Monday, March 26, 2018

Art Challenge 2018 - Vote For Your Favorite!

We had 15 impressive entries in this year's art challenge. Last week the students in both homerooms voted for their five favorite pieces. We had a tie for 5th place, so there are six finalists to choose from.

Check out the slideshow below and then use the poll to vote your favorite of the six finalists.

(To ensure that people only vote one time, you will need to be logged in to a Google account in order to vote.)

Voting will close on Monday, April 2nd.

Vote here:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Our Virtual Tour of Machu Picchu

Written by Blake M. and Sophia M.

Virtual reality is a great way to learn (and travel). In class, we have been reading persuasive texts about Machu Picchu and what it could have been built for (a royal retreat or an astronomical observatory). 

Machu Picchu, in Peru
Mrs. Limberakis brought in virtual reality goggles to our classroom so we could tour Machu Picchu. We traveled all around Machu Picchu and saw many of the prominent sights around the area. It was breathtaking. Most of the time, we felt as if we were on the edge of a cliff and were about to fall down it. It was frightening! But we were amazed at the same time because none of us had been to Machu Picchu and we had an amazing view of the breathtaking sights (and the tourists). 

The tour also gave us a better understanding of how the site could have been used as an observatory (because it was so high!) or as a royal retreat (because it was so remote and beautiful.)

In summary, the virtual tour of Machu Picchu was simply awe-inspiring.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Art Challenge - 2018

For our first art challenge, it is pretty open - just create a piece of art! You can submit a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, a craft, etc. It can be as big or as small as you'd like. However, the artwork must be physical, not digital.

Entries will be due Friday, March 9th.

The artwork will be judged on a combination of creativity, style, technique, and overall "wow!" factor. The class will select 5 finalists from all of the submitted works of art.

Then, those 5 finalists will be featured in a blog post with a poll for voting. Voting will be open to students, parents, teachers, and friends. The winning artist will receive a $15 gift certificate to Michael's Arts and Crafts.

Below is a slideshow of a few of the entries from past years.

I can't wait to see your creativity and artistic talent!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Silk Road

Written by Sam L.

Today, many people exchange things through mail, texts, and talking on a phone. But things weren’t always that way. For hundreds of years, between about the year 500 and the 1500’s, the Silk Road was the main trading route of Europe, Asia, India, and many other countries and major cities.

Sketch by Finn
Many goods were traded throughout the Silk Road. Some of the main ones being silk, spices, gold, tea, salt, wines and furs, and ceramics.

Sketch by Marra
Sketch by Iliana
Sketch by Taya

Learning about the Silk Road is important because it teaches us about our history and how cultures were connected in the ancient world.

It also taught us about where most of the trade went along in Asia and Europe. Most of the trade routes passed through Constantinople which for most of the time the Silk Road existed was controlled by the Byzantine empire. Constantinople was later conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453.

Sketch by Gabi

Going along the Silk Road the entire way would be a very hard and laborious challenge. The Silk Road was mainly made up out of different parts and sections of smaller trade routes that eventually came together and formed the Silk Road.

Sketch by Krish

The way the Silk Road worked is that one merchant or seller would take their product along the Silk Road and drop it off at a city on the Silk Road. Let’s say it was a shipment of silk. The silk could be carried from China to India and the merchant would sell it there. Then another merchant would take that silk and perhaps transfer it to Persia and from there to Arabia. From Arabia to Constantinople, and from Constantinople to cities in Europe.

Sketch by Saoirse

So items didn’t necessarily have to go all the way along the Silk Road with the same merchant. It would connect through a series of different merchants and trading routes.

By learning about the Silk Road, we learned about the history of contact and trade between many different people, including the exchange of ideas, technology, and germs.

As Palmer said, "I have learned many things, including world history, how you make silk, geography, and what countries made which things. The learning goal was to teach us about what life was like and what happened hundreds of years ago." 

Sketch by Abby

In a future blog post, we will explore what happened at Constantinople in the year 1453 and how that affected trade along the Silk Road and led to a "discovery" that changed the history of the whole world...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Genius Hour!

Written by Blake

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to have an hour a day to do whatever you wanted in school? Well, for Genius Hour (GH), we get to experience that. GH is 45 minutes to an hour of “free time.” We can work on any project that we want, as long as it is not illegal, inappropriate, or dangerous. Some examples of what some projects could be are taking apart a computer, cooking, and/or coding. There are so many possibilities!

During Genius Hour, students can get the chance to do something that they could not do before, either because people have stopped them, or they have not had the time. In GH, we are learning to use the Habits of Mind (cooperation, reflection, curiosity, creativity, self-awareness, adaptability, and persistence) to work out our ideas. Those traits are important because you need them throughout life.

Here is a video we watched when we first started Genius Hour:

And here is a slideshow of pictures from our first GH session last Thursday:

Here are some quotes from students about Genius Hour:
  • I think we are doing this to do whatever we want and to set a goal for what we want to do. These goals are important because at the end we try to accomplish the goal that we set. - Alex H
  • I think Genius Hour is really fun. I am doing cooking, so I am learning how to cook some foods that I have not made before. - Bailey
  • We are doing Genius Hour because we can learn anything. Also in genius hour we all probably make lots of mistakes we can learn from. - Leo
  • I think we are doing it so we can get creative and work on an exciting project. - Maddie D.
  • I love Genius Hour. The only thing I probably dislike is that time goes fast and we only do it once a week. Anyways, I love it. We are doing Genius hour because it helps to let us know that we will fail sometimes. - Gabi
  • We are doing Genius Hour to figure out how to research well and to learn how to work around mistakes. - Hugo
  • I think we are doing Genius Hour to express our ideas. - Maxwell 
  • I like genius hour because it gives us a chance to be independent for an hour and we work on our own project that we made up with a friend or by yourself. - Bethany

So, Genius Hour is a great time to be creative, and let your imagination run wild. Seize the opportunity of GH, and create something amazing. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Pumpkin Carvings 2017

We have 15 fantastic entries in the Pumpkin Carving Challenge! Lots of creativity and personality! (View the slideshow in fullscreen to appreciate all the details.)

And, it really doesn't matter which one is "the winner' because they are all amazing, but here is the poll to vote for your favorite. (Voting will close Tuesday night.)

Thank you to everyone who participated!