Our classroom theme this year is "Can you break the code?"  Every thing we do to communicate and understand our world involves breaking codes.      

Understanding language requires breaking several codes.  When we speak, we listen to the fluctuation and tone of our voices to decode the meaning of a spoken message.  When we read, we must know what each symbol or combination of symbols stands for to decipher each word.  In writing, we must also know the symbols to create each word (spelling), the spaces between words and paragraphs (presentation, separation of thoughts), and the marks used to indicate how to read each sentence (grammar).

Understanding math requires breaking codes and manipulating components of the code.  Math is a language (a code) in itself.  We must know that each digit (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) is a symbol for an amount.  We then manipulate these amounts using more symbols that we must understand ( +, -, x, /, =, <, >, etc.).  Finding patterns allows us to break codes that are more complicated, and require more manipulation of numbers.  We also use other symbols to represent variables and unknowns.  For example, in Kindergarten, children are asked to solve 4 + c = 6.  In the next grade, the missing variable changes shape to 4 + ___ = 6.  By middle school, the variable changes to 4 + a = 6.  At first the answer is written in the box, then on the line, though the children are unaware they are breaking the code that c or ___ are actually codes for a number.  Eventually, the symbol (a) can be several options (i.e.: 2, 4, -(-2)), and the student must decipher the code to find the desired answer.

Science requires breaking codes through observation, more hands on manipulation of elements and materials in our natural world, and higher order thinking.  To understand our planet, we must understand the way that water moves and how rocks are formed.  To understand light, sound, heat and electricity, we must understand waves.  To understand ourselves, we must understand how living things change in time.  All of this is done through observation, manipulation of things within our environment, and seeing how things are interconnected.

This year, the students will be challenged to break a code, perhaps using a code that was written from someone in the past (from the Vikings to Native Americans to Slaves to U. S. Presidents).  They will learn from trial and error, collaboration, and making connections.  They will become "code breakers" as they practice old skills and learn new material.

Can you break this code?  If not, try asking your child:

1.          Image result for images, whisper in ear, cartoon =        Image result for doubt, image, cartoon

2.       Image result for watching movie screen, cartoon    =     Image result for might remember, image, cartoon

3.  Image result for working together, cartoon      =         Image result for building dog house, cartoon

(Quote:  Benjamin Franklin)