Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Lion's Den Debuts at December Arts Show

Liliano and Kiareliz greeted our December Art Show guests with programs and the new edition of The Lion's Den. Over 100 students from K-8 are showcased through their writing and visual arts products in this edition of The Den. 
Get your copy today for only $3.00 in the Library at Orchard Gardens.

The Giving Tree Keeps on Giving

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Every December I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to every library class including electives and we create a new giving tree. All students and staff are encouraged to write a message of loving, caring, giving or sharing to someone special in their life. Someone who is like a tree in that they stand tall for them whether they are perfect or may sometimes make a bad choice... this person is a person that loves you without conditions and loves you as much on a Monday as any other day of the week. The messages stay on the tree until June as a reminder of the people that matter in our lives and are always there for us. You could hear a pin drop when I read it to my 7th and 8th graders this year. For some of them it will be the last time I read the story to them - the first was when they were in Kindergarten!

Leaves from old maps
Shel Tree
In addition to reading the book, we watch the original movie narrated by Shel Silverstein and a short adaptation of the original. Each year we share something special about the people that love us unconditionally and represent our "tree." We also compare the different media for storytelling and our own different understandings of the story as we grow older. The December 2016 Tree is made with leaves from damaged book pages.

Previous trees include theDecember 2015 tree made from old maps, the December 2014 tree dedicated to Shel Silverstein on the 50th Anniversary of The Giving Tree done in the illustration style of Silverstein; our multi-colored leave tree from December 2013 dedicated to Nelson Mandela and a traditional green tree from December 2012.
Mandela Tree
Green Leaves

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Lion's Den available at December Arts Show

My 7th/8th grade Yearbook Elective students are working on putting together the new edition of The Lion's Den, Orchard Gardens Journal of Literary and Visual Arts. The Lion's Den captures a snapshot of the work being done in our school, K-8, over the first 4 months of school. Writing and art work is submitted by students and staff and then juried and curated by the elective team. Staff may also submit work.  Over 100 students are represented in every edition of the journal .

Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, 2016

Media Elective students participated in the Hour of Code a global movement to introduce and excite students about the basics of coding and computer science. ALL of the media students learned to animate their names in a programming language called "Scratch." More than half of the class also entered the citywide contest with their animations. Watch the video below for more information and try this link to build your own skills. I'm really proud of the perseverance that my students showed to learn and figure out different elements of programming their unique expression of their name. I hope we have some citywide winners, but even if we don't, all of my students have won by participating in this event!

All About "Me"dia Posters on Display

Students in the 7-8th Grade Media Elective created a poster collage that represents who they are and what is important to them. Using a variety of words that describe them cut from old magazines, a computer-generated word cloud that the student created, a picture of a person that influences them and a creative pose or two students put together a product that reveals what makes them special. Students can use their posters as they write their high school applications. 

Standards addressed are many - but here's a couple!
Information, Media & Technology Literacy Standard
Students will draw on a variety of sources, (in this case a variety of magazines, a word cloud, a picture of a person of influence, and word stickers), to generate, evaluate, and select items (words) to turn into personally meaningful products.

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Curious About Curiosity!

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Buy SPACE SAND here!
My first graders wondered what it would be like to really live on Mars after reading the First Graders From Mars series by Shana Corey. We continued our discussion of the Solar System and watched the simulated landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. We then read the nonfiction text Mission to Mars and learned that Neil Armstrong who wrote the foreward for Mission to Mars was the first person to walk on the MOON! In Mission to Mars we learned what living on Mars might be like and we ended the unit with an experiment with space sand. Ask your child if they plan to to travel to Mars someday!

It All Makes Sense!

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Ms. Gray's students have been studying parts of the body and making connections with the five senses through picture books with me. Some of the books we've read over the last eight weeks are pictured or listed below. 

Other featured books in this unit include;
I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
The Ear Book (Dr. Seuss Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners) - Hardcover - First Edition, 44th Printing 2008 by Al Perkins
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Books) by Perkins, Al (unknown Edition) [Hardcover(1969)] by Al Perkins