Friday, January 29, 2016

PA and TD for the week of 2-1

PA Testing will continue this week, so our schedule is a bit different.

K Talent Development will only meet on Thursday of this week.  We will be looking at a Caldecott winning picture book, Joseph had a Little Overcoat, to discuss how the illustrator used some amazing out of the box thinking to create the pictures in the story. 

First grade Talent Development will only meet this week on Thursday.  The students and I will be discussing sources of inspiration and how these sources work to make us think of something new. 

Second grade Talent Development will be meeting on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week.  We will be doing some research using .  The students will be looking deeper into a subject that has had an influence on them so far in their lives. This work connects back to topics being discussed in their regular classrooms.

3PA will continue our exploration of the Great Pyramid,.  We will be learning more about Khufu and his family, the role of the Ka and Ba, and the construction methods used when these ancient tombs were built about 5,000 years ago. There will not be PA on Friday.

4PA will not be meeting this week as Mr. Schumann will be testing students as part of PA identification for next year during 4PA's regular time.

5PA students will be taking the ELA portions of the Iowa Assessment this week, Monday-Wednesday, from 9:20-10:20.  We will also be meeting during our regular PA time to begin our Socratic Seminar about the benefits and potential risks of GMO foods in the human food chain.  

Fourth grade students who are not currently in PA and are testing to qualify, will be meeting M-F from 2:00-3:15 to take the necessary tests.

Friday, January 22, 2016

PA Identification Testing and PA/TD Schedule Changes

This week begins the identification process for students who are not currently in Project Arrow. Second, third, and fourth grade students who received a letter and permission slip to test will be taking several portions of the Iowa Assessment during the school day. 5th grade testing will begin on February 1st. 

3rd and 4th grade students will be taking the CogAT test from 9:10-10:20 on Monday and Tuesday.

2nd grade students will be taking the Iowa Assessment from 12:15-1:30 on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 

3rd grade students will be taking the Iowa Assessment from 2:00-3:15 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

Kindergarten TD will meet on Thursday and Friday.  We will be reading picture books and comparing them.

First grade TD will also meet on Thursday and Friday to do a fun, and challenging poetry writing activity using only words that can be made from a larger word.  The kids will be using scrabble tiles to mix up the letters in their big word to pull out all of the smaller words that can be spelled using the letters they have, and then writing a poem using only those words. 

Second Grade TD will be discussing the influence that the Lorax and the Onceler have in the Dr. Seuss classic The Lorax. Once we look at these two characters, we will discuss how kids can influence the environment drawing inspiration from the text. 

3PA will meet Wednesday-Friday during testing continuing our work with Ancient Egypt.

4PA will only meet on Friday this week.  The kids will be taking an online personality inventory, The Myers-Briggs, and learning where in the brain our personality lives. 

5PA will meet on Thursday and Friday to work on the Capstone project.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 1-19

Project Arrow Report cards will come home today in backpacks. 

Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade Talent Development groups are all going to continue the creative writing activities we began last week.  The creativity and collaboration thus far has been excellent.  The kids have all gotten off to a good start on these stories and I am looking forward to seeing where the characters will end up.

Third Grade PA will be learning about the system of Ancient Egyptian religion this week.  The students will be exploring different gods and goddesses of this ancient civilization all week long using a variety of online tools.  The students will be investigating the names of the gods and goddesses, how they are depicted, the meanings behind the name, and reading a bit about the mythology that surrounds the deities. 

Fourth Grade PA will continue our work with the anatomy of the human brain this week using three different interactive brain maps.  When this work is complete, we will begin reading the story of Adam Moore, a boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.  When Adam was a fourth grader, he had an accident at summer camp that injured his brain.  He wrote a book about the events titled Broken Arrow Boy, when he was in his own 4th grade classroom. This is an inspirational tale that will help us better understand how the brain works. 

Fifth Grade PA last week was amazing.  The kids all did fantastic jobs on their TED talks, I wish everyone could have seen the presentations!  I was truly impressed with the quality, individuality, and comprehensive storytelling that was on display.  This week, we will finish up the final TED talks and then jump into a new unit. The kids will be reading informational articles about the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the human food supply. My plan is to dispassionately present both sides of this issue, and then see what happens in the classroom.  I have several articles for the class to read and annotate, and then we will prepare for our first nonfiction Socratic Seminar of the year. Remember, that an hour of work each week at home on Capstone research remains part of PA homework.  Students should each have around 25 sources at this point. 

