Annoucements 2020-2021

Minecraft Challenge: Build a Robot to Explore Mars

posted Apr 9, 2021, 11:48 AM by Patrick Johnson

Adding Voice to Low Energy Writing

posted Apr 1, 2021, 6:24 AM by Patrick Johnson

Students are learning to add voice and energy to their writing. This week we read a piece of writing that did not contain very much writer's voice or energy. Students chose a sentence and re-wrote it by adding words and details to lift the energy. We took all of the ideas and re-wrote MY PUPPY as our morning message.

Oi! Get Off Our Train! - Thinking Changes As We read

posted Apr 1, 2021, 6:20 AM by Patrick Johnson

Sometimes when we start a book, we have ideas or thoughts about what the book is about, but while we read our thinking changes. At the end of the story, our thinking maybe completely different from when we first started reading.

We read this story in class. At the beginning the story seems to be about a boy who loves trains so much that he dreams about them. In the middle we find out that the book has a powerful message about saving endangered animals. At the end we brainstormed how we can help our local wild life.

Reading Power: The Power to Transform

posted Mar 26, 2021, 12:07 PM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Mar 26, 2021, 12:14 PM ]

Students have been working on the Reading Power: The Power to Transform. 

What is the Power to Transform?
Transform is rooted in the strategy of synthesizing text. Reading a book can sometimes change the way we think about ourselves, others or the world around us. Sometimes, a book can have an impact on the way we think about something, or can alter or adjust our thinking in someway. When this happens, we say that the book has “Transformed” our thinking. Active readers know that when they have finished reading the book, they have not finished thinking about the book. Being aware that reading can change our thinking and reflecting on how a thought we had prior to reading may been “re-arranged” or “re-organized” by something we read is thought to be the highest level of understanding. (Gear, Adrienne. Transform Handout. Retrieved from

We read the book Ish by Peter Reynolds

Our Big Thinking Questions:
What did the character do to make a difference in the world? 
How might this story change your thinking? 
What could you do to make a difference?

Van Gogh Art

posted Mar 5, 2021, 12:11 PM by Patrick Johnson

Asking Good Questions- The Wednesday Surprise

posted Dec 3, 2020, 4:13 PM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Dec 3, 2020, 4:14 PM ]

We have been working on asking good questions about stories we have read. This week we read The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting

Our big thinking question for the story was: What traits do you admire about the main characters Anna and her Grandmother? Why?

We used a Q-chart to help generate questions. 

Some of our questions were:
Who are the main characters?
What is the surprise?
Who is the surprise for?
How old is Anna?
What is in the large lumpy bag they are carrying?
Why are Anna and her Grandmother so nervous at her Dad's birthday party?
Why is her Dad away so much? What is his job?
Why did Anna's Grandmother never learn to read as a child? Why didn't she learn to read when she got older?

After we read the story, we discussed each question: Was the answer in the text? Did the question really matter?

The questions that generated the most discussion were the questions that were not answered directly in the text but still mattered to the story. For example:
Why did Anna's Grandmother never learn to read as a child?
-students inferred she might have grown up in a rural area and was not near (or did not have transportation) to a school
-they thought that she might not have learned to read because she was needed to help out at home (or work a farm)

Beautiful Lines and Patterns

posted Nov 30, 2020, 3:33 PM by Patrick Johnson

Right Angles

posted Nov 26, 2020, 5:28 PM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Nov 27, 2020, 4:35 AM ]

The goal for this math lesson was for students to understand what a right angle is and to be able to identify right angles in shapes. 

Step 1
Students were shown items one at a time in a YES group and items in a NO group (concept attainment). Students were only told that the YES group had something all in common that the NO group did not have. They were also told that the sorting rule for the YES group had nothing to do with size or number of sides of shapes.

Step 2
Students were told to keep their predictions of the sorting rule to themselves. They were also told to be prepared to make new predictions if their sorting rule no longer fit the objects being shown.

Step 3
Students were asked to raise their hand if they had a prediction of what the sorting rule was. They were then asked to whisper their prediction to another student who did not have their hand up. Afterwards, I showed several more YES and NO examples.

Step 4
Finally students were shown a list of TESTERS. They voted using their thumbs (up or down) whether the object belonged in the YES or NO group.

Students then had the opportunity to discuss and share their predictions with the class. Students were quick to realize that the NO group had mostly pointed corners and we discussed the YES group had SQUARE CORNERS (right angles).

Congruent Shapes

posted Nov 25, 2020, 12:05 PM by Patrick Johnson

This week students learned about congruent shapes. Shapes are said to be congruent if one shape can become another using reflections (flips), translations (slides) or rotations (turns). The shapes are the same size and the same shape.

Step 1: Students played the Yes/No game (concept attainment) to try and figure out what the yes shapes had in common that made them different from the no shapes. Each pair of YES shapes were this math concept and each pair of the NO shapes were not that math concept.

Step 2: Students used testers to see whether their prediction was correct.

Step 3: After the testers, students made predictions of what math concept the YES pairs had.
Some sample  responses:
-Some of the shapes are reflections of each other
-If you turned a shape, you can fit it over another shape
-They were the same size and same shape.

Finally, students made their own congruent shapes on geoboards:

Map of Good Memories

posted Nov 23, 2020, 5:16 PM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Nov 24, 2020, 4:57 AM ]

We read this wonderful book in class. Afterwards, students drew their own map of good memories.
"There are places that remind us of happy moments. Zoe, a little girl who has to flee from her city with her family because of a war, remembers them before she leaves. She uses them to draw a “map of good memories,” knowing that they will always be with her."-Map of Good Memories

Our Map of Good Memories:

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