Friday, September 25, 2015

Week 3: Learning Styles, Art, Science

Monday morning we (with Jason's class) led the all school assembly. The kids performed a number of short skits about their experiences at the Global Village. We followed up on this in homeroom with a writing assignment reflecting on the experience.

We also continued our look at Identity in a more analytic way. 

Becca helps her partner with the Learning Style Inventory

On Monday we looked at the Birmingham Learning Style Inventory in preparation for helping the students in Mrs. Carpenter's First and Second Grade class take the same test.

Tuesday morning we joined Mrs. Carpenter's class to administer the test. Our class was very surprised by the wider variety of learning styles shown by the younger children and we had a wonderful discussion about why some first graders might still need help reading the test at all, while others could do all of it without any help from their older partner.

This really broadened the 5-6 students perspectives on how and when they might be able to do any given task. (The specific example was reading--there is some connection between the ability to finely control the muscles of the eyes and reading fluency.)

We wrapped up the learning styles discussion with another written reflection about the experience of taking the test, administering the test to a younger student and thinking about whether or not we agreed with the results of the test.

Later in the the week we had a trip to the UMMA with Monica

We saw and drew copies of artwork by Julian Schnabel. This will be the start of some work into portraiture.
(I'd liked to have included some pictures but all the exhibits were "no photography allowed." Instead here is everyone in the big elevator.)

In Science class we've been learning about the human body. 

(If you look closely you can see the digestive system on Rushil's paper.)

And, a bonus picture from the mini-golf elective trip to Putterz to measure the course.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Week 2: Autobiography, Science! and the Global Village

This week our class continued to work on the Identity theme.
We had a conversation about the basics of reporting on true events, as opposed to telling a story.

Can you see the 5 W's on the board?
    Everyone worked on a writing an autobiographical narrative. We'll be doing more writing about ourselves as the identity theme continues.

In Science, Dr. J presented the kids with the challenge of replicating a "device" that she showed them given a small set of available materials.

Assignments and "grades".
This was the end of the first 5-day period (usually it will be M-F, but this time it was W-W). Each week we'll go over the assignments for that week. This week we also talked about what the different marks on returned papers mean. I'll be talking more about this on Thursday at Curriculum Night.

The week culminated with our trip to the Global Village at Howell Nature Center. Jason documented the experience of all the 5-6s on his Twitter feed and blog.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Week 1: Let's Talk About Community (Parks and Rec is later)

This week was spent building good classroom community and looking at concepts related to the Identity theme, especially Personal and Community Identities.

In addition to the beginning of school introduction to the classroom, we talked about mutual responsibility for sharing the space and resources, and also "Yours, Mine and Ours."

We had a good discussion and found some useful language around the idea of explicit vs. implicit permission. For example, glue sticks are a shared resource, everyone is free to use them without asking, but we all need to take responsibility for returning them when we're done. The insides of desks belong only to one person and unless you ask every time (get explicit permission) you shouldn't be going into someone else's desk.

Following on Tuesday's topic, we began the day with a whole school (Community) meeting. Our morning activity was a simulation, discussion and writing prompt on the "Tragedy of the Commons."

We found many reasons why people might act contrary to their own long term interests and had a lively conversation about how/why the government might want to regulate an industry, the tax burden of doing so effectively and the impact of overuse of the commons on long-term sustainability.
The writing prompt asked "What do you think would be different about the way people fish if everyone had their own lake and couldn't fish anywhere else?"

We finished the day on Friday with a fairly nuanced (for middle school) discussion of race, ethnicity, prejudice, discrimination, and bias that ranged from Rosa Parks to employment discrimination and rights afforded by the Constitution.

We'll continue discussing sharing, community, and social justice much more as part of the ongoing Identity theme.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016

Well, you found Sam's Homeroom Blog...
There doesn't seem to be anything here...

That's because school hasn't started yet!

Most general communication to the whole class will be done through the blog rather than emails.

Bookmark this page or, even better, set up to receive updates via email. (Enter your email address on the right side of this page in the box under where is says "Follow by Email".)

So, send the kids outside to enjoy the weekend and we'll all be ready to jump into the school year on Tuesday.