Below you will find a blog that documents the adventures of the Carrick Classroom at Bryant Montessori throughout the year. Please check back each week for new updates and stories!
After asking some awesome questions about the constitution last week, students got to dive deeper into studying some of the ideas in the constitution this week. They were especially excited to read and examine some authentic copies of the US Constitution on Wednesday, and had a lot of fun trying to read the tiny cursive writing.
I have been so amazed at the critical thinking and work that this class is capable of. They are a fantastic group of kids. Some other highlights of the week included reading more of the Phantom Tollbooth, learning about prefixes, and reviewing quadrilaterals and some of our chants to help remember the different properties. Next week we will start to think about the different kinds of triangles!
Monday the 20th is PICTURE DAY! Your child should have gotten an order form in their Thursday folder.
Have a great weekend!
This week students practiced asking questions to help identify what they didn't know and what they wanted to know about the United States Constitution. One of the ways I believe is the most powerful to engage students and allow them to construct and explore knowledge is by teaching them to come up with questions that will help them figure out what they want to know!
Students followed the Four Important Rules of Question Asking:
1. Ask as many questions as you can.
2. Don't stop to talk about, judge or answer the questions.
3. Write down every question exactly as its said.
4. Change any non-question into a question.
Students practiced this process in response to the following statement: While the United States Constitution is a document full of rules and laws that people have agreed to follow, it also protects the citizens of the United States.
In small groups of students 1st-3rd grades, they generated as many questions as they could around the statement above. While some students couldn't stop writing, others really struggled to begin to write down questions. With support, students who initially had felt frustrated by the concept of generating questions eventually began to think about what kinds of questions they might ask (using question words like who, what, how, why, where, etc.) Once they had identified some of the information around the statement that they were missing, asking questions became less daunting. Questions ranged across the board, and students did a great job following all four rules.
Here are some of the questions students generated. As you will see, the questions show that students were coming from a huge range of places in terms of background knowledge and curiosity about various topics:::
- What is the constitution?
- Why is there a constitution? Why do we need it? Do we need it?
- How does it protect the people?
- Why and how does the law protect us?
- Why do they take care of the citizens?
- Are the rules important?
- Why are the laws important?
- Why are there rules and laws?
- What is the constitution for?
- How did the constitution start?
- How long has the constitution been around?
- What are the rules? Why do we have to follow the rules? Who makes the rules?
- Why did the rules get made?
- Why do we need the rules? Why do they make rules?
- Are there different rules in different places? How many rules are there?
- When was the constitution written? Why is it important?
- Where was the constitution 10 years ago? Where is it now?
- Why is there law?
- What are the amendments? What is the Bill of Rights?
- Why is the America bird a eagle?
- How do the rules protect the citizens of the USA?
- Why did Donald Trump get elected?
- Why do we have to go to school?
- Why do we have to listen to people?
- Why do you have to wear shoes?
- Do we have to listen to the rules?
- Why do people choose to have war?
- Will there ever be peace among the world?
- Why do you have to get jobs?
- Why can't you watch TV all the time?
- Why can't kids drink beer or coffee?
- Who builds houses?
- Why do people sacrifice themselves for the army?
- What was the first state?
- Why do we care about rules?
- How many people break the rules?
- Why do some animals lay eggs?
- When did humans start having laws and rules?
- Why do we have to make rules?
- What are rules?
- What does the constitution mean? Why is the constitution even there?
- Why is the United States a thing?
- Can there still be laws even if the whole country doesn't agree?
Many of these fantastic questions will be used as a foundation for our study of the US constitution next week, as well as a basis for students' writing their own constitutions for the fictional countries they are creating. Have a fantastic weekend.
This last week we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday by reading some books and hearing some Readers Theater versions of books! A few weeks ago students began a new Social Studies integrated unit where they are creating their OWN COUNTRIES within the semi-fictional continent of Carricki (formerly the state of Washington).
Students will spend the next few weeks continuing their research around the environment/geography/climate of Washington state as well as some of the history (especially focusing on Native American history in WA, with the Since Time Immemorial curriculum as a guiding force behind 3rd graders' reading and research). They will begin this week to form some ideas about what the kinds of food, shelter, clothing, and tools their countries will offer (based on their research) as well as begin to learn about the US constitution as a basis for writing their own constitutions for their countries. Students are working on a mural/frieze to display some of the features of their "new" countries, and will begin to create their own characters in a few weeks.
