in Ms. Sykes and Ms. Swager’s classes are participating in gifted units, competitions and special lessons. Ms. Swager’s class has been working with the M3 (M cubed) unit Factors, Multiples and Leftovers. This unit challenges students to acquire and apply a deeper understanding of the concepts they have learned in the regular math curriculum using hands-on learning. These students have also completed Math Exemplars. Both Exemplars and M3 require that students solve multi-step problems that involve higher-level thinking and that they communicate in writing the solution and the process they used to get it. In addition, students have been participating in weekly bridge lessons with life master Early Lee Miller. They are learning skills of concentration, memorization, collaboration and planning as they bid hands and attempt to work with their partner to take the most tricks in a game.
With Ms. Sykes, students are participating in Word Masters, a competition in which individuals must learn multiple meanings of 25 challenging vocabulary words. They then must apply these words to analogy puzzles. Some of the words for the first meet were persnickety, spendthrift and morose. Ms. Syke’s students are also working with the William and Mary unit Persuasion. Students have already read a Japanese-American novel and are now reading African-American novels. In late winter they will read a Hispanic-American selection and we have purchased ne literature from Filipino-American as well as Korean and Vietnamese writers to investigate at the end of the year. Students are learning the qualities of effective persuasive speaking and writing and applying these skills to the curriculum. Finally, the fifth graders are currently engaging in a Creative Problem Solving task in which they are trying to generate ideas for ways in which folks can continue to enjoy the holidays in these financially trying times.