end of this month: February 26 - March 2. All students will demonstrate their knowledge of the material we've been covering in class on an individual playing assessment. They know their only opportunity to learn and practice ukulele is in music class . . . and I'm there to help. All the material students need to know is posted on the Music Google Classroom. As long as students use their time wisely during class, they'll do well on the test. It's exciting to see students develop a love for music on ukulele!
5TH GRADE HISTORY Ian Jewitt
In 5th grade history we have been studying early explorers. After researching information about different explorers, students created captains’ logs from the point of view of the explorers. Students wrote about the explorers’ experience during the exploration, as well as their interaction with Native Americans. Students created journals and dyed the pages and burnt them to give a sense of authenticity.
Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Mimi Bonetti & Nickey Bennett-Reed
Highlights from ESY this past month have included weighing our waste on campus, identifying ways in which we can be better Climate Champions, assessing family activities (they were spying on you!) and students began implementing some of their ideas on campus. We will continue exploring Climate Change and little ways we can make a big difference here on campus as well as at home and beyond.
Meanwhile in Kitchen we re-imagined scraps, wilts and weeds as we used food that might otherwise have gone to waste in delicious recipes for banana bread, croutons/ bread crumbs, carrot top pesto and even carrot ‘raisins’. Look for the recipes on the ESY Google Classroom site (5th grade code: 4v07wuq, 6th grade code: xxd7v0- join the fun!) and continue to challenge students to rethink food waste at home.
RESOURCE SPECIALIST Dallas Washburn
The student support staff continues to provide accommodations and modifications to ensure all students have access to the curriculum. In 5th grade ELA, we are reading the novel “Blood on the River” and students are working on creative projects to increase their awareness and understanding of the colonization that happened in Jamestown, VA. In 5th grade Math, we have started to teach the concept of integers and students are making number line banners to increase their understanding of positive and negative numbers.
SPANISH Miguel Alvarez
MUSIC Dave duMonde
Music has been quite an adventure during first trimester. We've been learning all about rhythms . . . feelin' the music, hearing the music, and reading the music. Music is defined as organized sound; Rhythm is the foundation that organizes those sounds into musical patterns.
This week, we've begun diving into melody and harmony by way of learning ukulele. Fun! After exploring the origin of the uke (It comes from Portugal--ask your student about the meaning of its name in English), we learned how to hold the instrument and strum it correctly. We even learned how to play a few notes and chords on the first day. By the end of our two-month unit, your student will be a real musician, able to play some songs and will know notes, chords and scales!
The ukulele is a perfect instrument for any young person to start learning the art of being a musician. As our students have discovered, a ukulele is NOT a mini guitar, just like a violin is not a guitar. It's a whole different (little) beast. Ukes have only four strings which are uniquely tuned, and we traditionally don't use a pick to play it.
Don't be surprised if your student asks you about getting their own ukulele. And it might be a great idea--a good uke costs around $55.00 at the music store or on Amazon. But regardless, we have ukes that students get to use while they're here at school.
Congratulations on having a real live musician now living in your home! Be sure to get their autograph.
5th GRADE SCIENCE Michael Weng
In science, students traced their shadows when we came back from break. This led to conversations and our unit of study on Earth and Sun. We have learned about how the earth rotates around the sun and what causes day and night. The 5th grade team is looking forward to applying our scientific knowledge into our Colonization Project this trimester.
If your motto around this time is ‘New Year, new you’, ESY is with you! We are dedicating the month of January to reimagining the way we all think of waste here at Selma and beyond. This is a part of the bigger picture of how we impact our planet and climate change and little ways we can all evoke big change. We began by showing our students a short film Our Climate, Our Future (see the Alliance for Climate Education for more info). We have challenged everyone to a ‘DOT’ (Do one thing) to promote change in the way we use (or not use) our resources. Next, all classes (on all campuses!) will participate in weighing campus waste. We will weigh it all again after our month long pursuit of reimagining waste to see how we did. We always encourage students to refuse first when applicable, then to reduce, reuse and recycle. This is the focus of ESY this month. What is your DOT?
In the Kitchen Classroom we will turn what would be wasted food into delicious recipes and look at how we can reuse ‘scraps’ either as food, by regrowing them in the garden or last resort, tossing them into the compost to reuse in our gardens. We like to remind students that even if you don’t have a garden at home you can still compost your kitchen and yard waste in the green trash bins the city provides which is used for city compost. Maybe starting a compost at home can be your DOT?!
In Garden we will be turning items that would typically be thrown into the trash into useful items for the garden and our campus. We will also dive deeper into our recycling program here at the Selma campus. Is repurposing your DOT?
5th Grade History - Sarah Perkins
In History class, the 5th graders are preparing to take another journey into the 15th and 16th Century. After studying what Native American life is like in the Americas, we will now begin learning about the early explorers. Using Christopher Columbus as a model, students will gather information about an explorer from France, England, Italy, or Portugal. Students will compile research about the explorer’s life and their motivations for sailing to the New World. Then, students will use this information to write captain’s logs from their explorer’s perspective. The logs will focus on the country sponsoring the trip, what life at sea was like, where they landed, the interactions with Native Americans, and what impact their trip had. We can’t wait to share this fun project with you!
5th Grade Math - Ian Jewitt
In 5th grade math we have been studying area, perimeter, multiplication strategies, and place value. After working with the concepts for a few weeks, we started learning how the Chinese number system worked. In Chinese, students need to use multiplication, addition, division, and place value skills to understand the system. Afterwards, we used our knowledge of Chinese numbers to show the various skills we had been studying and we created scrolls. The Chinese scrolls show various skills in both Chinese and English.