Coming Soon to our “Flipped” Room!

After Spring Break big changes are coming to our room! Mrs. Baldocchi will be testing a “flipped classroom” model ! In order to reach the next level on our quest to being a 100% authentic, hands on educational setting we are trying something new! Mrs B will be creating instructional videos for us to view at home and we will then devote more class time to hands on exploration of concepts and I.E.P. goals. Stay tuned for BIG THINGS!!!!

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Art and Skills Buddies – Session 1

This year we are happy to announce that we are continuing  our “Buddies” Program! This year we are partnering up with Mrs. Meyers room. Our new friends are in Kindergarden and First grade! We are so excited to be starting – this week we created a lesson plan based off collaboration, friendship and growth. We worked with our buddies on a watercolor that we will transform into one big collaborative tree of friendship! Here are some photos of the session- it was amazing and ALL the kids were engaged and excited to work on our lesson! We were also so impressed with how mature and kind our new friends are!

What a Week! Look what came today! <3

We are pleased to announce that our tablet/ laptops came!!!! When we get called that UPS has something in the office we know it’s got to be good! Check us out! Now we are fully capable to set off on a financial literacy adventure!

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The Tablet/ Laptop! The Key boards detach so we can use them MANY ways!!!

The Tablet/ Laptop! The Key boards detach so we can use them MANY ways!!!

It’s a GREAT day to be in Room 108!!!!!

Great news everyone- WE GOT FUNDED!!!! Thanks to the AMAZING souls at Donor’s Choose we got another project funded! We are now the PROUD  owners of 4 new laptops and will now have a Financial Literacy center in our room! We are thrilled and thinking of what great things we can do next!

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Financial Literacy – Our Newest Donor’s Choose Adventure!!!!! Help us get our laptops!

Hello Everyone!

It has been a VERY busy week around here- we are completing our first round of the PARCC test. Everyone did really well !!!!

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We want to share our newest Donor’s Choose Grant! We are working on securing 4 laptops with cases! This much needed technology will help us embark on our financial literacy project! Financial Literacy is a skill that is often lacking in adults- did you know that over half of all American’s are in serious credit card debt? We have pledged to become informed in all things money, credit, loans, and budgets! Help us reach our dream by checking out our project proposal here is the link;

http://www.donorschoose.org/pbaldocchi?rf=link-siteshare-2015-03-teacher_account-teacher_2246000

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Until Next Week!

We are back!!!!! Algebra All stars- Novels- Debates and we travel to Ancient Greece!

Hello everyone! We have missed you all so much! We are back- please tune in to see our weekly posts. We have had a TON of changes here, and are doing the most amazing work in Room 108! Spring is trying to sprout here in Chicago but we think it’s jackets and sweaters for a few more weeks.

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Algebra All Stars- Exponential Growth and Functions- 8th Grade 

Wow! What a unit- we are exploring exponents, exponential growth- decay and functions. Following our 90% hands on and or creative curriculum promise we made to ourselves this year we set about on some Algebra challenges. Miss Baldocchi began our unit by posing a question- here it is

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Most of us choose the $100.00 but then we watched the legend of the gain of rice and tried this theory out ourselves- Wow!!!! We were shocked!!!!!

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Then we took out our trusty chess board ( 101 uses!!!) and tried the theory ourselves

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This we discovered is Exponential Growth! Simply amazing! We went on to learn and practice- growth- decay and the functions of exponents. We learned the “Laws of Exponents”. We love Algebra!!!! Our mid term was to calculate a Zombie Apocalypse-  it was awesome!

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Ratio and Proportions – 6th and 7th Grades 

While our 8th grade buddies are plugging away 6th and 7th has been learning all about ratios, proportions, and proportional relationships! There are literally limitless ways you can learn about these concepts and another fav of ours ( UNIT RATES!!!!!) using hands on and real world experiences.  We took over 150 photos of this unit ( yes – we love the camera! 🙂 ) Here are just a few ways we show mastery and meaning!

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We no longer tell anyone we are bad at math!!!!!!! This unit was so much fun and we are not over with it yet!

Math Intervention as “Out of the box” as we can make it! 

Some of us are still working on personal math goals and sharpening basic operations- we built these cool “operation hangers” so we can have a visual, tactile and concrete way to learn. They are not fancy, pretty or expensive but THEY WORK!!! Here is a shot of them.

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The Lightning Thief and our travels to Ancient Greece! 

Our latest novel for grades 6-7- and 8th is Percy Jackson the “Lightning Thief” By Rick Riorden. Miss B had planned 3 different novels for this reading unit but when the rest of us hearing the 6th graders talk about it we demanded a change! This is our favorite novel of the year and we are so enthralled with Percy’s journey that Miss B ordered the rest of the series for us!!!!! The novel delves into Ancient Greek culture and we learn about the Gods. Miss B loaded us up on all things ancient Greek! We studied Greek Math and Science , are learning the alphabet and are in love with all things Greece

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Writer’s Workshop Reaches New Heights! 6-7-8

We are serious authors and poets in Room 108. We decided that we needed a designated writing area that was only for drafting ideas, writing, editing, revising and publishing. Welcome to our new 6+1 Writing Center!

