STUDENTS IN MY SYKES’ CLASS continue to work on the William and Mary unit Persuasion. They have completed novel studies of literature from Japanese American and African American cultures and will soon begin reading a book from Hispanic American culture. All of these novels cover the big ideas of change and persuasion.
Recently these students took a very close look at a most persuasive primary source document: The Declaration of Independence. Using Paul’s Reasoning Wheel, they considered the stakeholders, perspectives, assumptions, and more of those effected by this document. It was very interesting to see the level of engagement and the sophistication of understanding the children had of a rather complicated text!
Having just finished writing and delivering persuasive speeches in the character of a famous loyalist or patriot added perspective and meaning to the students’ reading of the Declaration. Ms. Sykes worked with students to guide them through researching the arguments for and against the inevitable Revolution . After they understood both sides of the issues, they chose a person to investigate more closely and then wrote a speech from his or her perspective. Through the speeches, students demonstrated an understanding of the issues, a sense of voice and a good bit of theatrical flare! Some of the students even visited Ms. Cuthbertson’s class to share their speeches and model the art of persuasion.
Ms. Sykes’ class also continues their study of challenging vocabulary through Word Masters. You can see the results from the second meet here in the latest posts. The third and final list of words will be arriving soon. For the third meet, students must study a total of 75 words as they compete to find out who will be the Word Masters Champ for the year!
STUDENTS IN MS. SWAGERS’ CLASS have continued working with the problem solving process and Math Exemplars. A special focus has been placed on clear and detailed written explanations of their steps to solve the problem and their solution. They have also engaged in peer and self-evaluation of their work.
Several weeks of bridge lessons are culminating with a class bridge tournament in which two students from each class will be named champions. Trophies will be given to the winners along with bridge t-shirts and certificates to all students. Some students will be invited to participate in an intercollegiate tournament that will be held at The Woman’s Club of Norfolk on Saturday, March 26 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Landstown Elementary will be the only Virginia Beach school competing against several schools from Norfolk. Information fliers will be sent home soon to a selection of students.
Ms. Swagers’ students recently engaged in a Socratic Seminar on Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in which they discussed the question How do you know when you’ve done something well? Students were able to consider why they seek to achieve, their level of self-confidence and independence and the stress they experience when they and others place emphasis on always trying to do their very best.
Students seem to love being able to think deeply about and discuss these ideas. They had another opportunity to engage in this kind of self-reflection and meaning making when they recently completed the Taba (concept attainment) process on one of two topics: Being Gifted or Being Successful. Gifted students were exposed to a great deal of information on what it means to be gifted, how one is identified as gifted and the challenges and strengths that make up gifted individuals. Students working on the Success Taba sorted through information about highly effective people, the science of happiness, practices of successful students and adults. The generalizations from the students’ work were turned into a graphic organizer that will guide their reading of biographies on famous people. As they’re reading, students will look for specific examples of gifted or successful behaviors.
In the coming weeks, students will also have the opportunity to create metaphors of their metacognition and engage in a couple more Socratic Seminars. All of these experiences will lead to a performance task that they will complete to demonstrate their understanding about the big ideas related to being gifted or to being successful.