Learning & Creating with Room 173!
Monday, November 2nd
-Monday Morning Assembly: Premiere video of class reading of "The Raven."
-Circle: Upcoming projects & plans. Feedback on Friday's overnight, with class discussion on how we can plan for the next event based on what we learned from this experience. Review of classroom jobs & responsibilities, guidelines for GalactiCash system, first payday (including bonus for memorizing assigned stanza from "The Raven."
-OutEd: Introduction to Capture the Flag. Play two rounds, followed by discussion of experiences & defining parameters. Brief overview of strategies.
-Singapore Math: Overview of Unit 2: More Calculations with Whole Numbers. Review of order of operations/PEMDAS. Introduction of variable X (instead of the ubiquitous shaded box used in most elementary curricula to represent an unknown value) with a review of conventions used in multiplication and division (i.e., the different symbols that can be used to represent the functions). Whole-class practice with PEMDAS. XLA: 5ATBp33 [1, 2e, 3i, 3j, 4d]
Friday, October 29th
-PBL: Painting masks. Watching video clips on the history & cultural significance of Dia de los Muertos, Samhain, All Hallow's Eve; discussion on the way in which holidays (among other cultural traditions) are borrowed & combined based on social, political, and religious changes.
-Arts: Drawing elemental characters in the style of Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.
-ELA: Practicing parts for "The Raven."
-Admin: Prep for overnight.
Thursday, October 29th
-PBL: Finish papier mache, cutting eye holes & making final adjustments.
-ELA: Assigning parts for "The Raven," begin practice.
-Admin: Planning for overnight!
Wednesday, October 28th
-PBL: Continue papier mache, focusing on consistency of coats (adding layers of glued paper vs. glueing strips to a larger structure). Figure drawing.
-ELA: Continue analysis of "The Raven," stanzas 15-18. Review of vocabulary, imagery. Practicing summarizing skills, attempting 30-second summaries & giving peer feedback on strengths & shortcomings of summarization strategies. Class discussion of theories around imagery, word choice, and the reality vs. fantasy elements of the narrative: Is there literally a talking raven? Is the narrator asleep & dreaming? Is the narrator dead? Who & what is the raven? Conversation on speaking roles in the upcoming recording of the poem, including intention for everyone to have the opportunity over the course of the year to practice & evolve public speaking skill. XLA: List top 3 choices for assigned stanza.
-Admin: Conversation around expectations & plans for the upcoming overnight. Beginning to build schedule & packing lists.
-Early dismissal (1340) for professional development.
Tuesday, October 27th
-Circle: StoneTreeBear, "Furious Flea," practice "Balancing Batman"
-PBL: Investigating the effects of leaving baloons to hang & dry over the heating vents in the classroom. Many balloons expanded, some cracking the papier mache and some pushing out through the uncovered section at the end. Review of expansion of gasses & the impact of said expansion on a sealed but flexible container. Application of second layer of papier mache, emphasis on "Smooth, Tight, and Pretty" techniques.
-Arts: Figure drawing, using wooden models to draw figures in "Furious Flea" pose. XLA: Practice figure drawing.
-OutEd: Predator & Prey with multiple players per round. Zombie Tag with birthday surprise for .
-ELA: Analysis of stanzas 12-14 of "The Raven." Vocabulary study with dictionary & thesaurus, with an emphasis on multiple meaning words & the way in which authors use them for effect. Discussion of theories regarding the nature (and reality) of the raven and what it represents. XLA: Research & define selected vocabulary from stanzas 15-16.
-PBL XLA: Wiki Rabbit Hole, 8 entries, beginning with chosen element (due Wednesday)
-Wind-Down: Class jobs, administration.
Monday, October 26th
-Monday Morning Assembly: Anti-Bullying Program
-Circle: StoneTreeBear, review "Furious Flea," introduce new pose (name TBD)
-PBL: Investigation of papier mache balloons left out in the rain. Why did some of them shrink, and why some more than others? Discussion of basic tenants of states of matter & the effects of increases or decreases in temperature. Topics covered: relative density of different types of matter; density of matter as a function of molecular energy levels (and state changes as the result of changes in energy as heat); expansion & contraction of gasses, vaporization & condensation of liquids; insulation & relative expansion/contraction. Second round of balloon measurement & papier mache, focusing on technique (STP: Smooth, Tight, and Pretty!).
