Saturday, August 29, 2015

PA and TD for the Week of 8-31

Our first week back went very well.  The kids were all ready to get back to business and had great enthusiasm each day.  Here is what we will be working on this week.

Kindergarten Talent Development: This week, I will be meeting with small groups of kindergarteners to create a dot.  This project was inspired by the picture book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.  You can watch the book here: The Dot YouTube  The kids will be coming to the PA room to make a unique dot that will be on display outside of my classroom.

First Grade Talent Development: The first grade classes were all very engaged last week when I shared the Chris Van Allsburg book Bad Day at Riverbend, so this week I plan to use another of his books to get the first graders to think outside the box.  I will be sharing pages from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a book where only the title, a picture, and a caption is given on each page with all of the first grade classes.  Teams of students will be working together to try to figure out what the story could be about.  

Second Grade Talent Development students will continue to investigate figurative language.  Last week we reviewed imagery and personification, and this week we will dive into hyperbole and symbolism.  We will be reading Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and Chicken Big by Kieth Graves to further our understanding of language. 

Third Grade Project Arrow will be focused on the central idea of a text, or the theme.  This is an abstract concept for students and so it can be a challenge for literal thinkers.  Theme is not a summary, or a main idea, it's the heart of the message in the text that articulates the purpose that author had in writing the piece.  We will revisit the short story "Shells" from last week, and then dive into the 1844 version of "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christian Andersen. The students will be looking for the elements in the text that contribute to the theme and using the idea of multiple perspectives to see story elements through the eyes of different characters. 

Fourth Grade PA will be reading a novella about a group of musicians in a concentration camp during World War II titled The Mozart Question preview.  I had this book out on my table this week, and last year's fourth graders got so excited and asked me to read it again, so I guess it made an impression.  We will be using the text to connect to last week's story "The Power of Light" and a poem we read titled "The Butterfly." The kids will be looking for thematic threads that run between all three texts.  The week will end with the class discussing dilemmas faced by the characters, dilemmas kids face today, and a dilemma that will pop up in the text we will be exploring next week. 

Fifth Grade PA will be spending our week with an amazing book called The Collector of Moments by Quint Buchholtz. I can't give too much away here, but I will say that our work with this text last year inspired my students and acted as a catalyst for some profound changes in how kids viewed everyday beauty.  I'm really excited to see where it takes the fifth graders this week.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PA Curriculum Night

In order to ensure that you can see your child's classroom presentation on Curriculum Night, Project Arrow Curriculum Night will be held on September 23rd at Brookdale in the LMC.  

For parents of NEW PA students 6:00-6:30
For all PA parents 6:30-7:00

Monday, August 24, 2015

Emails and Binders

If your son or daughter is in Project Arrow or Talent Development, and you would like to be added to my email list, please send me an email:, with your child's name, grade, and class.  Once I get the message from you, I'll add you to the list.

Also, be sure to send your son or daughter to school with a one inch binder for PA.  This binder will stay in the PA room and house all of the materials we will use this year. 

Talent development students will be given a folder. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Our First Week Back 8-24

Each week, I will update this website with everything the kids in PA and Talent Development will be working on.  Our first day will be Monday the 24th, and this is what we will be working on...

Kindergarten Talent Development will begin in Late September, but I will be meeting with all of the students this week to share an awesome book, The Dot, about how everyone is an artist. Over the next few weeks, all of the little guys and gals will be coming to my room to create their own dot!

First Grade Talent Development: I will be meeting with every first grader this week to share my favorite picture book, Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg.  This is a great story to introduce inferential thinking. I will be modeling making inferences with the text and setting the stage for next week's activity.

The Second Grade Talent Development will start the year off with an activity using optical illusions and connecting this visual idea to the more complex texts we will read together this year.  We will also be learning about figurative language, starting off with imagery, how words can paint a picture in your mind or impact your senses.  To illustrate this, we will read the 1940's classic picture book The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.  I will also be collecting some baseline data on the students to use as a benchmark for growth during our time together. 

Third Grade Project Arrow is starting the year with the concept of "change", a theme that will cycle through PA all the way to fifth grade.  What is change, what categories can you put change into, and where are there examples in literature? We will be using a short story by Cynthia Rylant titled "Shells" to find examples of the variety of changes we will be discussing. There will be a short homework assignment for the 3PA kids on Thursday night connected to our investigation of change. On Friday, I will be collecting some baseline data on the students to use as a benchmark for growth during our time together. 

Fourth Grade Project Arrow will begin the year by learning about generalizations we make in the texts we read and the supporting evidence in the text that allow readers to make them. The class will be reading a short story by Isaac Bashevins Singer titled "The Power of Light" about two kids in Warsaw during World War Two. We will use the text to make generalizations and reinforce the categories of change we used in class last year.  On Friday, I will be collecting some baseline data on the students to use as a benchmark for growth during our time together. 

Fifth Grade Project Arrow is starting the year by investigating the concept of a system.  What are systems? What defines a system? What different types of systems are there? Teams of kids will be working together to create a diagram that shows the inputs, outputs, boundaries, elements, and interactions of a system.  I'm also planting a seed in the minds of the new fifth graders that will grow into the year-long project we will develop called "The Capstone." The kids will be discussing their passions, and how their passions could impact a system for the better. There will be a short homework assignment connected to this work on Thursday night.  On Friday, I will be collecting some baseline data on the students to use as a benchmark for growth during our time together.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

PA and Talent Development Schedule

Project Arrow

3rd Grade PA 10:20-11:10

4th Grade PA 2:25-3:25

5th Grade PA 1:00-2:00

Talent Development

K 9:10-9:30 and 2:05-2:25

1st 9:40-10:10

2nd 12:10-12:50

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New PA Students

Those students who qualified for PA at the end of last school year will need a one inch three ring binder for the year. That's the only extra supplies needed for PA, I have everything else. Kids in the Talent Development classes K-2 will be given a folder for their materials once we begin.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone. Summer is sadly coming to an end, but that means that PA is right around the corner. I am so looking forward to picking up where we left off in June and welcoming a few new passengers for the ride to come this year. Once I know the schedule for the year, when each grade comes to see me, I will post it here. Talent Development for grades K-2, and PA in grades 3-5 will be starting up soon. Stop by the PA room on Monday the 17th during the Meet and Greet to say hi kids...I sort of missed you guys a little. I have a great story about an encounter with a fox while taking my trash out up in Wisconsin that I know you'll find amusing. Enjoy the last few weeks and I'll see you soon.

PA and TD for the Week of 1-19

  We have a short week of school this week, but I am excited to continue the work we began after winter break. The kids came back excited to...