Monday, April 26, 2021

PA and TD for the Week of 4-26

 KTD Lit will be exploring the picture book The Barnubus Project by The Fan Brothers. The story is about rejected pets from a peculiar pet store trying to escape the lab they were created in and see the world. The kids will be creating a pet in the style of Barnabus too!

KTD Math will be playing a dice game that focuses on doubling the number rolled and, using a chart I have at school, crossing out four numbers they double in a row. We are playing connect four!

1TD will be reading The Book of Bad Ideas this week. The story is a collection of ideas that kids have had, but they soon realize that they were bad ideas. "Never go down the stairs in a box with your friend." Clearly a bad idea. The kids will be writing and illustrating a page to add to the book based on their experiences. Lots of laughter this week, I'm sure!
2TD is going to begin a project that will take us to the end of the year. The kids will be evaluating past winners of The Caldecott Medal, an award given to one picture book a year that shows excellence in the illustrations and the text. The class will be given the criteria that is used by the people who select the winner and the same criteria will be used by the class. We will be reading winners that were written in the 1940's to the present. 
3PA will finish up our work on the short story "The Green Man" this week. Next, we will be reading the original version of Hans Christian Anderson's classic from 1843, "The Ugly Duckling." Our focus will be on how the duckling's identity was shaped by his experiences with others in the story. 

4PA have begun their group of three drawings showing The Secret Garden in three stages of development. Barren, growing, and splendor will be captured by the kids in their artwork. Each picture has a few quotes the students found in the text as evidence of the garden's development. 

5PA will continue reading their autobiographies and a work of fiction by the same author this week. We will also be spending a lot of our time remaining time this year on Capstone. I will have a date for when they will present by the end of the week, coordinating with the 5th grade team because the 5th graders will spend a whole day in PA presenting and watching what their classmates developed. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

PA and TD for the Week of 4-12

 Talent Development students will all be working with the poetry of Shel Silverstein this week. We will focus on creating spoonerisms that we learned about last week with Runny Babbit. Students will be taking different poems and rewriting them using spoonerisms. 

3PA will be reading a short story titled "The Green Man" this week. There are many layers to this tale that we will be discussing together. 

4PA will begin the week with a surprise, and then we will finish reading The Secret Garden. The kids will begin an art project relating to the book by the end of the week.  

5PA will begin a new unit this week. We will be reading an autobiography written by an author of fiction for younger people. The kids will be annotating the book using post it notes that will be color coded. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

New PA and TD Schedule

This is the new PA and TD schedule for 4th Quarter

4PA 9:30-10:30

2TD 10:30-11:00

KTD 11:30-12:00

5PA 12:35-1:35

3PA 1:35-2:20

1TD 2:35-2:55 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Safety First


Safety is our first priority at Brookdale, so I wanted to share a photo of what my classroom looks like as we head back to a five day schedule. The carpet circles have been measured out to have 3 feet of space on all sides. We will be safe and ready to learn!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

PA and TD for the Week of 3-16

 KTD Lit will learn about the non-fiction text feature of captions this week. We will learn what they are for, what kinds of books will have them, and we will write some of our own using some very interesting pictures!

KTD Math will work on estimation and a video division problem using a chocolate bar. 

1TD will be using the information found last week to create an infographic poster with images and facts on the topic they explored. The remote kids can do a poster at home or a Google Slide. 

2TD will be discussing perspectives during our time together this week. How do two, or more, characters view the same event differently? Why can the same event be interpreted in different ways?

3PA Will continue reading The Girl Who Owned a City and exploring the change generalizations we developed at the beginning of the school year. This week, the group will also be using the Visible Thinking strategy called "Step In" focused on exploring viewpoints. Three questions will guide our thinking this week. What can this character perceive? What might this character know about or believe? What might this character truly care about? These questions will be examined for each character in the novel.

4PA will be using the same Visible Thinking strategy as the third grade group, but using the characters in The Secret Garden. The kids started this last week in small groups, and the conversations I heard were excellent! 

5PA has been very persuasive in asking to write sequels to the creative writing we did earlier this year using microscopic photography as their inspiration. The first stories were very clever and entertaining, so, we will be writing sequels this week in the same groups as before. This writing also allows for more Zoom socialization, something has been difficult to foster over a screen, but when I pop into breakout rooms and hear the kids being kids and laughing while they work, it almost feels like normal school.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Middle School Transition Night Passcode: K=$2$&i1

The Zoom meeting last night was limited to 100 people, I'm not sure why, but the link and passcode above will take you to a recording of the meeting. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Monday No PA

 Starting next Monday, I will be giving the IAR test to a small group of students, so there will not be PA. For the next three Monday's I will be assessing students in grades 3-5. 

