Well, it is hard to believe that it is already 2012 and that we have been back at school for only a week. At Laurel Mountain, we hit the new year running. Here is a recap of what has been going on over the past week.
On Monday, January 2nd (YES, January 2nd we were back at work!) the LME staff participated in staff development. We had Nancy and Anita from Alvin ISD train the staff on Independent Investigation Method, or IIM. Nancy is a classroom teacher and Anita is the school librarian.
They started off with an overview of the 7 steps of IIM. Nancy and Anita worked with our staff on developing Essential Questions for research topics and teaching the students to write in-depth guiding questions. The staff walked away with a better understanding of the IIM process. We were reminded to slow down and teach the skills of research. Anita and Nancy also explained how we can bring IIM into the curriculum we teach in the classroom and that we do not need to do all 7 steps to work on the skills of IIM. Thank you to Nancy and Anita for a great morning filled with discussions and learning. At LME, we are all learners.
This week in PETS lessons, I am working with first grade on divergent thinking. We are reviewing the parts of divergent thinking (use your imagination, be creative, think of all of the possibilities, and use other people's ideas to give you a new idea). The students are working on an activity called "Unique Ideas". The students have to use their imagination to create new pictures out of shapes and lines.
In second grade, we are also working on divergent thinking, but with words. Together, we are brainstorming words that describe a beautiful meadow on a sunny afternoon. We are brainstorming colorful words, actions words, words to describe characters, similes and metaphors. Then, the students are using some of those words to write an introduction to a story about a meadow. The students are learning to use divergent thinking with words (like Yolanda the Yarnspinner uses) instead of ideas or inventions (like Isabel the Inventor uses).
In third grade, we are continuing to work on convergent thinking. In convergent thinking, we find and organize clues, take time and reflect, put clues together and find an answer. This week, we are solving some new logic elimination grids. These grids are challenging since they have a double matrix. It is very important to put clues together.
Our 2nd and 3rd grade enrichment clusters start this Friday. We are so excited to offer the students 16 different cluster topics to choose from. The students will find out this Friday what enrichment cluster they are placed in and we can't wait. I will update the blog at the end of the week share what took place at our first meetings.
Some of our 5th graders have volunteered to be student helpers in the 2/3 enrichment clusters (The facilitators say THANK YOU!). I am going to train them this Thursday so they are ready to be of assistance.
The other 5th graders will be working on a variety of E-slot activities in their classrooms that focuses on the interests and needs of the students.
In 4th grade, the students will be participating in E-slot electives starting this Friday. These are like "mini enrichment clusters". The 4th grade teachers created 7 different elective topics based on the kids' interests that focus on community service and service learning or research. Last Friday, the students ranked their choices and they will find out this Friday which elective they will participate in. These electives will last for 8 weeks. I will update the blog with more details about the electives on Friday.
As you can see, we are really busy learning and exploring at LME (teachers included). Continuing to develop the whole child...