Friday, November 27, 2015

Week 12: Baa baa, black sheep. Have you any wool?

Lisa, Sam, and I meet weekly to talk about plans for the 5/6 science program. We've been working through the human body systems for the first half of this year, and while we have done a number of cool demonstrations and simulations, it can be difficult to reconcile abstract images with the reality of flesh and bone. Our brainstorming eventually turned to the idea of dissections. It's hard to get more hands-on and experiential than an actual dissection. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Week 11: Fear itself

As with much of the rest of the world, Paris, Beirut, Syria, and the United States were on our minds this week. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 9 in review

Yet another newcomer has taken up residence in the Middle School Commons. Drop by to take a peek at the lovely new habitat the next time you're in the building!  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hodge Podge: Week 8 in review

This was an excellent year for Eco-Fair/Homemade Halloween costumes! 

It is impossible to adequately convey everything that happens each week, which is why a lot of blog posts lately have focused on one aspect of our work. This week, I decided to try to capture a smattering of what happens from day-to-day.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Math: Problem Solvers!

Can you see the patterns emerging?
As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Singapore Math is the backbone of our Math program. However, we also do whole-group inquiry and instruction in our Math group. One frequent group activity is using story problems to develop and practice new problem-solving strategies. 

One such strategy: Making an organized list.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Math: A Singapore Math primer

Math groups at Summers-Knoll are taught four times a week at 8:55 AM. Almost the entire school (the 7/8s have Math later in the day) has Math at the same time so that kids at different points in math can join math groups that are at an appropriate level. These levels are determined by where each individual student is in their Singapore Math books. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

A quick note about subscribing by email

A technical note: If you've signed up to receive entries of the blog delivered to your email, you might occasionally be missing some content. I just realized that videos that are embedded from Youtube don't show up in the email version. (And in the case of the most recent entry, that means that a lot of the post doesn't make much sense...) 

So you may want to pop over to the actual blog on occasion to check in! 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Greetings from Juna and Eva

Thursday's substitute Music teacher: Jason

Beloved Music teacher Josh is out this week, so I filled in for him on Thursday. Josh's pedagogical gifts and skills are different than my own, so I didn't dare attempt to deliver his curriculum. Instead, we ran our own version of Music class in homeroom. 

The embodiment of Spring works magic in a scene from Fantasia 2000

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Science: Building the digestive system

As part of our Identity theme, we're learning about the different human body systems during our Science classes with Lisa. Check out her recent blog entry to see how we're learning about the digestive system!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Art field trip to the UMMA

A tradition: taking a group shot of the 5/6s at the Cube

On Thursday, the entire 5/6 took a trip to the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) to view some exhibits that related to their developing portrait work. Monica has written a bit about it on her blog, which can be found here. (Check it weekly! She updates every Friday!)

(In her entry discussing this field trip, she mentions that photography was forbidden, which meant that she couldn't get any photos of the kids working. I was unaware of the no photography rule at first, so I inadvertently violated that policy. If you keep it quiet, I'll show you a few of the photos that I got before a security guard politely asked me to put away my camera. SHHHH.... IT'S OUR SECRET.) 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Equality, Justice, Harrison Bergeron, and the Global Village

Nick and Eva spy a visitor to the Howell Nature Center Global Village.

We began our week in the spotlight, as it was the job of the 5/6s to lead our Monday morning assembly. Each Monday morning, all of the students, staff, and faculty (and occasional parents, grandparents, and other family members!) gather in the atrium for a community gathering. A different homeroom leads the meeting each week, often taking the opportunity to share something that's been going on in our classes. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Howell Nature Center Global Village field trip!

