Sunday, November 30, 2014

PA for the Week of 12-1

Kindergarten talent development students will be working with an online database of literary and informational texts this week. Pebble Go houses ebooks on a wide range of topics that we will explore together.

First grade talent development kids will be exploring Tumblebook Cloud, an online library of informational and literary texts. 

Second grade PA students will be reading fractured fairy tales this week. Students will be comparing the original versions of stories we have read to modern "fractured" versions of the classics. 

Third graders will be exploring the idea of identity and change this week. We will begin with a picture book titled Enemy Pie. This story shows how characters change as our understanding of others evolves. The kids will be thinking about how our identity is influenced by relationships and experiences, and how change impacts people and our relationships in books we have read together in class.

Fourth grade PA will begin a novel study of The Year of Impossible Goodbyes this week. This is the story of a Korean family during the 30 year old struggle for Korean independence. The novel covers both World War II, when Japan occupied Korea, and the fight for one family to find freedom during the Korean War. The theme of conflict will be central to our conversations in class. How does conflict lead to change? How does conflict influence a character's life?

Fifth grade will be taking a standardized reading test in class two days this week, so we will only have three days of PA. The students will continue to read Little Women, translating it to 21st Century language, and we will continue the capstone project. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

PA for the Week of 11-24

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Here is what we will be working on this week...

Kindergarten students will begin making an alphabet book based on Q is for Duck.  This is a fun story that mixes up the traditional ABC book by naming an action, quack, for the duck rather than putting Mr. Duck on the predictable D page.

First grade students will be learning about schema, or prior knowledge.  We will use a Cinderella story to discuss what we already know about the tale, our schema, and then after reading we will update the information with newly learned facts from the text.

Second grade PA will be reading the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.  The kids in second grade will also be learning about schema with this story, but under the umbrella of our theme of change. 

Third graders will be finishing our time with Mr. Popper's Penguins this week.  Our seven word summaries will be discussed and teams will be working on a change matrix to show different examples of how characters changed in the novel.

Fourth grade PA will be looking at different examples of conflict in literary texts this week.  We will be reading the Bill Peet picture book The Wump World to examine different categories of conflict in the story. We will also begin our grammar unit this week.

Fifth grade PA will be reading a passage from the classic novel Little Women this week.  The focus will be on how Jo's actions impact different systems like her family system and economic systems.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

5th Grade Before School Session

Some of the 5th graders were not able to finish their films during PA today because of technical difficulties.  I am going to be in the PA room at 8:15 tomorrow morning, Friday, for any of the kids who need to finish their projects. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

PA for the Week of 11-17

Kindergarten talent development students will continue working on charting story elements this week.  The kids will be using a picture book about a five year old who tries to do her dad's job titled Bea and Mr. Jones. We will also be charting story elements using a few British commercials that feature stuffed animals coming to life.  The advertisements will be a jumping off point for creating a story about what our stuffed animals would say about us and what we would do with them if they came to life.

First grade talent development students are going to be reading literary and informational texts on the same topics and charting the differences. We will explore the hallmarks of each genre with the texts about dolphins and insects.

Second grade PA spent all last week dissecting the original version of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale The Snow Queen.  I did not expect the book to take a full week, so we will be continuing to read other fairy tales like the Grimm version of Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.  Later in the week we will be reading the 1875 version of The Gingerbread Boy and then exploring the idea of change with our readings of many modern versions of the story. 

Third Grade PA will be creating a British ABC book for Brookdale's World Culture Fair.  We will be examining the differences in vocabulary across the pond with words like "boot" and "bonnet" which we would call the trunk and hood of a car.  The class will also continue reading Mr. Popper's Penguins as we learn more about important story elements and point of view.

Fourth grade PA is going to be writing our critique of the film version of the Secret Garden, but this is an in school assignment, so don't plan on any homework for this writing project.  Later in the week we will begin reading a folktale from Japan titled "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" that we will use for an in-depth discussion about theme.

Fifth graders are going to be creating their final films on an influential agent of change in South Africa.  If all goes well, this is the first time I've used this website, I will post the videos on my You Tube channel and send out links next week so you can watch from home.  Wish us luck!

Friday, November 7, 2014

5th Grade Film Project Links
F. W. de Klerk Biography
The Steve Biko Foundation

Dr. Christiaan Barnard, inventor of the human heart transplant operation
Nelson Mandela Foundation
Film program we will be using

Tutorial videos on how to use We Video

PA for the Week of 11-10

Kindergarten and first grade talent development students will be working on comparing story elements between a selection of texts I have in my classroom.  I will be using a comprehension strategy that the kindergarten and first grade teachers use called CLAPS (Characters, Location, Action, Problem, Solution).  I will be modeling how to fill in a graphic organizer, then the students will work in pairs, and finally the kids will do one all on their own. 

Second grade PA will be exploring fairy tales and what sets this genre apart from other stories.  We worked on this last week, so ask your son or daughter what makes this genre unique.  We will be reading Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and The Snow Queen, the jumping off story for Frozen.  The kids will be creating a Venn Diagram showing how the stories are similar and different along with pulling out the key elements that make these three tales part of this genre.

Third grade PA will continue our grammar voyage using the Michael Clay Thompson book Grammar Island kids will also be reading the 1938 Newbery Honor book Mr.Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.  The focus of our reading will be to identify the key literary elements of plot, central themes, setting, protagonist, antagonist, and the point of view. 

Fourth grade PA will be spending the week evaluating Call it Courage, participating in a class debate about whether this novel was worthy of the Newbery Award, and we will begin an essay comparing the film version of The Secret Garden to the text we read last quarter.  There will be a one page writing assignment on Wednesday evening for homework.  In this piece, I'm asking the kids to write a letter to The Newbery Committee that explains the reasons why the book deserved the Newbery Medal, or why it did not, using the criteria we used to evaluate the book in class and the evidence they recorded on the form while reading.

Fifth grade PA will begin our film project about an agent of change in South African society who demonstrated courage.  We will be using the site to create the final product.  This will be a team assignment and groups will be dividing up the research tasks, storing images or video clips in their Google Drives, and then putting the final films together before the World Culture Fair on the 21st. 

My Wish for my Students