April 21, 2016

T-D’s Lower School 

Dear Lower School Families,

Spring has sprung and the T-D peeps have been exceedingly busy!

As a whole, we all spread some Irish cheer by visiting the United Hebrew Home. We were very lucky to have Mr. Goodman accompany us with his guitar. Just the other day we took a hike to New Rochelle High School to visit their planetarium. We are all a little “brighter” thanks to our star gazing lessons.

Here are a few more things we have been up to:

Grade 1:

We welcomed a new student to our classroom, Jordan Brooks! We are excited to have him as part of our class! In science, first graders have recently finished our animal life unit with a cumulative project of an animal habitat diorama accompanied by 3 interesting facts they learned about their animal. Each student did a wonderful job on the animal’s habitat representation! They are currently on display in the Berns Memorial Library. We have now begun our physical science unit beginning with matter (solids, liquids and gas). In math, we will continue learning about “time” with this month’s objective being elapsed time. We have also begun learning about fact families and the relationship between addition and subtraction. Soon we will move forward learning about money (coins) and we will continue collecting and interpreting data to be used in graphs & glyphs. We will create our first glyph utilizing data about the weather.
In social studies we are focusing on Native Americans as well as traditions celebrated across America. We celebrated our 100th day on Friday, February 26th. Each student did a fabulous job on their 100th day projects!! Thank you for all the help you gave them!

Grade 2 & 3:

Third and Second graders began March studying Energy in Our World focusing on forms of energy, how matter is heated, how light travels, and electricity. We ended our unit study on Sound and now have begun to visit outer space. We have started to study our planets, the moon, and the sun. The trip to the New Rochelle High School Planetarium really helped us explore space. Third grade has been diligently focusing on how fractions are made, comparing fractions, and finding equivalent fractions. We used different forms of manipulatives to help the children learn more about fractions. These hands-on aids allow them to feel and see fractions in a whole new way. Before we leave for vacation the children are using The Hershey Fraction Book with a Hershey Chocolate Bar to better understand fractions and their equivalents. In grammar the Second and Third grade have been focusing on adjectives, adverbs, and using commas correctly. Lastly, we have begun a unit on European Explorers. The students have really enjoyed learning how different people came to the United States. We are working on both an at home and in school project where we will be creating a lapbook about a specific explorer. Please keep an eye out for our display.

Grade 4:

Third quarter has kept our fourth grade active! Sinatra lessons revolved around the geography of Florida, Cuba, and Nevada including our Grand Canyon experiment. Our February bulletin board received a great deal of attention celebrating the Chinese New Year complete with dragons, lanterns, masks and each student’s Chinese Zodiac writing comparison. What a talented group! In math we learned 2 digit multiplication using the “Turtlehead Method” and division of 2, 3, and 4 digits by 1 digit divisors. In grammar the focus was pronouns. We are soaring through our vocabulary having just completed Chapter 12. In reading, our text covers several genres and comprehension required written response. “The Emperor and the Kite” was a folktale, “Night of the Pufflings” was nonfiction, “The Garden of Happiness” was realistic fiction, “How to Babysit an Orangutan” was nonfiction and “Sarah, Plain and Tall” was historical fiction. In writing, we worked on formal letters of request and complaint, and descriptive writing. For physical education we played “garbage ball,” “fitness mania,” and “blind 4 corners.” In addition, we enjoyed Valentines, St. Patrick’s, International Night, Parents with Pastries celebrations and our field trip to the Hall of Science.

Grade 5:

The 5th grade has started exploring Cuba. We are reading the novel, 90 Miles to Havana, which is based on the true story of the author who fled Cuba for the United States with his brothers during Operation Pedro Pan in 1961. The students have been in awe to think that a dictator has complete control over one’s life; even deciding on the profession one must chose. In math, we have being working with fractions… and fractions. We have been simplifying, adding and subtracting. Soon we will be starting multiplying and dividing. For the past month, we have followed in Shakespeare’s footsteps and have become bards. We have composed many different types of poems, some being Diamante, Limerick, Haiku, Cinquain, Definition and Shape. I think our favorite by far was the Event poem as we enjoyed using onomatopoeia. We just finished the Battle of Wounded Knee and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. It is now all gold for us!

Wishing you all a relaxing break. I am fortunate enough to be visiting Cuba with the school.

See you in May!

Virginia Keating

K-8 Director
Thornton-Donovan
keatingteach@aol.com