In class this week, students formed small groups and were given the challenge of: Designing and Building something "USEFUL".
Each group was provided the same set of supplies which consisted of a variety of miscellaneous everyday items (rubberbands, paperclips, drinking straws, plastic cups, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, etc).
This activity is meant to encourage creative and divergent thinking and provide an opportunity for students to develop the important skills of teamwork and collaboration. Group members worked together brainstorming possible invention ideas, given the supplies at hand, and were allowed to barter with other groups for additional items, if desired.
The students quickly arrived at their ideas and began sketching, then building (sometimes re-building!) their designs. Discussions were lively and it was quite apparent that the creative juices were flowing!
At our next class meeting on 10/15, each group will develop a short marketing approach (infomercial, skit, etc.) and present their final product to the class. Groups will field questions from their classmates and must successfully defend their creation as something "USEFUL".
Students were given four homework problems to work on over the break. Once again, these types of problems require careful reading, time to think through, work, and sometimes re-work. Students should continue to use diagrams to help arrive at possible solutions and be prepared to share their approaches and answers with the class.
Students worked together this week in class to create their Shirley Temple Wong character collage.
Using photos, drawings, and artwork they brought from home, students laid out an inspired representation of all that is Shirley...
...and took great pride in their work!
We then spent some time discussing Shirley’s progression throughout the story so far, as students shared their Event/Change log entries for each month. We brainstormed about what advice we might give Shirley (or anyone!) on how to make friends in a new environment. Students shared their thoughts on Mrs. Rappaport's speech about Jackie Robinson, baseball, and America, and the significant impact this had on Shirley’s view of herself and her future.
I provided students with a brief history of the Pledge of Allegiance and students then translated Shirley’s humorous version (“I pledge a lesson to the frog…”) into the true words of the pledge and we discussed the meaning of each word. Please take the time to review the pledge handout with your student at home. I also gave them a handout of fun facts about the Brooklyn Dodgers. They may be interested in reading this student resource guide on the life of Jackie Robinson and his accomplishments, provided by the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Remember, there is no class next Monday, October 8th - Happy Columbus Day! Students should finish reading the book for our next class on 10/15. We will wrap up our discussion of “In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson” with a literary critique roundtable discussion and choose our next book selection!
On Monday we welcomed special guest, Janna Maron, to our class. Janna is the publisher of the quarterly literary arts journal, Under the Gum Tree, and has extensive experience in writing and editing. Janna spoke about a variety of topics and shared a web-site which may be helpful to our young writers: www.750words.com
After Janna's talk, we discussed the differences between news writing and feature writing.
I want to take a moment to clarify what students should be doing each week. Each student has been assigned an area to cover for The Mosaic Monthly, but in addition, this is a writing class, therefore, students will be writing on a weekly basis above and beyond their responsibilities for the paper.
Last week the assignment was to write a news story -- students exchanged papers with a classmate and need to edit the story they received for content, grammar and punctuation. This week each student must write a feature article. Students were given a worksheet and a list of ideas to help them if they get stuck. We also read a feature story in class, so if they have trouble remembering the style of a feature article, refer them back to "Youth's Gone in Crack of a Bat." Final feature articles must be typed, and brought to class on October 15th. Don't forget to write a headline. We will share our feature stories and the group will select one article to appear in the first issue of our paper.
On that note, all articles and sections for our first issue should be completed by October 22nd so that they can be presented to the editors for final review. All articles and sections should be edited for publication by October 29th. Our first issue will be distributed no later than November 12th!
This week we had fun with hands-on geometry! Through the use of pentominoes we verbalized visual-spatial concepts, creative use of elements, and exploration of properties and consequential use of newly discovered properties.
Students were challenged to make rectangles out of pentominoes (five equal squares that share at least one side), create houses with "windows", solve puzzles from a worksheet, and finally, play a pentomino version of broken telephone.
We will not meet again until October 15th. Over the two week break, here are some things to keep your student thinking:
We finished our class with the "giant paper loop challenge." I passed out templates so they could try it at home. Here are the step-by-step instructions.
Lastly, our students were anxious to show off some of their creations!
We use curriculum from Art of Inquiry, LLC.