-Arts: Figure drawing, using wooden models to draw figures in "Furious Flea" pose. XLA: Practice figure drawing.
-Applied Math: How Big Is My Head? Aggregation & analysis of predictions made for the size of Mr. Gluck's head. Review of procedural errors & corrections; discussions of assumptions made in estimation (e.g., the assumption that my head measurements would be significantly greater than those of the average student, when in reality Mr. Gluck has a relatively small head).
-Admin: Review of class jobs & relevant responsibilities. Continuation of class name conversation, multiple rounds of voting leading us to "Donut Researchers." Discussion of democratic process & the importance of playing an active roll. Anyone dissatisfied with the process and/or the result has until the end of the week to submit a written argument (of no more than one page) outlining objections & providing an alternative solution.
-Admin XLA: Return all field trip/overnight paperwork ASAP!!
-PBL XLA: Wiki Rabbit Hole, 8 entries, beginning with chosen element (due Wednesday)
Friday, October 23rd
-Instrumental Music, Performance Arts (Dia de los Muertos video & mask-making)
-Applied Math: How Big Is Your Head?!? Estimate the circumference, diameter, and height of your head (in cm), writing predictions on one side of an index card; on the other side, estimate the same dimensions of Mr. Gluck's head. Turn in, get tape measure, take actual measurements with a partner.
-Arts: Practice figure drawing with "Furious Flea" pose. Extension: Draw Elemental character in the style of the Vitruvian Man
-Applied Math (continued): Data aggregation of results from measurement activity, building Excel spreadsheet comparing estimates to actual measurements, calculating differences & ranking accuracy of predictions. Determining procedural errors in measurement.
-PBL: Starting on DdlM skull masks. Using measurements from the morning, inflate a balloon to a size appropriate for your head. Begin papier mache.
Admin: XLA: Overnight volunteer form. Return ALL paperwork by Monday.
Thursday, October 22nd
-Circle: Stone-Tree-Bear, balance pose "The Furious Flea."
-Math: Review of Singapore Unit 1 Assessment; discussion of the importance of learning from our mistakes over the value of a single score on a test
-OutEd: Predator & Prey, with "pounce" rules. Zombie Tag w/Ms. Graves' 3rd grade class
-PBL: Listing of Wiki Rabbit Hole destinations from "raven"
-Anti-Bullying Month presentation & lesson by Ms. Davis
-Library: Anti-Bullying Month video; book check-out
Wednesday, October 21st
-Circle: Stone-Tree-Bear, balance pose "The Furious Flea." More people are practicing at home; we want the whole class on it! Discussion around focusing on our own experiences & not allowing outside distractions to take us away from our breathing.
-Math: Singapore Unit 1 Assessment A, followed by figure drawing. XLA: 5ATBp28, due Friday
-OutEd: Predator & Prey, continuing practice of diversion & distraction techniques. Introduction of "pounce" dynamic (once the predator has been located, they have 10 seconds to chase the prey around the circle attempting to catch them). Zombie Tag with only 1 zombie, followed by strategy review & safety considerations.
-ELA: Back to "The Raven," review of vocabulary & plot elements discovered so far in stanzas 1-8. Continued reading of stanzas 9-11, working with dictionaries to define & record unfamiliar vocabulary, advancing in-depth conversation around symbolism & word choice. XLA: Wiki Rabbit Hole, 5 entries, beginning with "Raven" (the bird, NOT "The Raven" which is about the poem)
-Distributed Field Trip packets. Need to be filled out COMPLETELY and turned in by the end of the week.
Tuesday, October 20th
-Circle: Stone-Tree-Bear, balance pose. Review of the importance of practice! Discussion on last Friday's class naming exercise including: the decision-making structure of our class; the need for balance between personal expression & professionalism; and the need to speak up/participate in the democratic process when given the opportunity, otherwise we lose our ability to influence the process (as well as the right to complain when things don't go the way we want). Review of compiled acronyms, to be typed up & distributed this week so that we can revisit the issue & come up with an acceptable class name.
-Compilation of suggestions for prizes (and prices) to be purchased with GalactiCash, which the students are earning beginning this week through their assigned classroom jobs.
-OutEd: Predator & Prey, exploring some new distraction & diversion techniques. Zombie Tag, looking at the need for alternative & flexible solutions when facing given challenges, focusing on the importance of non-verbal communication and collaborative strategies in tackling a complex problem one step at a time.
