Friday, January 29, 2016

Week 19 -- Don't Believe Everything You Read on the Internet

Bureaucratic Stuff:

Your child should have come home with a permission slip for the upcoming snow tubing trip. It should be stapled to, or otherwise accompany their checkout reflection.


Cool Stuff:

This week homeroom time has mostly been devoted to doing research for POOT. We also continued to work on our Creature Creations for science class. This led to an interesting confluence of ideas as we're doing a lot of online research and we've been discussing how to determine the validity of a website. (Someone was looking at a 15 year-old site on the "angelfire" domain, which is not known to be especially discerning about content.)

I showed the class this website about the Tree Octopus. While we agreed it's a polished and formal looking website. Everyone, more or less quickly, realized that something was up. (If they didn't get the joke by the time we read about the Congolese Brain Sucking Octopus that did it.)
Internet research can be difficult. Training the kids to have an internal lie detector, and to really question what they read is crucial in their education.

My math group spent Friday talking about subsets of the real numbers, proof by contradiction, and the irrationality of the square root of 2.

The Snow Tubing Permission Slip: In case you need an extra copy.)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Week 18 -- Move Up Day and Pre-POOT Presentations

Between the MLK holiday, the professional development day on Tuesday, and Move-Up on Thursday, we are foregoing checkout this week.

The week was heavy on presentations. We started the week with the brief presentations of the student summaries of the history books. Also, we continued working on the pre-POOT presentations we started last week.  On Thursday and Friday we shared some of our presentations with Jason's class (and the visiting fourth graders) and they shared some of their presentations on endangered species with us.

We ended up doing a lot of talking about being a good audience member, thinking about how the audience is responding when you are presenting, how to revise a presentation, and the value of rehearsing.

Here are some pictures from Move-Up Day:

On Move Up day, in math we played the great graph theory game Tsuro 



Jason leads the 4s and 5s in "Take a Stand."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 17 -- Building Up to P.O.O.T.

Evening Meeting Reminders: (You should have already received a number of emails about these events.)

Thank you to the third, fourth and fifth grade parents who came to our Curriculum Night on Thursday. It's always nice to have a little time to chat in person. And, thanks to Deborah for making it happen. We'll be welcoming our SK fourth graders for day visits to the 5/6 classroom this coming week.

Sixth grade parents who are interested in hearing about the 7/8 program have an opportunity to meet with Karl this week (Thursday 6pm) before the O.W.L. presentation, speaking of which....

This week Jason and Rachel will be doing a parent orientation for the Our Whole Lives health program on Thursday night at 7pm. A major part of O.W.L. involves parents directly so, if you can't make the orientation meeting, please let us know so we can find a time to get you the materials from the presentation and/or answer questions you might have about this important and engaging program.

Rachel's Parent/Student Book club will also have its January meeting on Wednesday night and their is a Digital Citizenship Presentation on Tuesday night.

Week 17 ---

In the middle school we're getting ready for the Place Out of Time simulation. The first activity for the simulation happened last week when the students did a little preliminary research to help them select and submit a list of three people from history that they would be interesting in learning about deeply as they portray that person over the next several months. (They should receive their character selection next week.)

This week we went a little further into the specific background of this year's simulation; a case that asks us to weigh, amongst other topics, endangered species/wildlife management, the environment writ large, traditional vs. modern culture,  and trade regulations.

In groups of two, the students researched and made short presentations on these topics. In this video you see Owen and Rushil discussing some ideas pertinent to their presentation on Greenland.  In addition to the researching and evaluating the factual content this project was a good introduction to presentation software (Google Slides, specifically) for the students who hadn't worked with it before, and an opportune moment to talk about what makes for a good or bad slideshow. (How many of us, how many times, have sat through a PowerPoint where the presenter spent most of the time reading from the slides or crammed so much information on each slide that the content was obfuscated in a cloud of illegible text?)

You'll hear lots more about P.O.O.T. over the coming weeks.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Week 16 -- Welcome Back

Happy New Year!

This week in math we've been looking at grid with each box in the grid containing a specific set of colored blocks. Students we're asked to look for patterns in the grid and to see if they could add on the next 50 boxes to the grid. (The original grid is 10 across by 5 down.) In the video you can see Chris explaining how it works.

We extended the lesson by looking at this really cool visualization that extends the theme of the initial exercise.

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The weather was also unexpectedly nice on Thursday, so we took a little extra time for recess.