Each night at the dinner table, the family answers two questions: What was your high of the day? What was your low of the day? Our nine-year-old started this nightly tradition about two years ago. Every member of the family has a chance to answer and everyone else is expected to listen. Sometimes, the highs and lows of the day spark conversation that takes us off task, which is usually a good thing, but sometimes it’s not so good (on Sunday night, the nine-year-old confessed her low of the day is that she is worried that she is not going to grow:).
So, at the end of every week, I do my highs and lows of the past week. They can be any highs and lows (personal or school-related), but for this week, I decided to focus my highs and lows on the past school week.
- The Holocaust Resistance Museum was spectacular. The students worked so hard on the project and the museum presentation showcased all of their work. The museum attracted about sixty visitors, and the students did a nice job explaining the life of their assigned rebel and the actual project. Their written reflections were equally as spectacular as the museum presentations. I also found it refreshing that they understood that they were honoring these people who resisted Hitler and the Holocaust. There will definitely be a 2020 version of this project.
- Since this the first year that I have taught science (I taught sixth grade social studies for the first seventeen years of my teaching career), I was unsure about how the students would do on the analyzing inks investigation. They needed to listen carefully and read through the steps while using the chromatography paper. I only had a set amount of chromatography paper, so the kids could not make any major mistakes. I am using the rest of the chromatography paper to do an assessment in class on Wednesday. The students worked well with their partners and accomplished the lab while learning about separations. Dare I write that I truly believe that they had fun with this investigation? I am hopeful that they will do well on the assessment activity (a “Who done it?” mystery letter activity).
- The essay is a daunting task for sixth grade students. The mythology essay topic is the natural phenomenon and lessons learned from the myth entitled “Echo and Narcissus”. The students started out a little slow at the beginning of the writing process. They struggled to decide what to write about during the brainstorming stage, but soon found their way while outlining their ideas. While writing the first draft, the momentum picked up and they began to get into a rhythm with their writing (and I got into my rhythm with the individual writing conferences). During the revision stage, I did a mini-lesson on writing a closing sentence (I wrote about it in my Day #9 post). Their final drafts, which I have been grading all weekend, are very good.
- This week, I will be teaching the students about electrolysis and we will be splitting hydrogen and oxygen. I had planned to do the lab with the kids on Friday, but they are struggling with the concepts. I am struggling with how to teach them the concepts, which are difficult to understand, so that all of the students understand electrolysis. I am worried that this concept might be over their head (and understanding level), but I will attempt to do the investigation with them on Monday. I am not overly confident, but maybe I’ll be surprised.
- On Monday, the students will choose a book to read with some reading partners. Kate Messner is the author of all of the book choices. On Friday, we did a scavenger hunt on Kate Messner’s website to find out more about her and her writing. The kids did a great job on the scavenger hunt, but when it was time to read the summary and look at the seven books (I laid one out on seven different tables in the library) the students rushed through the process. Many of the students just picked the first book on the list. Unfortunately, only four students can read that book, so they were to pick a second and third favorite. Because they rushed, I added a little time to Monday’s class to give them a few more minutes to pick a book. I will be emphasizing how important it is to pick a book that they will like because they will be reading it for the next two to three weeks.
- I also had high hopes for the students to being writing their final poem for the poetry mini-unit. I have all of the examples to show the kids ready to display, but we are behind. It has taken us longer to get through the reading (and discussing) of some of the poems from last week. Also, because of the mini-lesson on writing a closing sentence, I find myself farther behind with the final written poem. We will complete the poem this coming week.
I’m ready to tackle a new week, and I am looking forward to two special guests that will be talking with the kids about the Holocaust (one is a teacher’s husband that will be showing the kids pictures and discussing the historical context of the pictures and the second guest works at the U.S. Holocaust Museum). Obviously, these are tremendous learning opportunities for the students (and for me:). I’m confident that it is going to be a good week.