Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wizard Food Drive - 12/12 - 12/2

A group of Wizard leaders have been meeting to organize a winter food drive.  Wizard students have been randomly assigned to one of the four teachers.  With their group, they will collect non-perishable food items for the next two weeks.  We are still getting organized, but the plan is for students to complete sculptures with the items their team collects on the day before break.  After the sculptures have been created, we will bag the items and take them directly to the Duxbury food shelf.  We are excited to give back to our community this holiday season.    

DSC_0354.JPG (1600×1071)
We can't wait to see the creative sculptures that our Wizards will make!

Friday, December 9, 2016

5th Grade Math

In 5th grade math, students have completed the division unit. Working with whole numbers with up to a 4 digit dividend and a 2 digit divisor, students used various strategies to solve these problems. Students worked to illustrate and explain the calculations by using equations, partial quotient and menus. Ask how they solved frames per second in the short Pixar movie “Presto” and “Lifted.”

We are moving into the study of geometric measurement which includes understanding the concepts of volume and the relationship of volume to multiplication and addition. Students will be using manipulatives to help with this concept, as well as using the formula for volume. As with each mathematical concept taught, students will use real world problems to help in the understanding of volume.

Click here for more information about this unit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We are Thankful for our Wizard Students and Families

We wanted to thank all of the families who contributed to our breakfast this morning. We had plenty of delicious treats. We were also excited to have so many parents join our celebration! It was a lovely morning, complete with a talent show.  

The party organizers...They did a great job!

I'd smile too with a plate of food like that:)

The best of friends! 

Our star cello player!

Card trick--minds blown!

These three have the most lovely voices! 

Bottle flipping success

Can you solve a Rubic's Cube in under a minute?  He can!

The poet
A Tuesday breakfast, which we can all enjoy.
A good way to share thoughts, and to spread Joy.
Everyone is gathered around, like a family.
We are all together, eating happily!

Comedy Hour

Finishing with some flips

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tuesday Breakfast & Math Update

Team Breakfast 
You are invited to a Team Wizards breakfast next Tuesday!  Dear parents and guardians please come to our breakfast on Tuesday, November 22 from 8:00 - 8:50.  Stop by for a treat with your student.  There even may be entertainment from our talented Wizards. We hope to see you Tuesday!  This potluck breakfast is organized by Dylan, Teras, Olivia, Talie, Julia, Eleanor, Eva, and Janelle with support from Ms. Anderman.  

Math Update

As we move to recording all progress in Schoology, please note that all assignments prior to last week will be in Powerschool.  Please check the date of any "missing" work before you check in with your student.  If it is an old assignment it is possible that it was completed but recorded in Powerschool.  Schoology will now be updated weekly and I believe that it will make it much easier for you and your student to check assignments and to see progress at the same time.  Thanks for your patience and flexibility.

5th Grade Math
In 5th grade we are finishing up our study of division.  You can click here to see the partial quotients algorithm that your student will need to know to be proficient.   This is the algorithm students should be practicing on this week's homework. 

6th Grade Math
In 6th grade we are well into our study of ratios and rates.  The following gives an overview of the content your 6th graders are learning.  


Students build understanding of ratios as comparisons of numbers. Students express ratios in different ways: with the language of for every, using the word to, with colon notation (a : b), and using the word per.


When you say that 1/6 of a school is sixth graders, strictly speaking, this is not a number but a ratio. It compares a part to the whole; for every 6 students, 1 is a sixth grader.
The ratio of the sixth-grade fundraising goal to the seventh-grade fundraising goal is 60 : 90.
Mary runs at 5 miles per hour.

Unit Rate

A unit rate is a comparison in which one of the numbers being compared is 1 unit. You can use unit rates to calculate equivalent ratios.


Finn runs 10 miles in 2 hours.
Finn runs 2.5 miles in a half hour (or 30 minutes).
Finn runs 1 mile in 1/5 hour (or 12 minutes).
The statement Finn runs 1 mile in 12 minutes expresses a unit rate.

Rate Table

Rate tables are a way to express equivalent ratios. For example, if you know that 1 ounce of popcorn kernels yields 4 cups of popped corn, you can use a rate table to calculate other amounts


Cups of Popcorn From Ounces of Kernels
Number of Cups of Popcorn4812162024283236404448
Number of Ounces of Popcorn Kernels123456789101112

Monday, November 14, 2016

Conference Feedback

Hello Families!
Thank you to the many families who joined us Thursday night in a celebration of learning! It was wonderful to see the students share all the wonderful work they have been doing.  As we met with families we noticed a few "themes" emerge so we thought it might be helpful to clarify a couple of things...

