October in our class
As the days get shorter and leaves continue falling, we have been busy sharpening our basic Arithmetic skills, reading stories, writing a ‘letter to myself’, moving on from North American to South American geography, watching Andrew Marr’s BBC documentary, ‘The History of the World’, learning to play our recorders.
Strategically, under Brian’s competent leadership, we prepared to split the Year 6/7 group into two groups; Year 6 and Year 7. Year 6 to be led by Mr. Bill and Year 7 by Miss Christina. This change was implemented on Monday, October 31 and promises to be fruitful for all of us.
In Year 6 we have drilled on the basic parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb) and identifying the subject, verb, direct object and prepositional phrases in a sentence. We have read/listened to several stories or parts of stories and we studied the 3 forms of adjectives (good, better, best etc.)
I have not focused on the journals during October, but will return to this as a daily focus during November. Each child has written a letter to themselves – which I will retain and return to them at the end of the school year.
My primary goal in English is for each child to be able to express him/herself in complete and clear statements (either spoken or written). I am less concerned about punctuation and spelling. Reading is the key activity to achieve growth in vocabulary.
In year 7, we have begun by looking at what it takes to write well. Currently we are focusing on suspense writing and how our choice of words, and also what we choose to leave out, creates a certain kind of picture in a reader’s mind. My overall goal for the year 7 class is to help them increase their vocabulary, produce creative and good writing, and enjoy learning about the world by reading interesting fiction and non-fiction.
In year 6 we have been working on the foundational skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We have also moved on to the skills of factoring any positive integer into its prime number factors and finding a least common denominator. I track the competence of each child for each of these skills and notify you (by email) when your child deeds extra work on a particular skill. I will continue this practice to keep you aware. We stuck our toes into the waters of Algebra with one lesson on equations and the basic rule that whatever you do to the left side of an equation you must also do to the right. We will continue to drill basic skills and also to look into the world of equations and the pervasive presence of the unknown, “x”. I hope the children will come to view this world as a world of adventure and beauty rather than a dreaded land of unknown and unknowable symbols.
In year 7, we looked back over the topics that were covered since the beginning of the school year, including negative integers, factors, multiples and finding patterns. We followed the week of review with a quiz that showed the kids how much they had learned and evaluated which areas need extra attention. We will continue by looking at more complicated equations and solidify our knowledge of multiplication and division of numbers with decimals. It is wonderful to see the eagerness on the kids’ faces as they realize they can solve what once looked like a “hard” math problem.
What is electricity? Is it the flow of electrons through some metal? Is it something that is contained in a metallic wire that gets “pushed” by a generator? What connection does it have with magnetism? We scratched the surface of this fascinating subject in Year 6. This discussion is far from over.
We began science in year 7 by focusing on biology. First we looked at plant structures, studied variations in leaves, dissected a few flowers, and planted a class plant. Then we moved on to human biology and the various systems that our body needs to survive and the organs that make up these systems. We will continue with topics ranging from physics to earth science and will learn through experiments, observation and testing as much as possible.
HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
In History we have been watching the BBC Documentary series, “The History of the World” written and presented by Andrew Marr. We have a few episodes remaining and will finish them during November.
In October, our geography focus was South America. The kids looked at the landforms, the various countries and cultures, and finished with a project researching and presenting about various animals and plants from the Amazon rainforest. After that, we went on to discover what causes seasons and time differences. We looked at how the earth rotates and revolves. Currently, we are learning about maps, and the children will have their own mapmaking project to complete in a group. They have already begun it by taking notes and sketches of the park we play in every day.
EXPRESSIVE ART & DESIGN
Here is a brief introduction from Georgeta Gherghinoiu, our new art teacher: “I have painted since I was five and I have tried to find out the mystery of teaching since I was eleven.
