Welcome to Parent Night!!!
Introduction & Background
My philosophy of education
Classroom Website: paulsolarz.weebly.com
What parents can do to help their child
WHO IS THIS CHILD? (10 and 11 year olds):
I’M TEN and...
I’M ELEVEN and…
Math in Focus
Math in Focus curriculum strives to develop conceptual understanding with the goal of content mastery. Concepts are taught moving through a sequence of concrete to pictorial to abstract. Concrete learning happens through hands-on activities with math manipulatives, such as counters, coins, number lines, or base ten blocks. Pictorial learning uses pictures, drawings, or other forms that illustrate the concept with something more than abstract numbers. Finally, abstract learning requires students to use numerals, strategies, and problem solving methods to solve problems. Math in Focus supports the goals of the Illinois Learning Standards for Mathematics. It is a research-based program that focuses on classroom learning, discussion and practice. It strives to balance conceptual understanding, visual learning, and problem solving. Students will have access to math manipulatives, student workbooks, student textbooks and online resources.
Words Their Way
Word study involves focused attention to words and word elements, with the goal of helping children become excellent readers and writers. Word study is defined as an instructional process that involves the learner in an investigation of words” (Fountas & Pinnell 1998). “While important, phonics, spelling, word analysis, and grammar usage strategies are not the end goal of literacy education. Their importance lies in their contribution to reading and writing continuous text. The more students can solve words, derive the meaning of words, spell words, and parse language syntax rapidly, fluently, and unconsciously the more likely they are to read and write with competence and ease” (Fountas & Pinnell 2017).
The schools in the district are in a competition: School vs. School.
Who can get the most keyboarding minutes done over the summer? I hope your child will want to participate in this fun challenge! Here are the details: https://www.smore.com/qw7jr
Each child will be receiving their sign on and password in their report card envelopes tomorrow! Please keep an eye out for it! Thanks and have a great summer!
(If we don't talk before then, thank you all for a WONDERFUL school year! I will really miss this group of kids!!!)
In social studies, we just finished a unit on The U.S. Constitution and our government. After learning the basics in mostly traditional ways, I had my students apply their knowledge in a unique way. We "colonized" Mars, created our own country on the planet, and wrote our own constitution, preamble, and Bill of Rights collaboratively as a whole class!
Here are the lessons from the entire unit: http://psolarz.weebly.com/colonize-mars1, but the final product seen here is from Lessons 10-12: http://paulsolarz.weebly.com/parents-newsletter/today-we-finished-writing-our-constitution-for-the-country-we-created-on-mars.
In a nutshell, I create a Google Doc and share it with everyone in class (usually through Google Classroom). I give each student a specific task, or give the entire class the same task, and ask them to post their information into the GDoc. We work together as a whole class to eliminate overlaps and ideas we don't like and only keep "the good stuff." Together, we piece together the parts we want into a finished piece.
- The Preamble was a class period or two.
- The Articles of the Constitution were a few periods.
- The Bill of Rights was a period.
Each year, we have to determine what type of government we want to be based on our research online and class discussion. This is a really fun talk! We decided to be a Constitutional Monarchy this year. Last year we were a Meritocracy.
Ultimately, I think my students got a lot more out of these lessons because they did most of the thinking. They weren't just following rules, reading & answering questions, and taking tests (although this is the unit that we do some of those things). They were researching, using convergent and divergent thinking skills, thinking critically to determine importance, and synthesizing information to create something new! I value these skills far more than the content knowledge that they learned, but I'm also happy that they learned about our country's government and its history. With all subjects, I like to make sure that students aren't just learning content, but also building important skills that they can transfer to new situations!
Additional Information available in "Learn Like a Pirate.
"Here are screen shots of our document that was written collaboratively by all the students in class:
Walk the Red Carpet At Westgate!
Sign-up for Leadership Day!
The sign up for our Leadership Day events is now live! We hope you are able to join us on either Thursday, May 18th in the evening or on Friday, May 19th during the school day. Specific details for each event are included in the sign up. Spots are limited so please reserve your spot today!
Just a few quick notes:
Here are all of the students at the climbing wall. (One made it up so quickly that I only caught him once he was already down!) :)
Today, we learned about how a bill becomes a law in our legislature & each took on roles as either special interest groups or Congressmen. Here are our discussions on whether or not Representative Smith should vote for or against a smoking ban (thinking about personal interests and the common good).
This blog will serve as our parent newsletter. Any time there is information that needs to get out to parents, it will be posted here. Please check here often, or sign up for email notification below! Thanks! :)
Get an email from BlogTrottr every time a new blog post is created by entering your email here: