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.