-Math: Review 5ATBp27, hunting down procedural & logical errors and reinforcing the importance of eliminating careless mistakes. Review of relevant terms & concepts covered in Unit 1, and making a plan for our Unit 1 assessment tomorrow. XLA: 5ATBp28 (due Friday); review any necessary concepts & skills to prepare for tomorrow's assessment.
-PBL: Quick overview of Wiki Rabbit Hole assignment. Discussion of the importance of following up with me if there is a misunderstanding or unforeseen circumstance regarding completion of assignments as given. XLA: If not already done properly, complete Wiki Rabbit Hole assignment for tomorrow.
Monday, October 19th
-Monday Morning Assembly: Anti-bullying program
-Circle: Stone-Tree-Bear sequence. Introduce first round of "Propose-a-Pose" and practice stance on alternate legs. Discussion of physical & mental balance, center of gravity, and the importance of falling (it gives us an opportunity to get back up & try again).
-Math: Review of prime factorization. Factor trees vs. repeated division (preferred method). Multiplying & dividing by 10, 100, 1000, etc. Strategies for multiplying & dividing using mental math (e.g., expanded form). Discussion of place value & what is actually happening as we combine or cancel zeros through the mathematical process. Brief discussion on the nature of the equal sign (as a two-way street) and why we're used to formatting equations to be read left to right (convention based on cultural preference due to English being read left to right). Overview of new & improved pacing of math lessons & expectations related to classwork & extended learning work loads. XLA: 5ATBp27[1-7] due Tuesday; 5ATBpp27-28[all] due Friday.
-Outdoor Ed: Predator & Prey. Discussion of strategies learned & employed of the past week, including distraction/misdirection, pouncing, and pack hunting. Quick round of zombie tag with discussion of rules, strategies, frustrations & solutions. Discussion of relationship between balance and muscle mass, emphasizing the importance of practice for improvement.
-Applied Math: Figure drawing. Discussion of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and the understanding of anatomical proportionality represented by the image. Tangent on the meaning on the term "canon" (or "canonical") in reference to a body of information (with two Star Wars references in 5 minutes!). Walk-through of different approaches to human figure drawing, with geometric figures and with stick figures, both in terms of maintained scale & proportion. Conversation about body shapes and the concept of the "ideal" or "average" human body as a function of social/cultural ideals that change over time; brief look at the technical differences between drawing "average," "ideal," and "heroic" figures. Class practice of figure drawing using learned techniques, beginning to embellish drawings & finding balance between technical skill/accuracy and personal style. XLA: Continue figure drawing practice, 4-5x. Optional: Draw your Elemental character with correct proportions. Bonus: Using a length of string or tape measure, test out the presented idea that height = span between fingers on outstretched arms.
Friday, October 9th
-Instrumental Music. Student work time, compiling questions for Elements unit & presenting proposals for pseudonyms/character names for public presentations.
-Applied Math: Review aesthetic principles for graphic presentation of data. Introduce double bar graph, discussing differences between a graph demonstrating full names vs one showing both first and last names. Review of scale and the importance of accurate and appropriate formatting. Development of double bar graph, inclusion of all relevant components (graph key introduced). XLA: complete double bar graph for both first names and last names.
-Outdoor Ed: Continued variants of Zombie Tag. Lessons learned this week include: don't assume that things are going to go the way you plan, be flexible in your thinking in order to deal with unexpected challenges, and never trust Mr. Gluck (these kids are quick- only took them 3 weeks to figure that one out!).
-Choice: Complete work from the week, board games, paper craft. XLA: Make sure that you're filling out the Reading Log every day. Have parents fill out & return start-of-year packets (as necessary).
Thursday, October 8th
-Game Theory & Design Class. Intro: name, favorite game, game at which you think you're unbeatable. Intro to Tic-Tac-Toe, brief historical overview & mathematical formula for possible board combinations (9! minus games that end before filling the board). Discussion of a "zero-sum game" (where a game played correctly by both sides will always end in a draw; watch the movie "War Games") and what it means for a game to be "solved." Practice rounds with partners, 5 minutes. Watch brief video on strategy, then partner practice of skills. Intro variations, including 3D T/T/T and Gomoku. Partner play gomoku with graph paper & pencil.
