Thursday, September 29, 2016

Curriculum Night

The Curriculum Night presentation will be focused on Project Arrow students in grades 3-5, not Talent Development students in K-2.  

PA and TD for the Week of 10-3

We are excited to welcome author Aaron Becker to Brookdale on Monday for 3-5 students, and my 2nd grade TD group.  Because of his visit, 5PA will only have 30 minutes on Monday.  I didn't forget the little kids when scheduling author visits, Olympic Gold Medalist and best selling author Kristi Yamaguchi will be at Brookdale on the 19th to speak to K-2 about her new book Cara's Kindness. Here is what the kids will be working on this week...

Kindergarten is still making dots with me, and we are having a blast!  This week I'm off to KJ and KB.

First Grade Talent Development small groups began last week with the classic fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Grimm version from 1812. This week we will be discussing the elements that make up a fairy tale.  Common themes of good vs. evil, magical elements, royal characters, poverty, and reoccurring numbers and patterns will be charted as we read Rapunzel as a group, and then student pairs will be reading a variety of fairy tales on their own. 
Second Grade TD will begin a great realistic fiction novel by Andrew Clements titled Frindle this week.  This is a story about a boy who invents a word that really catches on. We will be discussing word origins and looking for examples of how characters change over time. This group of second graders will be missing some of their specials on Monday to attend Aaron Becker's presentation. 
3PA will begin our week with a poem called "Letting My Mask Fall" about being comfortable with yourself and who you are.  We will then take a turn into science fiction with a short novel titled The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh.  This is a story about a group of refugees from Earth who are forced to begin anew on a distant planet called Shine.  This is an engaging story about how change and challenges faced by characters can lead to thinking about things in a whole new way.
4PA will go deeper into Misselthwaite Manor with Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. This week we will be analyzing different types of conflict characters face from multiple perspectives. 

5PA will take our first steps in the Capstone Project this week.  Students will be examining their passions and how they can lead to a positive change in the world.  Capstone in a nutshell, all the fifth graders will be developing an idea to change a system for the better this year to make the world a better place.  We will be working on this project 1 day a week all year long.  Lots more to come, but for now, baby steps!  The kids will also be reading our third Ray Bradbury story titled "The Veldt."  This is a sci-fi short story about a nursery in the future where the walls come to life based on what the kids inside it are imagining.  It's another great read! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 9-26

Schumann's Selections is a new shelf in the LMC that I am excited about.  While the shelf is for all of our students, I'm going to be adding my favorite picks for higher-level readers with my students in mind.  Kids are always asking me for book recommendations, this shelf is a way of always having a few good ideas to choose from.  Look for it the next time you are at school. 

Kindergarten students will continue to come to my room to make their "dots" based on the picture book I read with them earlier this month.  So far, KK and KC have all made dots which will be turned into 3D dots to be used in an LMC lesson in the coming weeks.  This week, I'm off to KP.

First Grade Talent Development will begin meeting with me, four days a week for 40 minutes, this week.  Talent Development groups are flexible and students will rotate in and out based on classroom performance, performance in TD, and other standardized measures that all students take during the school year.  For our first week, we will be diving into Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is a long story, requiring a lot of mental stamina, but it is also a wonderful fairy tale.  We will be learning about conflict in stories and how different conflicts are resolved.

Second Grade Talent Development will start the year off looking at the wordless picture books of Aaron Becker.  Mr. Becker will be coming to Brookdale on October 3rd, and my second grade students will join our 3-5th graders at his assembly.  We will be discussing how a story can be told using only pictures, we will write a summary of the adventure tale, and the students will begin to create an imaginary world of their own using a doorway drawn with a simple crayon. Second grade TD groups are also flexible and follow the same protocol as first grade, and soon my new K groups. 

3PA will continue with our work using "The Ugly Duckling" this week.  Teams of three students are creating huge maps of the story that include examples of change, ideas from the text seen from multiple perspectives, evidence that contributes to the theme of the story, and word webs that define the complex vocabulary used in the text. 

4PA will begin reading the 1901 classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett this week.  I have a link to the audio book on the left side under "student resources" that will help the students with the complex language and dialects used in the text.  The group will be creating a chart with facts and assumptions about the main characters as they read.  We will begin the week with a Google slide show intended to build background knowledge about Victorian times in England.  I will be showing different images of moors and the plants that thrive there, manor homes, roles of servants, and how the upper class lived to paint a picture of Mary's world. 

