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BUES December 2023 Newsletter

  • Community Corner

    Each newsletter we will post a question and share responses/feedback from the previous question. 

    Don't miss this opportunity to share your answers!


    We’d like to hear from you. 

    Has your child shared anything new, fun, or challenging that they’ve learned or done in a GATEWAY class?

    Share your answer here or by scanning the QR code:


    Are there any reading-related activities, like visiting libraries or bookstores, that your family enjoys doing together? 

    Share your answer here or by scanning the QR code:

  • Advanced Math News

    Tier 2 Math  

    Fourth and fifth grade students in Tier 2 Math have lots of fun activities to enjoy in the Google Classroom, including a wide range of topics from Order of operations to Algebraic expressions to Multiplication and Division to Logic Puzzles! 

    Tier 3 Math 

    4th Grade: 

    Our current unit of study is Factors, Multiples, and Leftovers: Multiplication and Division. Classes have been investigating multiples on a hundreds chart and identifying patterns they find. These patterns are helpful when we look at divisibility rules and find the factors for numbers 1 – 100. Students are sorting numbers based on their traits, whether the numbers are odd, even, prime, composite, and/or square. They are making generalizations about common factors and common multiples such as all multiples of 8 are also multiples of 1, 2, and 4 because 1, 2, and 4 are all factors of eight. Next, students will be working to understand that multiplication and division are inverse relationships and that multiplication can help solve division problems. They are challenged to solve problems and uncover rules that require higher order thinking skills. The focus of our lessons will be to increase the students’ conceptual and procedural knowledge of division. They’ll use their estimation skills to divide accurately. They’ll understand how the divisor, quotient and remainder are connected to the dividend. While problem solving, they’ll learn the role of the remainder and how it can be recorded as a fraction, decimal or remainder depending on the question. With these concepts mastered, they’ll be able to solve challenging problems and puzzles.

    5th Grade: 

    Fabulous fraction fun is what’s happening in fifth grade advanced math. These mathematicians have been investigating, discussing, writing about, and solving problems related to comparing and ordering fractions. Using tangrams, they learned how fractions relate to the whole and how fractions relate to other fractions. They’re currently combining fractions to total 1. Next, they’ll be adding unit fractions to total given fractions. Soon, they’ll put their fraction skills to use and use a variety of problem-solving strategies to solve fraction puzzles: Magic Squares and Magic Triangles.

    Tier 3 STEM News

    Grade 4:

    Students recently completed  the Shapes of Strength Challenge. After brainstorming and researching what makes structures strong, students were challenged to build a freestanding structure that could hold the most amount of books. All groups were given one minute to brainstorm their ideas. Then, they went to work for 8 minutes with 10 pieces of paper, 20 straws, 20 paper clips, and masking tape to build their structures. Most students struggled with this challenge. While we were debriefing, students realized that more time for planning was needed. They also came to the conclusion that they weren’t sure what the strongest shape would be best. Together we discussed the importance of research and planning. For the second iteration, we researched and tested several shapes to see which would work best for this challenge. All agreed it was a cylinder. All the groups took time to plan their design and choose which materials they would use. As you can see from the photos, they were much more successful after researching and planning.


    Currently, students are researching wind and wind energy for the next challenge, which is to create a wind turbine that will be strong enough to lift a cup full of pennies off the ground. I can’t wait to see the results!

    Grade 5:  

    Our 5th grade engineers completed building and testing prototype ocean liners to carry gems across the water. There were successes and failures on the first attempt, but students  discussed what worked and what didn’t. Discussions included how the materials and design impacted buoyancy and water displacement. After working together to improve their designs, students created and tested their new prototypes. This time, with the new and improved designs, everyone was successful and transported more gems. One group transported 465 gems! 


    For our next challenge, students will be hired by the Emergency Relief Agency to deliver supplies to hurricane ravished Florida, while the road that is usually used is being repaired. The challenge is to release supplies from a zip line onto a target where the environmental engineers will be waiting for the much needed supplies. Before designing, building and testing, all the groups will research Newton’s First Law, Potential and Kinetic Energy, Acceleration, Friction, and Trajectory. With background knowledge in place, students will create, test, improve, and retest their designs.

  • Advanced ELA and FPS News

    Tier 2 ELA

    Grades 4 and 5

    In our Tier 2 Advanced ELA program for fourth and fifth graders, students are engaged in the digital realm of Google Classroom! Fourth graders, exploring "Animal Intelligence," showcased their ability to differentiate between facts and opinions. They demonstrated their research on various animals through posters, presentations, and written pieces, reflecting their analytical skills. Meanwhile, fifth graders dove into "Catching the Light," comparing characters and myths. They explored types of energy and weather, crafting their own myths in the process. Each week brings fresh opportunities for creative expression and engagement aligned with the Reach for Reading ELA Units.  

    Tier 3 Advanced ELA 

    Grade 4

    In our fourth-grade Tier 3 ELA class, students embarked on an exploration of the novel A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord. Diving into the literary concepts of mirrors and windows, they honed their ability to make connections to the text. Through character chart creation, students discerned the nuances between the main characters, exploring the lessons they can draw from character’s experiences and cultural backgrounds. Immersed in the backdrop of Maine's blueberry barrens, students applied observational skills to craft haikus while learning about the challenges facing the blueberry industry. Connecting the narrative to the real world, they explored Maine’s migrant worker industry, recognizing its significance to our daily lives and gaining a deeper understanding of characters' challenges and perspectives in A Handful of Stars.

    Grade 5

    In our fifth-grade Tier 3 ELA class, our journey through the novel Lucky Broken Girl explored its historical context, reading and discussing the impact of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. Through collaborative analysis of symbols in the novel, students synthesized their understanding by creating a virtual time capsule, encapsulating the story's themes. Making meaningful text-to-world connections, students explored the life and art of Frida Kahlo, drawing parallels between her inspiration and the novel's protagonist, Ruthie. Using these insights, they expressed their identities through self-portraits, mirroring the characters’ use of art to navigate adversity and celebrate their respective cultures.

    Grade 5 Community Problem Solving(CmPS) 

    In our fifth-grade Community Problem Solving groups, students are actively engaged in the creative problem-solving process. Beginning with brainstorming potential topics through research, community interviews, and in-depth class discussions, the groups defined their chosen issues. Group 1 focused on Littering/Beach Waste, while Group 2 tackled Food Waste. Through research, students compiled information to explain the issues' importance and discuss their impact on their communities. Advancing to the next steps, students broke off into two groups to begin drafting their project proposals. Some focused on the Area of Concern, introducing the issue, while others collaborated on Challenges Identified, creatively listing potential underlying issues. This step serves as a foundation for the identification of the Underlying Problem in the coming phases of the problem-solving process. The groups are moving through each step, with the  goal of proposing effective solutions to the issues they've identified.