Monday, November 28, 2016

Candy Corn Contest

We have been reading The Candy Corn Contest as our read aloud for the past two weeks and the students wanted to have a contest just like the book.  I filled two jars with candy corn and for every book they read at home, they could make a guess at how many candy corns were in the jar.  The winners for to take the candy corn home the day before Thanksgiving break, some planned to eat the candy corn, others planned to use toothpicks and build with them.  Three students tied with their guesses of 200 and shared the 223 candy corns from their jar and another student won the 2nd jar with a guess of 320 and the jar contained 337.  Tomorrow we find out what happens to the winner in our book.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Traverse City High School Food Pantry

Friday we surrounded the amazing outpouring of generosity from our Westwoods Community.  What started in our classroom, quickly spread building wide.  People caught wind of the good we were looking to spread here in the Traverse City Area.  We have been reading books about kindness and generosity and the students have been loving brainstorming all of the amazing things we can do daily to have an impact of the lives of others.  

Mary Preston, the volunteer at the Traverse City High School Food Pantry cried as we unloaded the final boxes of food and daily necessities.  She has been running the pantry for 10 years and said she has never see the need this high and the shelves so bare.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of many.  

They accept donations year round at Traverse City High School  3962 Three Mile Road North, Traverse City, MI 49686.  Checks can be written to Traverse City High School Food Pantry.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Native American Month

Lois Beardslee, a local Native American author and often a guest teacher at Westwoods, shared about her culture on Friday.  She practices rare traditional Ojibwe (Chippewa) art forms, such as sweetgrass basketry, porcupine quillwork, birch bark cut-outs and bitings, and beadwork.  Mrs. Birdseed (as the students call her) loves storytelling and sharing about her culture and her upbringing as a Native American woman.  She taught the students how to make some traditional art using symmetry and objects from nature.  Mrs. Birdseed brought in some birch syrup for the students to try that she tapped and boiled with her family on the northern shore of Lake Superior.  The students asked great questions and loved hearing her stories.  You can check out some of her books on Amazon by clicking here.


Vertical and horizontal equations

Students are starting to explore horizontal and vertical equations.  This exploration has created several in depth discussions about the symbols (+/-) and what our understanding of these symbols might be.  Several students has misconceptions that that when you change from a horizontal equation to a vertical equation that the symbol does not need to be consistent.  We used pictures, manipulatives  and conversation to help clean up the misconception and make the connections that vertical or horizontal, these equations represent problem.  We practiced reading equations both horizontally and vertically and we will continue to work on this concept as the year continues.


Flexible seating options continue to increase

Students are loving having choice in their seating, adjusting when necessary and finding a place where they learn best.  A HUGE than you to all of the donors to our Donors Choose grant.  I can't wait to see the long term impact of students self regulating and making choices about themselves as learners.  


Veterans Day visitor

Mr. Hawkins invited a special guest to the classroom in honor of Veteran's Day.  His father, also Mr. Hawkins, shared with the students that Veteran's Day is an opportunity to thank those who protect our freedom.  He talked about the different branches of the military and how Veterans could have served in any of the branches.  Mr. Hawkins shared his father's Army uniform and his American Flag.  


S.T.E.M. Sharing

Students have started sharing their October S.T.E.M. projects with the class.  They have loved sharing their ideas, planning, materials, failures and plans for their next projects.  There is not a due date for these so if you are still working on them, send in those pictures as you finish up, we are loving it!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Mock Election

Students participated in a mock election at school on Tuesday November 8th.  A huge thank you to the 5th graders who helped make this experience possible.  The students loved going through the process of voting, waiting for the results and appropriately celebrating the results.  What a beautiful thing it is to have the opportunity to be part of democracy.         

Monday, November 7, 2016

October S.T.E.M. Project

Here is a glimpse of the October S.T.E.M. Projects.  The students will present their pictures as they come in and share the process they used in creating their project, the thinking, the revising and of course the fun!  

Here is a video of this project

A carousel, a flower pot with flowers and a garden
with blueberries, strawberries, plums, lemons and carrots

A chocolate boat
The Bellagio