PA and TD for the Week of 3-9

 KTD Lit will be reading the first book in a trilogy by Aaron Becker titled Journey. The kids and I will be discussing story elements like main idea and the problem and solution in the story.

KTD Math will be playing a game this week, where we will use questions to guess a mystery number. 

1TD will be using the website DK Find Out  for a research project on any topic that the students choose. The kids will create a way to share what they have learned with the whole group.

2TD will be reading the next section of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, working in teams on the visible thinking strategy of "See, Think, Wonder." After reading a chapter, kids will discuss what the most important thing they saw in the chapter, what they thought about the most, and what do they wonder about the story moving forward. 

3PA have reached the half way point in The Girl Who Owned a City. This week, we will continue to work on the change generalizations for the novel, and teams will be using the visible thinking strategy of "See, Think, Wonder" in small groups to help facilitate meaningful conversations about the book.
4PA has really gotten into The Secret Garden this year. During our time together this week we should get through a chapter a day, if you are following along at home. The group will continue to chart notes about the evolution of Mary and Colin and how Martha and Dickon are helping them, as well as looking for the meaning behind all of the symbolism in the text.

5PA has been working in teams to complete a variety of activities based on a folktale from Japan titled "The Enchanted Sticks." We will finish this work, and then move on to a short story by Shirley Jackson called "Charles" about a kindergarten class. Thursday will be a Capstone research day. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

PA Middle School Transition Night

 Good morning!

I hope that you are all doing well! Below is the Zoom info for the IPPA PTA Middle School PA Info Night. I will be sharing it on facebook and through memberhub as we get closer to the event, but I wanted to give it to all of you now so you have time to share it with your 5th grade families. Thank you for all you do and your help getting this info out!


Catey Genc is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: IPPA PTA’s Middle School PA Info Night
Time: Mar 10, 2021 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 895 3822 3784
Passcode: 561257
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Friday, February 5, 2021

PA for the Week of 2-10

 3PA will focus on chapters 5 and 6 of The Green Book this week. How will the colonists survive if their crops fail and have crystalline elements absorbed from the soil? What will the moth people do to the residents of Shine? We will finish reading the book this week!

4PA is enjoying The Secret Garden! The small group discussions about symbolism and metaphors have been fun to listen in on over Zoom. This week I anticipate reading chapters 8-11, continuing our work with the characters and figurative language, and we will finally find out where the sound Mary keeps hearing is coming from.

5PA spent last week working on their Capstone and conferencing with me about the direction of their projects. There are some really interesting topics being explored and the kids are all doing well as they continue their passion project. This week, we will work on Capstone just on Thursday as we circle back to the inaugural poetry we were reading. Teams of kids will extract the themes from the three poems and what the poems say about the times they were written in, and then we will discuss their thoughts as a whole group. Later in the week, we will begin reading a short story titled "Ghost Cat" that I have in our Google classroom. 

Talent Development for the Week of 2-1

 I am excited to get TD going again, and this time with a few live children with me in my classroom. This will be my first time doing a combination of students in the room and students over Zoom. I have no idea how its going to go, but we have all learned to adapt during the pandemic, and I'm sure we will get the hang of it eventually.

Kindergarten Literacy will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00-10:30. If your child is going to be in school on Tuesday, they will need their Chrome Book for accessing digital resources. This week we will be reading two Caldecott winning picture books with a lot of snow. In Owl Moon we will try to identify the main idea and discuss what we learned about the two characters in this quiet, peaceful story. We will also read a true story about the first person to photograph snowflakes in Snowflake Bentley. The kids and I will discuss the differences between the two types of picture books when we have read both. 

