Thursday, April 28, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 5-2

PA permission forms are due on Friday May 6th. 

PARCC testing is over for all of the PA kids, but this week our schedule for PA and TD will be different because I'm going to be screening our new batch of kindergartners for next year on Monday afternoon, and the whole school will be doing the last CBM testing of the year on Wednesday and Thursday.  Here is what we will be working on...

Kindergarten TD is going to begin to learn about grammar.  We will be playing a few games using my huge jar of scrabble tiles to make groups of nouns, verbs, and adjectives in teams.  This group loves to play learning games so this should be a fun way to introduce grammar to my littlest friends. 

First Grade TD has been  reading a lot of fairy tales with me!  This week, we will continue to read some of the classics, but then we will take a twist.  We will be learning about fractured fairy tales.  Fractured fairy tales take a traditional tale and flip it all around.  Our work will start with my favorite, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. 
Second Grade TD has changed a bit.  With one month of school left, and next year's Project Arrow group identified, I'm only going to work with the kids who will be in Project Arrow moving forward.  This year I was able to work with 65% of all second graders and we learned a lot together.  Moving forward, last week my new PA group created a time capsule that we will open on the last day of 5th grade.  That was fun!  This week, we will be reading an article about the lighting of the Olympic torch in Greece, and going deeper into the construction and architecture of the Parthenon.

3PA will complete our Ancient Egypt unit this week with a look at the reign of Cleopatra.  The group will also be taking a final assessment on our journey through this ancient civilization. 

4PA will complete their summative essay on everything we have learned during our neurology unit.  I smiled when group all said the three hours I told them they would have was "not nearly enough time" to write all that they had learned.  So, I'm going to give the kids more time this week, and then we will move into our final unit of the year.  We are going to learn about the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson.  I added two links under "student resources" that the kids can explore to begin to get to know this poet. 

5PA will have all week to work on their Capstone projects.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

PA Orientation at Hill

Monday May 9th                      Parent Orientation for incoming 6th Graders
                                                     -Incoming Project Arrow Parents 6:00-6:45
                                                     -All Incoming Parents 7:00-8:00

Thursday, April 21, 2016

PA Letters and Permission Forms

PA letters come home on Friday the 22nd.  There is a permission form to participate in PA included in the letters for those students who qualified.  Please send in the permission form by May 6th.

For PA Math students moving on to Hill, there are two pages with directions to sign up for a summer math course to prepare for the rigor of next year.  I strongly recommend that all students enrolling in PA Math register for this class. You need to register by May 6th for these classes.  

PA and TD for the Week of 4-25

Kindergarten Talent Development will be writing stories this week in TD. We are going to combine all of our knowledge about books that we have learned this year to write a story of our own.

First Grade Talent Development will continue our work with Fairy Tales this week.  

Second Grade TD  will be exploring the secrets of the Parthenon in ancient Greece during our time together.  

Third Grade PA  will not meet this week because the students will be taking PARCC tests during our PA time.  

Fourth Grade PA will continue to learn about memory this week, and then we will move into Howard Gardener's theory of Multiple Intelligences.  

Fifth Grade PA will be examining how change promotes growth this week, specifically how scientific change promotes growth in our understanding of the universe.  We will have one Capstone day this week, and the next two weeks of PA will be devoted to Capstone projects.  The kids will have a total of 11 hours in school to complete their projects which are due on May 18th.  The three parts kids are working on are the summary of research, the implementation plan, and the visual to accompany their speech. The specific parts of each are in the PA binders, but here is what I shared with the kids: 

The Visual Presentation:

Relevant to Topic: The visuals in your presentation reflect a complete understanding of the theme of your research.
Engages the Audience: Your visual is dynamic, captures the attention of the group, and draws them into your research.
Inspirational: The visual inspires the audience to your idea to impact the world.
Quality of Visual: The visuals selected show a mature understanding of the topic.

The Summary: 

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.