Probably that’s the reason why I am here today, doing my best in guiding those who are the most creative of us: the children. I’ve graduated from the National University of Arts Bucharest, in the Department of Graphic Arts as well as in the Department of Training for Teaching Personnel (DPPD). For six years I’ve been working in the field of Art Restoration and Conservation, being part of the teams that restored monuments like the Bran Castle (Bran, Brașov), The Episcopal Church Curtea de Arges ( Curtea de Arges) the Stavropoleos Church, the Russian Church, and Coral Temple (Bucharest). Meantime, I’ve been doing art workshops and art summer schools, here, in Romania, but also in Ukraine and USA. I strongly believe that anyone can draw or paint; they just need to be challenged to discover and improve their creativity and imagination”.
-Start practicing the songs for the Winterfest
-Continue learning how to play a recorder
-Develop rhythm and coordination with Body Percussion
I continued training the students in preparing the body for exercise and I insisted on rolling over the head and also focused on force development for the arm, abdomen. I have assigned each student to show to the class the type of exercises for body’s preparation for exercise, but it had to be a continuation of the preceding one, to ensure the correct order of the body’s preparation for effort: head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, knees, legs and ankles. After correct preparation of the body for effort we did relays against time in the apply trail with a increasing level of complexity: rolling over the head with jumping over an obstacle. In the last 5 minutes of the class we did mindful body exercises with relaxation music.
At the Social Emotional Learning Classes, we continued the core practices of Mindfulness, and then we introduced the “Mindfulness of thoughts concept”, helping children in becoming aware of the dynamic of their thoughts. We used an experiential exercise where we created a thoughts bottle, with glitter being our thoughts and observing how when we are angry or agitated our thoughts look like a tornado while when we take our Mindful Bodies position and breathe calmly, our thoughts do not disappear but they rest peacefully at the bottom of the bottle.
We presented the Kindness concepts and spoke about the upcoming Dance for Kindness event. Also, we spoke about Democracy in schools and we introduced Democratic Day, a monthly gathering where children chose what they want to learn at school and what rules they want to implement or change. Students also offered to become candidates for a position in the Student Council, and then everyone voted for two members of their classrooms to represent them in our weekly meetings with the school principal and other student councils.
We also introduced the concepts of Multiple Intelligences (Howard Gardner’s model of 9 types of intelligences), that shows children how we all have strengths and areas to improve and that we can use our strengths to help our community (we created a Community Brain, a symbol of our diversity, where everyone contributed with their own type of intelligence whether that’s Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Interpersonal, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-kinesthetic, Intrapersonal, Musical or Naturalistic).
In the Romanian classes, we continued to focus on the four major skills in learning any language: listening and speaking, reading and writing.
We have been using Romanian as much as possible, in real life situations, for giving instructions and explanations, for describing or for telling a story. We tried to use more complex sentences and to make our oral production more interesting and more expressive.
We continued to read short texts (2-3 pages) and to ask comprehension questions and give answers to them. We also played many vocabulary games like “Definitions”, “Heads Up!”, ”Don′t say Yes or No!” etc. We chose words / structures from the text to use in our grammar practice. We used plurals / antonyms / synonyms and we tried to find rhyming words.
WHAT COMES NEXT
In November we will finish the BBC History of the World series, we will prepare and present a play, “The Legend of Lightning Larry”, we will prepare a project on “How did the Panama Canal come to be built”? and we will continue our basic skills development in Math – as well as continue to explore the fascinating world of equations.
The start of year 7 as its own class has begun very well. Being in a small group, we are able to have more in-depth discussions, everyone has an opportunity to be heard, and more importantly, as a teacher I am able to give more personalized help to each student. I enjoy working with your children and hope they will have a wonderful experience at Verita and in year 7!
SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING
YEAR 6: Please ask your child each day when he or she comes home from school, “What is your homework for tonight?”. This month they will need to practice their part in the play – every night. There will also be some additional assignments – but not on every day.
Please also remind your son or daughter to write in their journal each day. Thank you!
YEAR 7: Please encourage your child(ren) to read books in English – in any subject area that interests them – that are appropriate for their reading level, such as short chapter books. Reading at least 15 minutes a day will help improve their vocabulary and their comprehension skills. It’s also a great way for them to learn and stretch and their imaginations.