Friday, October 24, 2014

PA for the Week of 10-27

As the first quarter comes to an end, I want to celebrate all of the hard work that the kids have done in PA.  The collaboration, critical thinking, research, exploration, and thoughtful conversations about the complex texts that we have read made coming to school a treat.  I am loving this new job and the little people I spend my days with. 

PA progress reports will be coming home with all of the students on Friday.  The district generated this progress report and all of the schools use the same form.  There are no letter grades given in PA, but progress is assessed in four categories.  The expectation is that every child should be at a level 3 on the form.  A 3 means that your son or daughter is performing right on track.  A score of 4 means that your son or daughter is doing extraordinary work in PA, so these scores will be rare.  Earning a 2 is an indication that some of the work done this quarter falls below the expectation for work completed by students with academic talents, while a 1 indicates that your son or daughter is doing inferior work that reflects little effort or dedication. 

 Here is what's going on in Project Arrow this week...

Kindergarten talent development time will be spent reading and investigating three of Aesop's fables.  We will be reading "The Crow and the Pitcher", "The Dog and his Reflection", and "The Lion and the Gnat" followed by conversations about the lesson or moral in the tales.  If you'd like to read some at home, this is a great resource:

First grade talent development students will be reading "The Fisherman and his Wife" by The Brother's Grimm.  After reading, we will be working on a sequencing activity and have conversations about cause and effect.  If you'd like to look at some of the work by these iconic authors, check out this link:

Second grade PA will be diving into one of my favorite picture books The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg.  If you are not familiar with this author, become familiar.  I have every picture book he has written and will be using them with all of the students at Brookdale over the years.  Our main focus will be discussing how words can change the way a reader looks at and thinks about a picture in a book.  At the end of the week, the kids will be writing a paragraph/short story about one of the images from the book.

Third graders are going to be reading a short story by Gail E. Haley titled "The Green Man" looking at the theme, main idea, and how characters change over time in a story. There is going to be a literature response homework assignment on Monday and the students will come home on Wednesday night with a 20-30 minute homework task as well.  There will not be 3PA on Friday because of the Halloween party.

Fourth grade is finished with The Secret Garden and will begin a new, shorter, novel by Newbery winner Armstrong Sperry titled Call it Courage. The book is about a Polynesian boy named Mafatu who longs to overcome his fear of the ocean on a lonesome journey that will change him forever and make him a hero in the eyes of his people.  The kids will be selecting a project to work on based on the novel, but most of the work for this will be done in class. 

Fifth grade PA is going to spend our week with a short story by Donna Hill titled "Ghost Cat" which can be downloaded for free here:  The kids will all be given a list of 8 questions I developed for a two day Socratic Seminar about the text.  The questions do not need to be answered in writing, but it is an expectation that students will take detailed notes, giving explicit examples from the text to support their thinking, and be ready to discuss each question on Thursday.  Moving forward, every Wednesday in 5PA will be devoted to the Capstone project.  Kids will have time to conference with me, work on research, and continue to develop their resources for this year long endeavor. 

My Wish for my Students