Kindergarten Math will meet on Thursday and Friday from 10:00-10:30. There are many kids who are in both the literacy and the math group, so I'm going to do a bit of a crossover lesson using the snowflake photography of W. A. Bentley. We are going to look at the geometry of snowflakes, identify different shapes, and make our own snowflake drawings. 
First Grade Talent Development will meet from 10:30-11:00. The first grade team and I split TD into two groups that will meet on Tuesday/Wednesday or Thursday and Friday. The students who are in school will come to my room and meet their classmates on Zoom. This week we will be learning about an inspiring individual, a theme for first grade this quarter, Sonia Sotomayor. Kids at home will have access to a digital copy of the text and the kids at school will have the actual book. We will focus on the key moments in Justice Sotomayor's life and why she is seen as an inspiring person. You can see an interview with her about this book in the clip I posted on the website.
Second Grade Talent Development will be seeing me Tuesday-Friday from 11:00-11:30. We will be doing a combination of in person learning and Zoom, so some kids will be in my room and others will be joining on their computers. The second grade teachers gave copies of the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to all TD students. If your child does not have a copy of the book yet, please come by school and pick one up. I put a few extras inside the main door of school on Friday morning. I was able to find a link to a complete copy of the text that I have under the "student resources" tab on this website that the kids can use until they have the book. We will begin reading this week and recording character traits for the main characters as we discuss this classic of children's literature. 


Sonia Sotomayor on "Turning Pages: My Life Story and The Beloved World o...

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

PA for the Week of 2-1

 3PA will be continuing to read The Green Book during class this week. Last week, we spent time finding details about the setting on this new planet and how authors use words to paint a picture in the mind of a reader. The kids turned those details into a drawing showing what their "Shine" looked in their minds. This week we will continue to write a first person journal from Pattie's point of view and discuss some of the plans the colonists are making. 

4PA will be reading The Secret Garden this week. The layers in the story are just beginning to unfold. Our main focus will be identifying symbolism and metaphors as we discover them in our reading. The kids will also continue to add notes to the character matrix that we began last week. 

5PA will be working on Capstone all week as the kids pivot to developing a solution for their passion project. We spent the first half of the year finding information on the problem itself, proving that it is a problem. Now, the students will begin researching different possible solutions and finding out what is currently being done to try to solve the problem. I will be meeting with each student in a breakout room to check in to make sure everyone is still on the right path.

Monday, January 25, 2021

PA for the Week of 1-26

 There is no Talent Development this week because of CBM testing.

3PA will continue reading The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh. In the 3PA Google Classroom there is a guide with the activities, vocabulary, an article about jelly fish and bioluminescence plus the questions we will be discussing as we read chapters 3 and 4. Feel free to explore this before we meet tomorrow kids.

4PA is going to start reading The Secret Garden this week! I love this book and am excited to begin reading with the kids. In the 4PA Google classroom there are a few new items that we will be using as we read. This week, we will begin to explore the moors and try to tolerate Mary! The kids will be taking notes on four characters as they read for a project we will be working on when we finish the novel. There is a link to an audio version of the novel under students resources on this website.

5PA will spend this week reading inaugural poems by Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Amanda Gorman. We will be extracting the theme of each poem and discussing how each poem sheds light on what was going on in our country when each was written. Copies of all three poems are in the 5PA Google classroom along with a tool we will use to analyze the texts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

PA for the Week of 1-19-21

 There is no Talent Development this week.

3PA will begin reading the novel The Green Book this week. As the kids read this science fiction novel, they will be writing a first person journal pretending to be the main character, Pattie. There are going to be many good discussions as we read this week. The kids will be expected to finish their 7-10 sentence journal entries as homework and there might be some reading to finish up as well. The book is available to pick up inside Door 1 at school. 

4PA will be presenting their neurological disorder projects in class all week beginning Wednesday. Everyone has Tuesday in class to rehearse and finish up final touches. If you did not pick up a copy of The Secret Garden last week, please come get one. 

5PA has Tuesday to finish up their TED Talk on a young person making a difference in the world. The kids will be presenting this to the group beginning on Wednesday.

Monday, January 11, 2021

3rd and 4th Grade Materials Pick-up

3PA and 4PA will have materials to pick up available on Thursday the 14th from 9:30-4:00 and on Friday the 15th from 9:00-4:00. I will have two novels for 3PA, The Green Book and The Girl Who Owned a City. 4PA will have a copy of The Secret Garden to pick up. They will be inside Door 1, the main office door, with a sign above for 3PA and 4PA. Many of the books are not school property, they are books I purchased, so please be gentle. 

