Second grade has begun TD direct service this month! We are enjoying getting to know each other. Below you will see what we have been working on thus far.
Problem Solving using the CUBES strategy
Students certified TD in math received direct instruction on the problem solving strategy to the right. We practiced the strategy collaboratively and independently. Student "teachers" modeled the strategy for their classmates on above-grade level word problems. Students showed different ways of solving the same problem. An emphasis was placed on showing all work and checking solutions using a different strategy than was used to solve the problem originally. They did a wonderful job!
The Best Pet: Writing a Short Essay
Students certified in TD in literacy began working through the writing process to compose an original opinion essay about the best pet one can have. An emphasis was placed on supporting ideas with compelling examples, using varied sentence beginnings, and working in revision circles with peers to improve their drafts. Mrs. Blackmon conferred with students afterwards and used this time to isolate student strengths and areas for improvement in writing. These were recorded on a rubric and shared with the student.
For a culminating activity to their Latin stem unit, students worked in collaborative groups to write creative stories. A unique feature of their compositions was that these stories were starring the Latin stems as characters. For example, one of their stories took place in a restaurant. The waiter's name was "Port" (which means to carry) as he carried his tray and food to customers. "Sub" (which means under) was found lurking under the table at the restaurant, while "Re" (which means again) kept repeatedly placing his order at the counter. Students set these fun, unique stories in a variety of places such as a library, amusement park, school and outer space.
Students read the story of Ruby Bridges and practiced the academic conversation skill of "supporting with examples." This discussion practice focused on the reciprocal nature of conversation and the importance of active listening and response when engaging in academic discourse. Students discussed Ruby's motivations, personality traits, and impact on the civil rights movement. We they parlayed this discussion into a writing exercise where students had to support with examples from the text while composing a diary entry.
PROJECT BASED LEARNING: BUILDING A TINY HOUSE
Students have been designing and building tiny, 3-dimensional homes. They have created a "spec home" following certain building specifications. They have also calculated the area and perimeter of each component in their home. These calculations have been completed on a specifications chart. In addition, they have composed four, multi-step word problems that correspond to their tiny home. Each one has been written and solved. Finally, students have been asked to write a short, well-organized story about their tiny home. This story will be counted as a bonus submission to the project.
Essay Writing for Number the Stars
Fourth graders have been working to develop well-supported essays on who they believe is the most courageous character in the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowery. They have taken their writing through the writing process and worked to significantly improve their original drafts. Final drafts have been typed and published electronically to their classroom teacher and Mrs. Blackmon.
Root Words for building Mathematical Vocabulary
Students have been developing their knowledge of greek and latin stems that relate to mathematical concepts. This unit will directly impact their understanding of geometrical and measurement terms. Students worked together to brainstorm lists of words with these stems as components. They also created word lists, cartoons and posters for these vocabulary stems.
CogAT re-testing for fourth graders will be held on March 6th and 7th. Please note this testing is only for a handful of 4th grade students. If your child is slated to take this assessment you will receive a permission slip to sign. Thank you!
The capstone project of our ecosystems unit was an original board game design. Students worked in pairs to create a board game that addresses the major vocabulary and concepts of their ecosystems science unit. In addition to creating games, students assessed each other's games on a rubric/scale in the areas of appearance, playability, rule development, effectiveness, and cards. Students also completed a peer assessment of their partner's contribution of the project. Finally, students played their own game and completed a self-assessment after having viewed the other games of their peers.
Fantasy Motifs and Theme
While reading and learning about the genre of fantasy, students explored the concepts of motif and theme. Students learned about nine commonly found fantasy motifs and worked to identify these motifs in their individual fantasy novels. These examples of recurring elements were then connected to commonly found themes in fantasy text. Students used their identified motifs as concrete examples from the novel that helped to deliver the theme to the reader. The culminating task was for students to write a brief essay on the theme of their book.
Socratic Seminar: Declaration of Independence
In connection with their DC field trip and their study of the American Revolution, fifth grade students took a closer look at the Declaration of Independence and participated in a Socratic Seminar. Students were challenged to examine specific excerpts from the text, analyze them, and respond to open-ended questions during the seminar. Students set a goal of speaking at least twice during the activity, referring to text specifically when supporting their claims, actively listening and responding to classmates.
Thomas Paine's Common Sense
In conjunction with other texts from the American Revolution, students read a portion of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" and worked in a collaborative group to categorize Paine's reasons for American independence. Each group was then asked to create headings for their categories. These heading were discussed and then used to write a generalization about America's fight for independence from Great Britain. During this exercise, students used academic conversation skills and close reading strategies to understand and discuss Paine's ideas.
CogAT re-testing for fifth graders will be held on February 27th and March 1st. Please note this testing is only for a handful of 5th grade students. If your child is slated to take this assessment you will receive a permission slip to sign. Thank you!