Week of 9/5/16
I will be teaching once a week in each fifth grade classroom this year. My focus will be on whole class Socratic Circle discussions! This week, I'm coming into each classroom and introducing the structure, purpose and process (along with help from the students who were in these discussions with me last year).
Week of 9/15/16
All students in both Ms. McMahon's room as well as Mrs. Nakashima's room participated in their first whole group Socratic Circle discussion. They were great to watch and listen to - thoughtful, interesting, funny, fantastic! I will facilitate one in Ms. Kull's room next Friday.
Week of 9/19/16
Ms. Kull's group will have their first Socratic Circle discussion tomorrow while the other two classrooms are in their discussions. It's been so fun to watch and the students are really enjoying driving their own meaningful discussions about their texts.
Week of 9/26/16
The Socratic Circles are going beautifully! Students are really digging into their class book, Hero, to talk about theme, inference and more. I'm so impressed with the quality and depth of the conversations in each room!
Week of 10/3/16
GT/HGT students were pulled out by classroom for their monthly Social Emotional group. Each group talked about what they would like their group to be about - how each will look/sound, group interests, formats, etc.
Week of 10/10/16
Socratic Circles were back up and running this week in fifth grade classrooms! Fifth grade finished their class read aloud (HERO by Mike Lupica) and wrapped up their experiences with fabulous discussions around lies and the truth. These discussions have been remarkable - thoughtful, reflective, interesting, intense and full of insight, inference and opinion (with text evidence, of course).
Week of 10/17/16
Groups will resume next week after the fifth graders are home from Balarat!
Week of 10/24/16
Groups have been revamped and will resume the week of November 7th. Please see my schedule for updates.
Week of 11/7/16
Support for fifth grade now is the following:
Tuesday mornings - Genius Hour room rotation and Math Olympiad
Thursday mornings - Socratic Circles/Social Emotional Discussion rotation (pull out)
This week, we had a group discussion around school and learning - what are they enjoying, what "lights their fire" and excites them, what are they struggling with...lots of shared opinions and ideas with a bit of brainstorming and problem solving. Next week, we will use this discussion to support a focus around resiliency.
Week of 11/14/16
This week, students were in various small groups playing communication related games - Anaxi, Disruptus, Flux and Word Play. Our focus was on collaboration and ways to communicate - our needs, our thoughts, our frustrations....it was lively but it was productive. We will be switching to Socratic Circle reading discussions when we return from Thanksgiving break.
Week of 11/28/16
We rotated to our Socratic Circle reading discussion group this week. My goal for this group is to increase their listening and discussion abilities through the use of various text (newspaper/magazine articles, blog posts etc). The group read an article from Time for Kids on the Presidential Election. It was a lively one...
Week of 12/5/16
Fifth grade did not meet this week due to the district spelling bee. Next week's schedule will be affected due to Family Life. Updates to come...
Week of 12/12/16
No fifth grade groups this week due to Family Life. Since our meeting day is typically on Thursdays, we will resume our Socratic Circles/social emotional discussion group in January. Happy Holidays!
Week of 1/9/17
We launched our first fifth grade social emotional discussion group of the year with a team activity called Disruptus! Students worked in teams of 7 or 8 to "think outside the box" using objects and ideas as a jumping off point. As an example, students were given a picture of a vending machine and a motorcycle and they had to come up with a new object using parts of both of those things.....we had vending machines with motorized arms to throw the items out, wheel mechanisms to make them more efficient....so much fun!
Week of 1/17/17
Students continued in their small group collaboration this week using Disruptus with less involvement/scaffolding from me. They needed to brainstorm, work together, listen and reflect and had lots of wonderful ideas. They were reinventing objects like a combination of a high heeled shoe and a train station...so inventive and creative. One of the groups even planned a mini skit in order to express their ideas with the rest of the group. WOAH!
Week of 1/24/17
Fifth grade did not meet this week due to the DPS spelling bee.
Week of 1/30/17
Students discussed an article about helium balloons - "Should Helium Balloons Be Banned?" - in the Socratic Circle format. Questions were interesting and thoughtful and the discussion went well. Next week, we switch back to our social emotional discussion group.
Week of 2/6/17
This week's group focused around resiliency. We had a nice group discussion around what being resilient means, what it means to EACH of them and how to be more resilient in tough situations. I heard a lot of ownership and self-reflection, which is ALWAYS a good thing!
Week of 2/13/17
Students did not meet this week due to the DPS Written Spelling Contest. We will have a Socratic Circle discussion on another debatable topic next week!
Week of 2/21/17
Students worked in small groups on a project around detective work. They had to use reading, deductive and inferential thinking as well as logic to work through a series of clues and charts to determine the solution to the mystery. I was excited and impressed by their engagement as well as their collaboration with each other. They really enjoyed being able to figure out the pieces to the mystery by working together and talking about the "what ifs" - to be continued next week!
Week of 3/6/17
Students did not meet this week due to Shakespeare tryouts and will not be meeting next week due to Imaginarium related work within the classrooms as well as the band field trip.
Week of 3/20/17
Students finished up their detective work in small groups this week. Schedules will be adjusting in April based on PARCC testing - more information to follow.
Week of 4/4/17
Students went over their detective projects this week - lots of discussion, supporting opinions and reflection. There will be NO GT groups the remainder of the month of April due to PARCC/CMAS testing in 5th grade.
Week of 4/24/17
Fifth graders are finished with PARCC and CMAS testing for the school year. The social emotional discussion group will continue the remainder of the school year with a focus on transition, relationships and self-advocacy.
Week of 5/1/17
A small group of the fifth graders had a great discussion around middle school, transition and motivation. We watched a short video about a man and how he chose to use college as a "fresh start" - with bumps like poor grades and lack of focus along the way. He talked about how he ended up at Harvard due to his mindset shift - it was very powerful for all!
Week of 5/8/17
We met this week and had a nice discussion around transitioning to middle school through the lens of the following quotes-
"Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else's path unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that." - Ellen Degeneres
"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once, but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own." - Michelle Obama
Week of 5/15/17
Students played small group games this week - low key and fun!