The Implementation Plan:  

Realistic: Your plan has a realistic timeline and the sequence is accurate.
Comprehensive: The plan takes the group from the catalyst to full realization of your idea.
Evidence from Research: Your plan reflects the research completed with respect to the logistics, resources, and materials needed for implementation of your idea.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

PA Letters Come Home Friday the 22nd

On Friday the 22nd, all of the students who tested for Project Arrow will get the results.  Letters will be given to classroom teachers to send home via backpack mail.  All of the current 5th grade PA students will find out if they qualified for PA at Hill.  The fifth grade letters for students who qualified will show if they qualified for reading or math PA, or both. 

I am happy to meet with any fifth grade families who will not be moving forward in PA to explain the data in the letters.  District 204 sets the standards for middle school qualification, it is not a school based decision.  The standards come from the top and I put all of the data together.  I know there are going to be some unhappy kids this weekend who will need some positive supporting parents. All of the kids who didn't qualify this year can test again in 6th grade for 7th grade PA.  

Current third and fourth grade PA students will all continue in PA next year and will not be sent home with anything. 

PA and TD for the Week of 4-18

Kindergarten Talent Development will begin the week creating Venn Diagrams comparing the two picture books we read with ants as the main characters to the research we did on real ants.  Next, we will be discussing captions and what they do in the informational texts we read.  I created a slide show with pictures of animals doing some pretty amazing things that the class will be writing captions for.  

First Grade Talent Development is going to begin a unit on fairy tales.  We will be learning about the characteristics of this genre, and then we will be selecting several examples to read.  For each story read, the students will be mapping the features that make the stories fairy tales.  The kids will also be doing some work comparing stories and the fairy tale elements found within these classic stories. 

Second Grade Talent Development will start the week of working with different maps of Ancient Greece.  We will learn about the different bodies of water that surround Greece, find Mount Olympus, and a few of the city states.  The kids will all be taking our first TD test all about Ancient Greece on Tuesday, and on Thursday we will finally begin to learn about the Antikythera Mechanism, and ancient computer of sorts developed in Ancient Greece. This is what it looks like...
Third Grade PA will turn our attention to the Queens of Ancient Egypt this week.  The kids will be learning the differences between the ruling style of male and female Pharaohs.  Then, we will begin to explore The Library at Alexandria and all of the connections to what we learned last year about Ancient Greece.  Alexandria, named for the Greek ruler Alexander the Great, was actually mummified in the Egyptian tradition and remains in Egypt in his tomb today.  The kids and I will look for all the ways these two ancient cultures merged thousands of years ago.  

Fourth Grade PA is going to be learning all about memory this week.  We will investigate short term memory, long term memory, explicit and implicit memory, autobiographical memory, and we will be making connections to a certain Pixar film to see if the filmmakers did their neuroscience research when making a film about memory. 

Fifth Grade PA will begin our week with a grammar quiz, and then we will be learning about the subject and predicate parts of sentences.  Tuesday will be a Capstone Day, inching closer to our first presentations one month from Monday. Later in the week, we will be reading a short story titled "Charles" about an imaginative kindergarten student.  The kids will be sharing their own Charles moments on a graffiti wall in the classroom.  The week will end with the long anticipated book Enigma, I didn't forget Patrick, where the kids will need to find clues in the story to unlock a combination safe on the final page.   

Sunday, April 10, 2016

PARCC Testing and a Limited Week in PA and TD

This week, the fifth graders will be taking the PARCC test and I will be assisting with small group testing.  As a result, there will be no K and 1 talent development T-F this week, 3PA will not meet T-F, and 5PA will only meet on Monday and Friday.

Second Grade TD will meet this week to finish work on our modern urns that show what life is like in 2016.  We will explore a Greek myth, and I will begin a short unit on the Anitkythera Mechanism, a computer invented by the Ancient Greeks. 

4PA will be working on their neurology infographics with their partners all week.  

My Wish for my Students