The week after Thanksgiving Break (November 28 - December 2) will be Genius Hour for all grades. Students should bring in reference materials from home to help them research. This could be a book, something printed from a website, or a device with a helpful website pertaining to their topic bookmarked or saved on the device.
I can assist by printing something for the students, but kindly request that they already have the website or information saved somewhere before coming to TAG. They can either bring in a flash drive or email me the link to the information. It cuts into the time I'm able to help students read and understand their research when they're unprepared and we have to spend time searching for information.
Our Week in TAG
2nd Grade - Pilgrims' Challenge Unit
Our Pilgrims' Challenge Unit concluded with a final survival activity: a New World Foods Taste Test. Our Essential Question this week was "How did life change for the Pilgrims once they became friends with the Wampanoags?"
By winter, there was very little food left for the Pilgrims. Thankfully, the Wampanoag natives showed the Pilgrims the abundant amount of food available in the New World but the Pilgrims avoided the foods because they were used to English foods. Many of the Pilgrims preferred to go hungry rather than eat some of the foods that surrounded them. Some actually died because they would not eat these unfamiliar foods. I think it's safe to say that there were some hungry Pilgrims after our taste test, but I was also impressed with the new foods some of the students were willing to try! Parents, thank you so much for sending in food samples and to our volunteers, including my 5th graders, who offered a helping hand on Wednesday!
Next time in TAG we'll begin our second unit of the year: What's the Matter in the Kitchen?
3rd Grade - Ancient Civilizations Unit
Third grade students toured to Ancient Greece and discovered the very different philosophies behind two major city-states: Athens and Sparta. Athens encouraged the importance of education and seeking new knowledge while Sparta's citizens were more interested in military rule and strength. Students answered the Essential Question: "If a nation only had one option, to either train all of its citizens to become great warriors, or educate all of its citizens to become great learners, which do you think it should choose and why?"
Next time in TAG, we'll travel to Ancient Rome as we investigate ancient architecture. Students will discover the strength of a column like those used in Ancient Greece and learn why and how arches were used frequently in Ancient Rome. If you can donate any supplies for our activities on Monday, November 28, please click the link below to sign up.
4th Grade - Qualities of Leadership Unit
Fourth graders answered the Essential Question: "Why is it important for a leader to "lead by example?"" as we studied the life of Jackie Robinson. We discussed his values and how he overcame barriers. Jackie was a leader by being a positive role model in his behavior. The character traits he demonstrated that students could and should work to emulate are citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence, and teamwork.
Next time in TAG we'll finish analyzing Jackie's life and introduce our final leader of this unit, Dorothea Lange, an important artist and photographer who tried to capture people's need, but also their strength during the Great Depression.
5th Grade - Epidemic Unit
After watching the riveting documentary on Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, who was an Irish immigrant working as a cook in the early 1900s and a healthy carrier of Typhoid, students chose sides, planned, organized, and wrote compelling speeches to support their stance on whether Typhoid Mary was a villain or a victim. There were lots of debatable points including Mary's unwillingness to cooperate with the NY Health Department's requests for testing, her quarantine on North Brother Island, how her personal rights were violated numerous times, and even her decision to continue cooking and spreading Typhoid to other families after her release from quarantine. Students defended their position very passionately for Typhoid Mary either being a villain or a victim as they answered the Essential Question "Do you believe Typhoid Mary was a villain or a victim? Give examples to support your stance."
Thursday's debate winner was Typhoid Mary as the Villain.
Friday's debate winner was Mary Mallon as the Victim. Great job to all our debaters!
We are nearing the end of our first units, with plans to conclude either next week or the week after Thanksgiving Break! Here's an overview of what each grade's studying and what's coming up next.
2nd Grade - Pilgrims' Challenge
The remaining Pilgrims have survived their first winter in the New World, largely in part to the help given by the Wampanoags. This week, we completed a Compare Contrast lesson about the similarities and differences in the lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags.
Next week, we'll conclude the unit as we discuss our Essential Question: How did life change when the Pilgrims made friends with the Wampanoag Indians? Students will also complete their last survival challenge with a New World foods taste test, which is always fun for students! We'll conclude the unit by learning about the first Thanksgiving feast, just in time for students to share their knowledge with friends and family over the upcoming holiday!
The Speedbolt's Village (Table #1)
The Sunflower's Village (Table #2)
The KEC's Village (Table #4)
The Hershey Bear's Village (Table #5)
3rd Grade - Ancient Civilizations
We concluded our study of Ancient Egypt as students solved a hieroglyphic Mystery Lesson and created their own Shrinky Dink cartouche. A cartouche is a decorative name plate and was usually attached to the mummy's sarcophagus (coffin) for identification. We then traveled to Ancient India to evaluate some potential theories leading to the disappearance of the Indus River Valley civilization. Students really enjoyed supporting and refuting the theories of mysterious disappearance at Mohenjo-Daro with this Decision Making lesson.
Next week we'll explore Ancient Greece as students compare and contrast the heavily militarist city-state, Sparta, with Athens.
4th Grade - Qualities of Leadership
There was no 4th grade TAG this Tuesday due to Election Day. Last week students examined the leadership qualities of Robert E. Lee and answered the Essential Question: How do leaders make thoughtful decisions? We analyzed primary source documents and evaluated the decisions made by General Lee which lead to the surrender of the South and the end of the Civil War.
Next week in TAG, students will learn about a sports legend and leader: Jackie Robinson.
5th Grade - Epidemic
Students successfully saved the city of Philadelphia in 1793 from the Yellow Fever epidemic by traveling back in time as a team of doctors, historians, and entomologists with modern aid for the citizens in the form of bug spray with DEET and vaccines. As all teams realized, prevention and protection is the way to save the city!
Our last unit activity for Epidemic is to examine the life and actions of Mary Mallon, or Typhoid Mary. Students debated whether Typhoid Mary, the Irish immigrant cook who was a carrier of Typhoid, was a villain or a victim. Students answered the Essential Questions: How do government organizations and individual citizens protect themselves from public health disasters? and How does the Bill of Rights offer personal protections for individuals and the common good? Next week we'll compare and contrast the situations and events surrounding Typhoid Mary and Tuberculosis Andrew.
Gifted Specialist Teacher at Teasley Elementary