-Circle: Fine-tune tree pose, discussion of the function of roots & how we visualize our own rooting to the ground in order to enhance our physical & mental focus in any environment.
-Applied Math: Review of completed bar graphs, feedback on finer points of detail & aesthetic value. Taking combined data and representing on the bar graph, how do we need to adjust the scale of the Y axis? Using 2:1 ratio, how will this effect the overall structure of the graph? XLA: complete bar graph illustrating letter frequency in student full names.
-Outdoor Ed: Zombie Tag variants, selection from circle with eyes closed. Discussion of weighted games, changes in plans, and how we deal with setbacks and unexpected challenges.
-ELA: Continuing through "The Raven," emphasizing summary/paraphrasing skills & vocabulary acquisition.
-PBL: The Elements! Ongoing discussion of initial observations of the Periodic Table. Developing context for our investigations into the building blocks of the universe, focusing on elements of scale in terms of both time & size.
Wednesday, October 7th
-Circle: rehearse breathing posture & focus. Practice transitions from stone to tree and back to stone. How to choose a focus for your eyes to avoid distractions in your environment. Emphasis on the sounds that our bodies make as they move through transitions (e.g., feet scraping on the carpet), being aware of the sounds and working to minimize them.
-Performance Arts/Instrumental Music
-Applied Math: finish data aggregation on letter frequency in names. Calculating & comparing values for total counts, discussing the importance of double (and often triple) checking our data to ensure that all follow-up analysis is accurate. Spent 20 minutes chasing down a calculation error, discussing the importance of not just identifying an error but being able to identify and describe the nature of the error and then taking steps to fix it. Connecting data table to visual representation as a graph, beginning to create a bar graph to illustrate the frequency of letters in students' first names. XLA: create two bar graphs, one for first names and one for last names.
-Distribution of new Language Notebooks, formatting the back section as a Word Bank (similar to yesterday's glossary setup). Rereading "The Raven" up to our previous stop point and continuing to collect & define unfamiliar vocabulary in our new notebook. Using the dictionary to guide us in formatting our own vocabulary study.
-PBL: Discussion of our upcoming development of pseudonyms and avatars to use in our presentation/communication endeavors, likely to be based on the subject matter being studied. Overview of the importance of not including any identifiable personal information, touching on our larger ongoing conversation on responsible & safe internet usage. XLA: Read "Does Gold Come From Space?" and highlight unfamiliar vocabulary. Choose three highlighted words and define in the glossary of the Science Notebook.
Tuesday, October 6th
-Circle: rehearse breathing posture & focus. Practice transitions from stone to tree and back to stone.
-Applied Math: Review of collected data on letter frequency of last names. Discussion on the importance of double-checking our data for accuracy to ensure consistency in all future analysis.
-Singapore Math: Review of Place Value, Approximation, and Estimation. Whole-class review of practice exercises. Introduction of the red pen as a learning tool, discussion of conventions & symbols that we will use in reviewing & editing our work, including the use of the star and asterisk. XLA: 5AWBpp7-11.
-Distribution of records binders & portfolios, brief discussion of near-future usage. Conversation regarding possible peer mediation/playground buddy program for our class to help out during the primary lunch recess.
-Distribution of new Science Notebooks; formatting the back section to serve as a glossary for our projects.
-Introduction of the Periodic Table and essential concepts & vocabulary: elements (relationship to "elemental" and "elementary"), atoms, protons/neutrons/electrons, matter, mass, space, forces, scale, atomic number & weight. Establishing student understanding of essential concepts, beginning to formulate questions. Discussion on the importance of asking questions over making statements, working towards flexibility of thinking and the ability to postulate without certainty or value judgements. Briefly looking at naming conventions and the relationship between the symbols used and the physical properties of the elements (e.g., gold's symbol, Au, comes from the Latin "aurum;" often translated as "shining dawn," this establishes a connection between humanity's relationship with gold and importance of the sun to human culture). Establishing that atoms are mostly empty space, and sharing ideas about how that effects the interaction of matter. Finishing the day with two short music videos: They Might Be Giants' "Meet the Elements" and Tom Leher's "The Elements." XLA: In our new Science Notebook, write down at least 3 questions that you want to explore in our study of the elements.
-XLA: Bring in library card or completed card application.
