Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Weekly Post 11-4-16

It has been a great week on Team Spencer. Last week we elected a new president, President Zoey. She has decided to institute a new goal setting session at the beginning of each presidential term where the class sets goals for the next 4 weeks. We have appointed a Secretary of Charitable Donations to raise money for world problems. We have also started using class money and starting our own businesses.
We are also learning about Joseph Campbell's Hero's journey. We have begun to take the stories we have read and see how they fit into the 12 steps of the Hero's Journey. Next we will be writing our own Hero's Journey story.
In math, we have been calculating how much wood we need to buy for our project and what is, mathematically, the best way to put it on the wood. We then went to Home Depot and purchased the wood.

Weekly Post 10-28-16

Hi Team!  This week was a short on Team Spencer, but we got a lot done. Karl asked us to help him with our part of the school play and we accepted his challenge.  We read through stories of the Polynesian god Maui and found several stories that we wanted to turn into plays.  We then workshopped the stories in small groups and turned them into scenes.  We had a ton of fun showing our Maui scenes to each other and thinking of funny jokes we can put in the show.  Finally we learned a basic structure for writing a play and wrote our scenes down.  We have started printing class money and setting up businesses in order to create a sustainable economy in our class.  Friday the class voted on the president. Results will be released next week.  Will Mason start a second term as Team Spencer President or will someone unseat him?  In math, we are finally finished with our paper measurements and will work on organizing the pieces so that they all fit as economically as possible on 4 foot by 8 foot pieces of wood.  It will take a lot of math and creativity to make it all fit.


Weekly Post 10-21-16

This week in Team Spencer we made a lot of changes to our class government.  In our government, we have been studying the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches of government.  We have already created a class constitution and experienced a court case.  This week we decided to add a department of Treasury and begin to print our own money.  We also had Judge Rhonda Craig (Spencer's mom) come in and talk about the judicial branch and play fun law games with us.  As we get more and more proficient with the computer, we need to practise how to write letters and emails.  We have been working hard to learn all of the writing rules and formats.  This week Zoey taught us all about saltwater aquarium fish and then challenged us to identify them.  It was tough, but we figured it out.  A professor of play came to work with us on Friday with social and team building games.  In Math we continued measuring out all the pieces we will need to make the drawers we are building.  This week we are focusing on how to double check our measurements based on what we know about rectangles and the best practices for measuring them.  We hope to be getting the wood by next week!

Weekly Post 10-14-16

This week on Team Spencer was very intense.  In science we reviewed what we experienced and learned when visiting the UofM 3D lab open house and presented our findings at Friday's morning meeting.  We also learned how our eyes see in 3D.  We read the story of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, inferred information about the text, and wrote magical stories about how the king in the story got his shape shifting abilities.  Spencer also told her famous onion story and we broke it apart and identified how the parts fit into a classic story arc. We will soon build our own stories using the story arc format.  Last week we held elections for our Team Spencer Class Government.  We learned all about the 3 branches of government and how they function.  Our class has a president, a supreme court and a senate.  This week we voted on laws, heard a court case and made some student led changes in the classroom.  Friday we also visited Steinhauser Farm to see how a fully sustainable food farm is run and how it interacts with the community as a whole.  In Math, we have started measurements on our carpentry drawer project.  Our next step is to see how much wood we need to buy and how the shapes fit together to make the most economical use of our wood.

Weekly Post 10-7-16

This week on team Spencer was short, but very interesting. We continued our discussion on what is a magic and how is it different than science. A lot of our team members have some very interesting ideas on what magic really is. We also work on our punctuation and figuring out where the end of a sentence is, when to use a period, when to use a question mark, and when a sentence needs an exclamation point. On Friday Mason taught us a lesson and we got to go on a field trip to see the 3D lab at University of Michigan.On Monday we will use our knowledge of light and optics to analyze how each of the exhibits in the 3D lab open house works. Then, we will present next Friday at the morning meeting.
Math – In math we began to measure out our carpentry project. We figured out how the height, the width, and the length of the drawers that we are going to build. Soon we will have to make drawings the different parts of the project, will need to buy the wood, and measure out the wood so that we can cut it.

Weekly Post 9-30-16

This week was a very magical and mythological week on Team Spencer.  We had a great debate on what is magic versus what is science.  Is magic real?  Is magic just unexplained science?  We also took a very normal everyday story that happened to Zoey and turned it into a larger than life epic adventure with beautiful winged cheetah rubies, guinea pigs that turn into dragons, and a peacock miner archeologist explorer girl! Crazy times!  We also looked at how some stories use metaphor to describe everyday personal journeys in very magical ways.  We began electives this week.  Our class is either in Karl's choir or Jason's creative writing elective.  My Forensics elective is off to an engaging start as many of the participants got their first crack at debating the pros and cons of an impromptu topic.

In math, we are beginning to use our understanding of measurement, inches, feet, and yards, to build drawers for our storage space. We are reviewing what the different lengths are and their notations, as well as how geometry and spatial reasoning factors into woodworking.

Weekly Post 9-23-16

Yarr Mateys! This week be Pirate Week.  We have been learning about real historical pirates like Blackbeard and Anne Bonny!  That be fascinating stuff!  We have also been continuing to read our City of Ember books and connecting the subject matter in the books with the themes for this year.  We did an amazing experiment in science where we observed how the atmosphere reacts to light and makes the sky blue during the day and the sun red in the evening.  There was also a fair amount of silly writing as we improvised our own guided adventure in the Story of Bill and Sue.  We wrote so much that our hands hurt.  We will compare our writing with a similar writing adventure at the end of the year.  In math we are almost done with our assessment period and will be starting on our first game making project soon.  Math games are so much fun!

Weekly Post 9-16-16

This week we began to get into our groove as far as our schedule is concerned.  In science, we had our first science class with Lisa the science teacher.  We learned how to be scientist and some very important vocabulary to help us organize our scientific observations.  In reading just about everyone has finished their first reading assignment in the books The City of Ember (3rd grade) and The People of Sparks (4th grade) both by Jeanne DuPrau.  We are now ready to discuss what we have read and come up with some suggestions for our struggling protagonists.  We are starting the first of our Explorations this week as well.  This is where we go on an exciting exploration inspired by the book, How to Be an Explorer of the World, by Keri Smith.  Should be fun!  In math class we are all about place value!  We are exploring different ways to describe and explain place value.  It has been a fun, but exhausting week on Team Spencer!

Weekly Post 9-9-16

This week has been a whirlwind week for Team Spencer. We have been learning the ins and outs of our class and creating some new systems to use. We made giant posters and innovated ways to implement our student Rights and Responsibilities. On Tuesday we made fire and zip-lined through Howell Nature center. We all got jobs and our own personal schedule. We also budgeted our money, went to the office supply store, and purchased our own classroom supplies.