Have a great long weekend!  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 1-12

Kindergarten Talent Development will be spending our time with an idea I got from Mrs. Brauer.  We will be writing "sticker stories" for the next two weeks.  The kids and I will be going over the elements of a narrative story and how to develop ideas into complete stories that have a fluent path from beginning to end.  I have a random collection of stickers that I will put on writing paper for each student.  They will use the sticker as the main character in the story they will write after completing a story map to showing the elements all good stories contain.

First and Second Grade Talent Development groups will be working on creative writing as well for the next two weeks.  The students will be working in pairs to write stories using two wildly divergent photographs they will be given randomly.  One example, a very old woman eating an enormous cracker paired with a sumo wrestler walking his chihuahua.  No kidding, I have those pictures.  The kids will map out a story using the two pictures as two main characters, develop story elements on a story map, and begin writing the tales.  This is going to be a lot of fun!

Third Grade PA will begin our Ancient Egypt unit this week.  The class and I will begin by understanding when this civilization began, around 5,000 BC, and how that time period relates to Ancient Greece from last year.  The first Olympic Games were in 776 BC, about 4,200 years after Egypt began.  The week will be spent building background knowledge and introducing the world of Ancient Egypt to the class through a documentary we will be taking notes on as we watch. 

Fourth Grade PA will begin a new unit on neurology this week.  We will be looking at two different interactive maps of the human brain to understand the anatomy of a brain and what the different parts control.  We will also be watching a NOVA documentary that shows just how amazing the brain can be.  All of the sites we will be exploring are listed under "student resources" on the PA website.

Fifth Grade PA will be presenting their TED talks about an inspirational young person beginning on Tuesday. I am so looking forward to seeing how all of the hard work that was put into the research and planning of the presentations has evolved. When we are done presenting all 26 talks early the week after next, we will begin a short unit comparing GMO crops (genetically modified organisms) to organic farming and the farm to table movement.  Last year we had some powerful discussions about the pros and cons of each.  I expect the same will be true for this group as well!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Project Arrow Testing

Project Arrow Testing will take place from January 25th-February 5th to identify new students eligible for participation in PA. If your child is in 3PA or 4PA, they will not test and have already been identified.  All 5th grade Project Arrow students need to requalify for middle school PA and will be testing. 

Letters will be sent home with students that the academic team at Brookdale have selected for testing, along with parent requests, on January 7th.  We have reviewed all of the standardized testing data and classroom performance for each student in grades 2-5 to determine which students to test.  All of the students selected show scores at or above the 90th%tile which are required for placement in PA. 

Project Arrow and Talent Development for the Week of 1-4

Welcome back!  I hope everyone had a great two weeks off from school.  This will be a shortened week of PA and TD as I will be giving CBM tests to grades K-5 all day on Thursday and Friday in the LMC. Here is what we will be working on in PA and TD. 

Kindergarten, First, and Second grade Talent Development students will only be coming to see me twice this week.  We are going to explore the Caldecott winning picture book from 1999 titled Snowflake Bentley.  This is the true story of Wilson Bentley (1865-1935) who was the first person to photograph a snowflake under a microscope.  The students and I will read the book, and then explore some of his original photographs to discuss the patterns and geometry of individual snowflakes.  The students will also be creating their own snowflakes in this creative thinking and geometry activity.

Third and Fourth Grade PA will spend our three days together exploring alliteration, collaboration, and creative thinking using the amazing picture book Anamalia by Graeme Base.  Groups of students will be creating their own page for this book, writing an alliterative riddle, and working to find as many ways possible to use the letter of the alphabet they are randomly assigned in their large scale illustrations.  

Fifth Grade PA will also be exploring a picture book by Graeme Base this week, The 11th Hour.  This is a book with over 1,000 hidden messages and clues to help the reader discover who ate the feast at the main character's 11th birthday party.  A light, fun, yet challenging group activity to start the new year.  The 5th graders will have one hour on Thursday and Friday during their regular PA time to work on their TED talks we began before break.  All the students know that this project will be presented during the week of the 12th.  

My Wish for my Students