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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

News from Sarah and Sara's Group

Greetings, everyone!  Please enjoy our most recent newsletter, written by members of our group.
Sarah and Sara

Colonial Potluck Celebration and Museum Exhibits

Different people in our class are making exhibits for our potluck party. We have been studying colonial America and different jobs people had back then. These are some examples of some of the topics we studied: silversmith, paper making, innkeepers, blacksmith, hunting and trapping animals, schools, and games in the colonial times. We are going to be having the younger kids come and go to each part.

For an example, printers are going to make paper and the people who studied colonial children will have people play colonial games. Other activities people are doing include: write with quill, shoe the horse game, hoop spear, and a lot more activities.  Join us on Thursday, May 22 at 6 PM for our potluck!


In math, we have been studying fractions. For example, we learned how to change mixed numbers into improper fractions and improper fraction into mixed numbers. Also we've been making fractions into its simplest form. To get fractions into its simplest form you take the greatest common factor of the two numbers. For example 5/10. The greatest common factor of those two numbers is 5, so you figure out how many times 5 goes into 5 which is 1 then you figure out how many times 5 goes into 10 which is 2, So your answer is 1/2. 

We also have been turning fraction into percentages. Both the third graders and the fourth graders have been learning about fractions at their own speed. Learning about fractions has helped us in the scale paper airplanes that we have been making. The fractions are a big help for lots of things we do. We could say someone ate 6 out of 12 pieces of pizza or we could say 1/2 pieces of pizza - that's also called reducing. How about a pool? 1 lap is equal to 25 yards, 2 laps 50 yards, 3 laps 75 yards, 4 laps 100 yards. 1/4 is 25 yards, 2/4 also 1/2 is 50 yards, 3/4 is 75 yards. 4/4 also a whole is 100 yards. The 4th graders have been playing is closer to 0, a 1/2, or 1. How you play is you get a fraction, say its 5/8, and you decide which of the three it is closer to. 5/8 that is closer to 1/2 because 4/8 is a half and 5/8 is pretty close to 4/8 so it's a half.    

By H.M and A.C.D        
Dream Room Blog

In our half groups we made mini scaled dream rooms. We had to find the area, width, length and height of the furniture and the room. We worked in partners and began the process by “buying” our furniture and gadgets online at stores like Home Depot, Target, and Lowes.  After we ‘bought’ all of our furniture, we had to find jobs and earn “money” in case we spent all of our budget, which was 3,000 dollars. Some jobs we chose were: singers, mechanics, dancers, basically whatever our dream job was.  We made mini scaled models of furniture and built a small room out of balsa wood.  We used clay and balsa wood to design our furniture.  We decorated them using paint and felt. We ended up with gorgeous miniature dream rooms.
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The Geometry of Airplanes

After our dream room project we have been making paper airplanes to learn about angles like obtuse, acute, and right.  After we made the planes, we labeled the angles. We also measured angles with a protractor. Later we will make airplanes out of balsa wood and study how flight works. In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first plane that stayed up. On the first try the plane flew for twelve seconds and went 120 feet.

Cinco De Mayo

On Monday, May 5th 2014 our class celebrated Cinco De Mayo. In Spanish this means, fifth of May. It is a celebration of  Mexican heritage and pride. This day commemorates the  Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).

In our class we made dulce de leche cheesecake, chosen by our group. Yum yum! We also sampled guacamole and made maracas.
by P.H. N.Y.

   P.E. Update
In P.E we have been working on skills, for example these: Dribbling, shooting baskets, volleying, throwing, catching, and so on. Our P.E teacher  Lisa teaches us all of those skills. In her class we have a lot of fun! We have been playing games such as: knock-em and block-em, castle ball, ultimate frisbee, everybody’s it, raid tag, and more. Lisa plays games with us that don't make the less experienced kids feel bad. M.K. said that P.E. is super duper ultimate AWESOME. Z.P. said P.E. is his favorite thing and also that it’s AWESOME.         

It’s Miquon Grass Time!

Miquon Grass is a yearly book of stories and poems that all of the students, nursery to the sixth grade contribute to.  For the last two weeks, our class has been working on our Miquon Grass stories. We’ve written a huge variety of stories, some from projects, some from homework, and some just written for fun. Currently, Sarah and Sara are reading people’s work to the class. Once they’ve read someone’s story aloud, we do illustrations and once everyone is done, Sara and Sarah will take the stories to Tammy and she will put them in the book. Everyone’s story is awesome. Here is a part of R.R.’s story.

