Thursday, February 26, 2015

This Week in Project Arrow

My IPSD email is still having issues, so please forward any unanswered messages to: brianschumann75@gmail.com

Kindergarten talent development students are going to continue working on our Dr. Seuss mash-up puppet plays.  The kids will be focused on how story structure and the sequence of a story help the tale make sense. Partners will be mapping out two different Dr. Seuss classics, noting the important elements, the nonsense words used, and the pattern of the rhyming and the rhythm in the text.  I've been calling it, "Getting the Seuss in you" with the kids.  The partners will be writing a new story using elements from both books that will include rhyming.  The stories will be presented using the puppets we made last week.

First grade talent development students are doing a great job on their research project based on an inspirational person. This week the posters will be completed using a format that each student designed on their own. The next step is to learn about giving an oral presentation to our small group, and then to their whole class.

The Brookdale 7, aka second grade PA, will be learning about the nine Muses of Ancient Greece this week.  We will be reading about the nine Muses, investigating connections to the modern world with words like music and museum, and exploring the nine different categories of inspiration divined by these mythical creatures.  On Wednesday, the kids will be writing a proposal for a project inspired by one of the Muses that we will begin working on in class.  This project could be related to math, poetry, comedy, tragedy, history, music, architecture, geography, anything that the Muses had a role in inspiring.  This is a free form project, so I really don't know where the kids will take it, but I do know that it's going to be an explosion of creativity!

Third grade PA will begin learning about daily life in Ancient Egypt this week.  Partners will be researching a variety of topics using an amazing resource from The British Museum: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/menu.html. We will also continue working on learning the ins and outs of grammar on Friday.  

Fourth grade PA will be selecting one of the three brain disorders we researched last week to use for their project.  I am going to devote two days of our time for the next three weeks for students to research their disorder using multiple sources. The kids and I will also continue to learn more about the English language on our grammar voyage.  We will also be exploring two landmark Supreme Court decisions that changed the direction of America, Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, KS. We will be learning about equity and what was meant by separate but equal.

Fifth grade will only have two days of PA this week.  The classroom teachers revised their schedules because of PARCC testing and wanted to move math to the PA time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Because of the time lost, students should be working on their Capstone research at home for homework for at least an hour.  During our time in PA, we will be reading a few excerpts from Moby Dick to explore some of the grammar topics we have been learning, and we will be discussing the lives of the authors we are reading about as part of our autobiography unit. On Wednesday, the kids and I set due dates for a few parts of this unit:
  • Autobiography read by 3-13, post-it questions for Socratic Seminar written
  • Autobiography matrix due on 3-16
  • Novel by the same author brought to class on 3-18
  • Three essay questions due on 3-20

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Email Problems

If you have recently sent me an email that I did not respond to, please forward it to brianschumann75@gmail.com so that I can reply.  The district is working on recovering lost emails to my IPSD account, but I know that I have missed messages and want to maintain open lines of communication. 

Thanks,

 Mr. Schumann

Friday, February 20, 2015

Our Short Week in PA

We have a short week of school because of conferences on Thursday and the county wide institute on Friday, but here is what we will be working on the rest of the week.

Kindergarten talent development students will be creating stick puppets of favorite Dr. Seuss characters.  These puppets will be used to tell a story that combines characters from different stories to create an original tale.

First grade talent development students will begin combining information gathered from multiple sources on an inspirational person.  The kids will be creating a poster with facts about the person's early life, their life's work, contributions made to the world, the later years, and other interesting information.  The research the kids have done so far has been quite impressive.  I am excited to see how it all comes together.

Second grade PA kids will finish their work on the 12 Olympian Gods this week and turn their attention to the myth of their 13th Olympian. The enthusiasm for this topic has been awesome.  We will soon begin learning about Greek architecture.

Third grade will be learning about verbs, linking verbs, and adverbs this week.  We will also be discussing ancient Egypt as a system.  What are the boundaries of the system, the inputs and outputs, the elements and how parts of the Egyptian system interact.

Fourth grade PA will be given the outline for a big project about neurological disorders this week.  There are links on the left side of the blog that we will be using in class all week that students should also begin to explore at home.  The websites are on different disorders that affect the central nervous system, and everyone will be investigating three of them in class.  The students will soon be selecting one of the three for a comprehensive research project. 

Fifth grade PA is shifting gears this week.  The kids are going to begin a unit on autobiographies and memoirs of well known writers.  I have about seven books to choose from for this project.  Once the autobiographies are read, students are going to begin reading novels written by the same author to see how their life experiences influenced the stories.  Kids should continue to be finding sources and information for the Capstone project as well.

