Friday, December 19, 2014

Thank You!!!

Thanks for the kindness you have shown me during my first year as the PA teacher at Brookdale, and for making me feel so at home in a school I first walked into over 20 years ago.  All of the gifts and treats were so very thoughtful, and they will be shared with my family over the break.  Have an amazing holiday!

Mr. Schumann

Monday, December 15, 2014

5th Grade Middle School Qualification

As you know, all of the 5th graders will need to requalify for middle school Project Arrow.  The first batch of testing will take place during the first week of February.  These tests will be used for qualification for the ELA Project Arrow program.  We will take the math tests in the spring.  The following information may be helpful for you to review.

What is the format of the Iowa Assessments?

The Iowa Assessments are multiple choice tests so students use an electronically scored answer sheet to mark their choices.

 How are the tests scored?

Scores are reported using National Percentile Rank.  A percentile rank indicates the percentage of students in the same grade group whose scores fall below the score obtained by a particular student. For example, if a fifth grade student obtains a PR of 67 on the Reading Subtest, it means that 67 percent of the fifth grade students in the standardized sample received lower scores than this particular student. Please note the percentile rank is not the same as the percent of test items correct.

 Other frequently asked questions can be found at the following link: 


Friday, December 12, 2014

One More Week...

Kindergarten talent development students will only be coming to see me twice this week because of events in the classroom.  During our time we will explore the geometry of snowflakes and read an informational text, Snowflake Bentley, about the first man to capture close-up photography of individual snowflakes. 
First grade talent development students will also be exploring the geometry of snowflakes this week, but at a higher level by exploring the different shapes and attributes of those shapes.  The kids will be designing their own snowflakes using black paper and chalk.  We will also be reading a few fun stories that have a lot of connections to how the Brookdale neighborhood sparkles at this time of year.

Second grade PA will be finishing their posters about natural disasters that we began last week.  The kids did a lot of great research that was put to good use!  The rest of our time will be spent writing a short story about snowmen as a way of reviewing important story elements.  I developed a presentation with nine photographs of snowmen that will become the characters in a story that we will write in class.  Here are a few of our characters...snow.jpgsnowman.jpgfrosty-snowmen-instachallenges.jpg
snowman-rage-face.jpgsnowman eats child.jpgsnowman-does-handstand.jpg
Third grade PA will continue to explore how thinking can be the key to survival in The Girl Who Owned a City. There will be a few nights of reading and a reflection journal or two to write at home.  I am thrilled with how the kids have responded to this text.  You should see how completely engaged they are as we read and the extreme disappointment they show when we need to stop!

Fourth grade will also be writing creative snowpeople stories using the same photos as the second graders, but with more advanced story elements.  The kids will also have time to complete their group posters illustrating what life was like in Korea from 1910-1953.

Fifth grade PA will have some Capstone time this week and we will be reading an essay by Robert James Waller titled "One Good Road is Enough" about the journeys one can embark on in life.  The students will be writing their own version of the essay as well. 

Have a wonderful break!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

This Week in PA

Kindergarten and first grade talent development students will be reading a version of Rumpelstiltskin in class on Monday and using the story throughout the week for a variety of critical thinking activities.  We will use text clues to create a mental image of Rumpelstiltskin that we will then draw, we will reconstruct his hut based on clues in the text and make inferences about what might be inside, and the kids will be asking thoughtful questions about the story to share and discuss as a group. On Friday we will read a different version of the tale and compare the two.

Second grade Project Arrow students will begin a mini-research project that ties into what the kids are working on in their own classrooms.  The second grade students are learning about natural disasters in their rooms, but in PA we are going to investigate three new natural disasters not covered in the classroom curriculum.  The kids and I will explore tsunami, lahars, and sinkholes.  I will share a few video clips showing the events as they happen, we will read a picture book about a tsunami that happened in Japan at the turn of the last century, and we will discuss the geology behind the disasters.  The kids will be using Instagrok to do their own research and create a poster to share in the classrooms.

Third grade PA will begin a novel study this week, once the novels I ordered arrive, hopefully by the time we have class today.  The book is titled The Girl Who Owned a City. This is a novel that I have used for years in the classroom, and former students almost always name it as a favorite.  The story is set in my home town of Glen Ellyn, so it was read by everyone when I was a kid. Parts of the story take place at my old elementary school, the neighborhood I grew up in, and the high school I attended.  The story begins at the end of a plague that kills everyone over the age of 12 across the planet leaving the kids to figure out how to live in a world without adults.  The main character, Lisa, is a strong 10 year old who uses her head to figure out how to survive.  It is a story of working together to make a difference in the lives of all the kids in her neighborhood.  The theme of making a difference will be the main focus to tie into the work that the third graders are doing in their own classrooms. Although the premise of the story sounds scary, it truly is a tale about working together and how thinking can save your life.  I'm sure you will hear all about it!

Fourth grade PA is going to take a break from all of the heavy material we have been covering on Monday to escape into a fun picture book.  The kids should continue to read the novel The Year of Impossible Goodbyes, the story needs to be read by next Monday.  This is a complex book about a family during the Japanese and Russian occupations of Korea from 1910-1953. Last week the kids learned some background knowledge about what life was like during this time and we had complex discussions about difficult circumstances the characters face.  Moving forward, this is a story about hope and how to rise above conflict.  The kids will be exploring some Korean history online during our time together as we continue to read and discuss how conflict can lead to change on different levels.

Fifth grade PA is going to be learning about GMO's, or genetically modified organisms and the farm to table movement in restaurants and farmer's markers across the country.  We will learn how to make a GMO, what Monsanto does for farmers, and discuss the positives and negatives of this technology.  The students will be reading a few articles on the subject to prepare for a class discussion about the use of these crops.  There will be homework on Wednesday night to prepare for the discussion.  There will also be Capstone time on Wednesday.

My Wish for my Students