Greetings from the Talent Development department at Sharon Elementary!
September 28, 2018
We have gotten the school year off to a rapid start! Mrs. Gaines and Mrs. Holden are glad to see so many returning faces at Sharon this year, and we are also excited to learn more about all of our students as the year progresses! If you did not have a chance to attend the 3rd-5th grade parent meeting, please look at the presentation slides on our website for more information about TD at Sharon.
We have begun co-teaching in the 5th grade language arts and math classes. Mrs. Gaines will be co-teaching both sections of 5th grade TD language arts (with Ms. Cherry and Mrs. Rowell) while Mrs. Holden will co-teach both sections of 5th grade TD math (with Ms. Scudder and Ms. Roskelly).
5th graders have been studying the short story “Charles” and unpacking the hidden meaning in the story using close reading and seminar discussions. We are using the RACE method (Restate-Answer-Cite Evidence-Explain) to answer text-dependent questions and inferential questions. We will continue focusing on fiction reading skills for one more week before moving into a nonfiction unit on the Civil War in preparation for the 5th grade trip to Latta Plantation.
In 5th grade math classes, students began the year by exploring patterns they find in place value and using exponents to denote powers of 10. Students are currently moving on to advanced multiplication and division problems. This year both 5th grade math blocks will be participating in the Math Olympiad competition. The goals of the Math Olympiad are to stimulate enthusiasm and a love for mathematics, teach major strategies for problem solving and develop flexibility in solving problems, strengthen mathematical intuition and foster Mathematical creativity and ingenuity. The competition consists of 5 monthly problem-solving contests. The contest will occur in class and begin in November. Ms. Holden will begin practice sessions in math classes during the week of October 15.
In 4th grade literacy, students have been participating in Launching Literacy lessons and activities to review literature concepts from prior years and get to know themselves as readers and as learners. We will begin novel studies on Tuesday, October 2nd. Students have been placed in novel classes according to their Guided Reading level. Each class will study one novel over the next five weeks. Mrs. Gaines and Mrs. Irwin will be co-teaching the novel The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis, while Ms. Holden and Ms. Mays will be co-teaching the novel How To Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor. Classes will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
In math, students will begin to engage in personalized learning activities during their math workshop time. Beginning with the unit on addition and subtraction of whole numbers, students will be given a checklist of tasks to complete during their independent work rotation within math workshop throughout the unit along with differentiated homework assignments. These tasks coincide with specific math lessons being taught by the classroom teachers which may not occur on consecutive days. In order to provide math updates, we are using the Remind app. If you would like to sign up, please visit the following link:
*A note about challenging homework - We will be working on problem solving strategies throughout the year. Students will frequently bring home challenging word problems and math tasks to complete at home. If your child begins to feel a great deal of frustration over not being able to solve a particular problem, they should spend no more than 30 minutes working towards a solution. The requirements for these assignments are that students try their best and show their thinking even if they are unable to provide a solution. A parent should initial any incomplete work. This will serve as a notification to Ms. Holden and the classroom teacher that a sincere attempt was made. It is important that students recognize the value of their process.
3rd grade teachers have been very busy assessing and analyzing the progress of their students! Mrs. Gaines has begun co-teaching a language arts class with Ms. Barnes as well as working with a different group of students in a pullout setting. We are beginning our year by developing our concept about growth mindset, which is crucial to helping gifted students grow as learners, as we explained at our parent DEP meeting last week. We are moving into a unit that will focus on the concept of change. This week we read a story called The Memory String and discuss all the representations of change we noticed in the story. Next we will begin our novel study using the book The Green Book. The novel directly relates to the study of space in 3rd grade science, which ties into our MI production coming up in November. While we read the novel, students will be answering text-dependent questions, sharing ideas in seminars, and creating skits to understand the plot, characters, and theme.
In math, students began an investigative unit that will build upon their study of arrays and multiplication. The unit is called Awesome Algebra: Looking for patterns and Generalizations. The unit encourages students to make observations about mathematical and geometrical patterns, organize their information systematically and analyze it to develop generalizations about the relationships discovered in patterns. In this unit students will be introduced to methods of algebraic reasoning rather than engaging in a formal study of algebra.
*3rd Grade Mathapalooza Update: Online payment opens October 8. Students who were invited to participate in Mathapalooza should return their registration forms to school after payment has been completed online.
We have successfully completed the first round of assessments in second grade for purposes of TD identification. CogAt results will be available in late-October and will be sent home by mail. We will hold a meeting for 2nd grade parents to explain the interpretation of scores and next steps in the identification process on October 3.
Our Kindergarten and 1st grade students will receive enrichment at various times throughout the year. Please note, these students are not considered “TD” students since the TD identification process begins in 2nd grade. K and 1st grade students can participate in the Jr. Great Books program which is lead by parent volunteers here at Sharon. Students selected by their teacher will meet in a “book club” group for one month with a parent volunteer who will lead a discussion of quality short stories and creative and analytical activities to go with each story. At other times, K and 1st grade students may be pulled to work with Mrs. Gaines if they have demonstrated mastery above and beyond the material their class will be covering in math or reading. These groups will change frequently based on class assessment data, and parents will be notified if their child is working with one of us in a group. We anticipate that these pullout groups will begin in October for 1st grade and November for Kindergarten.
If you have any questions about the TD program at Sharon, please contact us via email:
Ann Gaines - email@example.com
Sarah Holden - firstname.lastname@example.org