Friday, September 18, 2015

PA and TD for the Week of 9-21

PA and Talent Development Curriculum Night is on Wednesday evening the 23rd.  From 6:00-6:30, I will be meeting with Project Arrow Parents who did not have a child in PA last year.  This is a group of 12 parents, so we will be meeting in the PA classroom.  From 6:30-7:00ish, I will be meeting with all PA and TD parents in the LMC to give an overview of what we will be learning about this year and answer any questions you might have. 

Kindergarten Talent Development will begin this week with my first small group of students.  Students are selected for this class based on classroom performance, teacher observations, and CBM data that shows student reading skills that are way above grade level peers.  The kids and I will be investigating story elements using a book about a cat, a spaceship, aliens, and a group of warrior insects titled Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner.  

First Grade Talent Development will be really going beyond first grade expectations this week as we begin the David Clements novel Frindle. We will be discussing different conflicts in the book, how the conflicts get resolved, and the impact these conflicts have on different characters.  The concepts of internal and external changes will also be part of our shared reading experience.  We will be starting off the week on Monday and Tuesday by finishing up Snow White from last week.  Then on Thursday, the group will be shuffled up a bit after the first grade teachers and I met to review CBM data, classroom observations and performance, and discuss which students are showing the highest reading and thinking skills in first grade. 

Second Grade Talent Development students will be adding a new word to our understanding of figurative language this week, metaphors.  Teams of kids will be trying to unlock the meanings of common metaphors like "She is the apple of my eye" and "You are the light of my life."  Then, pairs of students will be exploring a variety of picture books and poems looking for as many examples of metaphors as they can find. 

Third Grade Project Arrow will begin a group project this week based on the novel The Green Book that we completed last week.  The kids will be developing a school on Shine!  This project is a result of the third grade team and I trying to connect the learning in the classroom with what we do in PA.  The third graders will be reading a book called Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World in their classrooms, but we will take the idea of unusual classrooms and apply it to planet Shine.  What would the school look like, what would be taught there, what resources are available? The teams will be creating a list of relevant courses for the kids on Shine, a curriculum, and creating models of the actual school building.  The students will be bringing in some materials from home for this, but please don't go buy anything! The kids should be working on their journals, written from Patti's point of view, for 20 minutes each night at home this week. 

Fourth Grade PA really dove into The Secret Garden last week with gusto and ended up reading far more than I originally thought, which is just fine.  I am not the teacher who wants to stop kids from reading.  For the 30 minutes of reading each night, please make sure that everyone has read up to chapter 15 by Friday.  This week, we will be working on creating effective 7 word summaries of chapters 1-10, and debating which were the most accurate.  We will also begin conflict mapping different issues in the novel.  The class will have a short writing homework assignment on Wednesday as well. 

Fifth Grade PA will be dissecting the Ray Bradbury short story "The Scythe" this week.  This is the story of a depression era farmer who makes a very unusual discovery on a farm during the Dust Bowl. The class will be looking for examples of change in the story and developing questions for a two day Socratic Seminar that will begin on Thursday. On Wednesday we will have our first "Genius Hour" connected to the Capstone project. This week, the only goal is to explore the passions that were listed during the first week of PA on the Wordle created by everyone.  This exploration will end with each student developing a guiding question that will focus the research each individual will work on this year.  My goal for the first quarter is only to explore individual passions, develop a broad guiding question that will focus the research everyone will do, and write a proposal for the project.  What can you do at home...nothing yet. 

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