Saturday, 21 May 2016

Middle School Newsletter: Term 2 Week 6

Middle School Newsletter: Term 2 Week 6


Learning and Teaching

We Are Learning To....

 synthesise after reading. Synthesising involves merging new information with existing knowledge to create an original idea, see a new perspective, or form a new line of thinking to achieve insight.

WRITING: understand the features of and write our own explanations. Explanatory texts explain natural occurrences and we are writing them to summarise the learning in our Science unit.

V.C.O.P. (Vocabulary Connectives Openers Punctuation): continue to develop our knowledge of the V.C.O.P. process by linking it to our unit on explanations. The students will investigate relevant technical vocabulary, connectives and interesting openings.

MATHS: apply our knowledge of addition and subtraction to solve problems. Students will develop their understanding of a range of addition and subtraction strategies through a number of hands-on maths games. They will then apply these understandings to solve real life maths problems.

UNIT OF STUDY (Biological Science - 'Among the Gum Trees'): understand that living things have life cycles and living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive. The Middle School students wrap-up their studies into biological science in our Among the Gum Trees unit this week after their excursion to CERES last Friday. This hands-on science unit has developed the students' scientific understanding, inquiry skills and ability to see science as a human endeavour. Next week the students will begin investigating Earth and Space science in our new unit, 'Beneath Our Feet.'

SPELLING: use SMART spelling strategies including breaking words into sounds and syllables, identifying the 'tricky' parts of the words and writing the words and sentences from a dictation passage.  Emphasis will also be placed on understanding the meaning of the words with students encouraged to include the words in their writing and oral language.

eLEARNING: use the iPads and Netbooks to support and extend learning through Mathletics and Reading Eggs and for research and publishing purposes.

 Term 2 Calendar Dates

Wednesday 1st June: Division Cross Country
Wednesday 8th June: Maths Olympiad 2
Monday 13th June: Queen's Birthday Public Holiday
Tuesday 14th June: Regional Cross Country
Friday 17th June: Whole School Science Celebration

Current notices

Homework in the Middle School is sent home on a Friday and due back the following Thursday. The homework consists of reading (minimum of 4 nights), Mathletics activities and SMART spelling-look, say, sound, spell, write, check.
We would appreciate if parents could record and sign in the student diary when students complete their homework tasks.

Reading Eggs and Mathletics:
All students have individual passwords to access both of these programs.  We encourage students to explore activities to revise and extend their learning.  These programs are online tools which students use to enhance their learning. 

Students are given set Mathletics tasks to be completed for homework.  This week the focus is on Numeration and Place Value.

Making News
Achievement Awards from Weeks 4 & 5
Angelo - for coming up with some excellent questions based on his guided reading text and always trying his best with his reading.
Dimitri - for always helping out around the classroom without being asked and being a great friend to others.

Lilliana- for being a super reader- reading regularly and offering interesting  ideas about her books
Dimitra- for writing convincing persuasive texts.

Matt- for his excellent measuring skills and producing a 'to scale' drawing of the basketball court.
Juian- for his self-editing skills while 'VCOP'ing his own work.

Jemma- for her ability to create and ask worthwhile questions before reading to maximise her learning!
Sam- for his developing ability to improve his written work through the VCOP process.

 Celebrating our Learning
Middle School Excursion to CERES
Friday 13th May

Last Friday the grade 3 and 4 students travelled to CERES to learn about sustainability, indigenous plants and the life cycle of plants.  CERES is a centre where people can learn about environmental issues and how to look after our planet.  Did you know what was originally on the CERES site?  A rubbish tip. A group of people decided they wanted to reduce the amount of rubbish and turn the area into one where people learnt how to look after the planet.

The students all worked through three workshops which were: indigenous plants, plants and seeds and their life cycle and sustainable gardening.

Indigenous Plants: These are plants which come from a particular area and are native to that area.  Exotic plants are plants which were introduced or brought to an area. 
The aboriginal people knew a lot about indigenous plants and they used them for many things including food, shelter, weapons and medicine.  They knew it was important to look after the plants.
We were in groups and each group had a particular plant to locate when we went for our walk along Merri Creek and through CERES.  The groups referred to information sheets which explained the animals that helped the plants for example by eating the bugs.  Birds and frogs were two of the creatures. 
Here are some of the plants we learnt about:
kangaroo apple, pig face, Warragul Greens and lilly pilly.  Guess which one made us laugh a lot when we heard the name?
Kangaroo apple- the fruit can be eaten when they are yellow but they are poisonous when they are green, the fruit is the size of a grape, when the fruit dries out it becomes crinkly and the leaves a long oval shape.
Pig face- this was useful as you could break the leaves and suck the liquid out of them if you are desperate for a drink, it is a succulent, it has pretty flowers although it was not in  bloom when we visited.
Warragul Green- tasted like spinach and it was a bit peppery.  The leaves were shaped like a spade on a playing card and were floppy, they grew on a thin stem similar in size to a thin elastic which could be bent without breaking.
Lilly pilly is a bush which people sometimes use the fruit to cook and make jam. 

Plants and seeds: we looked at a range of objects and had to make a connection to determine what the connection was between them all.  They were all seeds.  The dried sunflower was shaped like a large mushroom.  The bamboo was one of the fastest growing grass and it is used for building works, bike frames and furniture and bowls. 
Do you know how seeds travel?  Some are blown by the breeze, some are eaten and digested by animals and birds and then 'deposited'.  Spiky seeds are clever because they get stuck to animal fur or our clothes and then fall off eventually. 
To understand what it was like to be a plant we acted out the life cycle of a plant. 
After that we used PVC tubing and wrapped newspaper strips around them, folding down the bottom to close one opening. We removed the tubing and had a cylinder of newspaper which we filled with soil, made a 1/2 centimetre hole to plant the rainbow chard seed which we then placed a small amount of soil over to cover.

Sustainable gardening: there were many examples of how to create sustainable gardens.  Here are some of the things we learnt:
crop rotation is useful because it means that the bugs don't know what will always be planted so they don't always go there to eat the plants.  Worms are useful because they aerate the soil so you need to remove or break up the soil so it wasn't compacted and then the worms can move around. Do you know how the moon impacts a garden?  When it is a full moon it sucks the moisture from plants so farmers like to harvest plants during a full moon if they need to dry the plants out.  Don't touch stinging nettle- it STINGS!

Our excursion was an excellent adventure in which we got to get our hands dirty. 
By our intrepid reporters- Chloe and Sarah.

No comments:

Post a Comment