Thursday, March 24, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 4-4

PA progress reports will come home on Friday the 24th in backpacks.  Please look for them. 

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Spring Break!  Relax and enjoy time with each other.  This is what we will be working on when we come back on April 4th.

Kindergarten Talent Development will start off 4th quarter comparing fictional ants in Chris Van Allsburg's Two Bad Ants and One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes to facts that we learn about real ants on Pebble Go and DK Find Out.  How do ants in picture books compare to ants in the real world?  How are they the same?  How are they different?  We will be having a whole lot of fun with ants!!

First Grade Talent Development will be learning about making generalizations based on two different informational articles we will read together.  One article is about an ice cream shop and the other is about the Apollo missions in the 1960's. The kids will learn what a generalization is and how we can use them when we read.  The kids will also begin a letter home from space, pretending that they are on a mission to the moon.

Second Grade Talent Development is going to finish up their venn diagrams comparing Athens to Sparta to begin our week together.  Then, we will be learning about Ancient Greek pottery and how it shows what life was like long ago.  We will be looking at about 15 different examples, and using them to make inferences about life in Ancient Greece.  The class will then design a modern vase to show what life is like today.  Here is an example of one of the vases we will be studying:
Third Grade PA was captivated by the documentary we began before break on the 10 greatest discoveries of Ancient Egypt.  The kids have about four pages of notes!  We will finish this on Monday and Tuesday, and then jump into three days of grammar, reviewing the 8 parts of speech and sentence diagramming. 

Fourth Grade PA took a slight detour the week before break and learned about the conscious and unconscious brain, and we had some amazing conversations in class.  This week, we will get back on track and learn about the two hemispheres of the brain.  I have a few complex articles to dissect with them, and then we will all be taking an online right brain left brain test. On Thursday and Friday, we will jump back into grammar.

Fifth Grade PA begins fourth quarter with a short story titled "Enchanted Sticks" but I don't want to give any of the plot away.  Wednesday is our Capstone day to work on the summary of our research.  This was all presented in class before break, and all of the kids have started this writing project.  If they would like to work on this over break they sure can.  Our week will end with two articles about the benefits of microbial life inside the human body.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 3-21

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Talent Development will be spending four days with the picture book Walter Was Worried. We will be using the book to talk about feelings and what causes us to feel like we do in different situations.  When are we puzzled, anxious, delighted, shocked, or hopeful and why do we feel this way?  The picture book has amazing illustrations that create faces out of the letters in each feeling word.  The kids are going to create their own face drawing using a feeling word that begins with the same letter as their first name.  

Second Grade TD will be exploring the Greek city-state of Sparta this week.  The main focus will be on the differences between life in Ancient Athens to what life was like in Sparta.  Boys going off to the army at the age of seven???

Third Grade PA will finish the slide show project comparing life in Ancient Egypt to modern day life on Monday, the due date for the project.  Some of the kids will need to work on this over the weekend to complete the project on time.  Then, we will be watching parts of a Discovery Channel documentary film on life in Ancient Egypt.  Reading about what life was like and seeing reenactments discussed by scholars will, I hope, truly bring this period of history to life.  We will also create our name cartouche, a project that we didn't have time for a few weeks ago.

Fourth Grade PA will be learning about theories comparing right brained people to left brained people.  What do the terms mean, what are the characteristics for both, and where do we all fit?  The class will be doing a lot of reading on the subject and taking an online test to see what side they are on. 

Fifth Grade PA will be creating a bibliography for their Capstone research using the APA style that is used in the middle schools.  The class will also begin outlining their "Summary of Research", the next part of the Capstone project.  In the summary, students will be asked to write about the following: 

Clearly Identifies the Problem: Your summary clearly identifies the problem in a clear and complete fashion.

Research is Evident: Your summary is consistently supported with evidence from your research to support your thinking.

Credible Solution: Your summary shows evidence of your thoughtful reflection on the topic to develop a solution that is possible.

 Impact System: Your summary illustrates how your idea will impact a global system in a positive way. 

Details about the next two steps, the implementation timeline and the visual that will be a companion to their TED talk will be given after break.

Middle School PA Qualification letters will be sent home on April 22.  It is important for all parents to know that not all 5th grade students will be moving forward in PA.  An informal survey of all the PA teachers in District 204 showed that about 60% of the kids continue.  With this in mind, please talk with your son or daughter to let them know that it is not the end of the world if they do not move forward in PA.  Every student who does not qualify will have an opportunity to retest for 7th grade PA next year at Hill.  It is also important for you to know that participation in PA at Hill is in no way connected with eligibility for honors or AP classes in high school.  For those students not moving on, I will have time to talk with parents about the data after the letters go home. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Great Google Apps

I shared a few Google Apps with the kids in 3PA today, and they asked that I pass them on.

