Thursday, May 29, 2014

5th Grade Reflections

As our days wind down, our Thursday enrichment study group took some time to reflect on our time together over the last months and years. Today I remembered to record our conversation. Although the light from the window blacks out some of the video, that which remains - and the soundtrack - made for some pretty interesting viewing.

Check it out. It's bittersweet to see these students grow so much. None of this group realized how much they had changed until we looked at pictures and videos from last year. We were all amazed at how much folks had grown!

Hey, thanks for letting public school teachers work with your kids. It means more to all of us than we sometimes realize.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Readers in 4th Grade

Here's a couple of shots of ASG Reading projects from our novel study of The House with a Clock in Its Walls. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tuva Musicians

Brooks Butler brings some pretty awesome stuff to Claxton. Here's a performance from Tuvan musicians that visited earlier in the year. Cool!

Intrepid Scientists

Here's a shot of a couple of our intrepid scientists on the Great Solar System Rescue. Students in our fourth grade CSG put their heads together to learn about astronomy, history, geology, and meteorology in this engaging simulation. With two teams at two schools, we'll see which can solve their four missions for the least money!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

4th Grade ASG Math

Our fourth grade advanced subject group in math tackled a couple of activities to reinforce their understanding of geometry. The first was constructing Venn diagrams that classified all the shapes we could think of. Here's a snap of their work - still on display on the third floor:

In addition, students were charged to design a golf course that included a myriad of shapes and angles. Here's a quick video segment of Sally's reflection on this work:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

3rd Grade ESG

Our Enrichment Study Groups in third grade read the book Insects Are My Life by Megan McDonald. This book presents the intense interest in insects of a young girl. I share this with students to highlight their own, often intense, interests.

Our first group assignment was to communicate their interest by rewriting and illustrating the title with their own ideas. In days past, I made a hard-copy of book of this work to share. In lieu thereof, I am using a North Carolina company called Mixbook to present this information. The following link should take you to an online 'book' where you can scroll through the pages and check out student work.

Enjoy the work of our ESG!

Monday, May 19, 2014

AIG Advocacy

Our AIG Advisory Board met this evening with Caroline Doherty, a representative from PAGE - Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education. Ms. Doherty mapped out benefits from developing a PAGE chapter, long a goal for our AIG Program.

If you are interested in this fine organization, check out the following link:

See me with any questions! Hopefully we'll be moving ahead with this worthy organization.

FYI: NC Assessments

Many of you are familiar with NC's 4 point assessment system for achievement based on EOG testing. You may be interested to know the state is adding a level to this scale with allowances for both on-grade proficiency as well as college/career-readiness. Here's a look at the new info:

Achievement Levels
On-Grade-Level Proficiency Standard
Meets College-and-Career Readiness Standard
Level 5 denotes Superior Command of knowledge and skills


Level 4 denotes Solid Command of knowledge and skills


Level 3 denotes Sufficient Command of knowledge and skills


Level 2 denotes Partial Command of knowledge and skills


Level 1 denotes Limited Command of knowledge and skills



Thursday, May 15, 2014


I greatly appreciate all the kind remembrances for Teacher Appreciation week! I got lots of really great cards from students. That is so kind!

Thank you!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Comprehensive study group (aka CSG) has been meeting on Tuesday afternoons. These students qualified on an aptitude measure. As visual thinkers, they've been discussing attributes through a challenging game called Set. Here's a couple of snaps of them playing.

Oh, I don't know that CSG or its elongated version has any particular zing, so we're going to go with Thinkamabobs, an infinitely cooler name suggested by Jackson.


Team HF (incidentally, from another school) has successfully completed the Great Ocean Rescue for the least money spent. It was a close race with Claxton's Team R, but they prevailed.

Congratulations to all participants. Students kept "action plans" recounting their decisions for each mission. I'm sending these home this week with a cover letter which also contains the final results.

In a related matter, our fourth grade CSG (comprehensive study group - qualification based on aptitude) group has begun The Great Solar System Rescue. This simulation allows students to find and save space probes lost in the solar system. There are two teams, as they are pitted against a similar team from that same other school.

At any rate, these simulations incorporate reading and reasoning skills within the framework of collaborative work that's a great workout for students.

Friday, May 2, 2014

AIG Update

The following was emailed on May 1, 2014. If you are not on my contact list, please send an email to the following address:

Hola! Here’s a couple of notes from what’s been happening in AIG programming for Claxton Elementary!

5th Grade
All Claxton teams have completed The Great Ocean Rescue, a simulation where students solve ecological problems by taking scientific roles. There’s one team left at my other school to determine this year’s champion. I will say that of the Claxton teams, Thursday’s group of girls sailed to a victory. We’ll see how they stack up with one final competitor.

4th Grade
Math groups continue to complete a geometric golf course. It’s been more challenging than I thought – which is a good thing! Our readers will probably work through a funny adaptation of King Lear as a readers’ theater play.  We’ll use this as an introduction to an even more advanced version. Our thinking group on Mondays has begun a simulation where they’re scientists charged with locating and saving lost space probes. All good stuff!

3rd Grade
We’re finally up and running! Our Enrichment Study Groups began meeting this week – with some fun get-to-know-each-other-and-ourselves work. We’ll move to more formal activities in the coming weeks. Hats off to third grade teachers (and parents) who have had great patience – both with qualification AND working with me to provide materials and experiences for students in math, reading, and thinking work! Always more to come!

I’ll remind you that there are some additional third grade cases that we’ll wrap up soon.
Thanks for your continued support! Thanks especially to all parents who have returned ‘permission to serve’ forms. I appreciate your time!!
As always, PLEASE contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lear Today, Gone Tomorrow Scene 5

This is the final installment of "Lear Today, Gone Tomorrow." I hope you enjoy the readers' theater play. The students, as you can see, had fun and did a great job! Lots of kudos to lots of performances.
It's been a blast to work with these students!