Thursday, October 27, 2016

PA Report Cards

Project Arrow students were given their PA report cards today by their homeroom teacher.  

PA and TD for the Week of 10-31

Kindergarten and First Grade TD will be talking about "feeling" words and alliteration this week as we read the picture book Walter Was Worried. The kids will be brainstorming feeling words and talking about times when they have had the feeling.  Then, everyone will make their own portrait and hiding their feeling word in their image.  Can you spot the feeling word in this picture? 
Second Grade TD will continue with our poetry theme from last week.  The kids and I will be reading the book Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word. The concept of the book is to take one large word and then scramble up the letters to see what other words can be made using only the letters in the large word.  The kids will be brainstorming long words, and then using Scrabble tiles, generating a word list, and finally writing a poem using those words that is about the original word.  
Third Grade PA will be focused on how our identities are shaped by our experiences and how those experiences change us using the novel The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson.  The story begins after a global plague that kills all people over the age of 12.  The children are now in charge and need to figure out a way to survive on their own.  The story is set in Glen Ellyn, IL where I grew up, in a neighborhood much like Brookdale. This novel always sparks amazing classroom discussions, I'm sure you'll hear about it at the dinner table. 
Image result for the girl who owned a city book
Fourth Grade PA will begin the week with a tug of war using post-it notes comparing the quality of storytelling in the novel The Secret Garden to the film version we watched in class.  Then we will shift gears by learning the criteria that determine which book is awarded the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature. The kids and I will visit the Newbery website to see which books have won the medal in the past, and then we will begin reading the winner from 1941 Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry. 
Fifth Grade PA will spend the week developing an idea for their Capstone project.  We will be going deeper into the "passion examiner" that they have been working on, finding quality articles on the topic, and writing a proposal for their idea to make the world a better place while making an impact on a system.  I added several new links in the student resources section of the website that I would like the kids to use when researching their topics.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Project Arrow and Talent Development for the Week of 10-24

Kindergarten TD will be spending the week with Osmo.  Osmo is a game system that connects to an iPad, and it literally blew my mind when Mrs. Furstenau shared it with me.  It would take me some time to explain all it can do, so you can explore the possibilities here: We have ten Osmo's in our LMC at Brookdale.

First Grade TD will be learning about making inferences this week.  Making an inference is like reading between the lines in a story.  We will be using a formula of sorts, my schema + what the text says = a new understanding.  I'm going to be sharing three picture books by Jon Klassen for our work this week.  My favorite one is This is Not My Hat. 

Second Grade TD  groups are rotating beginning on Monday.  As I shared at the beginning of the year, the TD groups are flexible so we can provide literacy enrichment to a wide group of our students.  The new group is going to be learning about and writing Haiku poetry this week. A  Haiku is a three line poem, usually about nature, that follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.  We will be venturing outside to observe nature as a pre-writing strategy and writing as many examples of this style of poetry as we can! 

Third Grade PA will be finishing up our Shine projects this week.  The kids will have Monday-Thursday to complete the different stages of the project, and the two teams will present their ideas on Friday. 

Fourth Grade PA will complete our work with The Secret Garden this week.  Kids know that the book needed to be read by 10-21.  The comprehensive essay that I assigned is going to be due at the beginning of PA on Thursday.  The kids will have Monday-Wednesday at school to work on their writing, but some of the students may need to work on this at home over the weekend and next week for homework.  On Thursday, we will begin the Francis Ford Coppola film version of the novel.  We will be comparing the two media in an activity for the following week. 

Fifth Grade PA will start the week with a two-three day Socratic seminar on all of the Ray Bradbury tales we have read this quarter.  We will be working on the Capstone passion examiners on Wednesday, and the students should also be exploring their passions at home using the form that I gave out last week. Our week will end with a few articles on living in regions of the world where the sun does not rise for months at a time and does not come out at all for part of the year.  The kids and I will discuss what impact this has one different systems.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 10-17

Kindergarten Talent Development will be working with the wordless picture books of David Wiesner this week.  You can see his books here:  Our focus will be on story structure and story elements.  

First Grade Talent Development will continue to work on our writing project from last week, and we will also begin a new writing project based on the Caldecott Honor book Creepy Carrots. Pairs of students will be writing their own version of this book, but with a twist.  The kids will be writing "Frightening Fruit" stories.  I've done this project for the past two years with first grade and the final books have been amazing!
Second Grade Talent Development will continue our work with Mr. Popper's Penguins this week.  We will be discussing mood, tone, the theme of the text, and groups will be looking for examples of change as we move through the novel. 

Third Grade PA will be working on the school design project based on the novel The Green Book that we finished last week.  The teams will be designing the school using materials available on planet Shine, creating a relevant list of classes that will be taught, creating essential questions for each class that will show what is to be learned, and creating a presentation that will be shared in PA. We will set a due date for this project on 10-21. The journal from the point of view of one of the characters on Shine is due on Monday.  

Fourth Grade PA will continue our work with The Secret Garden this week.  We will be having a Socratic seminar using questions the kids developed and the class will begin working on an essay responding to one of three questions that were shared last week. 

Fifth Grade PA will work on examining the "passion" Wordle that we created last week in order to develop an idea for the Capstone project.  The kids will also be reading our last two Ray Bradbury stories, "A Sound of Thunder" and "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains."  The kids will be creating questions focused on the writing style of Ray Bradbury and thematic threads that flow through all of the stories we read. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

PA and TD for the Week of 10-10

Kindergartners in KB will finally make their dots this week!  The K team and I will be meeting this week to create the first talent development group of the year. I will see the new group starting on Thursday to begin discussing story structure and story elements using David Wiesner's picture book Mr. Wuffles. 
First Grade Talent Development will be reading a new picture book titled Also an Octopus, a great story about what elements make up a story. We will be using the book as inspiration to create our own picture books. 
Second Grade Talent Development is not reading Frindle, because as it turns out, I read this with many of the kids when they were in first grade TD, oops!  Instead we are reading the 1938 Newbery Honor winner Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. My main objective for this book is comprehension and using evidence from the text to support answers to complex questions. 
3PA is reading a short science fiction novel by Jill Patton Walsh titled The Green Book. It is a story about a group of families who have to leave Earth on a four year journey to a new planet called Shine.  We will be focused on how characters respond to change as we read.  In their homerooms next week, the kids will be reading an informational text about how schools look different around the globe titled Off to Class, Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World.  We will use our novel and this book as part of a collaborative project to design a school and a curriculum for a new school on Shine in the weeks to come.
4PA is going deeper into The Secret Garden.  We will be discussing the motif of secrets in the book, uncovering the many metaphors, and the role that magic plays in the tale.  The kids will be creating seven word summaries of chapters 1-15, and then we will be picking the most precise one for each chapter after discussing each one that the kids wrote.  The 4PA group will also have our first Socratic seminar using questions they will create. 

5PA will dive into our fourth Ray Bradbury story this week.  "The Scythe" is about a farmer and his family during the Great Depression who discover something very strange about a field of wheat on their new land.  We will be discussing inner conflict, and then the kids will begin to examine the connections between all four Bradbury tales we have read thus far.  Teams of kids will be developing open questions for a Ray Bradbury Socratic seminar.  We will also begin a "Passion Examiner" that will focus the first steps in our Capstone project. 

My Wish for my Students