Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekly Preview: 10/1-10/5, 2012

I can't believe it's October.  Here in Iowa, the leaves are GORGEOUS.  I don't know if I've ever seen them prettier.  Enjoy the lovely fall weather, and check out the news for room 101:

6th GOAL:  This class is revving up for Mock Trial.  We'll spend the first part of the week learning more about the American judicial system and the differences between criminal and civil cases.  Then, we'll read about the details of our first case, assign parts, and prep for our first mock trial.

7th GOAL:  This class is still talking about Big Science.  We've had some deep and interesting discussions (my favorite part of GOAL classes), especially on the topics of space exploration and the size of the universe.  This week, we'll look into genetic research and the possibilities it holds.  Then, we'll start debating about what we think is best for our country.

8th GOAL & 8th Critical Concepts:  These classes will be taking the MAP test this week.  The technology is finally ready for us to begin.  We'll be testing on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  On Wednesday and Friday, students will brush up again on Type to Learn and Fast Math programs.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekly Preview: 9/24-9/28, 2012

Fall is here!  Enjoy those beautiful leaves and perfect temperatures, and check out what's happening in room 101 this week!

6th GOAL: We've begun our Mock Trial unit.  We'll spend several days learning about the American Court System, and then we'll have the background knowledge we need to have some trials of our own!

7th GOAL: We're in the middle of our Big Science: For the Sake of the Nation unit.  We're looking at some current issues like pollution, genetic modification, and space exploration.  From there, we'll debate what should be the next big push in scientific research by our government.

8th GOAL & 8th Critical Concepts: We're continuing to work on keyboarding skills and fast math practice until the MAP testing program is ready to go.  Then, we'll spend 3 class days taking the MAP test to help give teachers, parents, and students an accurate picture of student progress.  We'll be taking this test 3 times this year to measure student growth.  To learn more about the MAP test, click here (Northwest Evaluation Association's website).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekly Preview: 9/17-9/21, 2012

Happy Homecoming Week!  Preparations and celebrations are under way, so catch that Trojan spirit!

Here's what's going on in room 101 this week:

6th GOAL:  Students learned about the class wiki today.  They'll be discussing their read-aloud book on this site.  They can post at school or at home, and it's a fun way to have a class discussion.  We'll be finishing our physical models of the humdingers this week, and then we'll be moving on to Mock Trial... always a favorite of GOAL students!

7th GOAL:  Students started their class wiki today for the read-aloud book.  We'll be finishing up our poetry unit this week and moving on to a unit called Big Science: For the Sake of the Nation.  We'll be debating in groups about what the next big government-backed science program should be.  The space race was the focus in the 1960's.  What should the focus be now?

8th GOAL:  Students took their Mandarin Chinese test today.  We'll finish the oral portion of the test on Tuesday, and then they'll get some time to practice keyboarding and Fast Math skills like the Critical Concepts classes have been doing.

8th Critical Concepts:  We'll be continuing the Type To Learn program to work on keyboarding skills and the Fast Math program to brush up on our math facts.  After this week, we'll be taking a break from these activities and getting into some MAP testing that will be completed by all the 8th grade students.

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekly Preview: 9/10-9/14, 2012

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Here we go, just burning through September.

GOAL:  Each GOAL class will be getting their class wikis set up this week for the read-aloud book their class is hearing.  By the end of this week, the links on the right hand margin of this blog will be active.  Students should respond to the discussion as often as they can.  Parents and guardians, feel free to check out the pages.  You'll be able to observe, but you will not be able to contribute.  For safety reasons, the wikis are only open to the students for editing, and they will be only use their school usernames, not full first and last names.

Specifically, here's the scoop for each individual class for this week:

6th GOAL:  This week, students are exploring the differences between conceptual and physical models.  We'll observe a contraption called the Humdinger, and students will try to create physical models of how they think the Humdinger works.

7th GOAL:  We'll be finishing up writing and sharing pantoums this week as an end to our poetry unit. From there, we'll be starting our Big Science: For the Sake of the Nation activity.  This involves debating big ideas in science and trying to brainstorm what the next big government-backed science project should be.

8th GOAL:  Students will be writing and performing their skits using their Mandarin Chinese vocabulary.  They will also be studying their flashcards and taking their Mandarin Chinese vocabulary quiz.

8th Critical Concepts:  Students will continue to work on keyboarding skills with the Type To Learn program.  They are improving every day and doing their best to not just survive Keyboarding Bootcamp, but to come out on the other end as champion typists!

On a different note, Book Club AND Drama Club start this week.  Leave a comment if you have any questions about how to get involved or how to get your child involved!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Fairfield's own silver medalist, Matt Stutzman!  Awesome!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weekly Preview: 9/4-9/7, 2012

I hope you all had a nice 3-day Labor Day Weekend.  Here's how the short school week is shaping up in room 101:

6th GOAL: We've begun our read-aloud book, Okay For Now, by Gary D. Schmidt.  I'll be reading for a few minutes every day to start our class.  In the next few weeks, students will be responding to and discussing the book on a class wiki.  Stay tuned for details.  This class is enjoying its Models and Design unit.  We'll be investigating more black boxes this week including the Drought Stopper and the Humdinger.  Students will create both conceptual and visual models to theorize how these black boxes work.

7th GOAL:  We've begun our read-aloud book, The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar.  Like in 6th grade, students will, in the next few weeks, be discussing this book in a wiki.  This class is continuing its poetry exploration by working with alphabet dice poetry, graffiti poetry, and pantoums.

8th GOAL:  We've begun our read-aloud book, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and in the next few weeks, students will begin discussing this book on a class wiki.  I'm excited to share this classic with them!  This class is working hard to learn Mandarin Chinese vocabulary.  It's hard work!  This week, students will be choosing the 50 terms they feel are most important to know to have a very  introductory knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.  They'll be using these terms in a skit and working up to a quiz sometime in the next week or so, depending on how long the skits take.

8th Critical Concepts:  We've moved on from our internet safety unit.  Now we're working on our keyboarding skills.  We'll be in the lab for the next few weeks working on a computer program called Type To Learn 4.  It starts students off at their current typing level, so it's very individualized.  Every student will be able to grow in his/her own keyboarding skills!  We're also still checking assignment journals every day, so students need to make sure they have theirs filled out for every class period.