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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Starting the Last Laps

Welcome back from spring break!
I hope everyone enjoyed the family time and the extra sleep! I know I really enjoyed the rest. Especially after the Basketball team's success over Kentucky Sunday night.  And thank goodness for wonderful kids to help distract me from the depression that followed Tuesday morning. Gotta love being a Badger Fan. 
On Wisconsin! 

Winter is coming 6th Grade is coming! 
The big message I have been preaching about this week has been that these are the last laps of the run. We are less than 9 weeks away from these 5th graders officially being 6th graders. This means that I am going to really push these kids to work on being more organized and prepared for class and for the transitions. I have noticed that many of you have already purchased an expanding file or binder- this is awesome. It makes the kids keep their essentials together as much as possible, and not have to go to their lockers as often throughout the class period. . I highly encourage this so kids can reduce their transition time looking for a pencil. Yippe!! 

( see if you can decode the hidden message in this paragraph for something else really exciting this weekend, for all you book worms out there!)

State Testing/ Badger Assessment
Coming up next week is the first round of our state tests, the Badger Assessment. 
On Tuesday, April 14th, the kids will be working on the chromebooks from 11:40-1:20 on the English/Language Arts portion of the test. These tests are VERY different than the MAPS or anything they have taken before. We have spent a few hours already looking through the practice test online and the tutorial, but I encourage all of you to go on the DPI website and look at it/practice it's super intense.  On April 21st, the 22 and the 23  (the following week), the students will be doing their Math portion of the Badger Exam. It is spread over three days because on the 22nd, teachers are instructing the students with something called a "performance task". It is a scripted mini lesson that teachers will take to instruct and work with the students, so on the 23rd, the test will refer back to  that task the day before. 
Originally, the ELA portion was to have this as well, equating to almost 9 hours of testing, but about a month ago, the state removed this portion to shorten the amount of time being spent. 
The worst part about all this, is that next year this test will be completely different most likely...

Engineering Expo
On the 16th of next week, students will be headed to the Engineering Expo. we will be leaving from the school at 8:30 and arriving around 2:15-2:30. I will send out another email on Monday with more information for chaperones. The big thing is that the kids will need to carry with them their sacked lunches, and there are a lot of freebies that will be passed out to the kids. If you have a string backpack, or a small backpack, please have your child bring that with them on the trip so it is easy to carry. 

Human Growth and Development
Students will be taking part in Human Growth and Development classes next week, if you DO NOT want your child to take part in the class with their peers during phy ed time, please inform me now so I can send you the permission slip as soon as possible. 

are posted in the Parent Portal. :)

Zachary Howe
Shout out to a great friend of mine, Zachary Howe, who came in Monday morning and talked about being an author. He just self-published his first novel, The Heir of Olympus and the Forest Realm in February.  Zach and I have known each other since we were 13, and it was quite a surprise to find out that he had been working on publishing a book. He told the story to the kids about how he hated school growing up and how reading the Harry Potter series changed his life and inspired him to write.  He also talked about how to be motivated for writing, and how important reading and writing work together. He also spent a good chunk of time talking about Greek mythology, which was fascinating! It was a great activity for the first day back from break, and a great learning experience for everyone. I was so impressed by how many students really knew so much information about mythology. They even had a few minutes to work on their own ideas for a myth. I think a lot of the kids really learned a lot from his message, and enjoyed his presence. 

Here are some photos that I took of the kids with Mr. Howe: 

I am currently reading the book when I have some free time (which is quite rare) and I highly advise for an audience of 15 and up. :) It's awesome so far- and I am only on chapter 5! 

Let me know if you have any questions. I can't believe we are running out of time already! 

-Ms. Davidson 

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