Based on some insights from last Thursday night and a subsequent discussion among the teachers, we have decided to use Schoology "exclusively" for assignments, feedback and the reporting of progress toward the proficiencies we are teaching. So from this point forward, if you are looking to see if your student is caught up on their work, how they did on an assignment or the feedback they received, please consult Schoology.  We hope that this streamlines the process of reporting for both students and parents.  No need to look on Powerschool. All the information you will need will be on Schoology.  If you have any questions about Schoology, we are here to help, so please ask!

Language Arts
The question Mrs. Michael received the most was about the homework expectations for her class. The short answer is, students should be reading 30 minutes a night, five times a week. Which for most students, means that they will read at least two novels per month.  When they finish a book, they should record it on their reading log (which is in Google Drive.)  At the end of each month they will write a book review for one of their independent reading books and publish it on the "What are you reading?" blog. The blog assignment will always be posted each month on Schoology.  Any additional assignments will also be posted on Schoology. Occasionally, if students do not finish work in class, they will be expected to do it for homework that night. Feel free to contact Mrs. Michael with any questions.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fundraising Information

Each year, the CBMS PTO organizes a fundraiser selling holiday wreaths and poinsettias from Evergreen Gardens.  New this year they are also offering fudge from Laughing Moon Chocolates. Please consider supporting the Wizards to raise money for our spring field trip to Boston.  Students should have brought this paperwork home on Friday but in case they didn't the links are below.  All money raised by Wizards goes directly to our team.  The deadline for orders is Friday November 11.  Thanks for supporting the Wizards.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mindfulness Matters!

One of the things we hope to see as a byproduct of practicing mindfulness is an improvement in student's ability to self-regulate. We recently surveyed the students about their use of mindfulness to see if they were using it outside of our lessons, for what purpose and whether it has been helpful to them. Their examples were rather eclectic so I wanted to share with you some of their comments which represent the themes that seem to be emerging.

"When I was doing homework there was a math problem that was really hard and I got really frustrated and then I thought about mindfulness and I took three deep breaths and it calmed me down, and then I thought about the problem and I understood it."

"I used mindfulness when my friend and I where in a fight and I took a deep breath and relaxed and I responded kindly and the fight was over." 

"I was in a frustrating class and I stopped and took 15 deep breaths and then reminded myself that whether I reacted or responded would make the situation better or worse, this helped me a lot."

"I was frustrated in football and I had to calm down so i got subbed out and practiced mindfulness."

"It helped me by making me feel less stressed doing homework."

"I used it when someone was being rude to me. It helped me so I wouldn't explode and start yelling at her."

"It helped me because my brother can be annoying so when I practice MindFullness it helped me ignore him.
(and I used to scream at him )!"

"I used it to calm down when I was very overwhelmed."

"i find mindfulness helpful for me when i get angry and frustrated it helps me calm down."
"mindfulness if good for you all around in every way and it can be fun!"
Clearly, they are beginning to use mindfulness to help them calm down and deal with stressful situations. That is definitely something to celebrate. However, another one of our long term goals is to have mindfulness positively impact their ability to focus.  If you take a look at the data below, you will see that this is much needed! 

78% of kids report it is hard for them to pay attention &
85% say that they are easily distracted!

October data

Friday, October 14, 2016

News from "Robotics Houston Headquarters"!

Students have been busy creating toys that move and are now working on building a robot chassis. Once this has been successfully built and the tested with the driver control program students will modify their chassis to complete the task of collecting blocks and moving them across the floor. This is hard work as you will see from the photos below but everyone has made great progress and next week we will be able to test the vehicles and begin modifications. Stay tuned!!!
Parents and relatives are welcome to stop by and observe the progress!

"I like robotics because it is awesome to have a partner and you get to use all the different apps and you have to use things like problem solving and teamwork." Mia (Mia's partner was absent the day we took photos)
"I really like how we get to solve problems and all those things just with our partners. I also get along really well with my partner. " Julia
" I really like that we don't have to build the robot chassis step by step with the whole group and we can do it with partners. I learned that robots are used for many things. " Teras
"Robotics is really fun because I like to build." Ben
"I like it because we get to be creative. " Wesley
" I learned that robotics is fun because we  can make stuff that moves. " Izzy
"I like robotics because my partner and I learned how to build complicated things while we are having fun." Aiden
" I like robotics because I love Science and I want to be a scientist someday and I am so happy I get the chance to explore robots!" Grace
" I enjoy this unit because I am use to a different type of robot and it is proving to be harder but working with a partner has made it easier. " Noah
"I really like robotics because it's really cool to connect these things and make something really cool like a robot. It is also fun to do it with an awesome teacher teaching it." Maya
"What I really like about robotics is that I have the best teacher to teach me robotics! Also, it's not everyday you get to learn robotics at school! I also think robotics are really cool and fun!" Quinn
"My partner and I work well together. When we run into a problem we solve it together" Wyatt
"At the beginning it was boring with the story but now it is fun because we have to problem solve and put parts together. " Lewis
"I learned that working with my partner helped me not be such a control freak. The building is about making robots which is good because I like building." Clay
"It is fun because my partner and I work well together. I learned that Robotics is lots of fun with a partner." Garrett
"I liked how we got a lot more work done today because we communicated better! " Cole
"I think it has been fun because I got to build a robot" Emmett

