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!

Field Trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum

Written by Bryan L.

This activity was a field trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. It was very fun, and it had a real-life scale model of a Native American village from around 1500.  In social studies, we were learning about all different tribes and who were the first people to come to the new world. We are also learning about how the Native Americans of this area lived before Europeans came.

There were also tons of artifacts. There was another part when you take an escalader down to a different floor about the Ice Age, and all around you there was ice and water running down the ice.

Here is a slideshow with pictures from the exhibit of the Pequot village and captions written by us!

Here are some quotes from students about the trip:
  • "I thought it was awesome!" - Josh
  • “It was so fun because we learned how to create tools and go on the tower. But we had lunch way too late, my stomach was growling.” - Seamus
  • “The things that I liked about the field trip were the giant elevator that brought us up high. I also liked the village, it taught me a lot of things and made me feel like I was really in a Pequot village.” - Palmer
  • “Why I think we went on the field trip is to learn how different and difficult it was back then compared to now. Because now we have phones, cars, computers, all this mechanical stuff plus all sorts of robots and parks etc.” - Maxwell
  • “It is important to learn about them because you can compare how they lived and how we live.” - Patrick

Learning About Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences

Written by Marra

We are learning about different sentences to make our writing sound more fluent. Instead of just writing the simple sentences, “The dog jumped. The cat jumped.” we can that into a compound sentence. These sentences are important, but sometimes they can be tricky!

Here are a few quotes from students:
  • "I think we need the skill of using these sentences." - Palmer  
  • "It was a little tough at first, but then I figured it out." - Maddie 
  • "I feel that complex sentences are tough." - Saoirse
And here are some examples of compound and complex sentences written and labeled by students:

I think this learning is important. We will probably use these sentences in our everyday life. If you are writing to someone, and you don’t use proper grammar, they may be confused. This is why we are learning this and what we are learning from it.

These sentences are a little challenging, but as Maxwell said, “If you use these sentences, it will help your writing. If you don’t include the proper grammar in your writing, no one will know what you're talking about.”

Here is a slideshow explaining simple, compound, and complex sentences:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Peasants and Monarch Simulation

Written by Alexander H. and Blake M.

Nowadays, everyone wants us to “treat others the way we want to be treated,” which is what we should be doing, but it wasn’t always like that. In Europe in the 1500’s, it was a very unfair and dirty life for the peasants while the King or Queen, the nobles, and the church had a lot of things.

This activity was about experiencing how unfair life was like in Europe in the 1500’s.

By doing this activity, it helped us understand what the peasants' life was like in the 1500’s. We learned that it was very, very unfair. Not all of us liked this activity, in fact, most of us didn’t. Everyone who was a peasant was very mad that the “queen” and the “noble” got to have fun and do whatever they wanted.
  • “It was terrible activity. It was the worst activity in the world, and I never want to do it AGAIN!” - Alex M.
  • “I hated it.” - Iliana
  • “I liked nothing about this activity because everything was unfair. I was very happy when it was over.” - Aaron
  • “I know that I didn’t like this activity because it was super unfair for the peasants, but I’m sure the 'queen' loved it because she was spoiled." - Sophia

In most students' opinion, it was not fun but other people's opinion was different because their experiences were different.

  • “I think that being a peasant was horrible, even though I was just a peasant for five minutes. When I was a knight, it was much more luxurious. I got to eat candy and play videogames, but I still respected the peasants.” - Leo
  • “It was fun because I got to play on the iPads, eat candy, and listen to music.” - Bailey (a noble)
So even though many people thought this activity was unfair, the peasants and monarch activity was a powerful way to learn about what life was like in Europe in the 1500’s.

Gabi called the activity, "Terrible. Unfair. Unforgiving." But she went on to say, “I learned how bad life was back then if you were a peasant.”

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pumpkin Carving Challenge

Halloween is Tuesday, October 31st. Many people in the United States celebrate the holiday, but not everyone. Whether or not you celebrate Halloween, carving pumpkins in the fall can be a very fun (and slimy) activity.

If you carve a pumpkin (with adult supervision, of course), please consider sending me a picture of your creation (either through Google Drive or email) so we can make a slideshow and post it on our blog.

We will also have an online vote for students who want to enter their carving into an optional contest for best creation! The winner will get to choose from a variety of prizes from Mr. Salsich's treasure trove... (fake mustaches, mustache coasters, Nerf shots, candy corn, an authentic 2018 model paper clip, etc.)

Here is an interesting video to give you different ideas for pumpkin carving:

Have fun carving!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Habits of Mind" Team Challenge

Written by Sam L.

Today we’ll be talking about our Habits of Mind Team Challenge. In our challenge, we had five challenges. The first challenge was to build a human pyramid with our group, the second was to write a group narrative on what would happen if Mr. Keith sat down in one of our classroom beach chairs (heh, heh, heh), the third challenge was to teach someone or master our class handshake, the fourth was to identify and sequence the plot events in a narrative, and the fifth was to watch and record notes of a “Habits of Mind" video.

Below is a slideshow of pictures from the challenge:

Here are what some students from both classes thought about the Habits of Mind challenge:

  • “I really like it because we worked as a team and we got to make a human tower. It is important because we are classmates and we need to learn how to work with them." - Seamus 
  • “I liked that we got to be active and work together. I think we did the challenge so we could figure out that when you use teamwork and cooperation and all the habits of mind you have fun and get things done. It is important to learn how to use habits of mind because when you get a job you will have to use them." - Palmer
  • “The 'Habits of Mind' team challenge was very fun. To me, the best part of it was building the human pyramid. My group had to use cooperation, creativity, and reflection the most. Overall, the "Habits of Mind" team challenge was a very good idea because it did teach us the habits of mind. It is important to learn about habits of mind because you need them in life, no matter what." - Blake
  • “I really liked it because we got to do fun activities. I think we did it so we could work together and learn at the same time." - Taya

I think this challenge was really important for all of us because it taught us the Habits of Mind and how to work as a team and cooperate, while at the same time still having fun. I think my favorite was when we built the human pyramid because it let us interact with some sixth-grade students.

The "Habits of Mind"