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Fall 2022 GEM News: Coyote Trail Elementary

 Students work on projects at tableKinder Bright Start

It was a great to start the year in Bright Start Kindergarten! Each day we focused on a new letter to learn its sound and formation and come up with many words that start with that sound. Then we spent some time reviewing just the vowels and really working to master those important vowel sounds. We worked on counting and writing numbers 0-10, as well as sorting and patterns (including beginning to think about how patterns are useful in coding!). In writing, students were storytellers and illustrators who worked on adding labels to their illustrations.

The first half of the quarter was focused on a Social Studies unit all about being a good citizen. We learned about cooperation, trying our hardest, helping others, rules and laws, and more! Then we jumped into Science and studied our five senses with some fun feel bags, mystery scent containers, and experiments to watch our pupils dilate.

On top of all that, we spent a lot of time learning just how to be in school and share our space with 24 students and one teacher!

First Grade Bright Start

We have worked hard to create a solid structure that the students can rely on. We have been working hard to understand and be able to identify all the big emotions our little bodies feel and then talking about strategies we can use when those emotions take over. We have also been working on our Growth Mindset; really working on the language frames we use to express ourselves.

In ELA, we have started reading from our Junior Great Books – fostering ELA skills through literature inquiry. We have worked through nonfiction versus fiction, character traits, analyzing motives, text features and using evidence from text to support our thinking. With speaking and listening, we have already started working on our presentation skills!

In math, we go through our grade level lessons, but challenge each other by going deeper into each problem by using math vocabulary, and demonstrating depth of understanding by representing the problem in different forms. We have also started our PBL to create a game using all of those math concepts to be able to add to our classroom.

In science, we have started to discuss phenomena, scientists, and science tools. We have been working on understanding gravity and force (push and pull) and working with ramps and rollercoasters! We have also been meeting with our buddy class to challenge our brains with games, starting our garden and coding.

2nd Grade Bright Start

We had an amazing first quarter in 2nd grade Bright Start! We began the year building classroom community and learning about ‘Growth Mindset.” The students thoroughly enjoyed participating in “Growth Mindset” lessons related to the book, “The Dot!”

In Social Studies, we began the quarter learning about community problems and focused on problems that we could solve at our school. The students collaborated in groups and created posters to help promote keeping a cleaner campus and even asked student leadership for funds to support our class recycle bin.

We ended the quarter by learning about Matter, conducting investigations and creating dam structures to help a hypothetical town, in need of electricity. The students even had the opportunity to experience phenomena, as they tried to change matter by heating their baggy full of chocolate morsels. It’s been a phenomenal first quarter!

3/4 GEM Class

Words cannot express how excited I am to work with your students this year. It was great to see my returning 4th grade students and to meet my new incoming third grade students. We began our year preparing our garden beds for planting. Students cleaned out the beds to prepare them for the planting season. 4th graders stepped up their leadership roles by teaching the 3rd grade students how to prepare and plant from seeds. Students enjoyed the hands-on experience of growing from seeds not to mention learning about Ecology along the way! They participated in several engineering design challenges where they had to use creativity and problem solving techniques to solve a problem. Junior Great Books were used during ELA. This gave students the opportunity to have in depth discussions about real world topics. Our focus in 4th grade math was place value, word problems, double digit multiplication, and long division. They are working hard in this area. Third grade math focused on properties of multiplication and place value. We also enjoyed getting to meet and spend time with our 1st grade buddies from Mrs. Tapia’s class. Our friendships continue to blossom everytime we meet. Thank you for continuing to support your students at home and in the classroom. We are on the path to an amazing school year!

5th Grade GEM Class

We had a wonderful first quarter! We explored aspects of conflict as it contributed to the Revolutionary War with a simulation and engaged with historical fiction as we read “Woods Runner”. We asked the critical question of “Is Betrayal Always Bad?” and ended with taking a position of a Patriot or a Loyalist. It is always exciting to see young people exploring and expressing their discoveries.

6th Grade GEM Class

Greetings! First of all, I sincerely thank you for all your support and kind words this quarter. I am humbled and proud to work with your children. This year we are using the Universal theme of Power as a lens for our learning. We began by exploring the questions of what is power? And What is influence? Reading time utilized Junior Great Books. This program combines high-quality literature, student-centered discussion, and activities that support reading comprehension, critical thinking, speaking and listening, and writing. The students really enjoyed the reading selection, The Veldt. This short story led to many discussions about the power of electronic devices. In science, we learned a great deal about current space exploration and completed a PBL focusing on patterns and the role of gravity within the solar system and/or galaxies. Gravity is a powerful force.

Sixth grade students also participated in the SACSDA kidstruction contest. Kidstruction is a design/build competition among middle school students sponsored by the SACSDA as part of Architecture Week. 160 teams from across southern Arizona competed in this year’s challenge--Galactic Gallery. Teams had to design and build futuristic structures based on the future of space. We had one winning team! Clara, Molly, and Hannah (Space Dancers) won second place in the Cosmic Living division.