Friday, March 27, 2015

PA for the Week of 4-6

The kindergarten talent development students will be working on researching a topic of their choice this week.  We will focus on using the facts to write a speech that the kids will give in my classroom.  The students and I will create a rubric together for this project and discuss what big questions need to be answered as a part of this inquiry based presentation.

The first graders and I are going to continue to learn about figurative language.  The week before break, we learned about onomatopoeia and personification.  This week we will review those, discuss idioms and review what they learned about them in their classrooms, and begin to learn about similes and alliteration.  The class will begin making a simile book and we will create our own page for a book by Graeme Base titled Animalia.

The second grade PA kids will begin our week resuming the tours of ancient Greek historical sites and what they tell us about the what life in Ancient Greece was truly like. Then we will be diving into an amazing underwater discovery from Ancient Greece that is truly FASCINATING! The kids will be learning about The Antikythera Mechanism. This 2,200 year old machine is the most complex and technologically advanced device of the ancient world.  It was found at the bottom of the Aegean Sea in part of an ancient shipwreck.  You can begin to explore here:

Third Grade PA students will continue to explore the mysteries of the pyramids this week in a continuation of our work before spring break.

The fourth graders are going to be learning all about dreams this week in PA.  What are dreams? Do we all dream?  What do the kids in PA dream about? What is the purpose of a dream? What influences our dreams? Do certain TV shows or video games influence nightmares?  All of these questions will be answered as we discuss our own dreams and read what psychologists have to say about the subject.  On Friday, we will make a timeline for completing the brain research project, what the final presentations will look like, when they will be due, and the steps needed to be successful in completing everything on time.

Fifth grade Project Arrow students will begin the week by creating a detailed timeline for completing the Capstone project by the end of the quarter.  This is a big project, so to ease any anxiety, we are going to go through all of the steps and set due dates for the next nine weeks. We will be continuing our grammar journey and investigating a poem from 1958, titled "I am a Cherry Alive" about a little girl's song of celebration at being part of, and alive in, the universe. We will end the week by reading some of the writings of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived. We will learn her amazing story.   

Friday, March 20, 2015

PA for the Week of 3-23

One more week until Spring Break!  Here is what we will be working on this week.

Kindergarten talent development students are going to spend one more day on our Dr. Seuss plays.  The final stories are really quite good!  The final copies will be coming home at the end of the week for you to see at home. Then, we are going to be using multiple sources to do a mini research project on animals.  This is a great website that we will be using in class:

First grade talent development is done with the research project on an inspirational person.  Once these are shared in their homeroom classes, they will be sent home.  We are going to switch gears from informational texts to poetry and figurative language this week using two of my favorite picture books.  We will be reading the 1942 classic by Virginia Lee Burton The Little House to learn about personification, and a new classic from 2013 titled Locomotive to learn about onomatopoeia. I'm going to take both groups at the same time this week so we will have 40 minutes!

Second grade PA will continue our investigation of Ancient Greece this week, beginning with the myth of Althena's Horn.  This is just your average story about a magical goat horn that provides food to Zeus as a boy.  This will lead into learning about some of the mythical creatures of Ancient Greece like the minotaur, centaur, and the three headed dog Cerberus. The students will be seeing images from ancient artifacts depicting the creatures and then creating their own mythological creature with a back story.

Third grade Project Arrow students will begin learning how the pyramids of Ancient Egypt were constructed.  I recently purchased a class set of a David Macaulay book titled Pyramid for the third graders.  The informational text gives extremely detailed information in both words and text, detailing the process of construction and the purpose of these wonders of the ancient world. The students will be exploring why they were built, how they were built, who built them, and what lies inside the monuments.  Did you know that when the Pyramids were built over 4,000 years ago, the sides were veneered with a smooth, polished white limestone and the capstone was encased in a mixture of silver and gold? I didn't...learning is cool!

Fourth grade PA will take a break from our Brain research on Monday to enjoy a picture book about a French man who walked a tightrope between the towers of The World Trade Center in 1972. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers won the Caldecott Award and is a great story.  We will watch a short clip of the Oscar winning documentary, Man on Wire, based on the event as well.  We will also be working on our grammar unit and we will continue our research on the brain.

The fifth grade Project Arrow students will be given some time to finish reading the novel that connects to the author memoir that was read earlier this month.  Teams of students will be working to create a visual that shows how the lives of the authors found their way into the fiction they wrote to show how their experiences in life shaped the characters and places they wrote about.  After Spring Break, we will be making a timeline for Capstone completion.  Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

5PA Conversation Starter

One of the 5PA students sent me this link and asked me to watch it.  I did, and then I shared it with the class today.  What resulted was an amazing conversation about empathy and giving.  They asked that I share the link with everyone. Be aware that there may be an ad that pops up before the video plays that we did not see in class.  Thanks to the parent who brought this to my attention!

