Fishbowl: Service Animals

We used a sample Smarter Balanced Test item to get ready for a persuasive essay on service animals. We read through three texts, annotated for evidence and then rehearsed for our writing using a 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.

Blending Our Learning with Google Classroom

This week we leveraged many of the elements of Google Classroom including building presentations for our Great American Day, taking a quiz with Google Forms, reviewing geography with http://www.earth-picker.com/ and Google Maps, and sharing data via Google Sheets. Taken together, we were able to blend our learning and reach outcomes not possible just a few years ago.

 

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.

Our Pro Se Court

Today we did our first Pro Se Court. This was the culmination of reading through four different sources on zoos and identifying evidence to support claims about the value of zoos. All of the source material (here) is written at the 7th grade level and this required students to navigate complex text and work with challenging vocabulary.

The term pro se is Latin and means “for oneself” or “on one’s own behalf.” Students became defendants, prosecutors, or justices before creating triads to allow for rich discussions.

Ultimately the justices ruled 6 to 3 in favor of the defendants; that is, zoos were causing greater harm than good.