Monday, October 5th
-Stone circle, rehearse breathing posture & focus. Introduction of "tree" position, our standing breathing pose. Arms relaxed at your sides, fingers pointing at the ground just outside feet, toes pointing straight forward. Maintaining straight back, level shoulders, and belly breathing. Working toward pose transitions and employing breathing techniques in situations outside the circle.
-Review letter frequency table exercises. Discussion on the importance of everyone completing their assignments as given & on time so that we can move forward as a class. Distribution of rulers & discussion of expectations regarding precision in our work. Discussion of the importance of consistent formatting in our creation of tables & general representation of data in order to facilitate effective communication. Formatting a table for collecting & combining the letter frequency data for both first & last names, including totals and all necessary labels. XLA: Complete table with all relevant data.
-Math XLA: 5AWBpp5-6
-Handwriting samples in print and cursive; discussion of why we use "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
-Review of illuminated letter anagrams. XLA: using the letters of your full name (first name, any middle names, and last name) create as many anagram words & phrases as possible.
-Overview PBL/Science unit on elements & molecular structure. Class conversation on podcasts as a medium for communicating our learning, sharing ideas for creating podcasts in the context of this unit & beyond. Focus on the properties of a successful podcast, being both information & entertaining, and including aspects of conversation & banter that add depth & warmth to the presentation.
-Distribution & labeling of student dictionaries & thesauri. Distribution of new Science Notebooks, beginning the formatting process by setting up the back section of the book as a glossary into which we will begin entering vocabulary tomorrow.
Friday, October 2nd
-Instrumental Music morning, students out in shifts. Discussion of options for future use of this rolling work time.
-Data collection & description exercise, creating a table to track the frequency of letters across all first names in the class. XLA: repeat this exercise with all student last names. Collection & review of data, with discussion of the importance of uncorrupted data samples (i.e., doing our own work so that we have as many unique sample sets as possible). Overview of how we structure data tables, determining placement & labeling of rows & columns.
-Letter frequency extension: counting first name letters on designed name plates, differentiating between uppercase and lowercase, working towards building a complete visual alphabet. XLA (optional): create letter designs for capital Q, V, and W to complete the alphabet of available letters.
-Illuminated letters extension, XLA: listing out all of the letters created, make as many anagrams as possible using the available letters. Moving beyond three- and four-letter words, looking for more complex words & phrases.
-Independent work time on IAM(B) poems (with teacher conferences) followed by choice time.
-5th grade potluck and meet & greet, board games & art.
Thursday, October 1st
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Conversation on semiotics and our expanding understanding of the nature of symbols. Names, colors, sounds, and body language are all forms of communication that follow context-specific patterns. Discussion of the modern Gregorian calendar and the iterations that preceded it (the Roman Calendar, then the Julian Calendar), focusing on how the names of the months originated and were changed over time.
-Independent work time on IAM(B) poems and illuminated letters, with ongoing conferences.
-Library: Banned Book Week
Wednesday, September 30th
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Class lines up by height, listing out order. Math challenge: create an arrangement of student boxes (for our new 5x5 student storage unit) that puts the ten tallest students in the top two rows while maintaining sequential numerical order. Review solutions, discussion of how this is a spatial/geometry design challenge, and that not all math problems involve straight computation.
-PCP: Tech, Instrumental Music
-Independent work on IAM(B) poems with student/teacher conferences. Thinking about how we need to be creative with our word choices and understanding that editing your creative work takes a certain kind of courage that we'll be developing.
-Introduction & application of gold detail on illuminated letters, including learning techniques for application of gold leaf.
Tuesday, September 29th
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Focus on posture & independent focus, not letting environmental distractions interrupt our breathing.
-Scansion review: with partners, diagramming the syllabification and stress patterns of our names. Building understanding that you cannot force meter or stress patterns on word & sentences. Instead, we have to use (and expand!) our vocabulary to find the words to fit the desired meter while maintaining the intended meaning.
-Student work time on IAM(B) poems with one-on-one feedback conferences.
-Math: Continued discussion of place value, rounding & estimation, and number-specific prefixes. Brief introduction of the relationship between these prefixes and the current names of calendar months. XLA (optional/challenge): research the prefix "dec," determining when & how it is used with the hard c vs the soft c.
-Work time on illuminated letters & IAM(B) poems.
Monday, September 28th
-Monday morning assembly. Review of expectations for walking in the school hallways.
