This Week’s News

Today, students had a guest speaker, Mr. Johnson, who brought ancient artifacts from the time of Early Humans. In addition to reviewing pertinent facts about each of the Early Human groups students studied–Australopithecus, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, and Modern Humans Homo Sapiens, the presenter also had students solve a mystery about Ötzi the Iceman. Ötzi’s well-preserved body was discovered by hikers on September 19, 1991, in the remote mountains on the border of Austria and Italy. It was determined that the body was 5,300 years old. He was named Ötzi after the region in which he was discovered. During the presentations, the students’ job was to listen to evidence and solve the mystery of how Ötzi died. After learning about his weapons, clothing, and supplies that were laid out by his body, students determined that the most likely scenario was either that Ötzi had been traveling with a partner and both were murdered by an enemy group or that a political rival, perhaps Ötzi’s brother, murdered Ötzi to gain power. For more information, check out the following websites: National Geographic and The Iceman.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 7

There are several types of problems your student sees when doing the classwork and the homework. The classwork problems have been designed to encourage students to work together with their teammates to solve interesting and challenging problems (with teacher support). At times, these problems require students to use previous learning. Some problems will require the use of manipulatives, such as blocks, number cubes, Algebra Tiles, or models to help develop understanding. Other problems introduce students to new ideas. All of the problems have been carefully constructed to further a student’s understanding of mathematics.

The homework problems are both for review and preview. Often the first problem or two will cover the work that was done in class that day. Then there are problems that review concepts from previous courses or lessons. There are also problems that are designed to prompt students to think about a mathematical idea that will be introduced in a future lesson. If your student is struggling with homework, suggest checking the CPM online Homework Help and other resources found at

For Students:

Showing Work

When doing math problems, it is important to show your work in an organized fashion.  Try jotting down information about the problem and possibly drawing a diagram first so that you can look back at your paper and know what the problem is about.  Then show all steps so that you’ll have an example to look at later.  Showing all steps is one way to justify your answer.  Make sure that your answer is easy to see and easy to find.

This Week’s News

This week in math, students learned a new model for multiplication that for some was challenging and for others added new insight into the concept behind the multiplication algorithm.  In looking for resources to make the process increasingly clear to students, I found the video below that not only illustrates multiplication using rectangles, but also speaks to the rationale behind the recent shift in math instruction in the U.S.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 6

By this time in the school year, your child may have taken a team test at some point before taking an individual test. Team tests provide students an opportunity to check their depth of understanding through collaborative problem solving. They also help teachers identify general areas of concern that need to be addressed prior to the individual test. Students who take notes during the team test process, who ask follow-up questions during class discussions, and who correct their test often experience dramatic improvements on individual tests.

Additionally, keep in mind that the homework assignments are specifically designed to provide opportunities for students to practice developing skills and that mastery of a topic is often not expected until two or three chapters beyond where it is first introduced.

This Week’s News

Our Mixed Bags Camp Fundraiser concludes on Monday.  Please be sure to have your order forms and money turned in then. Thank you to all of you who have participated in the fundraiser to help offset the cost of sixth grade camp. People can still shop online to support our Mixed Bags fundraiser even after we’ve closed our catalog sale. We will continue to earn 40% profit on online Mixed Bags sales that contain our Fundraiser ID, 342910, through the end of the season.

As you know, our school and district have partnered with St. Joseph Health System and the Petaluma Education Foundation to support and encourage healthy lifestyles.  Included in this partnership are weekly tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Here is one related to activity, including our bimonthly Zumba class:

Make activity fun every day! If you do not like to exercise, make your daily activities fun! Ask yourself, “What do I like to do that involves a lot of movement?” It does not have to be what we consider to be typical “exercise.”

Activities can range from team sports, individual sports, or recreational activities. Here are a few examples: walking, skipping, jump rope, dancing, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, hula hooping, or participating in playground activities or free-time play.

Make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together. Instead of watching television after dinner, find fun activities to do on individually or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase, or riding bikes.

Additionally, try to limit TV time to less than two hours each day, as this can be a supportive part of increased activity. Removing the TV from the bedroom also encourages more family time and activity.

Activities chosen to ensure thirty to sixty minutes of daily activity should be enjoyable so that it is easy to maintain this level of activity. You might even find yourself looking forward to this part of your day!

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 5

Mistakes are an important step in the process of learning. Don’t let your child give
up when he/she makes one! Encourage your child to persevere, try another strategy, think outside the box, or talk problems over with someone.

Sometimes it is hard to watch our children make mistakes, but struggling helps brains grow and is critical in order for your child to become smarter and more resilient. Very successful people often report that many mistakes were made along the way to their success, and these mistakes were an important and much overlooked part of the journey.

Your student does not need to be fast at math, so speed should not be a goal. He/she just needs to think deeply about math. This should also be the goal when responding to math questions. Encourage your child to think about his/her answer. Does it make sense? Why or why not?  If not, what is another possible solution that does make sense? (Paraphrased from Jo Boaler)

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