This week, I began to go into the classrooms to teach different lessons. I always love doing this for several reasons. First, I really enjoy working with a classroom (since I do not have my own classroom as the enrichment coordinator). I love getting to know the students and I love that they get to know me. Pretty soon I start to hear, "Hi, Mrs. Levitan!" as I walk down the halls. This always makes me smile.
Secondly, I really enjoy teaching different enrichment lessons to classes. Whether it is math, IIM or thinking lessons, I like the opportunity to share different types of lessons with the students of LME.
So, I went into the first and second grade classrooms this week to teach the PETS (or Primary Education Thinking Skills) lessons. These lessons focus on teaching the students about the different types of thinking we use to solve problems in our lives. Throughout the year, the students will learn more about convergent, divergent, visual/spatial and evaluative thinking. We learn using different characters who live in Crystal Pond Woods that use these types of thinking. These lessons are always so fun and engaging for the students. Our kids love Crystal Pond Woods. Just ask them about Dudley the Detective. :) I will visit every first and second grade classroom every other week to work on PETS lessons.
This week in first grade, we reviewed Dudley the Detective or deductive thinking, which is a type of convergent thinking. We discussed what we remember about Dudley from last year and reviewed the four parts of deductive thinking (look for clues, think about the clues, NEVER jump to conclusions and find one right answer). We practiced our deductive thinking by working on an activity called "Mystery Creatures". The students had to listen to the clues and using their deductive thinking, see if they could figure out which animals I was describing in my riddles.
In second grade, we reviewed all of the friends and types of thinking from last year. We reviewed Dudley the Detective and Sybil the Scientist, who both use convergent thinking, Isabel the Inventor and Yolanda the Yarnspinner, who both use divergent thinking, Max the Magician, who uses visual/spatial thinking and Jordan the Judge, who uses evaluative thinking. We did an activity where the students had to match the type of thinking with the Crystal Pond Woods character.
This week in second grade, I started to work with students in math. In class, the students take pre-assessments with each math unit. If a child shows mastery in a certain math concept, the teacher and I differentiate the instruction. The purpose is so the child is not sitting in class learning what he/she already understands. In education, we call this called curriculum compacting.
Twice a week, I take the second grade students who compact out of different math units. On the other days, the classroom teacher is differentiating the lessons being taught in the classroom. These groups change each time the math concepts change. This ensures that the group is comprised of students who show mastery of the specific math concepts from the pre-assessment. This week and next, I will work with students on number sense and addition/subtraction strategies.
This morning, I went into Ms. Gordon's 4th grade class and did an overview of IIM (Independent Investigative Method). I modeled how to find a topic to research. I modeled how to use a concept map to think about what you know and want to know about the topic you will research. In class, the students will be doing a "mini-IIM" on biographies of famous Americans. The students completed their own concept map on the famous American they will be researching in class. The next step is for the students to form their research questions.
And of course, I am getting things organized and ready for our 4th and 5th grade enrichment clusters to start on October 7. This week, the enrichment cluster descriptions went home with the students. This gives our parents a chance to read over the descriptions with their children and discuss what the children would like to do. In class, the students are ranking their top four choices. I am taking that information and entering it into an Excel spreadsheet, which I will send off this week to Eric Deal. Mr. Deal has created a computer program that randomly assigns the students to an enrichment cluster, based on the student's rankings and number of interested students.
It has been a busy and productive week. Continuing to develop the whole child...