Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Grandfriends Day!

We had a number of special visitors to our school today! Students invited grandparents (and other grand friends) to spend the morning in our class, getting a taste of what we do in school each day.


Sometimes you just have to abandon the pretense of productivity and surrender to the allure of watching workers servicing the power lines outside the window...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Stream table workshop at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

On Thursday, we visited the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History for a stream table workshop. We built and tested filters in small groups (and using different materials than our classroom filters), and spent time exploring a large stream table. We used it to observe water flow and erosion, and experimented with methods of curbing it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Magic act run throughs

As part of our exploration of the theme of Magic, we've been developing acts in small groups. It will culminate with a series of performances this Friday afternoon, when we'll be performing for other a few of the other classes (and any family members who would like to drop in!). 

We've spent this week putting the finishing touches on our acts, and performing them for each other for peer review. They're really coming together! Ask your child about how their act is going!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Design, Build, Test: "Filtration Investigation"

In stage one of the investigation the class was given a list of materials, their costs and their maximum budget to build a system to filter "muddy" water with the goal of collecting water as pure as possible.

Stage 2: Evan going over some ideas for 
improving the filter design of another group. 

Stage two of the investigation was previewing, discussing, and giving feedback on the designs in small groups.
Stage three was actually collecting the materials and attempting to implement the design.
For the climax of the activity we poured "muddy water" through each of the student's filters.
The final takeaway from the lesson is a reflection sheet (what worked, what didn't and what would I do differently next time) that the kids are completing for this checkout.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book groups

Joanna talks about A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LaGuin.

Starting next Monday, we'll begin our new book groups. Each group of four-to-five students will be reading one of five different books:

Not pictured: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. (Our copies are on order...)

Rachel Goldberg, our resident librarian, came in and gave inspiring book talks about each novel on Monday. We then asked each student to rank them in the order of greatest-to-least interest. We'll be announcing the groups soon, but everyone seems likely to get their first or second choice.

Each group will be led by an adult, who will be reading the novel along with the students and guiding discussions. Everyone seems very excited about it!

Science: Filtration investigation

Various filter designs

As part of our ongoing study of water, watersheds, and water quality, we began a discussion today about water filtration.

Writing prompts: Taking the ridiculous seriously

We generally have one writing prompt a week. They cover a range of different types of writing, but occasionally I'll give kids something patently absurd to see what they come up with. For example:

I'm always surprised (and delighted) when a writing prompt resonates with a student and they run with it. For example, though this is a particularly silly one, it clearly inspired Eleanor, who crafted a tale of medical mishap, pre-teen angst, and heroic deeds.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Prepping Our Magic Acts

We're all super excited about Magic Show on November 21st in the afternoon. The kids have been refining their acts, working out the kinks in tricks and rehearsing. 

Adri and Kit do a run through so Jason can give feedback.