Book Club and Challenge Newsletter (November 2015)

**Book Club and Challenge Monthly Newsletters are written by Ms. Leslie Rojas**

Elementary Challenge

Students in Challenge got their first taste of negative numbers this past Wednesday, the 6th. These 4th and 5th Graders have come a long way since they first began using Hands-On Equations! They have also started solving logic puzzles in class to hone their deductive thinking; the conversation in class is hysterical and energetic when they work together to solve them!

Due to the November holidays, Elementary Challenge won't reconvene until December 2nd, but the students haven't gotten off free - they are expected to finish designing, justifying, and building their balsa wood structures for the Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition. While the competition is still a few months away, the students will each be contributing to the team's objective of finding the most resilient structure design.

(Challenge Parents Be Advised: students must work on their solutions on their own. Part of the entry paperwork for this competition is a form in which the students confirm that they have received no "Outside Assistance," meaning the work they present is based on ideas which solely come from their own heads and work done by their own hands. Let's give them the opportunity to grow in independence!)

Middle School Challenge

Middle School students are looking at finishing up their short story project this month. Final drafts were turned in on Monday the 9th, and now all that is left is the matter of cover art and the back cover synopsis before all material can be turned in to be published. Our next two endeavors are: (1) students will begin to be prepared for the Middle School Oratorical Contest 9date to be announced) and (2) students will begin a unit of study around financial investments and creating a portfolio to record the results of a simulated investment of $100,000 over the span of a year.

Book Club

Primary grades (K-2), as well as or ELL students who are just beginning to learn English will be studying phonics this month. The focus of our lessons willrange from individual letter sounds of consonants, short vowels, and long vowels to digraphs and diphthongs.

The remaining Book Club students will be working on reading strategies and academic vocabulary words. We will be studying these words long and carefully to ensure that students retain them as much as possible. A robust vocabulary is one the keys to school success!