Friday, May 29, 2015

Last Week of PA

We are all done! Next week is the last week for PA and Talent Development.  I don't know where this year went, but something about time flying crosses my mind.  This has been an amazing 1st year for me as the PA teacher at Brookdale because of the 84 wonderfully unique students I get to see each day. I had a blast on our journey together, and I am thrilled to say to most of you, I'll see you next year. 

To the fifth graders, you are all awesome kids!  The quality of the Capstone projects that have been presented so far truly blew me away!  I cannot count the number of times I got the chills while watching you show our class how you want to change the world.  I so wish that we had more time together, but I know you will all be in good hands next year and you can always stop by to say hello.

This week we will be finishing up some projects and having some fun together.  Have a wonderful summer everyone.  Thank you so much for all the positive feedback and support this year.  Be on the lookout for the summer reading list that the fourth graders have been working on.  As soon as it is complete, I will be posting it on the PA website. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day

We all enjoy a three day weekend, especially at the end of a long school year, yet we all need to remember why we have the day off. To everyone who has served our country, and especially for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, we honor you this weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

PA and TD for the Week of 5-26

Only eight days of PA and TD left for the is what we will be working on.

Kindergarten talent development will continue reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing during their time with me.  I am so impressed with the progress the kids have made as readers.  They are reading the novel to each other now, and the expression and fluency I have seen blows me away.  The kids are understanding the subtle differences in oral reading when looking at dialogue and italics.  It's pretty amazing.

The first graders and I will continue our exploration of the world of Shel Silverstein during our time together.  The "Lemonade" poems took a bit longer than I expected, but a few of the students were able to find over 100 words in their one word.  They really squeezed every drop out of their word to create their poems.

Second graders in PA are going to be working on a project that I used to do with my fourth grade students back in the day.  It's a project that I presented at the IAGC convention several times and it ties into what the kids have been doing in the classroom with different versions of Cinderella stories.  The kids are each going to design the shoe that Cinderella would have worn in a version of the classic fairy tale that they read in class.  The outside of the shoe will reflect how other characters view Cinderella while the inside of the shoe will show how Cinderella sees herself.  Did I mention that this will be done on a actual shoe? This is going to be a great way to end our year!

The third graders have been completely absorbed with the Kate DiCamillo novella The Tiger Rising.  The prose is so rich in this text, the characters are so engaging, and the mystery of what the tiger represents creates many opportunities for deep conversations about metaphors and inferring what motivates characters to do what they do.  Our work with this text will continue during our four days of PA this week.

The brain disorder presentations given by the fourth graders were outstanding.  Another teacher stopped by to give me something during one of the speeches, and she stayed to listen in for a while.  After school, she stopped me to say how impressed she was with what she saw.  She said she was "stunned" by the depth of the content and how polished the Google slides were.  The same goes for me!  Amazing work!  Our final project of the year is going to help all of the student at Brookdale.  The 4PA kids will be creating an annotated summer reading list for grades K-5 that will be posted on my website and on the LMC website for students to use over the summer.  Who better to create a list of engaging tales of wonder and adventure than some of the best book lovers at Brookdale?

5PA, it's finally here, our Capstone TED talks will be presented all week long.  16 ways to change the world as seen through the lens of a 5th grader. I cannot wait! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

PA and TD for the Week of 5-18

Our schedule got shifted around a bit because I got to be a second grade teacher on Friday because of a shortage of subs, so things will be shifted a bit next week as well...

Kindergarten talent development has already read over 45 pages of our novel Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  Next week, we will continue reading and playing the amazing game SET.

First graders and I are going to explore the wonderfully bizarre and amazingly imaginative world of Shel Silverstein for the last weeks of school.  We will be reading his poetry and his picture books before attempting to write in his style.

The second graders in PA are going to continue working on our logic through "The Athenian Secret" during our time together.

The third graders and I are going to be reading a short novel by Kate DiCamillo titled The Tiger Rising.  The main idea of the novel is a metaphor, a metaphor that I'm hoping these amazing students will dive into with me as we read.  There are richly developed characters dealing with loss in this book, and did I mention the tiger?

The fourth graders will continue to present their brain presentations next week.  The first 1/2 of the kids did very well.  I am excited to see what the other kids have in store for us.  The kids will also be taking the summative neurology test on Thursday and Friday.  A study guide was given to everyone in class.

The fifth grade PA students have a bit of homework this week to finish up their Capstone projects.  We will begin presenting them a week from Monday.  I am thrilled with the depth of the work I have seen so far.  During our class time, we will be further exploring astrophysics through how starts are born, how stars die, how planets form, black holes, supermassive black holes, dark matter, and dark energy. Be sure that everyone reads the Neil deGrasse Tyson article I have linked on the blog...two posts down.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

5PA Capstone Resource

This week's episode of NOVA might be a useful resource for 5PA students doing their Capstone project that focuses on any marine life or global climate change issues. I know that several of the kids have topics that will connect to this episode

Monday, May 11, 2015

Summer Programs

I'm sending home a flyer today with all the kids for summer programs offered by The Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity/The Center for Gifted.  You can also see their programs online at:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

PA and Talent Development for the Week of May 11th

The year is flying by!  We only have three weeks left, and we are going to make them count.  Here is what we will be working on this week at school...

Kindergarten will be on a field trip on Monday, so we will be finishing our PowerPoints on Tuesday.  Then we will get back into the novel Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.  The main focus will be working on summarizing the chapters as we read. 

The first grade group will be looking at what would happen if one part of a symbiotic relationship were to stop collaborating with the other.  What are the consequences? What would happen if...will be our conversation starter for many great conversations this week.  The kids will also begin writing poetry based on the book Lemonade, Poems Squeezed from a Single Word. Groups of students will be working with Scrabble tiles to find as many small words using only letters from a larger word, and then using their list of words to create a poem. 

Second grade PA will continue with our math based problem solving unit "The Athenian Secret." The teams have made flags, created a team name, and now are working complicated math and logic puzzles to earn codes from me that will lead to unscrambling a secret message about Greek mathematicians.

The third graders and I are going to be exploring primary sources this week.  When doing any research, using a primary source is always a great starting point.  If, for instance, one is researching FDR, using his own words, rather than a book someone else wrote, a secondary source, is key to understanding the person or event in the best light.  All of the third graders are working on a report about an influential person, we are just going to sprinkle a little PA into the mix using this website as a starting point:

The fourth graders will be presenting their projects on a brain disorder all week.  I am really excited to see all of their hard work come together in these presentations.  I will also be sending home a study guide for an upcoming neurology test so the students have time to prepare.

This is the final week of Capstone time in class for the fifth graders.  The kids will have this last week in class to work, all of the following week to work at home and rehearse their TED talks, and then the last week of May, the 26th-the 29th, the kids will present their year-long projects to the class.  All of the fifth graders were given their presentation dates in class on Wednesday. I cannot wait to see how my super students are going to change the world!

Thank You!

Thank you all for showering me with cards, notes, flowers, books, and gift cards this week.  I have about 30 roses in the classroom today, 18 new books to use with students next year, and several other treasures.  What a nice way to spend the week as a teacher! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Permission Forms Needed

I need all of the 5th graders PA permission forms for middle school returned ASAP.  Thanks.

My Wish for my Students