Friday, September 26, 2014

PA for the Week of 9-29

Parents, don't forget to sign up for November conferences using the links I posted.  Just scroll down, click on the link, create an account, and pick a time.  Also, remember that PA Curriculum Night is Wednesday from 6:30-7:30 in the LMC.  Here is what the kids will be working on this week...

Kindergarten and first grade talent development will be working with informational texts about insects and the farm.  The kids will be creating information webs filled with facts.

Second grade PA will continue our work with Frindle this week. We will discuss how words are created, how fads spread, and we will evaluate why the novel has won so many awards and if we agree that the text was worthy of the awards.  Students will continue to come home with a post-it on their book to indicate the page to read to for homework.

Third Grade PA is going to be working on a collaborative project that ties together The Green Book and an informational text that the students are reading in their classrooms about different types of schools around the world called Off to Class. The project will be to create a school on Shine that uses the available resources mentioned in the novel, and to design a curriculum that will prepare the citizens of this new world with the tools they need to be successful in life.  The directions are going to be simple and intentionally vague to encourage creative thinking and provide the kids with opportunities to problem solve as a group. At home, talk about what the colonists would need to learn how to do to live on another planet and sustain life in this new community.  The class will be designing the rubric for evaluation of their work themselves.  We will also be doing some work with new vocabulary words like rations, perishable, and wistfully. On Monday night there will be a question to answer for homework based on the text that we will begin at school.

Fourth grade PA will continue to explore Mistlewaith Manor as we read The Secret Garden.  Last week, the kids saw images of the moors in England, examples of Victorian gardens, and we watched a few minutes of a documentary about English Manor homes to build background and allow the students to better visualize the setting that Mary now finds herself surrounded by.  We will be exploring some of the rich vocabulary used in the novel this week.  Words like fretful, bewilderment, affectionate, impudent, and discomfited will be analyzed during our time in class and groups of students will be working on writing thoughtful answers to complex questions using examples from the text to provide support for their thinking.

Fifth grade PA is going to pick up where the CogAT's took over last week.  I was only able to see the students two days last week, because of the testing, so this week we will dive into Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" in our Socratic Seminar. The kids and I will explore the literary elements used in the short story, how the systems of our world differ from the world of Margot, and students will be working in pairs to complete an organizer based on Paul's Reasoning Model.  Homework will be to continue to explore ideas for the Capstone project about impacting a global system. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PA for the Week of 9-22

Second grade will be discussing chapter books this week.  What are the difference between chapter books and picture books? Have any second graders already read a chapter book? If not, this week will change that as we begin an exploration of Frindle by Andrew Clements. We will be reading in school and the class will have some reading for homework each night.  The kids will all come home with their copy of the novel and a post-it note with the page number to stop reading for tomorrow's discussions. We will be creating literature webs, exploring new vocabulary, and continuing our investigation of figurative language.

Third grade is going to spend this week reading a very interesting science fiction book titled The Green Book by Jill Patton Walsh.  This story is about a family who has to leave Earth to go live on another planet.  We will be using the text to explore new vocabulary, develop our understanding of theme, and using evidence from the text to explain what the message of the novella was. 

Homework: Monday read chapter 1, Tuesday finish chapter 2, Wednesday finish chapter 3, Thursday read chapter 5.

Fourth grade will begin the week by revisiting novel structure and literary elements like theme, conflict, protagonists, antagonist, and plot structure.  These elements will be explored as we begin reading a novel written in 1910, the classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett titled The Secret Garden. I have copies of the text in the classroom, but I downloaded it on my iPad for $1.99 and the kids may want to do this as well as the font size is much larger, kids can highlight portions of the text on their screen, and attach notes for our Socratic Seminar. It is also available for free here as an audio book or ebook:  Our work will focus on the concept of change.  We will be comparing the book to a novel that each fourth grader is reading independently at school or at home.  This link will help with new vocabulary words for the first 6 chapters of the novel:

Homework: Monday finish chapter one and bring the novel you are currently reading at home or school to PA tomorrow, Tuesday finish chapter 2 and complete the change matrix we began today, Wednesday finish chapter 3, Thursday finish chapter 4 and complete the change matrix for chapters 3 and 4.

Fifth grade will continue developing the Capstone project and discussing how a person can be a catalyst for change within a global system. Students should be exploring their topic using to gather information like websites, articles, videos, and concepts (related vocabulary).  All information found should be used to take notes on loose leaf paper that will be added to their PA binders.  Any important articles or information can be printed and brought to school.  The kids and I will also be reading an excellent short story by Ray Bradbury called "All Summer in a Day" about life on Venus. 