I woke up one midnight cold and shivering. there was thunder outside. Peach Fuzz, my cat,lay by the foot of my bed, as always. I brought Peach Fuzz to the front of the bed and stroked his head,which was as soft as cashmere. I did this until he fell asleep. I didn’t name him for his fur, for it was all black and gray but for the fuzzy peach colored splotches that appeared in front of my face as he meowed or purred. His fur was not peach, but for a long time I thought that seeing colors that weren’t there was perfectly normal, it wasn’t until later that I found out most other people did not see the colors I saw. I later found out that my condition was called synesthesia.

This year’s Miquon Grass will be great! Everyone worked so hard on their stories and poems,and they should be proud of their work.  Awesome job to R.R and everybody else who contributed!

City of Ember

The book we have been reading as a class is called City of Ember written by Jeanne DuPrau. This is a story about a girl named Lina and a boy named Doon. They live in a city where the sky is always dark. There is nothing but the city as far as the characters know but some of them believe there is more to their world then they know. We are at the part where Lina has found a document that may or may not be important to the story.  The document was ripped by Lina’s sister. When every boy or girl turns 12 they get assigned to a job. Lina gets a job to deliver messages.
            This is a picture of the cover. THE-CITY-OF-EMBER-deluxe-cover.jpg
by  M.H and  Z.A

Friday, March 14, 2014

March Newsletter

Greetings, everyone! Here is our March newsletter, written by children from our group. Next week, Sara and Lisa will take over while I meet with families for conferences. Sara and Lisa chose an "Olympics" theme for their work next week. The group is really excited!
Sarah (and Sara)

Marble Party
In order to have a class party, we needed to fill a jar up to 1,000 ml of marbles. We earned marbles by cleaning the classroom and organizing ourselves during a countdown. We also earn marbles on how well we were doing music class. This took us 7 months to happen.
This upcoming Friday, we will be having a movie, pajama, dessert buffet, stuffies party! We voted on watching either Despicable Me Two or Wipeout. We will be making doughnuts with stations for toppings. After the movie and sweets, we will make clothes for our stuffies or play board games.
By R.R.

Harris Burdick Stories
4069053.gifOur class did a series of stories based on fourteen pictures and captions, made by an unknown and mysterious author named Harris Burdick. Chris Van Allsburg, a well known author, showcased the known information and captions in a book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. The information tells of the publisher’s office that Harris Burdick went to and him showing his pictures to the publisher. The publisher loved the pictures and asked him to come back the next day. He didn’t come for weeks, and months, and the publisher frantically looked for more information about Harris Burdick, but he couldn’t find any. People tied to find out the mystery of who Harris Burdick was by looking for clues on the internet. Two children found out that there was no Harris Burdick,but that it was really Chris Van Allsburg the whole time.

Colonial Simulation
In simulation, we pretend  that we are colonists from three different countries Amsterdam, England and Germany. We left these countries because of religious persecution and  to make a new life in the new world, America.
We chose three boats to set sail, picked farm animals, people, weapons, food, tools and clothing for our journey. Once we set sail, each group would pick out of special envelopes to see how many miles we travel and what our colonists experience on the boat, good or bad.
There is a lot of math that goes into this simulation. For example, once our groups know how many miles we sailed, we subtract it from the miles left to travel. Another example of math practice is when the people eat units of food we must subtract it from each person and farm animal. 

We made miniature boats to scale out of paper, foam and cloth. This also had a lot of math in it.
Once we landed we had to find somewhere to settle. Again, we pick out of bags to see how much food people get, the weather, general welfare and sometimes we get bonuses! Each simulation day, we find another area to settle, but some areas are Lenape territory so we cant.
There is a lot left in our simulation, we will update  you soon!       
M.H         O.B.F

Mini Courses
The mini courses were four square with Lisa, Legos with Diego, cupcakes with Sara and Hillary. Kids in the  cupcake mini course designed their own cupcakes and they made a giant minion from Despicable Me.  Connie and Sue had a sewing course, writers group was with Sarah and Diane, and rainbow loom was with Amy.  They made rainbow loom bracelets like starburst fish tail and stuff like that. Sara said in her cupcake mini course they made cupcakes and made their own recipes. In four square they played four square and they sometimes played  knockout. In sewing they made stuff out of fabric.  In cartooning with Anne they sat around and did cartooning and drawing in their sketchbooks.  In writers group they wrote their own stored and the end they had hot chocolate. In Lego they built their own structures.

By D.Z. and D.G.strawberry-lemonade-cupcake-7.jpg

By HM and ZA

Mathemagic is a math show we performed with tricks for each math trick. Here are seven of the tricks: the 11’s trick part 1, 11’s trick part 2, Magic Square, 5’s trick, Leapfrog Addition, Missing Digit, and Calendar Trick. The 11’s trick part 1 works by a helper handing out cards that have problems like 11 X 54 =  ? Then the mathemagicians separate the 5 and 4.  For example, 5_4 then you add up the 5 and 4 to get 9, then put the 9 in the middle of 5 and 4 to get your answer. The answer of 11 X 54 is 594.

The 11’s trick part 2 works by the mathemagicians calling on a person in the audience. That person then has to think of 11 X a two digit number. For example 11 X 98. The 11’s trick part 2 is harder because you might need to regroup. For example, with  9_8 you need to add up 9 and 8, which is 17.   You break up 17 in to 10 and 7. Then you take the 7 put it in between the 10 and 8. The answer is 1078.

Next is Magic Square look down at the magic square to figure out.  First you chose a number between 22 and 99. All the corners, diagonally, and up and down will equal your target number.  Then say your number is 54 you subtract 54 - 20 to fill in the high left corner. Then fill in the multiples of 9. Then in the spaces that don’t have any a’s or multiples you put 9, 10, 11, 12. Now do a’s. You fill in them by taking 34  -/+ 34 depending on the symbols. Here is a video to help you learn. The 5’s trick is easy once you learn some hard multiplication problems. For the 5's trick people can multiply any two-digit numbers ending in 5 by themselves, meaning squaring them. The trick is that you know the answer will end in "25." To find the digits to put in front of the 25, you take the digit in the problem that is not 5 and multiply it by the next consecutive digit. For example, in 35 x 35, 3 x 4 = 12. Then add 25 to the 12, so the answer is 1,225.

Target number =54














6        4


4       6
Dream Room Project

We are making dream rooms.We design an imaginary room in a house and we can’t go over our budget which is $3,000.We try to make a very, very good room that would be in a house. Most people thought it was fun.  I, A.E. designed a cool basement.  It has a couch from Lowes and a bunk bed from IKEA.782359130880lg.jpg
I, M.K. designed a living room with a flat screen TV and a electric fireplace from Home depot.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January Newsletter

Hi everyone!  Here is an overview of what we have been working on and studying in our group:

In mathematics, we are continuing our mixed-age study of multiplication and division, primarily drawing from Singapore Math and Real Math lessons, but also adding in activities and games from a variety of sources.  On most days we are working in 4 math skill groups, which Sara and I both teach. Specifically, fourths are working through multi-digit multiplication and "short" division (which is really the same thing as long, just a slightly less involved way of recording.)  Additionally, thirds are "spiraling back" to work we did earlier in the year around addition and subtraction with regrouping, reviewing the algorithm of course, but even more importantly, exploring these skills within the context of challenging word problems.  

Singapore has a wonderful emphasis on this kind of application, so virtually all of our word problems come from Singapore's program.  It also emphasizes vocabulary and higher-level reasoning.  Real Math, on the other hand, provides a really scaffolded and step-by-step approach, which is a perfect match for some of our learners.     As you know, while we at Miquon believe that learning should be fun, interesting, and joyful, we also believe that knowing rote facts like multiplication tables is part of the, forgive the pun, equation too.  Please help your child by quizzing him/her with multiplication and division facts in the car, in line, etc.

In the classroom, our upcoming Mathemagic Show at 9 AM on March 7 provides children with an authentic reason for developing automaticity, as well as a "real, live" audience.  Children have been learning tricks from Arthur Benjamin's book Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks.  We are practicing our tricks for the show with Hilary and Diana's group once a week and will amaze and astound you at our show! 

There is also a lot of math in involved in our social studies/theme colonial simulation, which we have just embarked (ooh I am feeling punny today) upon. Our simulations are one part role-playing game and one part traditional study.  Since we are focusing on what will become the Germantown area, children's groups were assigned (through a roll of a die) to be Mennonite settlers from Germany or Quaker settlers from England or Amsterdam.  

During each part of the simulation, children learn content about the topics we are studying, either through research, information we teachers provide, or activities.  In some ways, this is the same information that a standard textbook would provide.  However, in my humble opinion simulations provide children with a "hook," a desire to actually learn the information because it applies to them.  The game and dramatic play format brings historical information which may have previously seemed abstract and uninteresting and makes it relevant to "their" (simulated) lives.  I have found that children are much more curious in such a case, and that they store the knowledge more deeply because they have such personal and rich experiences with it.

For example, last week groups learned about three different types of ships from the 18th century, as well as about some reasons early colonists left their homes.  They found out which type of colony they are (religious freedom, private company, or government) and then received budgets for buying ships and cargo.  This may sound simple enough, but it was actually quite complex: Depending on their colony type, they had different budgets for ships and cargo.  Once they bought their ships, they still had to budget for cargo AND divide these supplies amongst their three ships.  Here is some great video footage of the difficult conversations and decisions they have had to make for this part of the project.  Please excuse my somewhat halting explanation of the project in the second video - I am still learning how to multitask with tech.  

Over the next two weeks, children will find what fate has in store for their fleet: will it bring them gentle breezes or a maelstrom of rain and thunder?  Duh, duh, duh....

Over the past two weeks in writing, Children have been developing original myths with Sara to explain natural phenomena in learning buddy (3rd/4th) partnerships.  This project emerged from the myths and mythological creatures unit students themselves asked to study. They are now writing their stories in the forms of plays and will be designing a full puppet show accompaniment next week.

We just finished Wonder, our reading workshop mentor text, which was a really wonder-full book and led to many fruitful discussions about both reading comprehension skills (e.g. inferencing, predicting) as well as social skills (kindness, the many forms of bullying, etc.)  On many occasions, our discussions brought us back to our classroom, our community, and ourselves.  Last week we discussed stereotypes about "girl" things and "boy" things, and how important it is for us to allow one another freedom to be ourselves.  I talked about the double standard I have noticed regarding these stereotypes, in the sense that people don't react if I wear pants, but many more people probably would if, say, my husband wore a skirt.  Children agreed that they have heard one another label things in this way, and that it might feel restrictive to some children. From the "Table Talk" homework, we heard that all of you had good talks with your children around cultural beliefs/images of "beauty" or "ugliness" last week.  We continued these conversations in our drama work with Carol, aka Dr. Carol Moog, our amazing school psychologist.  Some children talked about still having a fearful reaction to people with conditions like craniofacial differences.  Carol emphasized how normal and even expected that is, but that the important thing is to move past those feelings and find a way to connect with the person.  We asked children to act out scenes depicting such a shift.  Here are two:

Thakiyah, Nahla's mom, kindly sent along an incredibly inspiring TED talk by an inspiring young woman named Lizzie Velasquez that we watched as a whole group, and which I encourage you to check out.  

Next we'll be studying Chris Van Allsburg's picture books to kick off an author study, which children will then extend and choose an author of their own.  

Here are some important dates to keep in mind:

February 7, 9 AM: Our group's annual jokes assembly.  Children from our group may or may not choose to tell a joke, and we will invite children from other groups to share as well.  We'll have a short skit performed by some children in our group, where I (and maybe others) will (spoiler alert) get a whipped cream pie to the face.  Ah, the things we teachers do to inspire young minds...

February 11, 9ish AM: Trip to Arden Theater to see Wayside School, the play.  Jacqui and Hope are chaperoning.  Thanks!

March 7, 9 AM: Our joint 3rd/4th Mathemagic Show.  Please encourage your child to participate if you would like to see him/her perform a trick.  We aren't forcing children to perform, so right now it looks as if half of each group will perform a trick.  Everyone is learning and practicing at least one trick and will take part in planning the show, however.

April 17, 8:45 until 1:30: Trip to colonial Germantown sites, including Stenton and Concord Schoolhouse.

I hope everyone is having a safe, warm snowy evening!

