Last month our 7th grades started reading the first chapter in the book, “Secret Coders” by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes. Every student was able to read their own book due to generous donors who contributed to my project on donorschoose.org. “Secret Coders “ presents the concepts of coding in graphic novel format. While reading, students learn the language of binary code and programming. Students follow along with the major characters who solve logic puzzles and mysteries in Stately Academy School using code. One student Sofia states:” I learned binary is how computers store numbers and they are stored as a sequence of on and off switches.” “ I learned that a number can be changed into a binary number using a grid,” says seventh grader, Elliot. Mckenna learned : “ that binary code is everywhere around us.” If you would like to learn more about these books or read an excerpt, please visit: http://www.secret-coders.com/buy-the-books/
On the first day of this new school year, fifty-two LaSalle II Chinese language students were extremely excited as they received the certificates mailed from Beijing China for their YCT and HSK Chinese test results! These results, from tests taken in mid-May, showed that our LaSalle II Chinese language students once again did a magnificent job!
Both YCT and HSK test series are international standardized tests designed, developed and implemented under the Office of Chinese Language Council International for young Chinese learners and for college students and other adults to rate their Chinese language proficiency levels. For each single test of YCT and HSK, the test papers were prepared, printed and mailed from Beijing to test proctors in the countries around the world. These closely monitored standardized tests were then collected and mailed back to Beijing for grading.
From LaSalle II’s founding year of 2008 to the year of 2017, we have seen a complete cycle of students passing from kindergarten through 8th grade. From 5-year olds with no knowledge of Chinese to 13-year olds passing the adult level HSK IV, LaSalle II students have shown remarkable progress in their proficiency of Mandarin. And, by the way, passing HSK level 4 test is commonly a requirement for foreign students wanting to study in Chinese universities.
Students taking these tests, regardless of level, eagerly look forward to being able to demonstrate how well they understand and can use Mandarin. It is not just students passing the HSK level IV test that makes achievement seem so important but rather the steady improvement demonstrated by students passing higher and higher level tests year after year. In the year our students first took YCT tests, our third graders took YCT levels I and II. As students acquired greater proficiency in subsequent years, the highest level tests taken rose to III, then IV, and this past year to HSK level IV test. To see so many students rising to the challenge of making major improvements in their language skills each year is truly gratifying.
Our Chinese student achievements would not have been possible without the generous support of LaSalle II’s PTO and the strong support of LaSalle II’s administrators. On more than one occasion, the PTO and our school administrators have provided without hesitation needed financial help so that YCT/HSK test proctors’ expenses could be covered. Additionally one of our parents for two years in a row, donated test registration fees for students needing financial help. We appreciate the help of everyone involved in making our LaSalle II Chinese Program one of the strongest in Chicago.
The 8th grade class began their science explorations with challenges of Olympic proportions! The students were given 5 different challenges, Regatta, Dominoes, Aerodynamics, Cartesian Divers, and Slow Roller. After a brief introduction to each challenge the students, working in groups, chose three of the five challenges in which to compete.
The students then researched concepts associated with their challenge, discussed and formulated a plan of action and tested their hypothesis. On the day of their challenge the students had 15 minutes in which to create their final hypothesis based on their observations and results from the practices.
Regatta: Students researched buoyancy and created a boat from wax paper, aluminum foil, or copier paper. Once the students had their construction floating they would had gram cubes until the boat began to take on water.
Dominoes: Students researcher force and inertia. They then designed how they would set up 100 dominoes to knock down with a single push. Each branch added an additional 10 pts. Each 110 degree curve added another 10 pts and any dominoes that fell up or down an incline would gain a two pt. bonus.
Aerodynamics: Students researched Bernoulli’s principle in terms of flight and the force of air. Students designed a paper airplane that would fly as far as it could while remaining in a 90cm width.
Cartesian Divers: Students researched Pascal’s principle. Placing three divers into a 2 liter plastic bottle filled with water. Students had to manipulate the density and buoyancy of the divers to make them descend on a specific order and rate.
Slow Roller: Students researched force, inertia and friction. Using a variety of objects, such as, rulers, wooden dowels, and yarn, students designed a course that with a single push keep a marble rolling as long as possible without going off a large piece of construction paper.
Each team earned 5pts for a first place finish, 3pts for a second place finish and 2pts for a third place finish. After all of the challenges were completed the totals were tabulated and the overall Science Olympic Winners for the 2017-2018 school year are:
- First Place: Chris P.; Evan H.; Julian R.; Dylan O.; and Dianara M.
