Friday, October 2, 2015

The Days Are Piling Up!

We made it through the first full month of school. Congratulations to us. There are only eight-and-a- half months left to go before summer vacation!

But who's counting? Ha!

We had a first attempt in learning with our states and capitals quiz this past week. Students saw how much they know and how much they don't know (the latter being the more important of the two). There will be a retake for anyone who wants to get a better grade coming up this week, maybe next if things get busy. While this is important knowledge, it is rote memorization and we understand that it takes time. Thankfully, we have a year to reach mastery, which should be enough time for everyone to get there at their own pace.

Now that we are pulling back on the intensity of states and capitals studying during Humanities, we are going to get down to American History, starting with the causes of the American Revolution. We have already hinted at this through our civics study, learning that the Founding Fathers designed our government to (not) work to stave off another maniacal monarchy under someone like kooky George III. We have learned about the three branches of government and some students spent the week doing a constitution webquest to get to know that document a little better. The intersection of history and civics will happen next week when we really start to look at what our country was like 250+ years ago, back when Fort Ti was a real happenin' joint.

Science has demonstrated itself to be a real hot topic in the room and we were able to prove the existence of matter, even invisible matter like gases (particularly those found in good old, every day air like oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen), by studying its interactions. We talked about matter's phase changes, which occur with the addition or subtraction of energy and the students have an assignment, which will be submitted on Google Classroom in a couple of weeks, about chemical and physical changes. They will be in charge of their own research for that, whereas I have provided resources in the past. As I told them, it's as much an assessment of how well they know the science as how well they can use the internet to find factual information.

Literacy (reading, writing, and word study) are going really well. Personal narrative writing pieces sound like they are taking off for everyone and I am really glad to have spent the summer mapping out these writing units in such a useful way. The new structure of our Writers' Workshop time (different than last year) allows for both more writing and more student-student and student-teacher conference and collaboration time. Yay! Our independent reading unit is really allowing for a lot of time with text which means that our class Goodreads book list is growing like crazy! This month we will devote some time to some book projects to get us talking about reading, too.


We need a brush for Sycorax's tank. Sitting in the sun all day, it gets a little funky on the interior walls. We tried to fashion something out of a net wrapped in paper towels and it worked better in our heads. If you happen to have an aquarium brush that you're not using, we would love to borrow it. It can't have been in contact with any soap though, fish frown on that.


Link to Fall Conference Sign Up

Next Thursday night is opening night for the Little City Player's production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, in which I play a supporting role. We have shows at 8pm on Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, and a 2pm Sunday matinee all at the Vergennes Opera House. It's a family-friendly show if you're looking for something fun to do!

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