Sunday, January 25, 2015

54 Days 'Til Spring!

We have had a pretty gnarly winter so far, at least as far as the temperature is concerned. A lot of subzero days has meant that kids aren't getting outside as much and that can make things tricky. Thankfully, there is a great buzz and lots of time for choice in Room 110, which is keeping everybody buoyed. Here's what's doin':

SCR&P time continues to be a big success. A special thanks goes to Grayson, a member of the class pet team, who spent one morning last week cleaning the aquarium and making our phriends much happier. This project group has also started a blog, thanks to Tristan's perseverance. Super stoked about that! It's critical for everyone to have a place to store all of their research findings and collaborate. The feng shui divas, Carly, Katie, Stephanie, and Anni, have been hard at work making our class library organized and more accessible. They worked with Mrs. Knox to get some new-to-us shelves that complete the more polished look and feel of this precious space. Their next step will be to create a cataloging system and continue research on how to best use our limited space for the benefit of all 20 unique learners. The tech support groups have gotten way deeper into Arduino, MaKey MaKey, and Raspberry Pi than I ever could, which is why I'm glad they're on the case instead. Grace, Quincy, Sierra, and Tyler have accepted a challenge from ANESU innovation coach Lauren Parren to design a high-tech birthday card and they have been using our loaner sets of littleBits to get some really fantastic work done on that project. Noah finally figured out how to set-up the Raspberry Pi (talk about perseverance!) with some help from Stang, and those two started a programming revolution on Friday afternoon. The co-created video of the Tardis descending on Saturn will be posted as soon as they convert it to a video file.

SCR&P and Genius Hour merged on Friday afternoon, which is our new model for this time, and there were literally 20 different things going on in the room. Students were exploring tech, personal interests, arts and crafts, taking things apart, putting things together, getting ahead for the week, catching up on missed work, inspiring each other, and learning things of personal import at their own pace... You'll see it all on the Channel 3 News in a few weeks. To the untrained eye, it looks like sheer bedlam, but to believers like you and me, it looks like a thin slice of heaven. I'm taking pictures as fast as I can, trust me, but it is pretty hard to keep up with this bunch once they get on a roll.

When we weren't in the passing lane last week, we started Book Clubs, focusing on historical fiction titles connected to big events in the 1930s and 1940s (the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, segregation and Jim Crow, and the Holocaust). Our initial discussions were super engaging and the quality of questions the students are bringing to the table is pushing me to bring my A game. This is as it should be.

This week we will have Four Winds on Monday afternoon, thanks to our parent volunteers Kristin Blanchette and Karen Parker. Ms. Yerrick will also be doing some additional mid-term Math assessments with students based on some new data points. Our Humanities work continues as we spend a final week wrapping up our Suffrage unit. Can you believe our timing? We are going to start our mega Civil Rights unit just as African-American History Month starts in February. Even a planning nerd like me couldn't have made that scheduling magic happen but hey, sometimes the universe just smiles at you, doesn't it?

Life is good in Room 110. If you have any questions or need additional information on anything we are up to, please be in touch.

**Note: There is no Fun Fest scheduled at this point. Things are brewing but not confirmed. Stay tuned!**

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