Friday, February 13, 2015

This Week in PA

Kindergarten talent development students will be working on a creative writing project based on the book Creepy Carrots during their time with me. The kids are developing their own version of this story.  Some of the titles the students developed last week were "Scary Salad", "Zombie Zucchini", and "Spooky Spinach." The books will be shared in homeroom classes when they are done.

First grade students will be working on their inspirational person reports.  This week, we will talk about using multiple sources for research and how to organize research into a report to share with their class.

Second Grade PA students are doing an amazing job learning about Ancient Greece.  The enthusiasm they have for mythology makes our 40 minutes fly by each day.  The independent research on the 12 Olympian Gods and Goddesses will be completed this week, inforgraphics will be in the works, and the 13th Olympian God/Goddess will be in the development stage.  The kids will write a myth about the new Olympian, name him or her using an etymology website, and a symbol and animal will be given to the God.  Look for these to be up in my window when you visit school.

Third Grade PA will continue to work on our grammar unit, but we will also begin a new unit on Ancient Egypt. The kids will be doing some work with maps, time lines, and we will be reading an Egyptian version of Cinderella to compare information about our culture to the culture of the Nile over 4,000 years ago.

The fourth graders will also be continuing their study of grammar this week and our investigation of neuroscience.  The kids are on the hook with neurology after watching the documentary on how the brain works last week. I have a link to the film on the blog under student resources.  This week we will begin to learn about the structure of the human brain and how it works.  We will be looking at interactive brain maps, MRI scans, and learning a lot of new vocabulary.

The fifth graders are going to be learning about Thomas Edison with me this week.  Our focus will be how he impacted different systems and how his work led to change around the world.  The 5th graders will have some homework on Wednesday and Thursday nights to complete.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Summer Programs

The Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University has a great line-up of summer programs for students with academic talents.  If you are interested, check out the link.

http://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/summer/

Thursday, February 5, 2015

PA is BACK!!!

The PA qualification testing is complete, and on Monday the 9th we will resume our normal schedule.  Remember that results for MS PA, and for students who are not currently in PA, will be shared in April.  For my 5th graders, I plan on having a conference with students and parents to discuss the results and explain if students qualified for ELA and PA math, or just one section, or if the results show that placement in the regular classroom with ongoing differentiation would be best.  Here is what we will be working on next week starting February 9th.

Kindergarten talent development students are going to begin a unit on reading beginning chapter books.  I have selected three titles, and the students are all going read each title.  The books we will be reading are Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog by Cynthia Rylant, Nate the Great and the Tardy Tortoise by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, and Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel. After reading each story, the kids are going to be creating story maps showing important story elements.  Then, next week, we will be working to create a two or three circle Venn Diagram to show similarities and differences between the three books.

First grade talent development students are going to begin a project with me next week.  The students will be working in pairs to research an inspirational person from the past.  We will be using online resources and books from the LMC because using multiple sources for research is a key common core objective.  The students will be collecting facts and then using them to create an infographic, a poster with a combination of pictures and text, to share what they have learned with their homeroom classes. This project is going to continue for the next few weeks.

Second grade PA will be immersed in the world of the12 Olympian Gods of Ancient Greece this week.  I have created a handout for the kids with basic information about each of the 12 Olympians that we will review for a few days, but then the kids are going to be exploring different stories of Greek Mythology to find even more details.  The information from all of the sources will be used to create a family tree of sorts with images and text.  Soon, we will be creating a 13th Olympian God and writing an accompanying myth that will explain a force of nature that the kids select.

Third Grade PA will begin our grammar unit this week.  The main focus is that the English language is made up of only eight kinds of words.  We will be learning about nouns, subject and object pronouns, adjectives, and articles this week.  We will be using my giant jar of Scrabble tiles for a competition on Thursday.  There will not be PA for the third graders on Friday because of the Valentine's Day parties.

Fourth grade PA will begin our neuroscience unit this week with an excellent NOVA documentary about how the brain works.  This will be an engaging way to see the power and complexity of the human mind.  We will also continue our grammar unit as we go deeper into the structure of the English language and how sentences work. I will also be sharing a story about the history of Valentine's Day that shows how the roots of the holiday can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman traditions as well as a few from Victorian England.  The 4th graders will miss PA on Wednesday because of an assembly.

Fifth graders did a wonderful job with their TED talks last week, and on Monday we will see the last few presentations that we could not fit in. The rest of the week will be devoted to Capstone research, our grammar unit, and on Friday we will be reading a poem by Robert Frost titled "Nothing Gold Can Stay."  We will be connecting the poem to a short story we read a few weeks ago titled "Ghost Cat."  The idea is to use the poem to show how the characters in the story dealt with the loss of their father, and which person best reflects the theme of the poem in their actions as they tried to move forward.  

What is Creative Problem Solving?