Unquowa fifth grade math students are learning how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in a year-long curriculum that teaches algorithmic process and spatial reasoning. Some enter the process already knowing the solution patterns and are serving as instructors, while others are picking up The Cube for the very first time. The majority of our students are still mastering the first and second steps, but in doing so they have already learned much about order, precision, and even self-confidence. Students who never thought they would be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube are now approaching the solution with focus and determination. Stay tuned for more updates as we make progress!
Our personal identities are composed of a multitude of attributes, some we choose and others we have no control over. Fifth graders have been considering how visual cues such as dress, posture, facial expression, and objects convey information about us to other people and also how we perceive others based on how they present themselves to the world.
Following a conversation with Mr. Kayumba about how poetry from the Harlem Renaissance used language to express themes of identity and how the work of contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley expressed these themes visually, the students came to school thoughtfully dressed in clothes that they felt best represented who they are and how they want to be seen. They were photographed in poses that conveyed strength, intelligence, athletic ability, confidence, or other attributes that were important to them. They are currently working on background paintings of chosen images that give more insight into their identities. To culminate the project, they will be writing “I am” poems with Ms. Warshaw that express in written language what they expressed visually in their portraits.
The Girls 5th & 6th Grade basketball team opened the season on January 3 with a 36-7 win over Bi-cultural Day School. The girls dominated all aspects of the game including scoring, defense and rebounding. Over half the team contributed to the score and Grade 5 point guard Ryley Tate-Padian scored double figures. Come cheer on this powerful team of girls…Go Gators!
The fifth graders have been learning about effective persuasive writing techniques and conducting research on whether schools should serve chocolate milk. After viewing and analyzing newsclips, advertisements, and articles on the topic, we engaged in a lively debate on the subject. Through this exercise, students were able to add additional details to their notes, strategize with their team to craft well-reasoned arguments, and glean insight from the counterarguments that they encountered. The debaters did a fantastic job conveying their perspectives by using effective tone of voice, compelling body language, and concrete evidence. We’ll use this experience to help shape a thoughtful and multifaceted essay on chocolate milk consumption in school, and already the students are eager to partake in our next debate!
The 5th grade scholars have been diligently reading A Gift from Childhood; Memories of an African Boyhood. Each chapter in the book offers a unique opportunity to deepen our understanding of traditional Malian culture. The journey thus far has been informative and enriching for the collective. We have been able to learn about each other’s traditions and family values while we learn various major literary concepts.
After reading Catching Catfish, students were excited to teach each other a life skill an elder had taught them. We spoke about the significance of learning a life skill to be empowered and independent. We recognized that wisdom and growth comes to those who cannot only learn but share what they have learned in order to enrich others.
Students were proud and eager to share what wisdom had been imparted onto them by family members. The life skills ranged from archery, to oil change, reading lips and, making friendship bracelets. I learned that you must never underestimate the value of friendship bracelets!
In social studies, fifth-grade scholars conducted an extensive study of the Age of Exploration and its influence on the western hemisphere. The students concluded the unit by researching both Spanish conquistadors and the indigenous people of the “New World” in order to have a deeper understanding of the sociocultural implications of these interactions on modern society. In an effort to think like historians, the fifth graders recreated a historical account of the meeting of these two cultures in diary entry or monologue form. This allowed us to explore the notions of conquest and cultural infusion and diffusion.