Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Weekly Post 4/14/17

This week on Team Spencer we had a lot of fun. We finished up our applications for class jobs and went through an important interview process. Each student got interviewed for the job that they wish to have and had to discuss why they wanted it and what they wanted their salary to look like. Everyone either got a new job or was able to keep their old job and negotiate their salary to be paid in class dollars.

On Wednesday we went to see the University Musical Society's guest performers A Far Cry with A Roomful of Teeth. In this performance we heard music from a small chamber orchestra and classical music done by an acapella group. We use the music to create pictures, stories and abstract drawings of the sounds that we heard. We then used those stories and ideas to make longer stories during a writing session.  Before break we did a workshop with UMS on how music tells stories.

We have started doing research for our second round of teaching. This time we have a very clear rubric of what kind of things we want to see in each lesson. We want to make sure that the lesson makes sense, we can hear what is being said, the information is accurate and thorough, and there is an engaging activity or aspect to the lesson.

In math we are beginning our math storytelling portion. We are watching videos of math mysteries, and reading stories about math mysteries. We will then write our own math mysteries using the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, weight, and measuring.

Weekly Post 3/17/17

This week on Team Spencer, we finished our read aloud Hugo and are now watching the movie. We are also studying Georges Méliès and all of his movies and the magic that he made. Since Spencer is going to Paris in a few weeks, we are making a list of places that she should visit that correspond to the things that we are studying in Hugo. We hope to get pictures and videos from the automaton Museum and the train station that Hugo supposedly worked at.

In science we have been studying about the different types of lightbulbs. We have looked at incandescent light, fluorescent lights, and LED lights. We are noting the differences in the way they work and how efficient they are in using the energy that is given.

Last week we finished our first news report and we have started on our second news broadcast. As soon as the video is edited we will release the first broadcast of our news stories.

In math we are in the middle of our baking math and this week we have chocolate chip cookies. We use the same recipe as we used last year, but last year we had twice as many students, so we made A LOT of cookies. We continue to work on our multiplication tables memorize all of them as best we can.

Weekly Post 3/11/17

Hi Team, this week on team Spencer we have been having a lot of fun. After last week's rousing success in math class with making cupcakes, this week we made fudge pie. But, it wasn't quite that simple. The first recipe we were given was f​or six times as many people as we needed. We had to divide all the ingredients in our ingredient list by 6 in order to get the correct recipe.

This week we also recorded our very first team Spencer News network broadcast. Spencer's brother Jamal is going to help us edit it and put it together so that it looks like a professional news broadcast. All the students work so hard on their stories. It will be very informative. Look for it sometime next week.

As we have been talking about real estate in our business dealings, many students are purchasing their desks so they don't have to pay rent. We thought it would be good to play a little Monopoly. It has been an interesting fascinating Journey in buying, selling, trading, and dealing with money.

Weekly Post 3/5/17

This week was busy on Team Spencer.  We have updated our tax system to reflect differing economic status within our class.  Mason has come up with a system where we pay based on how much we have.  The ownership of the utilities, paper, pencils, scissors and other supplies, has changed from Spencer to Mason and Josiah.  The class taxes now go to them, so that they may provide these resources to the class.  Friday we had another art sale; this one to benefit UNICEF.  The students wanted to donate to a cause that helps children.  We have also elected a new President.  Ben is the new President of The United Kids of Team Spencer.  Congratulations!!

We have almost finished up our first draft of our Hero's Journey stories and some of us are beginning the revising stage and making sure our work is perfect.  

In Math, our baking project is in full swing.  On Tuesday, we calculated what ingredients we need and how much of each ingredient we will need for the all of the recipes.  It was a lot of adding.  On Thursday we went to the grocery store and had to decide how much to buy.  On Friday we followed the recipe and made cupcakes. Yum!!

Weekly Post 2/17/17

What a fun week for Team Spencer! On Monday, we had a guest come into our class. It was Spencer's brother, Jamal Spencer from WZZM channel 13 in Grand Rapids. He is a sports journalist and Sports Anchor at his station. He came and talked to us about journalism and how to research and create stories to share on a news program. After the break we will be creating our own news broadcast and sharing it with the Summers Knoll School community. Jamal helped us to organize our broadcast, and come up with new stories. He also did some pretty fun interviews with us.

We also had our very first Market day this week. As a part of our government structure, and our class economy, we created jobs within our class and fun little activities that other kids could come and pay class money for. We invited Chris's class to our class to enjoy our Market Carnival. There were temporary tattoos, face painting, original Magic the Gathering cards, that were created by students, and the highlights of our Market were our fortune tellers. Each kid from Chris's class got $20 to spend the night market, so we made a lot of money that day. It was a blast.
In math we have been playing really fun times tables games. We played a game with sevens where we had to go on a scavenger hunt throughout the room and look for answers to seven times tables multiplication 
problems. On Friday we played a lot of fun interactive games to help us memorize and multiply.

Weekly Post 2-9-17

Hi Team, 
This weekend Team  Spencer was the annual Fort week. We built forts of all different sizes and shapes to work in and play in.  It was really fun to exercise our creativity and build things to work with.

On Wednesday we went to the water treatment plant. We learned how Ann Arbor purifies its water and sends it out to all the houses in our city. We also visited Barton Dam and saw firsthand how a river is dammed and the water is used to create electricity.

We will be starting a new project soon. We will be using our research techniques to find out information about our city and community and communicate it to the SK community via our own Team Spencer New Station. Everyone will get a different job. They will all write stories, and some will record them on our news broadcast. We will have Spencer's brother Jamal tell us all about being a journalist and reporting the news on the television. Jamal Spencer is a sports reporter for Channel 13 WZZM in Grand Rapids.

Videos of Jamal's Visit:
https://youtu.be/aZPJiCPTtIo
https://youtu.be/0F4v2dkTt3c
https://youtu.be/1GpTOpHSOg4
https://youtu.be/KoumsN1pQyo
https://youtu.be/DugkqRlx-HE

In math we have finished up our math songs and are recording them this week. We will continue with our learning of them multiplication tables and practicing our sevens times tables. It will be hard, but I know we can do it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fort Week Fun!! February 6-10, 2017

During Undergrad at the University of Michigan, I took a course with Elizabeth Goodenough.  During this class, she repeatedly highlighted the need for and power of children having their own secret spaces in childhood.  It was constantly reinforced how powerful it is for children to have their own safe private space to be themselves in.

With that in mind, I have created a yearly tradition of Fort week.  During Fort week the students design and create their own little blanket and cardboard spaces.  There are forts, lean-to's, and secret hidey holes.  They work, play and create in their little spaces.  At the end of the week, we will have a pajama day.  We will try to preserve some of the forts for the rest of the year, but there are space and practicality issues involved.  We had a lot of fun building and using our forts.

For more information about the book 'Secret Spaces of Childhood' by Elizabeth Goodenough, see: https://www.press.umich.edu/11854/secret_spaces_of_childhood