Friday, March 13, 2015

PA for the Week of 3-16

Kindergarten talent development students are going to be finishing their Dr. Seuss puppet plays this week.  The puppets are made, characters, settings, problem, and solutions have been mapped out, and now we need to write the scripts and practice the performances.  The plays will be shared with the students in their home kindergarten classes soon.

First graders are going to be finishing their inspirational person research posters this week, and then we are going to move on to a great book.  The picture book, White Socks Only, is an inspiring tale from the south during the Jim Crow era. 

The second grade PA kids will be finished with the Muse presentations created using Google Slides, so this week we will share them in class.  We will be investigating the roots of democracy in Ancient Greece, and taking a closer look at what daily life was like in these times.  What foods did they eat?  What were their houses like? How did the Ancient Greek people dress? We will also be learning about city states and the differences between them.  Did people identify as Greek, or as a Spartan or Athenian?

Third grade PA will be continuing with our grammar unit and investigating the tombs found in The Valley of the Kings, but we will diverge for three days to dive into an amazing picture book titled The 11th Hour. This mystery is filled with hidden clues in the text and pictures that will have the kids captivated!  This is one of my favorite activities that I do every year.

Fourth grade PA will have a guest speaker this week on Monday and Wednesday.  Dr. Saberwal will be speaking to the kids about the central nervous system and the brain disorders we are researching.  The rest of our time will be spent doing research for our brain project.

Fifth grade PA will dive into a Socratic Seminar using questions they wrote about how an author's life can impact their work.  I am excited about this discussion.  I peeked at the questions that triads wrote and know that they will be a catalyst for a great two day discussion.  We will also be reading two new articles on GMO's this week.  The best part about this activity is that the articles were brought in by two of the kids!  One article was found by Christian from Bloomberg Business, and Brett brought in an article he found in National Geographic. I couldn't resist continuing our discussion about the pros and cons of these crops.  Get ready for Annie guys!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

PA for the Week of 3-9

Kindergarten and first grade talent development groups will not meet this week because of PARCC testing.

Second grade PA will begin the week with a review of elements of figurative language we learned at the beginning of the school year.  Then we will be discussing how to do an oral presentation, what elements are included in a great presentation, and how presentations are evaluated.  The kids will create a rubric for their own oral presentation on their inspiration from the Muses of ancient Greece. We will develop the presentations in class.  With any time we have leftover, we will begin to learn about the city states of Greece, focusing mostly on Athens and Sparta. 

Third grade PA students will continue our investigation of life in ancient Egypt.  Last week, everyone got a "Day in the Life" packet explaining what an average day for a woman, farmer, soldier, priest, nobleman, craftsman, and Pharaoh would be like.  We will discuss the similarities and differences between the different groups as well as the similarities and differences to our own lives. We will also be learning about what an Egyptologist does and we will begin to explore The Valley of the Kings using a great interactive map:

Fourth grade PA did an amazing job last week as we learned about traumatic brain injuries through the story of Adam Moore.  You can read his book, he wrote it when he was a fourth grader, here:
This week the fourth graders will begin researching the brain disorder they selected last week. We will have two research days each week until Spring Break.  Our grammar unit will continue and we will further explore the different parts of the human brain.

Fifth grade PA students will be continuing to work on their autobiography matrix, post-its, and reading for homework this week.  Please see last week's post for due dates.  During our time in class, the kids will be reading two different informational articles about microbes in the human system and how antibiotics are changing our systems. The photo at the top of the blog this week shows a few of these microbial critters. There are over 100 trillion microbes in the human body!  This is a great introduction:  The kids will be comparing two articles, one from Scientific American and another from the NY Times, for a class discussion using pretty advanced texts. How great is PA this week…pretty awesome if you ask me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PA Parent Survey

PA Families,
  All of the PA teachers were asked to send a survey out to our parents to gather information on current programming for students with academic talents.  Please take three or four minutes to complete the survey at this link:​ 
Thank you,
Mr. Schumann

Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Swap

Recycle to Read Book Swap
On March 23rd, we will host a Recycle to Read Book Swap in our LMC and our goal this year to get at least 2 books in the hands of every student at Brookdale for Spring Break.  This is a great opportunity to kick off spring cleaning and your books to find a new home.  Please help us by recycling your gently used books to trade in for “new” books.  On March 9th via back pack mail, you will receive more information.   We will collect books during the week of March 16th and the students will get to select books March 23rd-25th during their class LMC time.   This is a wonderful opportunity to promote literacy for the entire  Brookdale family!  There is no cost involved to participate and it is open to all Brookdale students to participate.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions --
Thank you!
Ashley Schultz and Lisa Furstenau

My Wish for my Students