Homework: Instagrok your topic for the Capstone and bring what you have found so far with your detailed notes, including sources, to class on Friday.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Project Arrow for the Week of 9-15

Because of CBM testing last week, I was only able to meet with the kids for two days.  This week I get all five! We still have things from my plans for last week to get accomplished, so I'm only adding the new content here to the blog.  Also, please be sure to sign up for November conferences on the post that follows this one.  

Second grade will continue our exploration of figurative language.  We will explore imagery, personification, irony, metaphors, and similes. We will be reading some books, poems, and even looking at some surrealist art to generate our own ideas of figurative language.

Third grade will continue our work from last week, and then dive into the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling" to explore the theme of change.  I've developed around 15 questions that we will be discussing in our first Socratic Seminar. This link will explain the basics of a Socratic Seminar
I'd encourage families to find another classic fairy tale, the original text, to read at home and discuss with your child this week. Find connective threads to the story we are reading at school.

Fourth grade will continue to work with Paul's Reasoning Model to organize our thinking about the short stories we are reading. New this week will be an Asian folktale that raises questions about how the elderly are treated.  We will discuss the folktale, and then we will look at what would happen if the US Government instituted a policy similar to the one in the have to wait until Thursday to talk to your son or daughter about this, but bring it up at dinner.  What did you think about the dilemma you talked about in PA today? The fourth graders will also learn about a Socratic Seminar for group discussions.

Fifth grade will finally have the mysterious "Capstone Project" unveiled.  This will be a year long project, and I'm not saying a word about it to anyone until Tuesday, but it connects to Monday's Wordle/infographic homework.  This project has me SO EXCITED!!! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

PA for the Week of 9-8

Second grade will start the week with a formative assessment for our literature study.  The kids will be reading a poem by Carl Sandburg and writing a short reflection.  The rest of our time will be spent investigating imagery.  How do authors use words to paint  pictures in the minds of readers?  What are sensory images? The kids will be reading a variety of picture books and identifying what words create pictures in their minds.  At home, ask your child to use words to describe things using words that impact what they see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.  When you are reading at bedtime, ask what words helped to create an image in your child's head.  What helped to make a movie in their mind?

Third grade will begin with a formative assessment for our literature unit using a fable.  The students will be reflecting on a question based on the moral of the tale.  We will then focus on change and different types of change.  Can change be put into different categories?  We will use the work we did with Pink and Say last week to connect to the larger concept of change.  The kids will also be working in groups, reading a short story by Cynthia Rylant, to identify how parts of the story can be categorized by change.  At home try to integrate the theme of change into conversations you have.  How do families change?  What changes naturally compared to change created by people? What change is orderly vs chaotic change?

Fourth grade will continue dissecting the short story "The Power of Light" about two children in Warsaw during WWII.  The kids will work in groups to find connective threads between this story and a novella titled The Mozart Question about musicians who were forced to play at concentration camps in Germany. We will be using Paul's Reasoning Model,, please check it out and ask your son or daughter to use this web with books you are reading at home.

Fifth grade will also begin the week with a formative assessment, used to guide my instruction, based on a short story and some higher-level questions to show deep understanding of this complex text.  We will then begin reading a short story from Finland called "The Hemulen Who Loved Silence" to better understand how change within a character can impact change within the system of a community. At home, try to identify different systems that a fifth grader interacts with.  School is a system, so is a neighborhood, but what other systems do fifth graders interact with?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Email Addresses

If you are a Brookdale parent with a child in PA and you  did not get an email from me, please email me at with your child's name and grade so I can add you to my email list.  I had several of the emails sent returned to me.  Sometimes our web filter kicks new emails back until I get an email from you.  Thank you.

Project Arrow Curriculum Night on October 1st

This year Project Arrow Curriculum Night is going to be separate from the classroom presentations.  I've decided to do this, after parent input, to make sure that you are all able to attend your child's classroom sessions to hear from their homeroom teachers about the new ELA curriculum and not split up to come to the PA sessions and miss important information.

Project Arrow Curriculum Night will be on the 1st of October from 6:30-7:30 in the Brookdale LMC.  I will be providing a comprehensive overview of the PA program and what you can do to support your students at home. I look forward to sharing the vision I have for the new PA at Brookdale!

My Wish for my Students