" What I learned from robotics is that takes so many pieces to make up a working model. It's very confusing and if you get one piece wrong, you might have to take it apart. " Ava
" What I am learning from robotics is that I can work well with my partner and we are good at building things together." Avery

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just in case you missed Back to School night...

Here are some tidbits of information, to keep you in the know...  

Mindfulness--We didn't have time to cover this on Thursday...

Scientific research supports that Mindfulness improves children's focus and self-regulation, among other positive benefits. On our team, we are explicitly teaching the kids mindfulness practices. Here is a link to a Ted Talk about why we should be teaching mindfulness to kids. I would strongly encourage you to watch the video as it explains the relevance for teaching these strategies to kids. Be sure to ask your kids about mindfulness! 

Language Arts

In Language Arts, we have started the year off with our "Who Are You and Why Does it Matter?" unit.  The purpose of this unit was to foster relationships, make connections, develop self-awareness and figure ourselves out.  This is the first step in personalized learning. The learner must know themselves.  It helps that I got to really know the kids through all this work too.  Kids have been super engaged in all the projects, posts, discussions and activities.
Along with all this work, the kids have been learning to navigate all the new tech tools that we use.  To say my room is tech heavy would be an understatement.  We use all sorts of tools in innovative ways to enhance and augment learning. You want to see an engaged room full of kids, walk into my classroom. It's a fun place to be:)
Soon we will be starting our first round of Reader's Workshop. Students will work in book groups, reading books at their ability level and will be developing more complex comprehension skills. This model allows me to differentiate for the diverse reading needs and levels of my students. There is no one size fits all in my classroom.  After about six weeks, we will alternate this with a Writer's Workshop where we will focus on Informational, Argument or Narrative writing depending on the unit.

Schoology Verus Powerschool
As a team, we use Schoology as a rich Learning Management System that allows us to post assignments, rubrics, discussion threads, provide feedback to students and so much more. Students can track and submit assignments online.  You can keep track of your child's assignments in Schoology  and see if they are completing work on time, but will need to go to Powerschool to see their progress toward proficiencies.

Proficiency Based Learning
Speaking of proficiencies, this is new work to all of us. As teachers, we are are all learning to navigate this new landscape with our students.  Our main focus is on the Habits of Work rubrics, but we will also be addressing content standards and the Transferable Skills where appropriate.  Proficiency work is all about transparency, feedback and mastery. Students will have a better understanding of what they need to be able to do and whether or not they have met the criteria for proficiency.  Please watch Mr. Drake's presentation about PBL here.

Students will rotate by trimester through each of the following units... 

Students in Mrs. Houston’s class will be working with Project Lead the Way, a new science program recently adopted by the district. The unit this year is called Robotics. There are two units of exploration.
Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and their impact on society and the environment. Students learn about a variety of robotic components as they build and test mobile robots that may be controlled remotely. Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and then design a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.Students explore mechanical design and computer programming and design an automatic-guided vehicle to deliver supplies in a hospital.

Earth and Space
Ms. Anderman’s class is investigating the question “How do the earth, moon, and sun interact to create observable cycles?”.  Through this investigation, students will be doing hands-on inquiry and modeling activities to help them understand lunar phases, eclipses, the scale of the solar system, the seasons and the role gravity plays in these interactions.  

The students will be learning about geology in Mrs. Michael’s class this year.  Our unit essential question is How do natural events shape the Earth’s surface? Our focus will be on natural disasters and their impact on humans and the environment.  Students will be completing a major research project, creating a presentation and developing models to share their learning with others.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sharing Setting Fixed!

The links in the previous math update have been fixed.  Thanks to all of you who tried to look at the links.

Math News

In 5th and 6th grade math we are well into our study of number theory: factors, multiples, prime and composite numbers, even and odd numbers, square numbers, common factors, common multiples, and prime factorization.  See this link for 6th grade content for our first unit.  See this link for 5th grade content.

