A New Era of Excellence Rooted in Tradition

Dolphinim Newsletter

January 7th 2015

Dear Parent(s),

I hope you had a nice break.   The class arrived rested and ready to go today!

We have begun our Exploration unit.  Today, we read and discussed the main reasons for European Exploration, focusing on exploration that lead to the colonization of North America, and especially New York State.  For Literature Circle work, each student is now reading a book relating to our unit.  The books are either about specific explorers or historical fiction relating to exploration of specific areas.  Along with this reading, students will be doing projects which are outlined below and attached to this email.   At this point, students are reading and beginning to create notecards.  This week, we will also look at encyclopedia articles about the explorer(s), and use those articles as part of the starting point for research.  I will keep you updated over the next weeks as the projects continue.

We are continuing with our Daily Oral Language work, which covers all the English Language Arts standards and more.

Students are still expected to read 30 minutes per night.  If a student chooses, this may include reading for his/her project.

We are looking forward to the school spelling bee on Thursday at 1:45 in the gym.  You are welcome to join us!


Nancy Eson


Exploration Project

Your project will be about one explorer or explorer team.  For your explorer report and presentation, you will read at least one book about your explorer, and use at least two other sources.  While significant time will be given in class to work on this project, you may need or want to work on parts of the project at home.  Please be sure to have what you need with you to work on the project every day.

You will present your report at the end of the unit using your map.  Optionally, you may also include other visuals such as Power Points, posters, props, skits, or games.  Please check with Mrs. Eson if you have another idea for a visual aid.  Note:  the only required visual is the map, but other visuals are encouraged.  The steps for the project are listed below.  Dates for each step are included.

Step 1. Reading.  January 5 – January 20.  Begin with an article in an encyclopedia (not Wikipedia) and your chosen book from our classroom about your explorer.  You will need a total of at least three sources. One of your sources is your book about your explorer(s), and one is the encyclopedia article.

Step 2. Notecards.  January 20.  As you read, write information on your notecards, AT LEAST ten, but probably more.  Include information on the following subtopics (Bonus Subtopics are optional):

  • History: Who is this explorer and why is he famous?
  • Geography: Where did he explore? What is that land known as today?
  • Culture: What was it like when he arrived and what are its religion, customs, food, and spoken languages today?   Are any of these from the explorer’s culture?
  • Bonus Subtopic: Agriculture: What was the land like in terms of agriculture? Were the early settlers able to farm on it or raise animals?  Now?
  • Bonus Subtopic: Industry: What economic goods and services did the explorer find? Did he produce any?

Step 3. January 27. Outline

Step 4. February 3. Report, typed or written neatly.

Step 5. February 10. Bibliography

Step 6. February 24. Map.  (Other visuals optional.  See above.) The best way to actually understand the route(s) taken during the expeditions is to chart your explorer’s expedition(s) on a map. You may draw the route(s) on an existing map of the areas needed, or create your own from scratch.  You may not use a map that already shows the route of your explorer.  Your map must include:

  • The route of your explorer, with continents, countries, bodies of water, etc. labelled.
  • A compass rose
  • A key to show distance and other important features

Step 7. February 27. Presentation.  Using your map and the information you have learned from your research, you will make a presentation to the class about your explorer and his accomplishments.   The subtopics described for your research (above) should be included in your presentation.  Presentations should be ready by this date, but may actually be given a bit later, as time allows.