Friday, October 30, 2015

Teaching Days

Every Wednesday, on Team Spencer, someone on our team gets to teach class...and it isn't Spencer. One of the coolest and most fun things about team Spencer is the fact that we have our students teach class every week. Each Wednesday morning a Student is assigned a teaching time to teach the class. They are given 30 minutes to tell us about anything that interest them. As a part of our identity exploration, they are able to teach anything that they wish as long as it gets approved. It gets approved when they complete a lesson plan. 
The lesson plan includes an "I do", "we do", and "you do." During the "I do", the student outlines what they plan to explain to the students in a direct teaching manner. During the "we do", the student describes what they are going to do with the class to help them understand the concept. During the "you do", the student tells what they expect the class to be able to do to prove that they understand the content of the lesson. They also then have to say how they would reflect on the lesson.

The link to the schedule of when the students are teaching can be found here.

The link to the lesson plan document can be found here.

Learning how to draw a dragon 

The students have been teaching on many varied topics. My favorite part about this project, is that they never teach me something I already know about. I've had lessons on comic book artists, geology, racecar drivers, and art lessons. I always learn something new.

Getting cool stories about the "Jersey Devil"

I never knew there were so many cool accessories for video game consoles.

Rocks are so cool!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pajama Day!

So comfy in our PJ's for Team Spencer Pajama Day!

Project Time

Hi Team!
I told the kids that one of my goals for them was to become so good at it least one thing that everybody you know calls you up for advice on that thing. We then brainstormed ways of learning all that information. We pretty much came up with, "you have to practice." With that in mind, our class has project time for at least an hour every Friday. During project time, the students choose one thing that they want to get better at, want to practice, want to learn more about, or just find really interesting to do. They then have to propose it to me. They have to come up with a proposal that includes what they want to do, the materials they need to do it, who they want to do it with, and what their process should look like.

This is what their Project Proposal looks like:


Do you have a partner?:

Choose an activity or skill that you are passionate about and want to work on.:

What resources do you have that can help you get better? You can include websites, books or people that you could contact.:

What materials will you need?:

What are your goals and timeline?
Week 1:
Week 2:
Week 3:
Week 4:
Week 5:
Week 6:

What will the end product be?

Why do you want to pursue this? How does this benefit yourself or others?
  I want them to get in the habit of planning ahead and not starting a project when you don't know what your goals are for completing it. I want them to start managing their own time and be able to work independently on an item because they have already planned the steps out in advance. This project also has roots in our identity theme. Each student is using their own unique abilities and interests to create a product or an item for our project time. They are able to work either independently or with a partner. During the six we creation process, they are to keep a log of their progress in a progress log. The progress log details what progress they made that day, what their challenges were in that project, and what their goals for the next week are.

This is what their Project Log looks like:

Project Log
Name/Partner’s name:
What is your project?:

Week 1
Goal for next week:

Week 2
Goal for next week:

Week 3
Goal for next week:

Week 4
Goal for next week:

Week 5
Goal for next week:

Week 6
Goal for next week:

 Many times they find that the goals that they had originally set out in their project proposal do not match those that they are achieving in class. Some work faster than the original goals, some not so much. After they have completed their project they will fill out a project reflection sheet where they reflect on the process of creating their project and delivering it to society. They will also be included in a discussion where we discuss each other's projects and their benefits to our community.

Here is what the Project Reflection looks like:

How did your project go?

What went well?

What didn’t go the way you expected?

What would you do differently next time?

What did others think of your project?

 The students seem to love their projects so much that they are known to work on them over snack-time.
They also work on them any free time chance they get, not just the hour a week on Fridays.
In our class, you can see students working on video games that they're designing, building pieces of their project, and making signs for a sale. The group making the play has gone so far as to draw a crowd of other students in our class during the rehearsals to watch and give feedback during the process. They've also been creating their own little comedy bits. I can't wait to see the show. One student has actually finished a lovely table for Debra, our admissions and marketing director. It was a fabulous surprise for her.
Each student not only has the responsibility of creating their own project, but also of helping each other out with their project. They can give feedback to other students, or be a mentor to students that do not know how to use the technology that is provided. Part of the project is helping the other students build on their knowledge.

On Monday we will be presenting our project time projects, albeit in progress, to the school during the morning meeting. We will discuss the purpose of our project, the process of our project, and what our projects actually are. We will be doing this first thing in the morning on Monday morning, so if you could make it that would be amazing.

To see the actual Project Document, follow this link.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

India, projects and Marvels galore

This week we began working on our documentary about what it's like to be in Team Spencer. We are attempting to find traits that are unique to our class and help define our identity. Nearly all of the students have been interviewed about their experiences. If you would like to be in the documentary or would like to contribute, please let me know.

We are getting to an exciting place in our book, The Marvels by Brian Selznick. The students have been discussing what they thought was going on. Everyone had a theory based on evidence that they found in the story. This week we found out that we were all wrong.

Ananya taught us all about India this week. We learned about the population, the languages, and the flag. Many of the students were still talking about it on Friday.

We also got some quality time to work on our projects. One student even finished part of his. (He says he is going to make 2.)

Next week is the famous Fort Week! We will be turning our classroom into a giant blanket fort. If you have any spare sheets, blankets, or pillows to spare, please send them in. Friday is a pajama day!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Crisis Averted!

Today we came to school to find that the key to our computer cabinet no longer worked. No one knew why, or what to do about it.

I thought we were going to have to break something to get it off. Then Mark had the brilliant idea to knock out the hinge pins and open the side. 

The whole side came off, giving us access to our computers.

After folding the doors over, I can access the screws for the latch plate. That I can replace easily.

Thanks for saving the day, Mark!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Short Week

This week we continued working on how to be a scientist. After we reviewed the scientific method, we came up with several ways to solve a water movement problem. Next week we will revise and make our plans better. Here are some of our favorite methods of moving water. 

Lilith also taught us this week how to draw a dragon. It was very fun and we had many different versions of the Dragon.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Creatures, experiments, video games, flags, and locker doors

I'm Hey team!
While we didn't do a whole lot for Creature Week, Josiah told us an awesome story about his favorite creature the "Jersey Devil". I also wore my skunk hoodie on Friday.

After a really cool science lesson on Monday, where we saw what the germs and bacteria on our hands loped like when grown, Lisa showed us a paperweight with what looks like bears floating on little islands. This gave us an idea for a brand-new experiment. Many of the students were wondering how the paperweight seem to be filled with two different kinds of liquid, but they didn't seem to be able to mix. We decided they must be oil and water. But which one was the oil and which one was the water? Which one was denser, oil or water? Using the scientific process, on Tuesday we asked our question, made our hypothesis, may predictions, and created an experiment. We tested many different types of oil with colored water to see which would float on top and which would settle to the bottom. We found out that the oil was less dense than the water and always floated to the top.

On Wednesday, Reed taught us all about the Wii and all the controllers you can use with the game system. I never knew there were so many.

Continuing with our theme of personal identity, we all created flags that define parts of ourselves and united the flags under the banner of the United Kids of Team Spencer. Can you tell who belongs with what flag? Even Alexander the imaginary student and I are represented.

We are almost done with our locker doors. Still have some work to do. 

Time to Order Scholastic Books!!!

The Book orders are due Next Tuesday, October 6th. Click on the banner to access or class orders.  Order soon!
Click on the icon to the right! Or Click Here.