Monday, November 16, 2015

The Season of Thankfulness

It's easy to be thankful at this time of year, but it's also easy to be thankful when you're surrounded by kids and families who care about you. It's an overused-as-heck expression, but I'll say it nonetheless: I'm really blessed to be working with this configuration of people this year. Birthday gifts and wishes plus all around coolness... I feel the love!

We are carrying over the enthusiasm of our trip to the Improvised Shakespeare Company last week by starting our study of Dream (that's shorthand for A Midsummer Night's Dream). We did some scene study work with Act I, Scene II and started talking about what it means to be part of an acting company. The kids are all ready to embrace 16th-century English and have fun doing it. We will study the play as a complex text on Mondays and find time during Literacy later in the week to practice a version, which we will present at some point, that combines fun modern English with excerpts from the real deal. You'll recall that we'll culminate with a trip to the Flynn in January to see Dream performed by professionals.

Last week, we wrapped up our Book Talk projects. the kids' first real foray into an independent learning opportunity grounded in our independent reading unit and resulting in a final project to be shared with the whole class. I was wicked impressed by the projects--mostly using technology new to the students--and they met the criteria we delimited as a class.

In Humanities, we are cruising along with our study of the events leading up to the American Revolution. We combine one day of lecture/content sharing with one day of application, a chance for kids to take the information and make it their own. Everyone is having a lot of fun creating the life and times of their 18th-century persona and I am hearing some neat ideas for how these characters of historical fiction interact with the people and events we are studying. This week, we are going to spend time during Word Study learning some words and phrases that we can add to our writing for this project with the goal of sounding as authentic as we can.

We closed our Matter & Its Interactions unit and are moving to space... Should be pretty easy to get a handle on that, huh? The kids are researching a scientist (one of 10 on a predetermined list) who made a contribution to how we view the universe nowadays. That's how we're getting our feet wet with this massively giant topic. From there, we will look at models of our solar system and start to play around with Newtonian physics--always a good time and it meshes really well with makerspace-type "stuff."

If there is anything I have forgotten to share or that you are curious about, please let me know. I'm trying not to lob giant, unwieldy blog posts at you during this rush-about holiday season!

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