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We have been hard at work on the “Idea” and “Fluency” traits- here is our new visual aide- “THE RAFT” 

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We have been writing up a storm- if you come visit please make sure to ask to see our portfolios!

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Debate Over What Counts ! 

Twice a week we have “moral centers” Miss B sets up an issue- we study both sides to an issue and then pick a side and debate/ argue our point.  Here are some shots of an issue hitting Chicago this winter!

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We then created a podcast of our debate!

Odds and Ends-

We are still using our core social skills and have weekly sessions, we are still incorporating art into our social emotional time !

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Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Miss B’s Crew

So much to say! Close read with 6th- narrative collage and linear equations! More too!

Hello! We just officially ended the busiest first quarter we have ever had since starting this blog! We made a promise today to get back to our weekly updates. We now have 6th grade joining us for a reading block and couldn’t be more thrilled! 🙂 In 6th we are working on hammering our basic reading skills and are just learning the close read method (annotation). Miss B devised a color coded system for this and- to date- we are just focusing on three main symbols. Here are on some shots of this using Miss B’s all time favorite book- The Day the Crayons Quit!

Close Reading with 6th Grade!

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Megan Coyle Style Narrative Collage with 8th!

To wrap up our Forged by Fire novel we created a collage! Collage is a very intricate art for that uses a compilation of images to create an overall image and or portray a message. One artist who is known for her beautiful collage work is Megan Coyle. We studied Megan’s work and then selected a scene from the novel that spoke the most to us. Here are some shots of this and Danny going through the process of building he narrative collage.

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Graphing Linear Equations and wrapping up slope !!

In 8th math we just completed a grueling and difficult unit on Linear Equations. Wow it was a tough one- we learned so much and are so excited to report that we can all graph an equation, find slope, and so much more!!!!!! We are a very hands on group that prefers visuals and doing vs sitting and listening to lecture. Here is a shot of the day we absolutely mastered and nailed graphing the equations! We mastered this skill through the use of a deceptively hard video game ” Rescue the Zogs”. This game was no joke- there were 10 levels that we had to progress through and each level was SO DIFFICULT! Here are some shots of this-

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Evidence using Picture Books- 6th

Here are some shots of us using a great new book that that Miss Bought “Crankenstein”. This book is  hilarious – with Halloween approaching it was a PERFECT theme! Here we are learning about evidence. We used the amazing and rich illustrations in the book to point out evidence that supports the text.

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See you next week! ❤

Andy killed himself- is this a way to end a book?!?! Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Welcome!

We have been hard at work on our first novel unit- Tears of A Tiger by Sharon Draper.  This was an amazing and thought provoking book. Without spoiling it for you ( YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK) it is about a group of high school friends that see their lives change forever when one of them dies in a drinking and driving accident. The book follows the effects of this fateful night and in the end the driver, Andy, committed suicide because he could not live with the guilt. We were floored that he did this- better yet – we were angry and upset! This book brought many questions and issues up about teen drinking, suicide and friendships. Many of us have had friends die or be killed but no one we know has ever committed suicide. We discussed this a lot in our room and Ms. Bodanyi’s room as well.  

This week Miss B choose a U2 song called “A Day Without Me” for our small class close read. At first listen we were stuck- the song had an upbeat tempo and we are not huge U2 fans! 🙂 After we received the lyrics it all began to fall into place- it was about suicide! We listened again and annotate to pull the meaning from the text. Here are some pics of that

Renell Hard at Work!

Renell Hard at Work!

Annotating to pull meaning from unfamiliar text

Annotating to pull meaning from unfamiliar text

The Lyrics

The Lyrics

By the end of the close read we were able to decipher that this song was not random as we first thought and that Miss B chose it because it goes with one of the theme of Tears of a Tiger !  We also discovered that the song -despite the tempo- was actually quite sad and about a person who felt that they were all alone and had nothing to offer the world, just like our character Andy! After this our writing prompt was this—–

Our close read argument statement

Our close read argument statement

Wow!!!! This ignited a fire storm in everyone present !!!! We have tons to say about this some of us felt that it was not selfish and others did- here is one person’s perspective on the topic- ( Rough Drafts)

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Here is another ( Rough Draft)

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Off to a great start- right? Stay tuned for more excellent writing! Next week we will be starting our research projects about teen drinking – driving- and suicide.

We are back! Close reading into this new year and do Newspapers lie?

