The last week of the school year included a lot of academics, our Field Day, and some celebrating. It was a terrific year and one of my favorites professionally. The end was paradoxical in which I certainly looked forward to a break but I didn’t look forward to saying goodbye to 22 terrific students.
With five days left in the year, we participated in a discussion strategy we really like, a Pro Se Court. Over the last two weeks, we read and annotated four articles about zoos, their benefits and their challenges. Students were then divided into three groups. A third were the plaintiffs, a third as defendants, and a third as our judges.
Students didn’t know which role they would be assigned which is important insofar as understanding perspective taking. That said, our seven judges ruled 6-1 in favor of our plaintiffs who argued zoos are bad.
Over and over again the 3rd grader teachers were told the following from the O’Gara staff, “These are great kids!” It’s true, they are.
Today we started our newest engineering design challenge. This was the introduction and we worked with different materials to determine what would best protect a fragile package (farfalle pasta). We’ll experiment with different strategies based on a scenario in which students have to engineer “air drop packages” that can be dropped from an aircraft that protects contents and be easy to find, once they hit the ground.
The engineering kit we are working with came from a DonorsChoose project.
Thank you families for organizing our Valentines Celebration. It included a photo booth, several Minute to Win It games, and fun foods. After two consecutive days of indoor recess, I think taking the hour we did for a series of fun activities was clearly welcome.
Can too much screen time get in the way of friendships? Or does playing games and being online create friendships? This was the focus of our Philosophical Chairs Discussion (PCD).
We spent two days reading and annotating a text around the topic. We then used the PCD protocol. Specifically, students divided themselves into groups who believed screen time got in the way of friendships, students who disagreed with this, and classmates who were neutral. As students presented their arguments, they could move from one group to another based on how persuaded they were.
Students finished their Enchanted Lands following several days making careful observation of art by Albert Bierstadt, Erik Johansson, and Salvador Dali; learning about foreground, mid-ground, and background; studying setting and magical elements; and how to use paint and collage to build out their piece of art.