Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I am We--Citizenship in the 8th Grade

Our 8th grade students spend the year studying American civics and asking questions like: What are the foundations of American democracy?  What have been the challenges America has faced as we work towards our Constitution's vision of "We the people" and a just, tranquil, safe and free society? How is each one of us a part of the collective "we"?

As students learn about the history and structure of the American democracy, they also explore their own role as citizens in a project called "I am We." Each student selects a topic of interest and plans and executes a project where they can practice active citizenry.

As a part of their project, a group of 8th grade students recently visited the NHSPCA. Below is a brief summary of the project from Sophia Gioldasis:

"I was always interested in animals but never thought I would work on a project about saving them. It was truly a childhood dream come true. My classmates who were working on the same topic as me made non-sewable toys and blankets out of fleece to be donated to a local animal organization. The place we chose was the NHSPCA (society for the prevention of cruelty to animal). Once we donated our toys we interviewed the educator of the place so we could understand what the place is all about and what they are trying to accomplish. After that we took a tour around and saw the cute dogs and cats. We also got to hold some animals. My friends got to hold a ferret, a chinchilla, a bird; I got to hold a rat. In the end we all got information for our I am We project."











Block Dogs Come to Life to teach Surface Area and Volume

Students in Jay Spadano's 6th grade math class were busy building "block dogs" this week. Students started with 13 plastic cubes and the challenge to build a dog. Once the dog was built, they needed to calculate the volume and surface area. Volume was easy for the group--surface area proved to be a challenge!

Part two was to build the dog using a flat paper net. What would the dog model look like if it were on a flat piece of graph paper?

Once the paper dog was was built, the challenge was to scale the dog up (choose your own scale factor...some students were making it 2X, others were working on as big as 4X). The final step will be to calculate the area and surface volume for the newly enlarged creature.

Below are some pictures of the lesson in action...







Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Understanding the Impact of Child Labor

Our 6th grade students are in the midst of an interdisciplinary unit on Child Labor. Using the novel, Iqbal by Francesco-D'Adamo as an anchor text, the goal of the unit is to expose the realities of international child labor and its impact on the quality of lives of young people world-wide.

Students on the 6 Gold team participated in an activity to help them understand the type of work and the amount of money earned by child laborers. Students were assigned families and "worked" for a portion of class. "Work" was inspected and students earned rupees to contribute to their family budget.  As a culmination for the unit students will create public service announcements to demonstrate their knowledge of the content, use their persuasive writing skills, and practice public speaking.


Going Visual in the Math Classroom

The walls and visual spaces of a school can be an important a resource for learning. Mr. Taffel and Mr. Moscardini have filled their 7th grade math room with "mathematical art." It is fun to watch the math wall evolve as the students progress through the Eureka curriculum.

Spanish Videos

It has not been uncommon to see small groups of interestingly costumed students roaming the halls with computers. These students are working on a Spanish project where they wrote a short dialogue between two or three strangers (e.g. How are you? What do you like to do?). The goal is to build students' comfort in speaking Spanish and in using conversational vocabulary. Once the dialogue is written, students act it out and create a short video.

I'm not sure where you might meet "strangers" dressed in this way, but the group below was certainly having some fun with the language...