Well… the day is almost here. April 6. TASOK is going global. Rather than riding the bus, tackling the traffic, or walking the trails, we will be strolling to our sofas, settling ourselves at the kitchen table, and building a bureau in our bedrooms to ready ourselves for reading online resources, tuning in to video lessons, and engaging in scholarly digital discussions. While it will certainly be a shift, I know we are set for success.
As I think about the initiation of the continuous learning plan, which will officially begin on Monday, April 6, I can’t help but think that you, Scholar, have been in training all year long for a time like this. Reflecting back on our year so far, we have inquired into the following central ideas:
Individuals approach problems in order to reach solutions.
Movement is a change agent.
People respond to circumstances differently with different results.
Structures impact individuals, communities, and societies.
Industries are impacted by creativity.
In one way or another, each of these can be contextualized in our current circumstances. Now is the time for action. How will we put our learning into practice?
As we discovered in our first unit, problems can be opportunities, and that is how I hope we can approach this learning adventure together. Surely, there will be struggle; however, we will not only survive but thrive. Structures we put in place will sustain. And, as many schools around the world have already discovered, creativity will be a key to our success.
Prior to break, we spent some time in class ensuring we were familiar with the online platforms and forums we will be using to stay connected and to curate evidence of learning.
Note: I’m not sure they will all work the first time, but… we’re going to give it a try and problem solve as we need to. Please be patient with yourself as we try to smooth out the bumps in a road that will be both rough and rewarding.
As we prepare for learning, our desire is to maintain as much consistency as possible. Each week will include some routine-building tasks and learning experiences including:
Independent reading, read alouds, read with family members
Weekly word work
Vocabulary tied to units of inquiry
Learning engagements to be completed without devices
Online research and reinforcement
Inquiry-related investigations and skill practice
Documentation of and reflection on learning
Scholars, you are encouraged to self-manage as much as possible. This week, we will be working together to develop a daily schedule and introduce accountability tools that you will be able to follow and manage. Portions of the daily plan will include time of unstructured play, the value of which we experienced on Global Play Day. In addition, our single-subject teachers will be providing ideas and information weekly to help us all maintain balance. (Note: Single-subject slides are included at the end of the presentation, but you can jump to them from the schedule at the beginning of the presentation).
As we prepare to embark on a new learning journey, I want to thank you for joining me. I look forward to learning with and from them. Remember:
establish a learning space and schedule for yourself.
set up scholarly routines and maintain BALANCE.
take time to explore before diving in.
Imagine your are doing a picture walk BEFORE you read the book.
log in to YOUR Google Classroom for access.
Note: I will not grant file access to anyone outside our tasok.net domain.
After French this morning, we spent some time reading Homeless Bird. One group was able to finish the book and proposed a number of ideas for expressing their thoughts and feelings in response to the book, including writing a letter to the author and writing an alternate ending. Students will also be working on a visual plot diagram to document the main events in the story, changes in the character, symbols included by the author, and themes developed.
Once again today, we went to the CAC to refine our performances for tomorrow’s Arts Festival. Getting on and off stage like professionals takes practice.
After recess, we had an opportunity to venture over to MS4 to see Grade 10 students share their design projects. Their challenge was to create a functional pieces of furniture, which were designed and crafted with community needs in mind.
While we expected it to be a great learning experience, we didn’t realize just how much it would tie into and support our current inquiry into how we express ourselves and our central ideas: Industries are impacted by creativity.
When we returned to the classroom, we debriefed our experience and had a great discussion about the term “industries.” Several students used multiples sources to help define the word and gain better understanding of what industries are and how creativity impacts them. We realized even the furniture industry is impacted by creativity.
We had a fabulously focused morning of research, continuing our inquiry into essays. Students worked diligently to gathering information and piece it together into an instructional presentation. It was exciting to see all the pieces come together and to see how deeply we understood this new genre of writing.
In math, we used base ten blocks to explore decimals in concrete, pictorial, and abstract ways. Students use the manipulatives to represent a decimal, which their partner had to identify and explain. Most students were able to share their learning on Seesaw. As some prepared their Seesaw presentations, they made some minor mistakes, which were very valuable for learning. We love to celebrate mistakes because they provide us an opportunity to reflect and be open-minded.
Check out the following video from YouCubed (one of my favorite math and mindset resources).
Mr. Sheldrick and his kindergarten and first grade students shared their learning with us during their student-led assembly. We were able to make some connections to our compass point activities this past week.