The free BioDigital Human App gives a 3D view of different systems in the human body and has loads of information about different medical conditions.

Readability is an app that will remove all ads, videos, and links on any website the kids want to read information on, like Ancient Egypt.  I use this at school all the time.  It will appear as a red chair on your Google Chrome browser, just click on "read now" to filter out all the extra stuff.

Epic, is, well epic!!! It's an online library with thousands of books.  It's free for educators, but for at home use there is a fee.  It's pretty amazing.

Friday, March 11, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 3-14

Kindergarten and First Grade Talent Development will be learning three challenging math games this week.  The good news is, the kids will all be coming home with the game boards and directions so they can teach you at home.  The only extra materials that you will need are items that you already have at home.  

Second Grade Talent Development will begin to explore the city states of Ancient Greece this week, beginning with Athens.  Using a variety of sites that I have linked on this website, the students will be researching what daily life was like, how a direct democracy works, how Athens got its name, and what school was like in Ancient Greece.

Third Grade PA will continue our work on the slide shows.  The project will wrap up on Friday.

Fourth Grade PA will begin the week presenting their brain disorder projects.  The class has worked hard on these presentations and I am excited to see their final shows.  Then, we will move into how the brain creates dreams.  What are dreams?  Why do we dream? Can we control our dreams?  The kids will begin keeping a dream journal at home on Monday night. 

Fifth Grade PA will be finishing their A to Z writing about Morris Lessmore at home this weekend, our time was cut short because of the talent show, but the group was very excited about finishing this challenge.  Next week, we will be reading a short story titled "Ghost Cat" and using it to further examine themes in literature.  Next, we will be spending a few days with the poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost to discuss alliteration, metaphor, and again the theme.  Finally we will read the work of a contemporary poet, Billy Collins, titled "On Turning Ten" about what we leave behind once we reach the double digits.  All of the Capstone research should be complete by Wednesday, approximately 30 sources.  Next, we begin putting the final project together.  All of the details will be posted next week.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

4PA Brain Disorder Presentations

4PA brain disorder presentations will begin on Friday of this week.  All the slides and the speeches need to be ready to go.  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Year in Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly came back to Earth this week after spending almost a year on the International Space Station.  You can watch an hour long documentary about his adventure here:

PA and TD for the Week of 3-7

Kindergarten TD will continue our reading of Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing this week.  The kids will be working on reading fluently and creating a character map for Fudgie.

First Grade TD is going to be learning about idioms this week. "Going bananas", "raining cats and dogs", and "seeing eye to eye" are all examples of when we say one thing, but really mean something else. The kids are going to make a six-sided idiom ball that they will bring home at the end of the week. 

The first graders had a tornado drill during their time today, so we didn't get to play the NASA Rover game.  Here is a link: 

Second Grade TD took longer than I planned to create their Olympian family trees last week, so we didn't get started on the creation of the 13th Olympian God or Goddess.  This week, we will begin this fun project. 

Third Grade PA will begin a Google Slides project this week comparing modern life to life in Ancient Egypt.  The kids will be researching what life was like 5,000 years ago in Egypt. We will learn about family life, food and cooking, cosmetics and bathing, clothing, housing and furniture, entertainment, government, sports, religion, architecture, and medicine. 

Fourth Grade PA is working on finishing up their brain disorder projects.  The work is going well, and all of the kids have done an excellent job with the research and creation of a Google Slides or Pow Toon presentation.  I hope to have the kids present at the end of the week, but that is flexible based on how far everyone gets.  I don't want this to be a homework assignment, so I'll see how close to completion everyone is by Wednesday so everyone has time to practice their presentations.

Fifth Grade PA will have a three day Socratic Seminar based on the two books everyone has been reading.  The focus of the seminar will be how the life experiences an author has are mirrored in his or her writing.  We will also be working on the Capstone project, aiming for 30 sources by 3-16.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Capstone Research

These are the three categories that will be graded for the research portion of the Capstone Project for 5PA. This is the only portion that we have discussed so far in PA, and the kids should be finishing their research in the next two weeks. Students should have 30 sources by 3-16. We will be creating a bibliography in class. 

Quality and Depth of Information: Information in your research showed a strong knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Quality of Sources:
Your sources were varied, respectable, and

reflect a range of media.

Quantity of Sources: Your bibliography and research log reflect an understanding of the value of using a variety of sources on your topic.

Look for the next steps to be posted soon. 

My Wish for my Students