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Focus on stone position sitting up on the knees, focusing on maintaining proper posture & breathing rhythms.
-Review of key concepts in our study of cadence & scansion, focus on "foot" as a discreet unit of a specific pattern of stressed or unstressed syllables. Review of trochee (stress-unstress) and iamb (unstress-stress). Connection to "I am" statements made in response to the questions posed on the first day of school, specifically "who are you?" Discussion of the differences & similarities between the questions (and answers to) "who are you?" and "what are you?"
-Introduction to "I AM/IAMB" poems that we'll be working on this week. Beginning with an outline of 10 basic statements (I am _______) and then developing 10 detailed sentences providing context & background, we will then rework the language of our sentences to conform to iambic meter. 30 minutes of independent work time with conferences for F&P vocabulary assessment. XLA: continue working on "I am" statements & thinking in terms of cadence.
-Math: Students receive & label new math notebooks. Discussion of expectations regarding use & care of notebooks. Review of place value up to & beyond billions, focusing on the structure & groupings of place values. Ones, Tens, Hundreds repeating through Thousands, Millions, Billions, etc. as an example of pattern recognition and description; we use commas (a symbol!) to "label" numbers, marking the repetitions of the O/T/H pattern. Review of how we write out numbers using words, focusing on when & where you need to hyphenate numbers (twenty-one through ninety-nine, excepting the multiples of 10).
XLA: 5ATBpp15-16; look up prefixes for -illions beyond 5.
-Walk-through with planners; discussion of expectations & conventions related to how we fill out our planners each day.
-Class viewing of illuminated letter nameplates completed thus far, with design feedback & clarification of expectations for future projects requiring multiple drafts.
Friday, September 25th
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Focus on posture, attempt at synchronous breathing.
-Continued discussion of "The Raven" and challenge vocabulary. Review & discussion of semiotics and how the study of symbols & their meaning will underlie much of what we do this year in terms of pattern recognition and pattern descriptions. Introduction & discussion of notation in relation to prior discussions on convention, i.e., as the term that we use to describe the particular system & character of symbols that we use in a particular context to communicate mutual understanding. For example, "slash & x," "slash & breve," and "macron & breve" are all styles of notation used in scansion, the process of identifying & describing the metrical character of a line of verse.
-Illuminated letters: expectations & timelines for completion of release draft of letters (to be scanned, shrunk, and printed) and watercolor/gold leaf production piece.
-Visit from Dr. Mike and two members of NASA's Space Launch System [SLS] team. Short video on Discovery's final voyage, followed by discussion of relative distances between the Earth and the Sun, the Moon, and the International Space Station.
-Independent work time on illuminated letter drafts & production pieces. One on one conferences for F&P vocabulary assessment.
-Choice time with board games.
Thursday, September 24th
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Working on simultaneously focusing on our own breathing & listening to the other members of the circle, moving towards synchronous breathing.
-Continued discussion of "The Raven" and challenge vocabulary. Review of scansion, introduction of "macron & breve" notation which will help us when we begin learning diacritical marks for phonetic spelling.
-PCP: Performance Arts
-Return to yesterday afternoon's conversation around the question "what does gold have to do with STEM?" We have an astronaut visiting us today! Class read-through of article "Why does NASA use so much gold foil?" Selection of unfamiliar vocabulary to be investigated once we get into our first big science unit on the properties of matter.
-All-school assembly with Dr. Michael Barratt, who flew on the final Discovery mission. Followed by Q&A session with both 5th grade classes, focusing on the effects of living in microgravity on the human body.
-Student work time on illuminated letters with individual & small-group feedback conferences.
-Library: Internet safety & usage.
Wednesday, September 23rd
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Sitting position is now known as "stone" and our class circle is now "stone circle." Thinking like a stone: there could be a hurricane, a dragon, or any other disruptive element in the classroom, but when you're in stone position, you wouldn't notice. All noises and other distractions flow over us, and we are only concerned with ourselves & our own experience in our focused breathing. Emphasis on posture, like there is a chain & hook in the top of your head lifting you up straight. It should not be a comfortable position, but one where you very much have to attend to the muscle groups (lower back, core, shoulders) that are holding you upright.
-Finishing up Wants & Needs exercise, recording all answers on index cards & handing in.
