John Powers School News Current Happenings, March 2011

Current Happenings, March 2011

Primary Class:

This quarter, we have been learning about the solar system.  Each student has researched one planet and presented the information to the class.  They have learned the position, characteristics and atmosphere of the planets. 

During Language Arts, the students are writing short stories, “If I were an Alien.”  The focus is on expanding sentences, using descriptive words, and creating an interesting piece with a beginning, middle and an end.  We continue to work on reading skills, such as reading independently, comprehension, and making connections to other text they have read or to their own experiences. During the next term, we will be learning about nutrition and healthy eating habits.  In the coming weeks, we will be reading Flat Stanley, and talk about the places he could go.  The students will be encouraged to read more and log the information into their reading logs.

Currently, we are working on a class incentive “Accepting.”   Students earn check marks for accepting for a variety of things (accepting feedback, accepting a change in the schedule, accepting that it is math time, etc.) When we have reached our goal we will celebrate with a pajama party!

Upper Elementary Class:

We are currently finishing up our unit on how temperature affects weather, the environment and the economy. Keeping within this theme, we will be moving forward to how temperature affects the earth surface, weather and the economy. In other words, we will be looking at how changes to the Earth's surface happen abruptly (landslides/earthquakes/tsunami), and how the economy is affected by this.

We are also focusing on comprehension in the classroom. We continue to work on strategies that can be used to get more meaning from the text. The second half of this year will be centered around teaching our students to read independently and on ways to help them make connections to what they are reading.

We are also currently working on a class wide reinforcer geared to help motivate all students to earn 80% or more of their daily points (effort/participation/attendance).  After three weeks, students will have a make your own pizza party/gaming hour as a reward.

Middle School Classes:

The middle school US History classes just finished studying the French and Indian War. We have moved onto causes of the Revolutionary war, and will be immersing ourselves into that war for the next couple of weeks.

The Earth Science students have been working on a weather unit. We recently learned about the atmosphere, the water cycle, and clouds.  This past week we made rain drops and watched the drops absorb water around them, grow bigger, and eventually fall from their own weight. The students will be continuing their studies with wind, air pressure, severe weather, and climates around the world.   The recent devastation in Japan has enabled these students to apply what they learned at the beginning of the year about the Ring of Fire and Plate Tectonics. We have used the internet to watch videos and updates about Japan.

The Life Science students have just started a unit on Ecology. We have learned about different habitats and the role that both plants and animals play in them. We have also learned about the difference between food chains and webs. This class enjoys sharing their personal stories so we try to save time each day for them to share relevant stories about their interactions with animals!

One of the middle school reading classes just finished reading the novel Of Mice and Men. The class will start reading their next novel, Johnny Tremain, within the next week. The subject matter of this new book parallels what they will be learning about in US History, The Revolutionary War.  The other reading group is reading Because of Winn Dixie. The students complete vocabulary and comprehension activities to show their understanding of the story.

All students have been working hard on their individual Portfolio’s – personalizing them and beginning the process of collecting work samples and reflecting on their IEP Goals.