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