Hello everyone! We hope you had a great summer- we did! We are back now for a new school year! We had some really sad changes at the start of the year. Our little school family was broke up- D.J. moved to Florida and Eva is now attending a different school, we miss them everyday and wish them the best ❤ ! On a happier note we have a new family member- welcome Isaiah! We are happy he is with us. Isaiah is a very talented athlete and writer. In fact I.J. (as we call him) is writing his own book! Here is a photo of the new book and our newest class author!

I.J. hard at work writing his book

I.J. hard at work writing his book

Here is the rough draft- when he is done he is going to type it and try to get it published!

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In fact we have all been focusing on writing. This year we all set personal goals and everyone has decided that this is the year of the author!!! Miss B found out this summer that she is having some of her poetry published in an anthology- we are SO EXCITED~~~~~ This has inspired us!

In order to become better writers we need to become better readers. We have been using the CLOSE READ strategy – Miss B plays  a song for us, we listen, then we get the lyrics, listen again and we annotate  and write all over the page. We dissect the song, discover the message and then off the song we write. Sometimes we are given a prompt and sometimes we free write based off our annotations and level of understanding of the text. We use common symbols so we can carry this with us throughout every subject matter. Our comprehension has skyrocketed and we really love this! Here are some photos of us hard at work and our board dedicated to CLOSE READ.

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In a related subject we are learning about informational text. We all love fiction but understand that we need to learn how to gleam understanding  from non fiction texts as well. Miss B wrote a unit that uses newspapers to teach us about how to read, navigate, and understand informational text. We are also learning about awesome topics such as bias, if we can believe everything we read in the papers, and how connections are essential in learning and changing your life for the better. Here are some shots of this in action and a poster we made!

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A new addition to our room is our featured writer of the month wall! Miss B has a new display that shows off our amazing writing! This month our featured author is Isaiah!

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Isn’t his writing superb?!!!!

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Yes- you are reading this correctly! We got another Donors Choose project funded!!!! This one was a gigantic one and affords Miss B the ability to teach art classes to all the 6-7- and 8th grade students! Yep- 150 of us will now get art class!!!!! We have been waiting for this day for as long as we have been at Graham! Come check out our art blog at http://www.grahamschoolgallery.wordpress.com

Until next week- PEACE!

So Much Catching Up To Do- Holocaust Remembered, Trip to Pay Remembrance To and Donors Choose Us Again!

 

Hello!

So much to tell all of you! This month has been a whirl win, we are getting ready to graduate, working on our NWEA testing, final projects of the 4th quarter and going on many amazing learning opportunity outings!

First off we got two more grants funded through Donors Choose!!! This brings us to 4 fully funded projects in less than 3 months! What is even more amazing is that our last 2 projects got funded within hours of being published! We were told that we have some of the fasted funded projects on the site!!!!! Amazing!!!!

Project 3 was titled ” Painting is our Therapy” and we got materials in order to carry out our art and therapy projects, here are some shots of that!

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Our 4th Project was titled “How do you want to be Remembered- Advocate Books”. This one was super cool! We got hardcover books and gel pens and materials needed in order to write and create autobiographies! Here we are holding our books, we are starting them this week and are so excited about this!

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The books are incredible! They are real hardcover books with blank pages and a cover that can be printed, painted and or decorated. We are compiling our stories now!

 

Back in November and December Mrs. B put together an interdisciplinary unit featuring the Holocaust and the Novel NIGHT by Elie Weasel.   You might remember that we have blogged about this in the past. CPS Teaching Framework features non-fiction and what better book than NIGHT? As a wrap up to our unit we had two very special guest speakers. Mrs. and Mr. Meyer. Both are children of Jewish Holocaust survivors! Both were young children during the war and were gracious enough to come visit our class. Here are some shots of their visit in November.

 

 

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We turned our room into the setting of the novel!

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It was an amazing yet sad and sobering visit. We had tears in our eyes listening to their families stories and experiences. We also talked about Genocide and how similar acts of atrocities occur today around the world. We has many outstanding questions and our patient guests answered them and helped us understand. Here is a shot of all of us and the reception we had after the visit.

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Fast forward to this week- we got to finally wrap up our research of the Holocaust with a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie. We have been waiting to go since November! We were buzzing with anticipation the entire bus trip. Once we arrived we were sent through security and Mrs. B explained that the security had to be so stringent because there are still people who like to commit acts of hate. Normally one can’t take photos in the museum but our docent was kind enough to let us snap a few – here are some photos of this amazing place. This was a trip we will never forget. We got to step inside an actual cattle car that had transported Jews into the death camps. There were 20 of us in there and it was cramped and hard to maneuver- we were horrified when we were told the average human numbers were 200-300 Jews per car! This experience brought our research and novel unit full circle- We also discussed that we were meant to attend this trip and become up-standers and not bystanders to life.

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