During independent workshop time, fifth graders continued trying out the different options for how to practice the skills they need for their vocabulary and geography badges tests and took a baseline test in each of these areas. Some students earned their badge and were able to move on to their next skill/badge, while other students were able to use their scores to evaluate how much more practice they would need and whether or not the choices they were making during independent workshop time were helping to move their learning forward.
Fifth graders also spent time working on their writing skills by reviewing capitalization rules and learning how to restate the prompt in order to ensure they were fully answering the question. They put these skills to the test at the end of the week when they wrote a paragraph about the unequal experiences of the main characters in the picture book Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles, which we had read together and discussed earlier in the week.
Week four was a short week due to a field trip on Thursday and a half day on Friday, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather on Wednesday and took students outside to play a game. The game was simple: three teams competed to collect items from the center circle of the soccer field and return them to their hula hoop. The team with the most items in their hoop when all items had been removed from the center circle was the winner. However, there was a catch: one hula hoop was about five yards away from the center circle, one was about 15 yards away, and the third was about 25 yards away. And the team with the hula hoop the farthest away was only allowed to hop!
Clearly this game wasn't fair, and students (after the initial shock of the game being so blatantly rigged in favor of one team) were quickly able to make connections to our inequality unit. When we came together to debrief afterward, students mentioned the Global Goals, poverty, inequality, and even made connections back to the macaroni activity from a few weeks ago--all without any prompting from teachers! Mr. Chadburn and Miss G were so impressed by the conversation and insightful comments like these:
"This was about poverty because we [the blue team] were working harder than these two groups combined, but we still only got 15 balls total." -5th grader
"This shows how hard some people can work and how little they get for that hard work." -5th grader
"This reminds me of the macaroni chart we did and how it went up from a couple bags to a lot of bags. It goes up by a lot!" - 6th grader
After missing two class days with this group, we are eager to jump back in next week and find out where our inequality unit takes us next!