20 Nov 2015
Next week is a vacation from school in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the extra time with your families. Students, if you find yourselves with some unexpected free time over the break, read your mystery book, noting key plot elements for your comic strip or work on spelling for the week after vacation. Your spelling packets were distributed today, but are also available here in the spelling section
of the website. You can also spend some time in contemplation of all you are thankful for, and then craft a piece of writing—essay, poetry, personal narrative—or multimedia piece to share with the class and for extra credit points. Here are two poems for inspiration:
A List of Praises
Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with the joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes,
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.
Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.
Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.
Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.
Give praise with mockingbirds, day’s nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.
Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.
Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains
And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.
~ Anne Porter
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.
~ Charles Reznikoff
13 Nov 2015
Reading our poems or text piece of the day during daily dialogue and commenting about the poems and text has become popular with some of the students. The new daily dialogue of the day is posted by 7:00 p.m. each evening, and there are poems posted for days students are not in school, too. It is wonderful to read students’ thinking about the pieces they are reading and to see them use evidence to support their ideas. Some students have even registered for the class website and experiment with posting their comments online. Fantastic!
The current long-term project is a mystery book project. For this book project, students will be reading a mystery, and as they are reading, students should pay special attention to the plot of the story. After reading the mystery, students will be writing a critique of the book, which includes listing the author, title, and number of pages, as well as writing a brief summary of the book and rating the book from one to five stars, with an explanation of the rating. Additionally, students will be creating a sixteen-box comic strip that will outline the sequence of events occurring in the mystery, from beginning to end, without giving away the ending of the mystery. Students should be taking notes as they read so that they have good ideas of plot-moving events to include in the comic strip. Paper for this project is available in class. This book project is due Wednesday, December 2nd.
Students, after Thanksgiving, you will need one a teddy bear and a box in which your bear will fit for a hands-on project that is part of our unit on ancient Egypt. You will need a shoe box for your teddy bear mummy’s sarcophagus, and you will need a teddy bear–not your most beloved in the world, but one you would like to mummify to send to a blessed eternity in the Field of Reeds. Please try to remember to look for and save a box or two and a teddy bear to bring to school after the holiday. We will also need cinnamon and neutral colored cloth (old sheets or table linens work nicely) for this project.
CPM Tip of the Week for Parents
This week would be a good time to revisit the three videos that are available in the Parent Support section at www.cpm.org . Go to Professional Development: Workshop Videos. The first video is about the CPM program. Another video shows students discussing study team guidelines. Interactions between study team members is the topic of another video. All three will provide you with a snapshot of a CPM classroom in action. There are others that are worth watching.
Constructing Viable Arguments and Critiquing the Reasoning of Others
Look at each other’s work and critique their reasoning. Can you push your teammates to explain their work to you? Ask them to explain it in another way and think about if the explanation makes sense to you.
06 Nov 2015
We are deep in the midst of camp fundraising. After the amazing success of the Monster Mash event, we have two simultaneous fundraisers going: the Mixed Bags Designs and the Sees Candy fundraisers. Mixed Bags orders are due by Friday, November 13th, and our See’s shop is open for business here
This is just a reminder that there will be no school on Wednesday, November 11th, because this is a holiday in honor of Veteran’s Day. Students, in case you want to know more than that you get a day off of school, this holiday dates back to the end of World War I and commemorates our nation’s thousands of combat veterans who fought in the service of our country. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War. Beginning the following year, November 11th was celebrated as Armistice Day, and November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.
Conferences begin on Thursday, November 12th, and will continue through Friday, November 20th. Students will be running a portion of the conference so must attend with their parents. Each family has a scheduled conference time, and a conference schedule was also sent home with students this week as a reminder. If for some reason your scheduled conference time no longer works, please contact me at your earliest convenience, so that we may reschedule your appointment or arrange for a phone conference. During conferences, students are dismissed at 1:25 p.m. every day except Wednesday, when the dismissal time is 1:50 p.m.
CPM Tip of the Week for Parents
If you were to visit a CPM classroom, you would see the teacher doing more than standing in front of the class, telling students what they should know. After reading the objectives of what will be learned that day, the students would be asked to begin the lesson by connecting to what they already know. As the students interact with the others in their team, the teacher circulates throughout the classroom. During this time, the teacher listens to the discussions in the teams, asks clarifying questions and ensures that everyone is on task. If there seems to be class confusion about a problem, the teacher may stop the class and spend a few minutes clarifying. Near the end of class there may be brief student presentations. There will also be a closure activity which will help summarize the activity and may inform the teacher of the depth of student understanding at the end of class.
Struggling Is Learning
Take the time to struggle, but make it a productive struggle. It is okay to feel frustrated, but then the best and deepest understanding comes from continuing to work through the frustration. This video explains why your brain grows when you make a mistake.