Friday, January 30, 2015

Testing Update

5PA, remember that your TED talks will be given in class when we are done with testing this Monday - Wednesday.  Our regular schedule will resume on Friday the 6th. Dates for the remainder of testing:

Grade 2 CogAT: Monday-Wednesday 12:05-1:05

Grade 3 CogAT: Monday-Tuesday 2:00-3:00
Grade 4 CogAT: Wednesday-Thursday 2:00-3:00
Grade 5 IOWA: Monday-Wednesday 9:30-10:45
Make-up Testing all day Thursday
5th grade in- school field trip Friday

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Qualification for PA Timeline

Several parents have asked me when the results of the PA testing will be shared.  Letters will be sent home in April with all of the students who are testing this week and next week.  The letters will explain if your son or daughter will qualify for Project Arrow for the 2015-2016 school year. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

PA for the Week of 1-26

Project Arrow Identification begins this week and will continue during the first week of February.  I will be testing students in grades 2-5 for possible participation in Project Arrow for the 2015-2016 school year.  The fifth graders already in PA will be taking qualification tests for the middle school ELA PA program, but not until the first week of February.  As a result, I will only be meeting with my regular groups on Monday.

The fifth graders should all be working on polishing their Prezi and finishing the script for their TED talk on a young person who impacted a global system.  These presentations will be given in PA on February 2nd, 3rd, and 4th directly following their testing sessions. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

PA for the Week of 1-20

I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!  Here is what the kids of Brookdale will be working on with me this week...

Kindergarten talent development students will be exploring the different parts of a book, and the story elements contained inside.  The kids and I will also begin a chapter book together titled Henry and Mudge and The Long Weekend. We will be looking at the similarities and differences between picture books and chapter books as we read.

First grade talent development students will be discussing the idea of inspiration this week.  What is inspiration? What inspires you? Why do people need inspiration? What does inspiration create?  This is a theme the kids will be exploring in the classroom during 3rd quarter as well.  The kids and I will be reading two picture books about inspirational people, "Dave the Potter"  aka "Dave the Slave" and Malala Yousafzai.  Dave was born into slavery in 1801 and today his pottery can fetch up to $40,000 per piece at auction, and Malala is this year's Nobel Prize winner for Peace for her work to educate young girls and boys around the world.

Second grade PA will dive into our study of ancient Greek civilization this week.  We are going to learn about the relationship between ancient Greek religion and their understanding of the natural world through the story of Hephaestus, the son of Zeus who was the blacksmith to the Gods.  The students will soon be writing their own myths based on the research we did on natural disasters several weeks ago.

Third grade PA will finish The Girl Who Owned a City this week.  Last week Tom Logan shot Lisa and took over the city.  We stopped at a real cliffhanger!  This week we will learn the fate of the city and write a comprehensive reflection about the book and how it helped us better understand the theme of change.

Fourth grade PA will begin our grammar unit this week with a review of prefixes and how they alter words, and an extensive refresher of the eight types of words that make up the English language.  The eight types of words are: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.

Fifth grade PA will have two more days to develop their TED talk and Prezi about a person under 30 who made a positive impact on a global system. The kids know that they will be working on this project at home to complete it and rehearse their talk several times. These presentations are due on February 2nd, the week that 5th graders will also be taking the qualification test for middle school ELA PA.  The math testing will be in the spring for 5th graders. Then, fifth grade will begin our grammar voyage with a review similar to the fourth graders. 

During the week of January 26th and February 2nd, I will be administering PA qualification tests to students in grades 2-5 all day long, so the schedule is going to change.  I will not be meeting with groups as much, but I will be seeing all of the kids at times during the testing window. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

PA for the Week of 1-12

This will be an abbreviated week in Project Arrow because of the Winter CBM tests that are given to all of our students three times each year.  I will be administering tests on Monday and Tuesday, and we have the teacher work day on Friday, so the students will not be seeing me each day.

Kindergarten and First grade talent development students will be working on making inferences using a picture book about a dentist in Paris who finds himself in possession of two magic figs titled The Sweetest Fig. The kids and I will be using what we know, adding this to our schema, and developing a new, deeper understanding of the text as a result.

Second grade PA students will begin to learn about systems this week as we begin our study of ancient Greek civilization.  The kids will be taking a pretest on Wednesday and then we will begin to learn about systems.  Here are the major goals for the unit:
1) Systems have identifiable elements and definable boundaries.
2)  Greeks believed that their Gods and Goddesses controlled the natural events, which occurred in nature.
3) Myths include supernatural beings or events which gave Greeks an understanding of their world.
4) References to Greek mythology are still culturally relevant today and provide a frame of reference with which to understand the meanings of common words and expressions.
5) Ancient Greece created or developed large aspects of government that lay the foundation for other civilizations.
6) Ancient Greece has had a significant impact on modern day society (art; architecture; mathematics; Olympics; philosophy; astronomy; government; religion).

Third grade PA will be taking a pretest for our grammar unit and continuing to read The Girl Who Owned a City.

Fourth grade PA will continue our reading of the short story we began last week titled " Lenny's Red Letter Day" and we will take a pretest for our upcoming unit on grammar.

Fifth grade PA will continue to work on our TED talk about a young person who made an impact on a global system and we will be taking a pretest for our grammar unit. Please send back the "permission to test" forms for middle school qualification that came home on Friday.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcome Back!

I hope this message finds you all well rested and ready to begin 2015.  Here is what we will be working on this week...

Kindergarten talent development will be diving into the world of A. A. Milne this week.  The kids and I will be reading "The Four Friends" with the classic characters of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. We will be charting details about each character found in the text and then naming categories for the character traits.

First grade talent development students will begin the new year investigating how the rest of the world rings in the new year.  The kids and I will be reading different news articles about how other countries celebrate the coming of a new year.  This will provide opportunities to learn about geography, new cultures, and to talk about how you and your family celebrate.

Second grade PA students will be reading a wide variety of poetry this week to better understand how words create visual images.  The kids and I will be reading works by E. E. Cummings, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, and even the lyrics of a certain chilly Disney song. 

Third Grade Project Arrow will continue our reading of The Girl Who Owned a City this week.  I am confident that none of the kids skipped ahead and read over break, a real exercise in self control!!! The kids will be developing a plan, similar to Lisa and Todd's in the text, for where to move their neighborhood if the events in the book took place in the Brookdale neighborhood. 

Fourth grade PA will be looking at song lyrics as poetry this week.  We will be reading and listening to two different songs by 1970's singer songwriter Harry Chapin.  We will be discussing the ideas of a central theme, imagery, figurative language, metaphor, and how the two poems/songs illustrate the central theme of change.  We will also be reading a short story titled "Lenny's Red Letter Day" if time allows.

Fifth grade PA students will be discussing how young people have changed systems on a global scale.  This investigation connects nicely to our Capstone Project and one of the main themes of Project Arrow, change.  The kids will begin a mini-research project about a young person who has changed the world that will culminate in a TED talk to be given in class in a few weeks.

Grammar is coming!!!  I told everyone that grammar would begin after Halloween, which I guess is still true, but I wanted to explain the delay.  After speaking with other PA teachers in the district, I was told that the program has better impact if it is done all at once, rather than once a week as was my plan.  We will begin all grammar all the time for a few weeks in the new year.

What is Creative Problem Solving?