James Madison Elementary


5th Social Studies: Branches of Government: Sep. 2014

5th grade Patriots from Mrs. Della-Cerra-Bainbridge’s, Mrs. Tautua’a's, and Mrs. McGuinness’ classes are getting involved in government! Students delved into the internet and printed text to find research on the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the U.S. government. Students also learned about the basics of checks and balances of the system and how a bill becomes a law. Students collected notes and presented their information in an information booklet they created. Students also participated in a bill creation simulation with the students in the role of the legislative branch presenting and voting on bills in the House and Senate. The Teacher / President approved or vetoed bills that made it out of the legislature.

4th Social Studies: Utah Historic Routes: Sep. 2014

The 4th grade Patriots in Mrs. Coria’s and Mrs. Corbin’s classes have dug into Utah’s history by learning about major historic routes that have shaped Utah’s history. Trails included the Pony Express, the Old Spanish Trail, the Mormon Pioneer trail, and the Transcontinental Railroad. Students pulled information from various articles and videos about the trails and learned about some basic geography of the western U.S. They created a large map with the routes displayed and descriptions of the trail, it’s usage, and effect on Utah.

3rd, 4th, & 6th Grade Writing Workshops: Feb. – Mar. 2014

What are you passionate about? What are your interests? These were some of the questions posed to students at James Madison Elementary during Research Writing Workshop.

Third, fourth, and sixth graders each generated a list of topics, asked essential questions, and gathered resources. Mrs. Andrews, Mrs. Corbin, and Mrs. Namovicz teamed with District Teacher Librarians to guide students through the research process to produce a written product including reports, PowerPoints, directions, and opinion pieces.

Minilessons, taken from Non-fiction Craft lessons: Teaching Information Writing K-8 by Joann Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher, were driven by student needs and included narrowing your focus, writing an introduction, writing in paragraph form, writing a topic sentence, using supporting details, and many others.

Sharing their writing was a highlight for many students. The author’s chair and conferencing with the teacher and DTLs provided a way to gather feedback about their writing. Sixth graders also shared their writing at a family literacy night.

Classroom teachers saw an increase in student engagement, motivation, and the quantity and quality of student writing. Perhaps the biggest measure of success is the fact that sixth-grade boys are asking when they can start their next project.

5th Grade Social Studies: Explorers Unit: Nov. 2013

5th graders at James Madison Elementary School took a journey back in time to find out why European explorers came to the Americas. After researching Hernán Cortés together as a class, each group researched another explorer, mapped out their route and created a book about why and how that explorer discovered new lands. The students were excited to read and present their books to each other and to learn about other explorers. Thanks to Mrs. Felsch for teaming up with the DTLs for this project.

3rd Grade Science: Moon Unit: Sep. 2013

The 3rd Grade team at James Madison Elementary worked with the DTLs and Brent Rhodes, the art specialist, to complete a science unit about the moon and the earth. Products included class-created songs and individual artwork, free-verse poetry, and information travel brochures. To view an article about their experience, please click on Standard-Examiner’s link here.