PA and TD for the Week of 1-11

 Talent Development will be pausing after this Friday, along with all of our academic interventions, as we transition into hybrid instruction.  The academic support team will be working on individual assessments and helping classroom teachers complete one one one assessments we have missed during remote learning. All interventions and TD will resume on 2-10, but groups will have some new students and some students will be rotating back to their classrooms. 

KTD Lit: We will finish our author study of David Wiesner this week as a whole group on Wednesday. I have a substitute on Tuesday and I didn't want to miss our final discussion, so the Tuesday kids will join the Wednesday kids for a whole group wrap-up of our wordless picture book study.

KTD Math: We will be working another estimation problem this week.  It takes stamina to work on one problem for 30 minutes, but the groups have done very well!

1TD: The group will finish reading Frog and Toad are Friends during our time together this week.  The focus of our discussion will be how the differences between Frog and Toad make the story more engaging for the reader. Authors use juxtaposition to contrast characters all the time, but how does this make a story more interesting? 

2TD: We ended up spending two hours reading Rooted in Justice about Vice President Elect Kamala Harris last week.  The group took detailed notes on the experiences Kamala had in her life that will help her in her new job. This week, we will be reading about President Elect Joe Biden and looking into his past experiences and how they will shape him as a leader.  On Friday, we will see how these two people with very different experiences, might be able to use those experiences to make good decisions for America. 

3PA: This week, we will be building background information for the first novel we will read together this year. I'm not giving the title of the novel yet because I know this crowd! The students will be working alone and in pairs to start the week with a lunar survival problem. If your spacecraft is trapped on the light side of the moon, waiting for a rescue, what items from the spaceship would be most important? I have a list of 15 items that kids will number rank and defend their rank in writing. Next students will work in pairs to collaborate on their list and compromise on a new list taking in ideas from both partners. After we discuss as a whole group, students will be reading and discussing the five articles that I put into Google Classroom this morning. 

4PA: Kids will, hopefully, finish their neurological disorder slides this week, write the speech, and be ready to present after MLK Day.

5PA: The kids have all week to work on their TED Talk on a young person who made their community a better place. I uploaded a sample outline and a TED Talk speaker guide, the same one given to anyone giving a TED Talk, to Google Classroom this morning.  

Sunday, January 3, 2021

TD and PA for the Week of 1-4

 Welcome back! I am looking forward to a much better year in 20201.  Here is what we will be working on this week.

KTD Lit will continue developing story sense, understanding of story elements, and critical thinking skills with another Caldecott Medal winner, Flotsam, by David Wiesner.  There are a lot of connections to the other books we have read together.  The conversations about how he mixes his stories together have been great and I trust they will continue this week.     

KTD Math began learning about estimation before our break.  This week, we will be working on two different video estimation problems that encourage deeper mathematical thinking with addition and subtraction.

1TD will dive into the world created by Arnold Lobel that belongs to Frog and Toad. The students and I will discuss the literary term of juxtaposition, how differences in characters can create a richer story. We will be reading a digital copy of Frog and Toad are Friends and discussing how differences make stories more interesting to read.

2TD will be reading two picture books this week about our future president and vice president.  Our focus will be centered on how similarities and differences can make a team stronger, in any setting. What similarities and differences can be found in their upbringings, experiences, their family lives, and anything else the group uncovers. 

3PA will start the year off playing with language.  We will be learning about palindromes and anagrams as we explore two picture books, Ann and Nan the Anagrams and Mom and Dad are Palindromes, Kids will be working on teams to create their own palindromes and anagrams without using the internet!

4PA will begin creating their slide show to serve as a background for the presentation on the neurological disorder that we were working on before break.  The goal of the presentation is to tell a story, not list facts. The kids will be creating a character that is an amalgamation of stories read about people who have the disorder being researched.  I will share a few of the presentations former students have created as a guide, along with the rubric everyone has in Google Classroom. 

5PA begins the year acting as the school board disciplinary panel for the school district on Venus where Margot was locked on a closet in the Bradbury short story, "All Summer in One Day." Teams of kids will gather the evidence pertaining to the event, make an informed decision about possible disciplinary action, and defend their choices. I will also be sharing the stories teams wrote before break in Google Classroom for all of the kids to read as homework Monday-Wednesday. On Thursday we will discuss the stories, seminar style, and then begin a mini-TED Talk about a young person making a difference in the world.

Stay tuned for PA materials pick-up, and what TD will look like in the hybrid model.

My Wish for my Students