Homework has begun and we are in our third week of assigning homework in math.  Please expect one assignment per week.  All assignments will be posted on Schoology at the beginning of the week.  Please see the link below for more information on helping your student with math homework.

Math Homework:  How parents can help

Thanks for your continued support and please contact us with any questions or concerns,
Melinda Anderman & Stefi Clymer

Ms. Anderman's email:
Mrs. Clymer's email:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keeping track of homework, iblock, and more...

What is iBlock?
The "i" in iblock stands for individual.  iBlock is a 30 minute block that happens each day and is focused on the specific needs of individual students as determined by a combination of local assessments, teacher observation and student voice.  Each iBlock session will last 6 weeks.  iBlock groups will be taught by school-wide staff and will be small and focused.  Examples of areas of focus for the first session include

  • math reasoning and strategies
  • reading comprehension and fluency
  • geography skills
  • spelling
  • multiplication fact fluency
  • foreign language
If your student has needs outside of their assigned session 1 group, we will do our best to meet those needs during a different 6 week session.`

How is your student keeping track of assignments?

With the move to one-to-one devices, CBMS no longer orders assignments books for students to purchase.  We recognize that learning to manage deadlines and being organized is a skill that many middle school students are learning and that the development of these skills is essential for success. During team time today we got organized!

5th Graders
All 5th grade students have been supplied with a homework folder and a two week calendar where they will be writing their assignments.  If you have a 5th grader, please ask to see their folder and yellow paper calendar.

6th Graders
6th graders were given options, but are still required to have an organizational strategy for keeping track of deadlines and upcoming events.  6th graders can use the any of the following:

  • homework folder/two week calendar option
  • their own assignment book
  • online google calendar
  • Schoology calendar
We strongly encourage you to check in with your 6th grader to see which option they chose.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Science Begins!

This was our first week following our normal schedule, which meant we started science classes!  Ms. Anderman is teaching Earth and Space.  Mrs. Houston is teaching Robotics and Mrs. Michael will be teaching Processes that Shape the Earth. The students will rotate by trimester though each teacher and unit.  

Science begins...
After watching videos of eclipses, moon phases, and seasons,
students created drawings about why they thought these events occur

Students predicted the size and distance of the sun from
earth in scale and were surprised to realize how large the sun is
compared to earth and how far, far away it is!
In Mrs. Michael's class we explored the Scientific Method by experimenting with Skittles.  After this introductory lesson, students will design their own candy experiment by changing variables.

Check out this cool time lapse video Jack made of his group's experiment. 



Recording data & observations

Everyone has a task based on our job cards

Discussing results


Getting ready for Robotics

Taking inventory of ALL those pieces!



Now that we are following our normal schedule, we will keep doing Team Time on Thursday mornings throughout the year.  Ask your Wizard about our Team Kahoot!  Students had to put to the test all that they learned about each other during the first weeks of school.  Please be sure to check out the link to our schedule on the sidebar and stay tuned for more happenings on Team Wizards.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week one as a Wizard

My it was a busy and successful first week on the Wizards' wing! It was great to see our returning Wizards and to welcome the new ones.  We saw a lot of smiling faces and happy Wizards.  Although students had L.A, Math, and Social Studies in the afternoon, we spent each morning as a team.  We began the day with a team meeting and finished with a team building activity.  Students in Ms. Anderman's and Mrs. Clymer's math class focused on group activities and reflection that led to students creating expectations for our team called Our Wizard Pledge for Success.  There was a lot of thoughtful conversation and reflection about how we can work together this year and help one another be successful.  Here are some highlights from our first week together:

We built group puzzles without talking and thought about what we need from one another to complete a group task.

We worked together to find the Lonesome Llama.   We had to use our ability to describe, observe, and cooperate to find the llama's home.

We enjoyed some team building activities outside.
This one is called "Continuum" and  helps the kids find common interests.
"Peek a Who"--A game for practicing names.
The 6th graders created and presented skits for the 5th graders about how we treat our Chromebooks.
We played Human Bingo and learned a lot about each other
These smiling faces say it all! 
"Team Tally" allowed for some interesting discussions:)

We met new people, found common interests and learned each other's names

We learned that a lot of Wizards can speak another language, one of us can juggle bowling pins, and a lot of us camped in Vermont this summer.
Things these two young ladies have in common...
They do not have middle names and they both speak a second language.
Working cooperatively to brainstorm expectations for all those comfy chairs that they love so much.

Would you believe the 5th graders mastered their lockers by mid week?

Students had to line up by middle names. All of the pairs below share the same middle names...

Will won an intense game of Biggest Fan, which is a spin off of Rock, Paper, Scissors.