Friday, October 31, 2014

5th Grade ASG Reading

Our fifth grade advance subject group in reading will be working on reading fluency in the coming weeks. To this end, they will be presenting a readers theater play called A Spark of Genius. This play presents the facts around Benjamin Franklin's experiment with key and kite. As a pre-assessment, students were asked to demonstrate what they know about Franklin's experiment using words and pictures. 

Please understand that as pre-assessment this work should accurately reflect student understanding and prior knowledge. If a student knew little/nothing about Ben and his experiment, that's completely okay. 

The following are their responses. We will begin the play in earnest throughout November and then have another similar (if not exactly the same!) assessment at the end of our work.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lost on the Moon (5 CSG)

Our fifth grade CSG has been working with an activity called Lost on the Moon. In this work, students must rank the importance of 15 items they have while lost on the moon. FYI, their ship crashed, and these were the only things surviving - save themselves! Students must rank the importance of the items and then rank them again as a group.

We will look at how NASA would rank the items and then determine 'error points' for their decisions, both individual and as a group. Should lead to some interesting discussions!

We'll wrap up with a little writing assignment - more about that upon its completion.

At any rate, here is a video of some of the initial discussion about group ranking. Enjoy!

Election Today

Here is a snap of our candidates for student government - save for the absent Malena. We are very proud of the efforts of these students. Officers will be announced on Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Election Speeches

Thanks to Mrs. Eggett for her help in preparing candidate speeches for Claxton's student government election on Thursday, October 22.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Duke 4th/5th Talent Search

Duke University has long worked to provide enrichment opportunities for gifted students. Formally the Talent Identification Program, Duke's 4th-6th Grade Talent Search is available to students scoring at the 95th percentile or better on a number of approved tests. As site coordinator for Claxton Elementary, I recently sent home letters from Duke to qualifying students. One point I would make is that the ACS AIG program considers testing criteria at the 85th percentile or greater. This means that not all AIG students qualify for the Duke program. Another point is that this program is not free. However, there is needs-based assistance available from Duke. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this program. There is also a toll free number on the application form which may be helpful. One other request I would make is to let me know if you find (or have found) this program to be helpful. I have some experience through my role as well as with my own children, however, I'm always interested in other perspectives. Congratulations to these students!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Junior Great Books

Both fourth and fifth grade reading groups have been working with materials from Junior Great Books. JGB is an offshoot of the unbelievably brainy work from the University of Chicago after World War II. Researchers such as Robert Maynard Hutchins and Mortimer Adler stressed "the need for academic rigor based on the intellectual traditions of the human community." What this means for our students is carefully managed seminar discussions on shared 'texts.'

What follows are pictures of participation maps from fourth and fifth grade seminars. Tally counts represent student responses to open ended questions  One caveat is to NOT equate high numbers of responses with success. Students set goals for their own participation which MAY include limiting their responses.

Lines between students note polite agreement of disagreement. This work is crucial to our future goals of literature studies.

You may recall a list of "Do's and Don'ts" posted earlier from this process. Check out the blog for 9/23/2014 to see specific examples of expected (and discouraged!) behaviors. Both groups are making progress to the kind of dialogue JGB expects!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

More Perseverance

Here are some snaps of fourth graders completing the daily SET challenge. The first finisher for this class, btw, was 8 minutes 59 seconds. She is pictured immediately below.


Our fifth grade CSG has been working with the attribute game SET. Part of this work is to reinforce perseverance in the face of challenge. Here are some photos of students completing the puzzle for 10/9/14. BTW, the first photo below is a young gentleman who solved for six sets in less than five minutes!