January 2018

130_1_for-christmas-cards-church-posters-ornaments-and-other-creative-holiday-sweet-snowman-clipart-christmas-clip-artAs we move toward the end of January, there is much to share about what we have done in the weeks since returning from Christmas Break. It is hard to believe that it has only been three and a half weeks. Here is a run down of what we have been doing.

In Religion Class, we have completed our Homelessness in Seattle Project. Research was completed, scripts prepared and voice recordings done in the weeks leading up to break. When we returned the first of January, we finalized the project by adding photos to the video. This was a very thought provoking project, one that got the kids discussing the problem of homelessness and the challenges that go along with it. When looking for solutions, it was heartwarming to listen to the ideas being generated. If only adults could problem solve through the lens of a child. Perhaps our world would be in a better place.

A huge thanks to Ms. Alessi for assisting us with all the technological aspects of the project. The links to both 5A and 5B video are at the end of this update. I am very proud of the kiddos for what they have accomplished. Our hope is that our work will raise awareness and spur others to action! As one student concluded in the video….just GO DO IT!

We are just wrapping up our first unit of study in history. During the last couple of weeks we have been learning about the first inhabitants of the North American continent, the Native Americans. We have learned that these peoples shared many things in common as well as unique characteristics dependent upon the region in which they lived. In addition, we learned that much of what we have or do today has its beginnings in Native American culture. For example, our form of government is rooted in the Iroquois Confederacy and the formation of the Grand Council. Five nations joined together to bring about peace in the northeastern region of our country. The clan mothers from each of the Iroquois peoples chose representatives to the council. They met to make important decisions, affecting them all, through discussion and compromise. This model was the first form of democracy.

As a culminating project, the kids were divided into groups to become experts on the culture of one nation from each of the regions of the United States. Once the research was completed, the groups created talk shows as a way to share their information with the class. A host welcomes and interviews both an archeologist and a descendant of the Native American nation being discussed. These talk shows are being video taped for sharing. As soon as the process is completed I will share the links to these videos with you. It should be very soon. Finally, the kids all got a chance to make a game board that incorporated information they learned when studying their particular nation. Yesterday, they got a chance to play each other’s games. Great fun was has by all. We next move on to the early European Explorers and the impact, both good and bad, they had on our world.

Our current reading work is integrated with our history unit, as we are working through the novel Children of the Longhouse. This story “conveys how democracy, respect, and justice are integral components of the Native American’s religion and government.” Along the way the students get an in-depth look at Native American life centuries ago. The novel become a vehicle through which we teach such comprehension skills as seeing relationships between characters or things found in the story or analyzing the characteristics of these characters and how they impact the story.

When we have completed our novel, we will begin a new writing project. This piece will be a newspaper article about an historic event that has occurred in each student’s chosen state. The article can be written as a modern day “anniversary” piece that recalls the details of the event, or can be written from the perspective of a reporter telling of the event a few days after it happened. When working on these pieces, we focus a lot on the writing process. This will be an expository piece. Expository writing is writing that attempts to explain something to the intended audience. It differs from other forms of writing, such as fiction and poetry.

Most expository “essays” have an introductory paragraph in which the topic of the writing is introduces and made clear. This is followed by several main body paragraphs that explain what is in the introduction, and a concluding paragraph in which everything is summed up.

When writing an expository essay, it’s important to write with the assumption that your audience has little to no background knowledge about the main topic. Your duty as the writer is to provide the reader with as much information as you can. The reader should feel as if he or she has learned something after reading your essay.

All of these skills will be practiced when writing our articles.

Next week is Catholic Schools week. The theme for this year is “Catholic Schools:  Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed.”Each day we will focus on one of the groups that form our community; parents, students, faculty and staff, and neighbors. We will also look at one of the characteristics listed in the theme. The week will culminate in the celebration of Mass at St. Bridget led by the 6th graders, and the Talent Show on Friday. Read the Villa Weekly for more specific information about this special week.

Time is flying by and we continue to move forward! Where is the time going?

 

Have a good week!

 

5A Jones (total running time 11:12)

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5B Richey (9:02)

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