Monday, May 15, 2017

Literacy Update

Narrative writing is the name of the game in Literacy this block. All grades are working on refining their storytelling craft through writing, games, and activities that promote proper narrative writing. All grades are learning the basics of narrative writing correlated with their grade level. 1st and 2nd grade are learning how to tell a story that stays on topic, while 3rd - 6th grade are practicing the elements of plot and learning how to use them to produce narrative stories. Choice is a big part of the curriculum this block; with the exception of 1st and 2nd grade, who are focusing on dinosaurs, the kids have the opportunity to write about whatever they like as long as it is school appropriate narrative writing.

Each grade has a lens through which they are studying narrative writing:

1st/2nd - Dinosaurs
3rd - Narration
4th - Setting Development
5th - Character Development
6th - Conflict Development

Planning conflict and resolution

Learning the elements of plot

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Who wants to Dissect Owl Pellets??? 

   Students in the previous block had the opportunity to dissect and analyze the contents of owl pellets. A pellet is fur and bones that are regurgitated by owls.  Owls cannot digest the bones and fur of their prey so they are spit back up in a pellet.  Other birds of prey spit out pellets, including hawks. However, hawks can digest the bones so hawk pellets are fur only.
   The students bleached the bones they found and then had the opportunity to count the number and variety of animals in the pellets.  Several students found multiple complete skulls.  One student even found a bird's beak.
  Despite many students feeling this project was "gross,"  by the end of the exploration the class was fascinated and said they learned a lot of new information about birds, especially owls.








Monday, May 8, 2017

Science Lab Updates

Hello Franklin Discovery Families!

Well, we have had a very busy 2017 so far.  As you know our Science Fair was April 19th.  I want to thank the FSO and all the families that helped with materials and supplies for the fair.  This event could not have been without your support.  
The kids had a wonderful time and the fair was a great success.  You should be so proud of your children!  We are looking forward to the 2017-2018 Science and STEM Fair in the Fall.





This block we are working on a variety of skills. First, since we finally have some consistently nice weather, the first and second grade classes have begun constructing our outdoor planters.  I know many of you have expressed interest in our school garden.  There is a lot of work ahead of us in this space.  Please be on the lookout for a meeting announcement regarding prepping our garden space this summer.

Third grade classes have been focusing on Earth and the Sun, as well as Forces and Motion using the Lego League materials.  These students have been constructing simple machines and examining how the machines move and make work easier.

Fourth graders have been busy learning about weather and the water cycle, as well as Utah plants and animals.  The Weather Class has successfully completed Water Cycles in a Bag, while the Utah class have made imprint fossils.

The two Fifth grade classes have been working on coding using the Scratch program from MIT. They are currently working on creating their own "code" while practicing giving explicit directions. The Electricity and Magnetism class has been exploring how magnets work.

Finally, the sixth graders are exploring extremely small objects and organisms with our new microscopes.  They have successfully completed microscope training and are currently exploring slides with a variety of specimens. 

Thank you again for all of your support!  I look forward to seeing you all in the very near future!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Anne




We are excited to present Annie. We have three performances for Parents.
There is also an assembly for students on Wednesday. 



There are three shows for Annie
Performance #2 Thurs. 4/13 at 7 pm

Performance #3 Fri. 4/13 at 7 pm

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Social Studies Tuesdays and Thursdays

I apologize if it's been too long since my last post; life gets hectic, and sometimes I don't want to school after school hours.  Anyways, today I'll explain how my Tuesdays and Thursdays are going this term, and give a preview of what's to come.  Buckle up!  This post will probably end up taking a while!

My Tuesdays and Thursdays start with French, which we have combined with Mrs. Kenter's Spanish class.  Some of our kids are excelling at learning language.  Many of them have completed more than 20% of the language (as scored by Duo Lingo, which is our online language program) this term.  I only have 9 students, but they are mostly flying.  In fact, I recently gave the students who have completed 20% of the language the chance to learn other languages.  The kids are having fun, and I enjoy seeing them learn.

Next is my Mesopotamia and Egypt class, built for 1st grade students.  This class is a Core Knowledge curriculum class.  These kids are amazing!  They've learned four of the Mesopotamian kids (ask them!), and enjoyed learning about it.  We're now learning about Egypt.  The kids have learned a bit about Egyptian hieroglyphics, and will learn a bit more about Egyptian language this week.

My third class on Tuesdays and Thursdays is my India and China class.  This is also a Core Knowledge class.  The kids are have learned some Indian customs, including some about henna tattoos.  They're now learning about some Mandarin numbering, and should have 1-10 memorized (or rather yi through shi) memorized soon.

