Happy November! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!
This week we are wrapping up the last of the self-discovery portion of our unit, and we are beginning the MYSTERY unit! The kids are so excited to learn the skills necessary to be expert detectives and mystery authors.
Over the past month, the students have completed the following activities:
Creative and Critical Thinking Activities
Synectics- The students have completed Synectics creative writing activities comparing themselves and other objects to other things in new and original ways. Through this activity, students also learned the importance of supporting your claims with clear reasoning.
Grandfather Tang Lesson- Through this reading, geometry, creative thinking lesson, students were able to identify geometric pieces by their attributes. They were also given an opportunity to create an original animal or object using the 7 provided tangram pieces. This original creation will be used as inspiration for an original story by each student.
Word Picture Puzzles- The students used critical and creative thinking to solve and create word picture puzzles.
Missing Numbers Puzzles- The students used math skills to solve a given missing numbers puzzle. Students used deductive reasoning and their knowledge of addition and subtraction math facts to solve 4 of these puzzles.
Escalator Video- In this social-emotional lesson, the students watched a short video about 2 people who got “stuck” on an escalator because it broke down. Following my guiding questions, students were able to decipher the comparison between this video and choices we make in life. In life, we can either be on the “stairs” or on the “escalator.” When we try hard, take ownership over our learning, and go the extra mile, we are on the “stairs.” When we give up too easily or wait for others to do the hard things for us, we are on the “escalator.” This will be an analogy I use with the students throughout the rest of the year.
On the Job Hunt: Career Discovery Project- The students began and completed the Career Discovery project in the last month. Through this culminating project, students learned to research a chosen topic using a trustworthy website, gather information, answer higher level questions, and then turn this information into a completed project. Students are also learning the skills necessary to be an effective presenter. We cannot wait for these final career projects to be presented in 2 weeks.
Discovery Puzzles- The students participated in discovery discussions centered around the books “What is This Thing?” and “Stories with Holes.” Students used deductive reasoning to solve the “Stories with Holes” puzzles as a group.
Socratic Circle- The students participated in a Socratic Circle centered around the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Through this activity, students disected this piece of text determining unknown words, identifying key phrases, and asking important questions. Then, the students sat in a “fish bowl” format. Half of the students discussed the text and student questions, and the others observed. Then they switched places. I was SO impressed with their ability to make important inferences about this poem. We compared the poem to life choices and career choices, and the students pointed out that it is much better to take the more difficult or uncommon path in life because you only have one life to live and the harder you work, the better off your life will be. Some students even pointed out that the path of “hard work” is becoming overgrown because many people don’t want to take it. However, it is the best path to take!
I cannot wait to dive further into the mystery portion of the unit with the students in the coming weeks. The students will be acting as forensic scientists as they study evidence, and they will be working as writers as their author their own original mystery.