Students are continuing to love the algebra we are doing every morning, and last week figured out that 6x + 6x is the same as 12x! It has been so exciting and eye opening to see just how far students, even some of our first grade class members, have been able to stretch their minds to think about these theoretical and challenging concepts. 3rd graders will begin to explore the concept of fractions this week, as 2nd grade students continue to explore addition and subtraction with trading (numbers getting bigger) and 1st graders start to learn to use their trading skills within word problems.
I continue to try and solve the problem that is --- this site will not let me upload any pictures, no matter what format they are in! If anyone has suggestions around this, please let me know :)
My week has been crazy - my carpeted basement flooded a week ago (the night before our Snow Day!) so the whole week and this weekend has been spent helping some great guys use industrial size fans and dehumidifiers to dry it out. But now it's dry! Here are some pictures from last week - students dove into studying and writing about different countries around the world, as well as creating some engineering projects from entirely recycled materials. Right away, below, is a picture of the type of algebra problems/puzzles we have begun to solve as a class every day!
A few samples of our COUNTRY REPORTS
Quick pic today from another of our readers theater groups reading for an Upper Elementary class audience!
I hope everyone is spending time with family and staying safe this weekend. Amidst the many changes our society is undergoing and the chaos that is 2017 I have decided to dial back a bit on the wordy updates, and stick to some more brief descriptions and pictures that show some of the things students are working on in class. Here's a picture of some students working on recording a podcast version of the story of Mouse Deer, a readers theater script! More on class Reader Theater Podcasts to come...
Here is the same group getting ready to perform Mouse Deer for a neighboring class :)
This last week students began researching countries as they begin to write country reports. We also began reading The Phantom Tollbooth and practiced some brainstorming techniques. The coming week will bring more exploration of global culture and politics as well as beginning to examine some of the ways the US is governed (we will be reading and talking about what the preamble to the constitution means, and how it is similar to our class agreements). Take care!
Music Class usually happens during my planning time, but yesterday I happened to show up when the kids weren't done singing and got to take this awesome video of them playing some mallet instruments and shakers!
Last week was really chaotic with two late starts, our Read In and the STEAM Fair Kickoff! We had a great time on Friday relaxing and reading, and are off to a busy start this week with continent studies, writers workshop and measurement!
Here are some photos from last week's Read In!
I hope that you were able to spend some meaningful time with your students while they were on break! This week as students returned to the classroom we reviewed our routines and expectations, as well as did some important academic review work around math concepts and how we engage in independent word work, writing and reading during work cycles.
We began a mini-integrated social studies unit around personal, neighborhood and community/larger social values. The goal of this unit will be to help students understand and think about the meaning of values, to identify personal, family and cultural values and to explore how these values affect our lives and decisions/actions. Students will also practice communicating values to others (sharing opinions) and accepting the values of others. I'm hopeful that this learning experience will enrich and improve students' capacities to grow and to relate with and to others in many ways, emphasizing our value of the month of January: kindness! It will also tie into learning a bit about Martin Luther King Jr. and leaders like him who have inspired others, relating with a sense of shared values (and kindness). In a month or so this mini unit will help lead into a larger social studies unit about democracy.
The science fair is coming up in February, and I will be sending home a project for students to complete to help them get ready for the fair. My hope is that in class we will be able to have plenty of time and support for students to engage in learning about and preparing for science fair projects. I may be sending out a request for extra supplies/project materials for students who need them. Will be sending out more information soon on that! The theme I am emphasizing for the fair this year is engineering (the E in STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math!) Here is an awesome chart that shows the Engineering Cycle I hope to help students engage in:
If you can, ask your students if they can think of any problems they could try and solve. Ask them about "The Water Fountain Problem" our class talked about this week and if they have any ideas for how to solve it.
We began reading a Magic Tree House book about the American Revolution, which students loved - they especially loved getting to identify the mysterious "Commander-in-Chief" that the two main characters in the book spied during the beginning of their trip back in time. Many students excitedly exclaimed "It's GEORGE WASHINGTON!" We will continue discussing pieces of history, and the many values that shape our lives and history. Here is a picture of some of the vocabulary word definitions we came up with as a whole class (primarily student-written)
I continue to think about how much I value our Bryant community, students and families as we return for our 2017 adventure. Have a great weekend.