Sunday, October 5, 2014

Welcome to Rocktober

Greetings! There are all kinds of little details to share this week, so I am going to try the ol' bold word, one item per paragraph technique. Buckle up!

Ms. Pierpont found a great typing program online that we are going to start using with our students. The program, called TypingClub, offers a Google App that students are going to set up this week and begin using. We chose TypingClub because it tracks progress through an interface that really works with kids. After our free trial ends, we will need to pay to use this resource. The cost for a year-long subscription comes out to under $3 per student. As you know, keyboarding is at the heart of effective digital writing and we value it. If you are able to send in between $2 and $3 in the next few weeks to keep your student's TypingClub membership active, we would really appreciate it.

Ever after efficient systems, we divided and conquered during Science time last week and will continue in that same vein this week. Our scientists have been collecting lots of great data about the terrestrial plants that are growing in their Eco Towers; this week, we will inhabit the towers with some critters, including crickets and pill bugs. We will also create the pond ecosystem in the lower bottle. As was the case last week, we will spend one day this week in our homeroom communities focusing on Science literacy tasks. Last week we learned about how plants create oxygen for aquatic creatures by converting carbon dioxide. Along with photosynthesis, this respiratory cycle is a key life system in the natural world.

I hope you saw the pictures of my trip to the Champlain Mini Makerfaire on our Facebook page. Ms. Pierpont and I had a lot of fun volunteering on Saturday, even though the weather was absolutely miserable! What kept us going through the drizzle and mud was the wonderful community of creative, off-the-wall, and out-of-the-box dreamers, thinkers, and doers that we met. We made a lot of great contacts, got tons of ideas, and are ready for some great makerspace activity back at MCS. One of the things Ms. Pierpont learned to do (while I was shopping for the adorable squid Mason jar cozy you see) is make a Jitterbug from a CD, some golf tees, a DC motor, an A-cell battery, some gator clips, and a few crafty bells and whistles. We have the technology for this and are going to use it as a gateway to some of the more technical making we will do this winter. If you have old, scratched, unplayable CDs, please feel free to send them in. They do not need any musical playback functionality at all for this project (and we won't judge if you send in any ABBA... we all lose our way every now and again).

We are considering a field trip to Tech Jam at the end of the month to get even more makerspace creativity flowing. We have not made full arrangements yet, but are hoping that, should we be able to attend, the students will get to see a real life makerspace (Burlington's Generator on Main Street in the Memorial Auditorium basement/ground floor), participate in some neat hands-on activities, and get to explore a variety of tech careers. As soon as we know if this is a go, we will release a full suite of details.

In light of my squid cozy and all of the makerspace zeitgeist on Saturday, Ms. Pierpont and I also talked about starting a student Knitting Club at school. I can only knit (no purling for me just yet) but it is certainly a soothing way to spend time. At the very least, we thought we would open up Read Aloud time for knitting. I am bringing my basket in on Monday and would love some parent volunteers to come do a basic clinic if you have the time. Let me know.

A few students decided to quit Chorus this week. Even though they gave it a try, which is all we want, their reasons for bagging it after only two tries were a little flimsy ("It was boring," "It was annoying," "I really don't like singing..."). If your student decided to quit Chorus and you can share any insight, I would appreciate it as would Miss Carina, I'm sure. Music lessons were interrupted this week by an assembly and Walk Around the Pond, but will resume next week according to the schedule in last week's post. Please make sure your instrumentalist has her/his instrument in school on either Thursday or Friday. It is not necessary and inadvisable for students to bring their instrument to school if it is not needed in an official capacity. Once lessons get going, please make sure that regular home practice is occurring. Students are far less likely to quit an instrument if they have a sense that they can actually play it and you know you'd love "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (whole or in part) playing on a loop as the soundtrack to your life, even if it does sort of sound like someone stepping on a duck for the first few weeks.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Picture retakes - 10/15
  • Teacher in-service - 10/17
  • Harvest Lunch - 10/23
  • Halloween - 10/31 (it's a Friday and that's amazing)
  • End of trimester - 11/14 (Happy Birthday to me)
  • Report cards home - 11/21
  • Thanksgiving Break - 11/26-28

No comments:

Post a Comment