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.  

My Wish for my Students