Fishbowl: A Classroom Discussion

Today the kids completed a fishbowl. We have been reading “The Wind and the Willows” and discussing several themes including the value of friendship and loyalty. This led to thinking about the character that best exemplified these qualities.

Students brainstormed evidence to support one character or another before beginning our first Fishbowl. In a Fishbowl, students sit in a circle with several students in the middle. Participants share ideas around a topic and if someone in the middle needs help or has run out of ideas, they will replace themselves with someone from the outside.

We’re Back and we were Busy

Although it was just a four day week, and student hadn’t been in school for 23 consecutive days, we got a lot done! We learned to multiply decimals and relate this to our understanding of fractions. We studied surrealism, sensory details, and word play as we moved further into the Phantom Tollbooth. We wrote with an emphasis on tone. We did a close read as we started our work with We the People. And we began a Doodles Academy Project.

Our Work with The Phantom Tollbooth Begins

Today we started our work with Norton Juster’s classic, The Phantom TollBooth. We did a lot of things to get us ready for this including careful observations of paintings by Salvador Dali (e.g, The Persistence of Memoryand a close reading of Abbott and Costello’s skit, “Who’s on First.” In addition we deconstructed how puns are largely based on homophones, homographs and idioms.

The hard work paid off and the student’s understanding of how author’s use word play to cause humor and confusion allowed for a successful launch of The Phantom Tollbooth.

A Game of Catch via Socratic Seminar

Today we did a Socratic Seminar with Richard Wibur’s A Game of Catch. This is a particularly difficult text that requires some time to fully understand and comprehend. Although the story is pretty straight forward, the subtext or hidden message, takes some effort to get to.

To the credit of the students, they got there. They saw the symbolism of the apple tree and what it meant that Scho ends the story by saying, “I want you to do whatever you’re going to do for the whole rest of your life!”

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Our First Week Working With Shakespeare

We finished our first week working with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our initial discussions focused on understanding the historical context in which Shakespeare worked and who Shakespeare was. We unpacked the language of Shakespeare and practiced reading key pieces of dialogue with a focus on iambic pentameter.

This initial work has allowed us to read through the first two scenes in Act I. The students have been doggedly persistent and things have gone as well as we could have hoped.

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