Thursday, February 9, 2017

Week 19 and 20 -- "How Did You Find That? AND "Who Are You?

Week 19

Sam's Homeroom:

This week we got really into researching characters for the Place Out of Time simulation. On Monday, everyone learned who they'd be portraying, and started research on their character in more depth. In conjunction with the research, we've been talking about evaluating sources for credibility--Rachel did a wonderful activity with them on Thursday (ask about the F.A.R.T. test if you want to hear more). On Thursday, as a way to organize and deepen their understanding about their character, everyone starting working on a timeline of major events that occurred in their character life, but also in the world at large.

We also spent some time talking about how to extract the meaning from a source with an activity from Scholastic News about Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech, which led to an interesting discussion about the Declaration on Independence (because King references it) and a little bit about Jim Crow and various forms discrimination King alluded to in his speech. 

Sam's Math Group

This week we've been focusing on geometry, particularly angles and the tools of geometry: protractors, compasses and straightedges, as a way of deepening understanding about the types of angles and triangles. A particularly relevant 'discovery' the kids made, if you know the lengths of the three sides of a triangles, there is only one triangle it can be (allowing reflections and rotations).

Week 20

Sam's Homeroom:

Researching characters for Place Out of Time has occupied much of the week. In addition to ongoing work on the research log, everyone is also making a timeline of their character's life, including personal event, and also major cultural or political events that occurred at the same time, but not necessarily to the character in question. [Having a broad knowledge of world events helps the students better understand and portray their characters.] Completing the timelines is the major goal for the week.

We also had a special pop culture connection: In this episode of My Little Pony the young ponies consult with the older characters (collect data from primary sources) about how they got their cutie marks. It turns out that all of the older ponies stories share common elements and an overlapping timeline. The class had a discussion, first about why we watched this episode in particular, and then about the value of overlapping narratives for better understanding an event, a place or a time. 

On Thursday, Rachel continued to discuss digital research and evaluating sources with all the 5-6s.

Sam's 5/6 Math Class:

This week we spent a fair bit of time talking about reading and decoding complicated story problems (mostly about ratios). We went over many of the common mistakes students have made in the past and talked about techniques for avoiding them, like re-reading the problem after writing down the "answer" and using a highlighter to circle or underline important parts of the text. 
We did a couple of problems together as a class, and several of the students corrected me when I (unintentionally?) made one of the common mistakes.
Many of the students will be completing the Singapore Book in the next week and beginning assessments.