-Math assessment, continued. 45 minutes of student work time, followed by independent work on illuminated letters.
-Independent work on letters, feedback conversations with Mr. Gluck. Beginning to take 2nd or 3rd drafts and working on outline details & coloration.
XLA: continue to work on letters, planning for which letter will be used for the crayon resist/gold leaf production piece.
Take-home: Communication Update, 5th Grade Potluck invite (fill out & send back), Parent Night invite, Washington State Fair student ticket.
Tuesday, September 22nd
-Instrumental music; choice time. PCP: Tech.
-Discussion of experiences with last night's math assignment, as many students expressed frustration with the length of time spent. Assignments given in the first week or so of school are often intended to gather information on the various capacities of students, including stamina. Clarification of expectations regarding time & effort spent on extended learning assignments: I would much rather have a student stop when they reach their frustration threshold than try to force through it for the sake of finishing the assignments, resulting in drama at home & building resentment towards extended learning opportunities. It will take a little while for us to find the proper balance of time & work, and in the meantime the most important thing is being open & honest about the experiences that we're having so that we can develop a rhythm & set of expectations that work for everyone.
-Math assessment, Singapore Math Standards Edition 4A. 45 minutes work time, to be continued tomorrow.
-Continuation of discussion of cadence through study of "The Raven." Introduction of scansion, the act (and study) of determining & representing the metrical character of poetic verse (as opposed to prose, the term that covers pretty much everything that isn't verse). Review of meaning of convention as it applies to our study of semiotics, specifically in how we recognize and describe patterns. Introduction of breve ("short") as used in "slash & breve" notation, replacing "slash & x" notation learned yesterday. XLA: Mark out metrical character of stanzas 3-4 using "slash & breve" notation.
-Tangent conversation: gender assumptions & designations. Do we assume that the narrator of "The Raven" is male? Why? Citing evidence from the text to support (or refute) claims. Discussion about the importance of being comfortable, as a classroom community, talking about issues of gender identity, sexual orientation, and race as they apply to our comprehension, interpretation, and communication of characters & themes in both literature & historical study.
-Distribution of planners!! Brief overview of usage, recording XLA assignments for today.
-Presentation & constructive feedback discussion of ongoing work on illuminated letters. Thinking about audience, the viewer of the images, and working to ensure that the intended meaning is accurately & adequately conveyed through our work. Independent work time, followed by a brief discussion regarding expectations for work involving multiple drafts. No drafts are ever thrown away! We keep everything so that we can look back and learn from our progress, not being afraid to get a blank sheet and start all over again. As long as each successive draft demonstrates progress, the process is worthwhile. XLA: begin/continue second drafts of each letter, thinking about which letter will be used for the illuminated (gold leaf/paint).
Monday, September 21st
-Monday morning assembly. All-school review of assembly & cafeteria expectations, silver spoon & fork.
-Class circle, breathing exercises. Focus on the position & functions of the lungs and the diaphragm. Levels of breathing: shallow (short & quick, when you're excited or exercising), mid (normal, relaxed breathing), and deep (down to the bottom of the lungs, not a natural breath). We are aiming for deep breathing during our focus exercises, also called "belly breathing" because the belly moves in and out instead of the chest & shoulders moving up & out. Proper posture is needed to allow for air to flow down to the bottom of our lungs.
-Discussion of daily schedule, with a preview of how we will look to structure our days. This will be an ongoing process. The average school day will include a math block in the morning, a language arts block after lunch, and a project block in the later afternoon. We will finish up most days with 15 minutes of reflection writing in our journals, building our personal narrative skills.
-PCP: Performance Arts
-PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention System) school tour. Visit the cafeteria, the playground, and the office to meet with Mr. Ostrom and Ms. Noble to learn about expectations for student behavior in each of these areas; this was followed by a brief overview & conversation about the information communicated. Tangent conversation about availability of information and the line between using an unplanned/unintended advantage and cheating (e.g., if a teacher asks a question [or gives a test question] and the answer is available somewhere in the room, don't point it out, as it might result in your classmates losing the ability to take advantage of the same opportunity). Discussion of my intention to make most assessments "open book," as synthesis and communication of learned concepts is far more important than memorization & regurgitation.
