Academically Talented Website

Below is the link to access the Academically Talented Development website.  For future reference, to access this page you can go to the district website and click on instruction on the menu bar located on the left.  Then you will need to click on Academically Talented.

Project Arrow Welcome

Welcome to our Project Arrow blog.  I look forward to sharing with you all of  the highlights that happen in our classroom. Please check back frequently as there will be many resources to assist your child in P.A. this year.

5PA Odes

This week students are beginning to write their own odes after a week of investigating this genre of poetry.  We used a process called immersion which allowed students to read several examples of odes. Students were then asked to identify what they noticed by studying the authors' work.  Here is a list of ideas we brainstormed as a class:

What is an Ode?

  • clearly written explanations of topics
  • poems which include stanzas
  • can be open to interpretation
  • written in story-like fashion
  • topics can be sentimental-have personal importance or value
  • written in first person
  • helps audience realize that the topic is a special thing
  • there is a grander meaning or purpose (not just an ordinary idea/topic)
  • it is a "shout out'-an appreciation of the topic
  • can be serious or humorous
  • includes figurative language-hyperbole, idioms, similes, metaphors, etc...
  • importance is based on author's perspective
  • shows or exposes results, impact or effect

Students will complete their poems on Wednesday and will begin to publish their work using an app called Pix-n-Tell.  Below is a video of how this app works.  If possible, students may bring in a device (iPad, cell phone).  It would be helpful if students download the app on their device prior to bringing it to school. Devices can be brought to school on Wednesday, December 16th.  Please be aware that students have permission to use their device during Project Arrow.  Their devices may not be used in the classroom setting unless it is approved by the classroom teacher.  I anticipate using the devices on Wednesday and Thursday only. However, I will inform the students if they are to bring in their devices on Friday.  Also, the app is free. I did inform students that they can upgrade the app to prevent an unsightly logo from showing up on their finished product.  This upgrade is $0.99.  Please email or call if you have any questions.

4PA Homework

We are continuing our reading adventures with the Secret Garden.  Today, most of our time was spent investigating the symbolism in Chapter 4 "Martha".  We did a fun activity called Webs of Understanding to help share the ideas found in the text.  Students sat in a circle and a ball of yarn was passed around  to hold one another accountable for active participation.  At the end of our discussion, it was evident that students had shared  an abundance of wonderful ideas and the web that was created was as complex as their thinking.  Tonight students are to read Chapter 5 "The Cry in the Corridor."  Please click here to listen to the chapter online.  Enjoy!

4PA Homework

Tonight the students are to complete a reading for the Secret Garden.  They are to read Chapter 3-"Across the Moor".  The students are extremely excited about their reading experiences.  However, I prefer that they only read this chapter.  I made them promise NOT to read any further.  Also, students have NO written assignments.  This may be an expectation in the future.  Students please click here to be taken to the audio recording of chapter 3.  Enjoy!

5PA Update

Students have been quite busy over the last couple of weeks.  We finally finished our work with the story All Summer in a Day.  The students had the opportunity to view the video and discuss the similarities and differences when comparing it with the story.  Students also completed a homework assignment which focused on plot development.  One of the tasks students had to perform was writing an ending to the story.  They were so excited to share their endings with their peers, and I was extremely impressed.  It was as if Ray Bradbury himself had stepped into Room 218 to share his work.  Students were able to capture the tone and language of the text. We have some wonderful authors in 5PA.  The students also completed a performance task in connection with the story.  

We then moved on to reading an article titled Beaming Good Cheer to a Norwegian Town's Dark Days.  The basic premise of this article is that a town in Norway is located near a mountain that blocks the sun for six months out of the year.  The decision to use mirrors to reflect the sunlight in the town changes the life of the people; however, there are those that oppose the mirrors for a variety of reasons.  We investigated both perspectives of the article and began an activity called Tug-of-War.  The goal is for students to think of reasons or "tugs" that either support the use of mirrors or oppose the use of mirrors.  They then had to determine which reasons were the strongest "tugs" that would convince someone of a  particular view. The engagement of the students was very high.  We will complete this activity on Monday and then continue our work with Capstone on Tuesday.  Below is a video that will provide you with information about the Norwegian town from the article.

3PA Update

Last week, the students spent time analyzing a piece of artwork entitled "Day and Night" by a famous artist named M.C. Escher.  His work uses various optical illusions which enables someone who is observing his work to interpret it based on things that they notice.   To help students examine his work, we used a strategy called See Think Wonder.  First, students were asked to be good investigators and identify what they saw.  Next, they were asked to make interpretations based on evidence within the art piece.  Finally, students were challenged to ask broad questions that they had related to the work of Escher.  The goal for students was to ask questions that Escher himself would only be able to answer.  I was very impressed with all of the students' thinking.  

We then moved on to a wordless picture book called Free Fall by David Wiesner.  Many of the illustrations found in this book were similar to the style of Escher's work. We completed a gallery walk and had the opportunity to look at each illustration from the book.  I placed them in order on the floor and students were asked to think about what could be seen upside down that could also be seen right-side up.  Again, they were asked to be good observers and look for things that may not be easily seen upon first glance.  Below is a video of the book that I shared with students.  Afterwards, they had to sequence the illustrations.  We will continue our work with Free Fall over the next two days.