Monday, February 1, 2016

In Love With February

We continue to show the world how it's done from little old Room 110. I haven't done an official blog post in a couple of weeks, but enough has come up recently that it seemed like a good time to fire one across your bow.

Ms. Esterline and I pulled together a March Madness-style tournament for this year's DCF books that will start up next month. This month we are gearing the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders up to be participants in our local DCF event as well as the traditional Five Towns DCF Tournament. Everyone in our class decided to commit to reading at least two of the DCF books in the next eight weeks and we are going to make art installations for each book that hang in the room. Owen, Maia, and Anni have taken the lead on setting up mobiles for each book that kids will be able to add a recommendation, thought, opinion, idea, illustration, or other contribution to once they have read the book. The goal is not only to read, read, read, but to reflect, share, and also heat things up as we work together on this class reading goal.

Speaking of reading, it's a good time to remind everyone of our reading homework expectations. Basically, for every day of school we have in a given week, one less half-hour unit of reading homework is due. For example, in a five-day week, four units are needed. In a four-day week, three units, and so on. Snow days (though I don't think we have to worry about them...) count as school days, unless they are on Friday. So, if we have a snow day on a Tuesday of a five-day week, the expectation of four units of reading (at a minimum) still stands. Students who are ill are often able to read and choose to do so on their sick day(s); it's a grey area that I don't much fuss with. Students are always welcomed to read more and bank the units they don't use to take time off during a hectic week. Reading homework is not complete without a parent signature and the title of what was read. Students who do not have enough half-hour units or are lacking a signature(s) must stay in for recess on Friday and make up the reading during Genius Hour.

Genius Hour has been an exciting time with our 3D printers up and running. Thanks to John McNerney for helping calibrate our Lulzbot Mini and to Sage, Maia, and Anni for taking the lead on setting up the Polar. Stephanie and Aaron have started learning how to use the Cura software program that talks to the Lulzbot and the crew who has been patiently learning the ins and outs of the Polar is getting quite adept at working in the cloud. A large group of students are using TinkerCAD to design useful items to print and still more have taken on the eNable Create T.I.M.E. design challenge. This 3D printing design challenge is being presented by the folks I first met when Sierra Petrocelli took an interest in 3D printing prosthetic hands a couple years ago. She remains an inspiration, as does Sage and the whole Petrocelli clan, who made us aware of this fun design challenge that could directly help kids who use prosthetic hands for day-to-day living. Ask your student if they are participating in the eNable challenge or what they are working on during Genius Hour. There has been a lot of great stuff happening in the room, including opportunities to collaborate with kids in Ms. Primo's class, which is always nice.

On Wednesday morning of this week, I will be at Middlebury College hanging out with THE FIRST FOLIO!!! If you want to check it out, there are a few free public events going on. The book is on a whistlestop tour of the 50 states and Midd is the chosen landing spot for its time in Vermont. Lucky us it didn't land in Enosburg or Derby Line.

In other professional developments, I was recently announced as a recipient of an IGNITE award, presented by Vita-Learn, a Vermont educational organization. I will be attending that award ceremony at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier at the end of March and have chosen ANESU Innovation Coach Caroline Camara and Interim Superintendent Armando Vilaseca as my guests. Both have accepted my invitation and will be joining me, which feels pretty great. Also, in the same week, it was announced that I received a scholarship to participate in the Engineering is Elementary program offered through the Museum of Science in Boston. I will be going down to Beantown in April to attend a two-day workshop and fill the Audi up with curriculum goodies to bring back to Room 110 for the kids to get their hands on.

We will celebrate Valentine's Day in a casual way on the afternoon of Friday, February 12th. If you would like to send in a snack for the group, please do. If it's still cool to exchange Valentine's 9and I think it is, really), we have 18 total students in the class so please make sure your student has a card or treat for everyone.

I'd like put out another APB for an aquarium. Our guppy farm is a hoppin' joint and we do need to think about putting them in a larger aquarium for kindness's sake. If you have a 10-gallon aquarium or larger that you are not using, we would love to borrow it for as long as you can live without it.

Fun times theatre shows!
Come see me and my fellow Middlebury Community Players in
"Back to Back Comedies" - February 11th-14th at the Town Hall Theatre

Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy
Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound (featuring yours truly!)

Event details are available here.

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