-Continued study of "The Raven," discussion of unfamiliar vocabulary in stanzas 5-7. Practice summarizing & paraphrasing the plot of the poem, with a focus on the frequency of mood-building imagery & language. Discussion of how we can graphically (visually) represent the stressed & unstressed syllables in the verse, and how we use various systems (conventions) to communicate our recognition & description of patterns in the verse. Introduction of "slash & x" notation. Introduction of trochee (stress-unstress pattern) and iamb (unstress-stress pattern), with a brief mention of trochaic as the adjective designation of a syllable that follows the trochee pattern; introduction of "meter" as the description of the cadence, modified by the prefix appropriate to the number of feet in a line (e.g., tetrameter describing a line of verse containing four feet; a line consisting of four trochees, as in "The Raven" is described as trochaic terameter). XLA: Mark out metrical character of stanzas 1-2 using "slash & x" notation.
-Presentation & constructive feedback discussion of ongoing work on illuminated letters. Thinking about structure, making sure that the letter at the center of each illustration is the most prominent visual feature. Sharing of artistic techniques & challenges being experienced, with discussion of strategies to enhance & improve our work. XLA: continue work on first drafts.
Friday, September 18th
-Class circle, breathing exercises (focus on attention to one's own experience).
-Introduction to Instrumental Music with Mr. Cheever. PCP: PE
-Review understanding of cadence as expressed in "The Raven," listening to "Mr. Raven" by MC Lars. Class read-through of first four stanzas of the poem, with focused discussion of unfamiliar vocabulary and related context clues. XLA: Continue defining unfamiliar words, three more for a total of six due on Monday (if six or more were already done, no need to go further unless desired).
-Introduction to semiotics, the use of symbols to convey meaning. Review (and establishing context for) basic mathematical vocabulary: symbol, numeral, number, digit, place. Discussion of convention and the many different ways in which we can represent a single concept (in this example, the way in which we graphically & verbally communicate the concept of the quantity named in English as "seven").
-Recess: Zombie Tag! Collaborative tag game introduction & test round, with follow-up discussion of strategies & challenges.
-Review of answers to yesterday's questions, focusing on what we want & what we need for the year.
-Introduction to illuminated manuscripts & lettering, with an overview of the historical context & progression of bookmaking. Discussion of books in Middle Ages Europe as status symbols due to both value & class-based literacy rates. Student-led  lesson on creative letter & number design (connected to earlier discussion of semiotics & convention), drawing & presenting examples (e.g., Google doodles). Begin working on first draft of letters to make name plates, one letter per sheet of paper (images will be scanned, reduced, and combined for final images).
Thursday, September 17th
-Questions of the day: Who are you? Start with a name tag. How will you shape your world? Start with this classroom.
-Class circle, introduction to breathing exercises (focus on posture & positioning). Introductions, general class guidelines & plans for the year.
-PCP: Tech, followed by First Day assembly.
-Essential questions for the year: Who are you? What are you? Where are you? What do you want to learn & do this year? What do you want for our classroom? What do you need to learn & do this year? What do you need for our classroom? Independent work time answering questions in journals, 20 minutes. Discussion of want vs. need, and that our classroom environment is a clean slate for us to build & change as we see fit. Developing understanding that these questions will drive our self-reflective practice for the entire year. Extended Learning Assignment [XLA]: continue work on questions, coming up with at least 5 items/sentences for each.
-Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." Read-through accompanied by a dramatic reading by Sir Christopher Lee, highlighting unfamiliar words. Discussion of historical context (1845) of poem & language used, brief look at some defining events in Poe's life. Discussion of pattern recognition through poetry, beginning by looking at rhyming structure. Introduction of cadence, finding the rhythm of the poem and reading it accordingly, likened to a marching beat. XLA: Read through again & complete highlighting. Choose 3 highlighted words, research & write definitions.
-First session at the STEM Library with Ms. Bannister. Review of library expectations & procedures, checking out books.
As a class, we will:
take responsibility for our words,
our actions, and our learning;
be respectful towards all members
of our learning community;
model appropriate behavior
in all environments;
listen to the teacher, and
follow directions the first time;
assert our right to be heard
and respected by others;
include others & help others,
but ask first;
respect others’ personal boundaries;
be respectful towards our environment, and
leave every place cleaner than how we found it;
be respectful towards learning materials
and personal property;
use our words to solve little problems, and
ask an adult to help solve big problems;
maintain these expectations in every area
of the school and of our lives; and