Whew! We have successfully completed our once-every-two-years trip to the Howell Nature Center Global Village! There will soon come a day when I will write up a proper post about our experiences, but it is not today, as I am ready for a good, long nap. To tide you over, please check out the page for our class Twitter feed. There, you will find a chronicle of our adventures (tweeted in reverse chronological order). 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Science: "Enigma Cylinders" (and banana phones)

As you may know, Lisa Johnson (famous and beloved for bringing Fish Lab to Summers-Knoll) has joined our faculty as a science teacher. We'll be co-teaching science this year, and we ran a fantastic activity on class on Monday. I'll tell you all about it, just as soon as Bora finishes this phone call. 

Bora blatantly violating our "no phones during the school day" rule

Friday, September 11, 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year! - Week one in review

Wow! Just like that, we've completed our first week of school! It's only Friday evening, but the first day jitters seem like a distant memory as we've all settled into our new class. Read on for a brief overview of the various threads of study that we began this week!

But first, say hello to the mysterious, affable, two-headed creature that we call Junella.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A few photos from our last day!

Well, we've closed the door on another year! Our final weeks were fun and productive, and our final day was a maelstrom of wrap up and farewells. Here are a few quick snapshots, far from comprehensive:

Gabe and Marcellin: Newly-minted 7th graders

Maddy and Adri tending to a new honorary member of our class: Jason's new baby Abe. 

Josh commandeered a small squad of students to help him pack up the music room, including these mysterious fellows. 

Going through the pictures that I snapped, I'm starting to realize just how many kids held Abe that day. None of you were sick, right? RIGHT??

Outgoing Eleanor holding incoming Abe. 

Adri and Abe.

Ariana and Abe. 

Ah, they grow up so fast.

Thanks for a wonderful year!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Collaborative Writing: Crafting a class "choose your own adventure" story

Adri wrote and illustrated a children's book:
The Very Fairy Princess Goes to Mars.
It's been an unusual few weeks in our class. I (Jason) was out on paternity leave for two weeks, and then the class was gone on the spring trip all of last week. We're finally all back together and at school now, so things are back to normal, if only for another week or so. 

Nick wrote and drew a comic in the style of
Berkeley Breathed (creator of Bloom County,
Outland, and others)
Our last full week together is still packed full of things to do. Many kids are wrapping up projects that they've been working on, and we'll be sharing and presenting our work to each other in the days ahead. Many projects are currently on display in the Middle School Commons, so take a peek if you find yourself in the building this week! 

Kit has been working on a comic adventure in the
style of Tintin creator Hergé

We also started a new writing project today, which has been a fun exercise in creative collaborative work. As a class, we're writing a Choose Your Own Adventure story. We started out by brainstorming some details about two characters, then began pitching in ideas as I typed the story onto a large computer screen. We quickly brought our characters to a point in the story where they had two options, and then we broke into two smaller groups to begin writing them. After advancing those two story lines, each of those branched, creating even smaller groups. As it stands, we have six possible stories in the work, and we'll continue to branch off until each student writes their own ending, which means there will be at least 22 possible outcomes of the story. 

Marcellin adapted the design of the Wright Brothers famous
plane to make it more suited to the atmosphere of
Rereading what I just wrote makes it seem a little complicated, which is fair, because it has been. But it's also been very fun, and everyone has worked really well together. 

We'll continue this project this week, but  if you're interested in checking out our story so far, click here. (Disclaimer: This is decidedly still a work in progress.) 

Eleanor wrote a short story in the style of author
Wendy Mass

Friday, May 29, 2015

Spring Trip Day 3: The UP

We boarded the busses and headed out over the bridge for two stops in the UP. First was Whitefish Point to see the Shipwreck Museum and hear the tale of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. They said they might post some pictures taken at the Museum on their Facebook page today.
At Whitefish Point

Looking for boats through the fog.
Listening to Bev (the lighthouse guide) talk about the original
lenses used in the lighthouse. (She was quite a character.)

In the museum looking at artifacts.

Our lunch stop, "The Berry Patch" in Paradise, MI.
Good Pasties.

After Whitefish Point, we stopped for lunch at a well recommended local establishment for a quick lunch.

Our final stop of the day was Sault Ste. Marie for a guided boat tour of the Locks, dinner and mini-golf.

