With another school year now behind us here in FSD145, Blackhawk Elementary teachers from each grade level team shared a few highlights from the past year in their classrooms.
KindergartenThroughout the year our kindergarten students have had the opportunity to experience and participate in a variety of activities. Our students enjoyed learning about Veterans Day with grade level activities centered around veterans and the important role they have played in our history. They also had a great time celebrating them at our Veterans Day concert. They love to perform and had the opportunity to sing at our Winter Concert and Blackhawk Has Talent show as well. We celebrated our 100th day of school by doing a variety of STEM related activities. We have seen our students' letter and sound recognition, as well as their handwriting, grow through the use of our phonics curriculum, Fundations. Our students' math knowledge has expanded through our daily Number Corner activities and work investigation time. We have had the opportunity to encourage their love of reading through read alouds and time alone to read a book of their choice.
We did a Monster Build and Cheetoh Tower STEM Activity in the fall. The kids showed ingenuity in developing their designs for their monsters. Some could even stand up on their own! The students were able to figure out several different ways to make shapes with a specific number of sides or using only a certain amount of supplies. In October, the students took a field trip to the pumpkin patch. They showed excellent behavior away from the school environment and were very excited to learn about how pumpkins grow. They also got to pick out their own pumpkins! This spring, the Highland Basketball Team came out to read to the first graders. After this experience, some students asked to have more time to read in the classroom that afternoon! The new Fundations program was popular among students. The content was fun and the activities were very engaging. Kindergarten Fundations has helped the ESL students make great strides in their decoding skills for reading. All classes made significant progress in F&P. 88% of Smith’s students improved at least a grade level or more. All of Perry’s class moved two or more levels, and one student jumped four levels. The new curriculum was exciting and effective. The students enjoyed the Bridges lessons and made strides in math. Schoolwide provided opportunities to dive deeply into books and get students thinking more critically about good reader topics.
Second graders took part in monthly STEM challenges. Some of the favorites were: apple rafts, string bridges, marshmallow towers, slingshots, catapults, and marble mazes. Students researched how and why birds build nests, tried building their own, and then convinced a robin to select theirs. During reading/writing instruction, we incorporated a study of rocks where students learned about the different types of rocks and their uses. Students went to the Cave of the Mounds as a culminating activity. We studied the solar system, and wrote informational essays about the planets, including learning about various art mediums. Students researched animals in their natural habitats, learning to take notes and use them to write informational texts. Students learned to present information to peers, and were able to visit Madison’s Zoo to see their animals in real life.
Our Disney Dude Stem Activity was creative and engaging. The Keepers of the Land field trip to Oakdale was fun and educational. Bridges and Number Corner emphasized academic vocabulary, partner discussion, explanation, and the eight mathematical practices, which really makes the kids think. The majority of third graders grew a great deal on the MAP math test. Family Engagement Nights were all a huge success.
Throughout the year, we’ve seen lots of growth with our students in math - MAP scores are showing that implementation of our new Bridges and Number Corner programs seems to be effective, and approximately half of our students are performing at or above grade level. Although not all of our students are currently reading at grade level, they have all shown growth of more than one level on the Fountas and Pinnell year-end assessment. As we worked through our last ELA Schoolwide unit on Energy, we incorporated several hands-on STEM activities, including creating a closed circuit and using wind energy. Our classes even took a trip to the Discovery Center in Rockford to explore and create roller coasters to demonstrate potential and kinetic energy. We went even further with STEM as we attempted to Save Sam - our drowning worm - and to create spaghetti and marshmallow towers, and develop a wind-resistant marshmallow igloo. As part of our AVID program, our fourth graders have also been working hard to identify various levels of questioning, take ownership over assignments and objectives, and develop a system of organization that works best for each individual child. They have also learned to utilize a variety of note-taking strategies and tools to demonstrate reflection and learning (such as the DLIQ, one-pager, and quick writes).
|1st and 2nd grade bilingual students display science experiments.|