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Newsletter for Sarah and Sara's 3/4 Group

Here is this month's newsletter, written by our group. I am thrilled to announce that Sara Slaybaugh is the new assistant teacher in our group. She is amazing. Enjoy this month's articles!
Our new teacher!
We would like to introduce our new teacher, Sara Slaybaugh.  She is 27 years old and she lived in Thailand for four years.There, she taught at a British International School. Her favorite hobbies are painting, photography, scuba diving, and traveling.  Her favorite animal is a dog.  Her favorite places she has been to are: India, Nepal, and New Zealand. Her favorite color is blue, and she has also taught in China. Her favorite part of Miquon school is that the buildings look like cabins in the woods.  Her favorite holiday is Halloween and her favorite book is The Minds of Billy Milligan.  She looooves to travel.  Our class is happy to have Sara as our new teacher, and we hope she stays in our classroom, Sarah and Sara’s group.

Rube Goldberg devices

For some of this year we have been studying Rube Goldberg devices.  Here is one example with a long ramp. Here is the second with a ton of dominoes.

Haven't had enough Rube Goldberg? Here’s number three and four. Rube Goldberg was an inventor and cartoonist. Basically a Rube Goldberg device is a machine that is like dominoes because it is a chain reaction for example, a ball rolls down ramp that hits dominoes which knock them over.     

Food Tasting
By D.J. D.Z. and E.R

In the beginning of the year we wrote things we wanted to study on pieces of paper. We wanted to study Food Tastings. Our teacher asked us to find an educational value. So we made sheets we would have to fill out for are food recipe here is the sheet when you brought in your food. Here are some examples: M.H. brought in birthday soup from Korea, D.J. brought in eggplant paste from the Middle East, D.Z. brought in chicken adobo from the Philippines, E.R. brought in chai tea from India, B.F. brought in cookies which are a tradition in his family, M.K. brought in cinnamon pie crust which is also a tradition in his family, P.H. brought in cranberry bread which is also a tradition in his family, M.D. brought in pumpkin bread which is from southeast Maine, and W.B brought kale chips.

Math Games

In math class this month we have been playing some games involving multiplication, division, addition and subtraction to make learning more fun!

The first game we will be talking about is Line of Three. You use six sided dice. Say you roll a 10, you will look on the board and find something that equals 10. You can use Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and division. For example 5 X 2 =10.

The next game we will be talking about is Star Struck. You put markers at the start and the board has a shortcut or  miss a turn.  You have card with math problems. For example 6 X 1 = six, so you move six.

The next game we will be talking about is Multiples. You roll two dice. Each player start at 36 and you at the say you roll a 6 and a 1 you will look where you are see if  there is a 6 touching where you are. Then move there.

The next game is 2 Centimeter Square. you have a 11 by 8 game board. You roll two dice. say you get 5 and 6 then on the board you find the array. then right the question in then the answer.

We had a lot of fun playing these games, you should try them to! Good Luck!


We have magnetic boards and magnetic phrases.  It is near the white board. Everyone can do the magnetic poetry.  

I am the sea
My throat is full of the rain.
I laugh, I fall in the ocean.  We run.
All is lost under my bed.
A pig rolls all day long in a zoo on my arm.
It is not that thing over the boat.
Me, my candy, my friend, the tiny bug
Loves when I’m sick with her
Which makes me sick.

Lenape Simulation

For the last month we have been writing about our own Lenape village we made up. In our village, many things happened.  There was a big thunderstorm, we saw a European person, we had a giant sickness come through our village, and we had a whole village meeting about the Europeans and what we should do.  We decided that we would send out scouting parties to try to find their village.  We also painted our window like a Lenape village! We made 4 little wigwams which are Lenape houses which are made from bark and stretched out twigs. We are going to have a publishing party on Tuesday, December 17 at 8:30 AM for our Lenape stories.  
We have been studying myths & mythical creatures because three students thought it was interesting and picked it to study.  Some of the creatures we like are dragons, pink fluffy unicorns and bongo playing mer-donkeys. So far we have done mythical etchings. We read the book called Sukey and the Mermaid. It is about a girl named Sukey who goes down to a beach and sings a song and a  mermaid comes and teaches Sukey to swim. The illustrator chose to draw in etchings for the pictures. We decided to mimic this andmake our own etchings!