On the Locks Tour, looking at a Canadian Steel Manufacturing Plant.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring Trip Day 2: Mackinac Island

All aboard!

It's been another exhausting day for us up here on the Straits of Mackinac. After last night's late arrival, we slept in a little and began with a lovely carb-rich breakfast at our hotel. We boarded the 10:00am ferry for the Island.

On the Island, we took a tour by horse drawn carriage. Our first stop was at the Butterfly House (where we warmed up from the rather cold day).
Preparing to fire the cannon.

Look at me! I'm on a HORSE!

After a few more stops, including Arch Rock, our tour ended at Fort Mackinaw. Then, somehow, I ended up on a horse. (Shan and I both took groups of kids riding. I've never been on a horse for more than five minutes before.)
We had dinner on the Island and then took the last ferry (7:00pm) back to the mainland. 

You can just see the Bridge in the right of this one.
  It's a little cold on the boat.

Our day ended with some time at the pool and lights out at 10:00pm. Tomorrow morning has us shipping off to Whitefish Point, the Shipwreck museum, and the Soo Locks.

Spring Trip Day 1

View off the balcony.

Day one of the trip was a lot of driving, sand, and raining (and sometimes driving rain). Shan took a lot of photos; right now I'm just posting a few that I had on my camera.

The hotel has worked out really well, there are two rooms with a hallway between them that has the bathroom off of it. The adult room has the standard door; the kids, much larger room, has a balcony looking out on Lake Michigan.

At Sleeping Bear

The Villager Pub in Charlevoix were great hosts
for 20 unannounced 5/6s

We found a great spot for dinner in Charlevoix (original plan was scrapped because of the weather). Ask the kids about "deep fried macaroni and cheese bites."

Today we're going to catch the 10:00am boat for Mackinac Island. The weather is supposed to hold out, though we might experience a little light rain--nothing like the storms from last night.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Guest Student Post: Projects, Projects and More Projects

This part of the blog post was written by Lindsay as part of her continuing study of Vivian Maier:

The last couple of weeks the 5th and 6th graders have been creating projects based on their M.O.O.T (Mars Out Of Time) characters. M.O.O.T is a website where 5/6s act as historical figures of their choosing and solve problems related to creating a Mars colony. They have been making paintings, stories, games, and more all week. Here is what some of the students have been creating.

Oliver S. (Andy Warhol) is painting a picture in the style of Andy Warhol in a Mars theme. The painting will be either of the rocky surface of Mars, or of a spaceship. Andy Warhol made the famous ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ painting.

Evan (Gengis Khan) & Ben (Shigeru Miyamoto) are making a board game about Mars. The goal of the game is to conquer the Martians on the planet Mars. Genghis Khan was a warrior, and Shigeru Miyamoto was a video game designer.

Kit is portraying Georges Remi, also known as Hergé. Kit is drawing a comic in the style of Hergé. The comic is about a few kids who live in the Mars colony. But when disaster strikes, it’s up to them to make it right. Hergé is the writer and illustrator of the famous comics, called Tintin.


In addition to the MOOT projects that Lindsay wrote about, students are working one or more other projects as well including: video documentaries, book projects, and/or completing a story. [--Sam]

Olie S. Ducumntentary.jpg
Oliver S is working on his documentary and Olie is making a game for his book project.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Trials, Bias, Prejudice, Baltimore, and Polygons

Some social issues that we've been exploring in class recently have given some context for the recent events in Baltimore. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A quick reminder about other S-K blogs

The specialist teachers have blogs as well, be sure to check them out! Here are a few links: 

Monica maintains a Middle School Art blog. Check it out! 

Imogen has a blog for her classes. It can be found here. Here are some recent entries that are particularly relevant to the 5/6s: 
les vrais?

In addition to those, it can be really useful and interesting to check out the other classroom blogs. Find a list of links to those here

Finally, just to add some visual interest to this post, here are some maps made of my room and the middle school commons from a recent activity: