Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Upon reading yesterday's post, it became clear to me that I needed a couple of more sentences in order to make sure everyone understood exactly what students need to be doing RIGHT NOW.

So in the interest of clarity, here you go:

Students' main concern should be the Author Study. If they haven't finished their three books yet, they must be reading every night until those books are done.

We've also had a number of Study Link worksheets for homework. We'll have a math test tomorrow and will begin Unit 9 on Thursday. Expect math homework 4-5 nights per week from now until Exhibition Week in June.

Last week, there was no reading letter nor a POW. This week there will be both. Both will be due Monday.

Of course, the Interest Project should be worked on. Milestone 2 is due next Thursday.

For now, that's all. Very soon, they'll have more to do at home (college project, poetry book, mythology project, etc.) Expect May to be a BUSY month.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Status Report

Gateway Exhibition week is now about 7 weeks away, I think. Wow, that's not far at all, is it? Here's an update on the 11 projects--where we stand with each and/or where we're headed:

  • INTEREST PROJECT--Milestone 2 (30 facts written in your own words) is due next Thursday. Continue working on this at home.
  • COLLEGE PROJECT--Essays should be done by now. We'll spend some time typing up the other parts at some point in the next couple of weeks. Posters are due May 20. College Day is May 21.
  • MYTHOLOGY PROJECT--We're in the second week of this. We've been reading, discussing, and summarizing myths. Today's was the story of Daedalus and Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun. We've got about 4 or 5 more to discuss and then we'll begin the culminating projects for these.
  • POETRY BOOK--If students have been keeping up, they should have finished the final poem in this collection last Wednesday. Their next task is to get all their poems typed up and printed so that we can bind them together. I'll provide typing time a couple of days in May.
  • AUTHOR STUDY--Students should be done with all 3 books by now. We'll start discussing the written report portion of this project next week.
  • STOCK MARKET PROJECT--Students have chosen their stocks and will track them for another few weeks. Then they'll begin the problem solving activities that go with this project.
  • SCIENCE PROJECT--We will be planting seeds for this project tomorrow. Literally. They will grow two plants for this experiment.
  • PICTURE BOOK--We'll start this sometime in May.
  • KNOW ALL 50 STATES--They can be working on this in their spare time. It's really something that should be worked on at home during May and the first week of June.
  • POETRY RECITATION--They'll be choosing poems to memorize and recite in a couple weeks.
  • DETROIT POETRY TOUR--Students will write poems about Detroit and these will be included in their poetry book. This involves a field trip on May 14. Permission slips and more info on cost to come in the near future.
Phew! That's a lot, but I knew that when I assigned it all. Amazingly, we're right on schedule. If your child has been following along and doing their work, there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to finish everything. These exhibitions should be quite a show. Please email me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Orpheus and the Underworld

"Orpheus" by Odilon Redon

We read one of my favorite myths today, "Orpheus and Eurydice." I recommend watching this video with your child and having them explain the story to you. We're working on the skills of summarizing and retelling during this mythology unit, so this is a good way to make sure they grasp these concepts.

And, if you or your child want to have a little fun, try this game, Rockabye Cerberus. It's a good companion to the Orpheus myth.

The kids seem to be enjoying these stories and I'm glad, because I like them, too. I think their interest level is very high, and that will help with the quality of their final projects. My favorite comment came from Angela, who asked, "Why are all these myths about love?" Keep in mind, we've only read two. But, still, I wasn't sure how to answer! I'm still having trouble figuring out how to explain the other fact they learned that troubles them--that the god Zeus married his sister. Nothing gets past these kids. They are pretty sharp!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mythology Project Begins

We are beginning another Gateway project this week, the Greek Mythology project. We'll be exploring and reading several myths. Students will be working on comprehension and summarizing as they learn about this new genre.

We started yesterday with an overview of the basics of Myths. We also explored the Greek Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus so that students would have some background knowledge before we started reading the stories themselves:

Today we read our first myth together, "Demeter and Persephone" the famous story that explains the existence of the seasons. I also showed them a short cartoon version of the story, which you can view HERE.

So many references are made to mythology in other books and in everyday life (Midas mufflers, for example). This makes knowledge of mythology pretty important, in my opinion.

We'll be continuing to read stories for the rest of this month. Then we'll work on the two projects that will be presented at the Gateway Exhibition: a Ancient Greek "newspaper," and a short student-produced digital movie.