5PA will be working on a short project to start the week off using Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day."  I'm going to ask the students to become members of the Venusian School Board, and give recommendations on how to discipline the students who locked Margot in the closet and prevented her from seeing the sun on the one day it comes out every seven years.  We will watch a 25 minute film version of the story to compare which did a better job of telling the story, and then we will begin reading the 1950 short story "The Rocket" by Bradbury.  This is a wonderful story about a loving father who wants his children to see Mars using a rocket he builds at home.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Curriculum Night MOVED

PA Curriculum Night has moved.  The new date is NEXT Thursday the 29th from 6:00-7:00 in the LMC. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

PA for the Week of 9-19

3PA is going to begin the classic Fairy Tale The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen during our time together.  We will be using the text from 1844 to learn more about theme, how perspectives are formed, what influences a perspective, and how these perspectives change over time.  This is a challenging text that I am excited to share with the kids.  We will begin learning about annotating the text as we read as well.  
4PA will start the week with a picture book by Eve Bunting titled The Terrible Things.  This story is an allegory, or a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning or moral. This tale is about the Holocaust, but as interpreted by a bunny and other animals who are forced out of a forest.  This story will lead into a short story by Issac Singer from 1980 titled "The Power of Light" about two children in Warsaw during World War Two.  Our focus will be to identify the theme and better understand change.
5PA will enter the mysterious, wonderful world of Ray Bradbury this week with our first short story of his from 1954 titled "All Summer in a Day." This is a tale of a group of colonists living on Venus who only experience summer for one day every seven years.  We will begin our exploration of this author using a presentation I created that shows what life was like in the United States in the 1950's, at the dawn of the space age, when Bradbury was doing his writing. The students will be annotating the text with their thoughts, and seeking answers to about 20 discussion questions we will use for our first Socratic seminar of the year.  

Friday, September 9, 2016

PA and TD for the week of 9-12

Next week, I will be doing one-on-one CBM assessments with our first graders and kindergartners Monday-Thursday so there will not be PA until Friday.  On Friday, the kids in 3rd, 4th, and 5th will be taking a formative literature assessment used in all PA classrooms in District 204.  I use the assessments to inform my instruction and to measure growth on our journey through our literature units.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 9-6

The school year has gotten off to a great start in PA.  Here is what we will be doing next week...

Kindergarten Talent Development is starting off the year celebrating International Dot Day 9-15ish, yes it's a thing.  This day is based on the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  I read the story to all of the kindergarten classes during the first week of school, and this week, all of the students in KC will be coming to my room to make their own dots, but there's a twist.  Mrs. Furstenau is going to use an app to turn the dots into 3D dots that she can project on the Smartboard in the LMC when she meets with all our newest Bobcats. So cool! 

First Grade Talent Development is also starting off the year with some fun activities that I will be doing with the whole class.  All of the first graders will be coming to my room to create a class book based on the Chris Van Allsburg book The Z was Zapped.  Teams of students will work together to make their own version of this alphabet book. Here are a few examples from the book...
Second Grade Talent Development is going to be for all the classes to start off the year as well.  The second graders will be visiting my room to create story maps for images from another Chris Van Allsburg book, I love his writing!  We will explore The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to better understand story elements.  
3PA will begin to explore a theme that runs through all three years of PA, change.  We will discuss the idea of change and try to create categories of change.  The kids will be reading a short story by Cynthia Rylant titled "Shells" in order to pull out examples of change that fall into the categories we brainstorm. We will also begin to examine the theme, or the central idea, of a text.

4PA is going to be learning more about key literary elements this week using some poetry and a short story.  The kids and I will read the poems together and use the text to identify the theme in the texts.  At the end of the week, students will be writing their own version of the poem "Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye. If we get through that, we will begin a short story titled "The Power of Light."

5PA will review the change generalizations we learned about last year and then put that learning into action with a very special picture book by Quint Buchholz titled The Collector of Moments. This is a long picture book so we will be spending several days reading and discussing the complex themes and messages.  If you hear your children talking about hearing the music in paintings or talking about deaf horses, that's from me.  This is one of the amazing illustrations from the story about Max and the Professor...

Have a great long weekend! 

My Wish for my Students