Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sounds Abound in Fifth Grade

Submitted the Fifth Grade Team

If you know a fifth grader who attends Ashford School you may have had the pleasure of listening to a serenade on the pan pipes or a lively tune played on a “sound sandwich.” These handmade instruments are just one piece of the exciting learning taking place on the fascinating topic of sound. Fifth grade teachers have been co-teaching with the enrichment teacher, Carol Moran, to present inquiry based, high interest, and hands-on lessons.

In September, the students explored vibration. They used tuning forks to strike a surface and designed and conducted experiments to see how different objects would sound when struck by the vibrating fork. The most entertaining part was watching the effect the fork had on striking a cup of water- splash! After learning that all sounds were created by vibrations, students analyzed the qualities of sound.

In early October, classes went outside and analyzed absorption and reflection at work. Sounds reflected (echoed) off of smooth, flat surfaces like our school and were absorbed by items with rough surfaces like the trees in the forest near our playground. It is encouraging as a teacher to see that the children are natural scientists; questioning everything around them, analyzing variables, and brainstorming future experiments.

Later in the month, students were involved in an in-depth study of pitch. They identified high and low pitched sounds and examined factors that alter pitch. This led easily into connections with musical instruments. Many children demonstrated their background knowledge of instruments and how length and tension can change pitch. We examined xylophones and the length and position of the keys in relation to the pitch that they made. There are a great many web-based resources to enhance student learning in this area that are fun for students and families alike.

Try out these fantastic sites to make “sounds abound” in your home!

Music News!

By Amy Dotson

Nineteen Ashford School students will be participating in a regional musical festival in Putnam, CT. The Quinebaug Valley Middle School Musical Festival (QVMSMF) began 4 years ago when area music teachers were looking for an opportunity for the students to develop and show off their skills in concert band and choir.

Mrs Porri and Miss Dotson, Ashford School’s music teachers, selected student participants based ability as well as character. These nineteen students represented the top musicians and leaders in the school. Band students included: Chris Pavliscsak, Caitlin Ecsedy, Jennie Rozenberg, Tessa Weidig, Caleigh Campion, Adam Cherepon, Cassie Hayward and Joseph Cherepon. Choir students included: Matthew Sibley-Jett, Erica Mahue, Kayla Bendell, Brooke Noel, Laina Fesenmeyer, Ben Lagasse, Martha Sherman, Sarah Caldwell, Jessica Bassett, and Shelby Colonese.

Ashford students will combine with students from nine other communities for rehearsals on November 9th and 12th with high quality conductors and educators from around Connecticut. The rehearsals will culminate with a concert to be held on Thursday, November 12th at 7:00pm in the Putnam Middle School Auditorium. This concert is open to the public. Guests are asked for a $2.00 donation ($5 max/family) and a canned good.

Congratulations to our Ashford students! We are very proud of your work and excited for your chance to participate in this festival!

Relay for Life

By Michelle Bibeault

Recently the staff at Ashford School decided it was time to get back into the fight against cancer. All of us, at one time or another, have seen family and friends affected by cancer and we wanted to show our support. We created the Ashford School Team and joined the Windham Relay for Life. On October 17th and 18th the Ashford School Team joined 81 other teams and walked at Eastern Connecticut State University's Sports Complex.

We are happy to say that our team raised $4,799. dollars.