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A New Year A New Paradigm for Everyone! So Excited!

January 2016

As we begin 2016, we have already been diving into a more concentrated approach towards
student-centered learning. That is, students have been considering areas of interest that are meaningful to
them and have been evaluating ways to express that interest. Last week was distinctly more exploratory:
How can I make a difference in the world? How can I meaningfully explore my interests with some sort
of purpose in mind? What kinds of ways can I help others? How can I share my experiences with others with the greatest impact?
These explorations will inevitably lead to a guiding question and an action plan to carry out the expression of those interests.
This is not being done as a precursor to a class assigned large-scale project or a stepping stone towards a lengthy research essay.
Rather, it is a way that dedicated time is being afforded to students as a way for them to take greater control of exploring their
interests in an environment where that exploration is welcomed and supported.
You could be a big help at home by having conversations what directions that they are
considering. Helping them to recognize their talents and areas of interest will go a long way
towards helping them to see paths that they might not otherwise have considered. Really
just being there and helping them to visualize what could be is a way to become an ally for
them in this exploration.
Every step forward is significant if done with purpose. It is my hope that they seize this
opportunity to seek out what they might not have sought out before. This is valuable class
time that they are being given because allowing them time to explore these things has
significant value. I am hopeful that they embrace all that this could become.

13 Colonies Deserve Some Major Love!

We will spend the month of January focusing
on all that made the 13 colonies the miracles
that they were a merging of culture,
tradition, religion, tolerance, dreams,
expectations, and more. Well begin
by examining the colonies themselves
and those that helped to forge their
beginnings. Well move from
discovering about these places to
simulating the
voyages and the
that went into such historic beginnings.
Colonial Day for all 5th grade students will
round out our study in early February.

Math Bowl
Tryouts This Week!
Math Bowl tryouts are this
week, and Im so hopeful
that many of our students
will try out! Open to all 4th
and 5th grade students,
Math Bowl is a team
competition where
students around the state
compete against one
another. Hope to see your
son/daughter after school
on Wednesday!

Science Matters!
Our next Science unit covers Matter,
and we will be diving into it off and
on throughout January and February.
There will be some fun experiments to
be done at school and at home. These
investigations, coupled with reflections on each one, will guide us
towards recognizing Matter as a
critical part of our daily
and a concept
worth thinking
about more
often than
we do!