Friday, October 23, 2015

PA and TD for the Week of 10-26

Kindergarten Talent Development will be learning about writing a reading response journal entry this week.  The kids and I will be reading a variety of Halloween poems for young kids and writing reading responses about them.  We will also continue to work on logic problems during our time together. 

First Grade Talent Development did an amazing job developing their ideas for "Frightening Fruit" stories last week.  During class we learned about words that describe nouns, adjectives, and I introduced a story mapping strategy used by the first grade teachers called CLAPS. C=characters, L=location or setting, A=important actions in the story, P=the problem, and S=the solution to the problem.  The kids have completed a story map and are now writing their spooky fruit stories.  We have rotting raspberry zombies, caged cantaloupes, chopping cherries, ornery oranges, killer kiwis, bad bananas, and murdering mangoes.  The stories are all very creative and we will continue working on this project this week. 

Second Grade Talent Development students are going to be examining "the butterfly effect" for the next few weeks.  The second grade team asked me to dive into this topic they have been examining in the classroom but at a higher level.  So, I have assembled a collection of Halloween themed books for everyone to read.  Next, we will imagine that we could jump into the story to intervene at a critical part and alter the trajectory of the narrative. Kids will be making a timeline of the original tale, and then creating an alternative timeline showing how the story would have turned out differently after the intervention.  This should be a lot of fun!

Third and Fourth Grade PA will begin our grammar mini-unit this week.  The main focus of the first part of Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Island and Grammar Town programs we use in PA are the parts of speech. This image will be used in class to show the eight parts of speech and how they are related:
Learning the parts of speech will be our main focus for the week.

Fifth Grade PA will have three days to work on the Capstone this week.  On Monday, I will be showing the class how they will be recording their progress and collecting information from their research.  On Tuesday and Wednesday the kids will be writing their Capstone proposal, or the initial idea they have for their projects.  I have met with every student to discuss their ideas already and am impressed.  I know that there is some anxiety about narrowing the ideas the students have, and some ideas are still vague and underdeveloped, but know that I will be helping to refine and focus the proposals this week.  It's hard with 26 kids, and an hour a week for Capstone to individualize instruction, but I am doing my very best.  That's why we will be spending three hours this week on developing the proposals. The main research focus for the next few weeks will be to identify the problem and find research that PROVES that the issue central to the project is truly a problem. If a student is concerned about air pollution or an endangered animal, then find the facts that PROVE that there is air pollution or the reasons an animal is threatened.  This is a long journey and many of the kids want to rush to the end, not so fast! Imagine we are on the yellow brick road...right now we are just standing next to the house that got dropped on the Wicked Witch of the East, I know that we need to meet the Scarecrow soon and find other friends and go to Oz, but right now we need to take the first steps on the journey.  Our focus for the next few weeks is only identifying the problem and researching facts about it.  The kids will miss one day of PA because of their field trip, and on Friday we are going to have some fun with Poe's "The Raven" and grammar. 

My Wish for my Students