Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Into Action

Greetings of the new season! Just like everywhere else, Room 110 is following the forecast trying to get outside as much as possible on those sunny days and silently crying, "Why, oh, why?" when we get that weird combination of flurries and rain known as a "wintry mix." Darn you, wintry mix!

Many of you might have heard about our biggest springtime endeavor, the Innovation Faire. This year, we have decided to one-up ourselves on the success of last year's first Monkton Mini-Makerfaire by adding an innovation component. We charged the 5/6 team to do what all good innovators (and sci-fi writers) do: don't predict the car, predict the traffic jam. By identifying problems or potential problems in the world, even as locally as our school building and Monkton community, the kids are truly positioning themselves as the problem-solvers of tomorrow. The Faire will be on May 26th here at MCS from 1-2pm in the Gym. You can keep up with your innovator's progress on the wiki for the project. Every student has a page and will be adding to it weekly, essentially keeping a design journal online.

One of the things that makes this Faire truly innovative from the perspective of the 5/6 teaching team is that, instead of being able to pick partners, we completely randomized group selection, literally drawing names out of a hat to form the three-member student teams. Trying as always to mirror real life to the extent that we can, we realize that it is important to be able to work with and find strengths of a variety of different work partners. Plus, the reality of always being able to work with your BFF is one that disappears pretty quickly the older we get. What's important is learning to use these experiences to get the job done, but also meet new people and learn about yourself and how you best operate in the process.

Over in the other half of our Humanities program, our supremely popular Lewis and Clark unit is about to wrap up. We will conclude our simulation and project time this week, spend a day (maybe two) next week doing a crash course on pioneers and other later Westward Expansion highs (gold!) and lows (Donner Party!), and start the Civil War the week after. That will be our last formal unit of the year. Yikes!

The Civil War unit is one of my favorites. I wrote it for a graduate class and it is incredibly hands-on and includes a lot of arts integration. The students will work, much like they did for Lewis and Clark, to collect points by choosing and completing any combination of some 30 individual activities, some complex and lengthy, others that can be done in a class or two. The literacy complement of this unit will be in the form of literature circles (aka, book clubs) in which groups of students will read on their own and meet to discuss the week's assigned chapters together. The joy in this is that I get to read a handful of new books each time we do this; I like to be as surprised as the students are, so I don't typically read ahead! This year, the students picked either Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Stolen Into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man by Judith and Dennis Fradin (made into the movie Twelve Years A Slave), Freedom's Wings by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, or Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson.

Plans for an overnight to Camp Common Ground still exist and we are eternally greatful to the parents who embarked on the fingerprinting/background check extravaganza. I know just about all of you have hit a snag in the process, so please don't hesitate to call the main office here at school if you are hung up.
SBAC Schedule 2016
March 28
9:30-10:15
5/6 Math

29
8:15-9:00
3/4 Math

9:30-10:45
5/6 Math
30
9:30-10:45
5/6 Math

12:45-2:00
3/4 Math
31
9:30-10:45
5/6 Math make-ups

12:45-2:00
3/4 Math
April 1
4
9:30-10:15
5/6 ELA

12:45-1:30
3/4 ELA
5
8:15-9:45
3/4 ELA

12:45-2:00
5/6 ELA
6
8:15-9:45
3/4 ELA

12:45-2:00
5/6 ELA
7
9:30-10:45
5/6 ELA

12:45-2:00
3/4 ELA
8
8:30-9:50
3/4 ELA make-ups

12:45-2:00
5/6 ELA make-ups

Hot Dates
  • March 28th-April 8th: SBACs
  • March 28th-April 1st: Spirit Week! (Monday, PJ Day; Tuesday, Match/Twin Day; Wednesday, Mismatch/Clash Day; Thursday, Crazy Hat/Hair Day; Friday, Freaky Friday/Costume/Dress-Up Day)
  • April 1st: Festival of Fools schoolwide event (afternoon)
  • April 18th-22nd: Spring Break (yahoo!)
  • May 13th: In-service (student day off)
  • May 30th: Memorial Day recess
  • May 26th: Innovation Faire
  • June 1st & 2nd: CCG trip (fingers crossed!)
  • June 9th: Promotion (morning) and LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!

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