- Second Place: David T.; Benji V.; Grace P.; Gabriella P.; and Angel R.
- Third Place: Jadah C.; Olivia S.; Nora H.; and Kasi W.
This year at LaSalle II we took French to a new level by practicing French deeply. We have spent some more time on each unit in order to enhance long term learning. We believe that this “Deep practice” has deepen the students’ understanding of the language and allowed for oral and written communication in class. This has led students more students led learning and leadership. Please encourage your child to keep practicing over the summer, “with Languagenut and Powerspeak.”
We also recently went to “Kids’ Table” where students were able to make a very old French dish called “galette.” Galette is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes. Students were able to make a “pomme galette”, with “la crème fouette” home made whip cream.
Second Grade has been turned into an Entomology Laboratory! We have been busy studying a few of the many millions of insects on our planet. Some insects we have in the classroom include mealworms, silkworms, ladybugs, caterpillars, and an ant farm. We have come to know firsthand the life sequences of all these insects. In our lab students observe structures and behaviors, discuss their findings, and ask questions. Students continue to be amazed daily by all of the changes they continue to observe and take a lot of pride in providing daily needs for each of our insects and making sure our Entomology Laboratory is thriving!
1st graders created paper cut collages inspired by Henri Matisse. We studied positive & negative space, color contrast, and juxtaposition. They used both the positive & negative pieces to create interesting and balanced compositions. We also used bright colored shapes to contrast with the black background.
Students in room 123 created their own kimonos after reading Suki’s Kimono this week. Before creating and designing their own, students learned about the history of Kimonos. Originally, kimonos translated into clothing in Japanese. Recently, the word has been used to describe traditional Japanese clothing. They are made of material that is suitable for all weathers. Traditional kimonos are worn to funerals, weddings, festivals, and tea ceremonies in Japan. Kimonos have represented different people over the years. The colors and designs have represented political class, warriors, and leaders. The ribbon worn around the kimono is called an obi. It is one big ribbon that is folded and adjusted to form a bow on the back.
Writing Workshop is a model for writing instruction and practice in the classroom. During the workshop time, students learn to write through varied activities. Writing Workshop exposes First grade students to the organization and thought required to create a story, write about a favorite topic, or share information and opinions. First graders in Room 109 are learning how to independently plan and write an opinion piece of writing. They are developing an understanding of how to form strong opinions, how to structure an argument with a main idea and details, and how to express their personal thought and ideas.
The sixth and seventh graders are currently working on a project to conclude our statistics units. The 6th graders are doing a study on the student population at LaSalle II, and were able to choose a topic of their choice. The students developed statistical questions to learn more about LaSalle II students. They came up with a plan, collected data, analyzed it, and made different types of graphs. Questions vary based on student interest, but include: “How far do LaSalle II students live from school?”, “How many hours per week do LaSalle II students spend on homework?”, “How old are parents of sixth grade students at LaSalle II?” and “How many after-school activities do LaSalle II students participate in?” As students finish their graphs they will be drawing conclusions and presenting their information to their classmates.
The 7th graders tracked specific activities outside of school, and are analyzing their own data. The activities included: watching television, playing video games, exercising and internet usage. They collected the data and broke it up by population to be able to analyze the data in a variety of ways. Each student was given a population and activity, where they made graphs, found measures of centers, and made inferences. Additionally, they compared the data with other students and made conclusions based on their classmates and the data collected.
If you are ever on the second floor, feel free to check out our data displays and analyses, which will be displayed soon, to find out valuable information about our amazing LaSalle II students!
Room 101 will be celebrating the “Week Of The Young Child” April 24th – April 28th.
“What is the Week of the Young Child™? The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association, with nearly 80,000 members and a network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates.
The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child™ in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child™ is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.”
We will celebrate the following days:
- April 24, 2017 “Music Monday” – We will dance at our morning circle times.
- April 25, 2017 “Tasty Tuesday” – We read a book about vegetables.
- April 26, 2017 “Work Together Wednesday”- We will work to create buildings as a group.
- April 27, 2017 “Artsy Thursday” – We will use a variety of media to create art work.
- April 28, 2017 – “Family Friday” – We will send home a parent and child activity for our families to do together.
We are looking forward to celebrating our youngest learners!