Group 5 (consisting of students from Grades 4, 5, and 6) follows, and this class is taught with Mrs. Kenter.  This is a class on early American culture, and the students are learning both documents related to the American revolution and how to create their own government.  It's turning out to be harder than they thought, and some of these students are being challenged for the first time.  That said, they're also rising to that challenge, and it's great to see.

After lunch, Mrs. Kenter and I combine to teach Group 6, which is composed of 5th and 6th grade students, and Group 3.1, which is composed of 3rd graders with some 2nd graders thrown in.  We had to create a unit based on both 3rd grade standards and 6th grade standards.  We feel like we did it!  Our project covers both ancient civilization (in the form of Egypt) and human geography.  Our project is a choose-your-own-adventure book that the kids are writing based in Egypt, and the kids seem incredibly interested and seem to be working hard on their books.

Finally, we end the day (as we end every day) with Shakespeare.  Mrs. Kenter wrote some about that yesterday.  I just think this class is amazing!  The students are translating MacBeth.  I've known college students that have had trouble with what these kids are doing with aplomb.  More to the point, the students invited our Director to class to see it, and he came and saw what has turned into the comedy of MacBeth.  The kids ROCKED it!  I couldn't be much happier.  One of our two groups is even creating a scene for the end of Act III.  What an amazing group of students we have at FDA!

That's where I am right now.  I hope this novel was worth the read!  Until next time!

John M. Adams, Social Studies.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Literacy

1st/2nd Grade Reader's Theatre:
Reader's Theatre has been a blast so far; we have been practicing our reading skills under the guise of fun stories and acting! Recently we've been practicing our prosody (reading with expression) using childhood favorites such as Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The kids have gotten great at adding inflection and feeling to their reading; a key component of reading fluency. We just started working on adding actions to the stories we are reading. We spent a day practicing with Mercer Mayer's There's a Nightmare in my Closet, using the text and picture clues to help us decide on actions that fit the story. Acting out a story helps support reading comprehension. This week we will continue practicing prosody and adding appropriate actions with the fable Rumpelstiltskin.

4th - 6th Grade Spanish:
The Spanish kids are soaring through lessons in their new language! With the help of DuoLingo, an online language learning platform, their peers, and teachers, kids are learning new vocabulary and language usage in each class. The requirement for the class is to complete 10% of the language, but most students are much further than that and the block is barely half over. To motivate kids, Ms. Kenter is learning Welsh and sometimes challenges them to see who can master the most lessons in a certain amount of time. The kids also have the option of starting a new language if they reach 20% completion of Spanish, encouraging them to push themselves in their current language and to grow a love of learning about different cultures and languages.

Group 3 Literacy/Social Sciences Pirates:
Our Pirates group is having a blast as they learn about pirates and writing in this class themed on adventures in the high seas. In Social Studies, First Mate Adams has been leading the crew in learning about real pirates, such as Blackbeard, and other real pirate history, such as how pirates create flags and how pirates hunt for treasure, as well as basic mapping skills. Captain Kenter has been taking charge of the crew in Literacy where they have been practicing their writing skills through pirate journaling. This week the pirates are starting their final writing project where they will plan, write, and publish an informational piece on a pirate-related topic.

Group 4 Literacy/Social Studies Utah:
In Literacy, our Utah group is working on service learning projects to help others while they learn about Utah history and geography in the Social Studies portion of the class. The service projects are being done in small groups of kids who all have interest in the same type of project, ranging from planting trees, to fundraisers for the school, to item drives for the community. The bulk of their work revolves around project proposals which they are writing to get support and permission to do their projects (actual projects will not be executed in this class). To write the proposals, kids learn the writing skills in literacy class and then work with their groups to apply the skills to their project. Teacher conferences and outlining scaffold the building of these important writing skills. Lately in the Social Studies section, kids have been learning about Utah Native Americans and Utah animals; this week the kids started to learn more about the history of Utah, including her role in the success of the Pony Express.

5th - 6th Grade Shakespeare
Our Shakespeare kids are continuing to work their way through Macbeth. We've transitioned from having them read/act out the play in Elizabethan English to having the kids work in groups to read the original play, translate it to Modern English, and then perform their translations. One group has even begun writing their own extra scene to bridge Act III to Act IV! The results have been amazing and highly entertaining! Through this work, the kids are flexing some major high level thinking muscles as they construct meaning from the classic play, and performance time fosters and grows speaking and listening skills. Mr. Adams and I are continually in awe of what these kids are capable of doing and also continually in stitches over the often comical interpretations of the play.