After the assembly, we headed straight to Mrs. Fischer’s room for a top secret practice. I can’t say much more because… it’s top secret.
Here’s a link to the video, if you’re interested in practicing.
In preparation for three-way conferences this Wednesday, our day began with another round of reflection and goal setting. Today, as scholars, we focused on specific academic disciplines and their descriptors. It was interesting to break down each subject, which is complex, and consider where we soar and strive.
We then moved into our regular time of reading. Our new novel, The Big Wave by Pearl Buck, has begun by introducing us to a number of characters and by setting the scene with several setting descriptions. As we read, we sought to find significance in each setting and considered how it might impact the characters and the plot. It as been interesting to make connections with our previous read aloud, Chu Ju’s House, particularly as we think about characters’ points of view as a result of their work and location. Students then had an opportunity to apply their reading and analysis skills in their reading groups. We also worked on talking back to the text, using our sticky note tracker to save our ideas.
We also continued our inquiry into fractions today, exploring equivalent representations for one whole 1/1. We also looked at the idea of unit fractions and the meaning of one part of one whole and how it can be represented abstractly. As we worked with our fraction circles, the idea of equivalent fractions was also shared as a big idea.
Check out these multiple sources to learn more!
Challenge: Food offers a great opportunity to play with fractions. What kinds of foods can you share equally at home this week? Be sure to pay attention to how you are partitioning.
After lunch, we headed to music. Ms. Hall had us working to clap and capture our compositions on Seesaw.
As we being our unit on fractions, I wonder how many connections we can make to music. In addition to clapping the beat, can we construct a fraction-filled equation to represent our composition mathematically?
Finally, our day ended in delight as we had the opportunity to celebrate… Zinnah! Her mom and dad arrived secret-agent style, ready at the door with a lit candle.
As is our custom, Zinnah chose two friends to help her distribute cupcakes. Of course, after waiting politely until everyone was served (always easier said than done), we all bit in to a burst of fabulous flavor. Thank you, Zinnah, for allowing us to celebrate YOU today!
As students headed out the door, “golden tickets” and permission slips were distributed.
On Wednesday, please come with your “golden ticket” to be exchanged for something special.
And, please return your field trip form BY MONDAY.
Believe it or not, our day was not done… After school, TASOK hosted Kinshasa Christian School for a superb game of soccer. Fair and fun play is always fabulous! Thank you to Coach Wilson, Coach Shannon, and Coach Eugene for helping us grow our skills, while encouraging teamwork and sportsmanship.
Thank you, too to the many parents who can to support us today. We are grateful for your advice, affirmation, and affection!!
Tonight TASOK middle and high school students dazzled in their debut performance of “The Phantom Tollbooth” based on the book by Norton Juster.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it is about a bored boy named Milo who transports himself in his toy car through a magical tollbooth into the troubled Kingdom of Wisdom. Along with his dog, Tock, Milo ventures through various peculiar places including the Doldrums, Dictionopolis and Digitopolis. Debate over the importance of letters and numbers creates some conflict among the characters, and the rescue and restoration of Rhyme and Reason become priorities for the pair.
If you want to know how it turns out, take a trip to TASOK tomorrow (Saturday) night or Sunday afternoon. You will not regret it!
Mr. Timmerman, Ms. Dwinell, the atelier construction team, and the entire cast put together a wonderful, whimsical production.
As you watch, think of Miss Kaun. She would have loved this rendition sensational story.
Challenge: If you attend the performance, think about ALL the different forms and functions of STRUCTURE evident throughout.
Reflection: What learner profile traits are exemplified in the actors, writers, and characters?
During the next two weeks, keep your eyes open for examples of STRUCTURE.
As open-minded inquirers, look forward examples of various forms of STRUCTURE:
artistic / aesthetic
When you see something interesting, take a picture and send it in. If you find links to interesting websites, you can also submit those.
One example of structure I came across this past week is an illustrated example of the periodic table. This table has a very specific STRUCTURE to help organize the elements and understand their individual properties and their relationship to one another.
After resting to the rhythm of last night’s rain, we were welcomed to a new week with a calm, cool morning.
As is our tradition, we began with our vocabulary words for the week, which were a tad trickier than usual. Most of these words are a preview for our next unit of inquiry.
We then jumped right into math, which involved looking at multiple ways to represent the addition of fractions. Our main tool for today was the number line, which proved quite useful.
During library, Ms. Kraft sent us on a scavenger hunt, using Destiny’s catalogue to find call numbers for various topics and titles. Scholar had a great time running around trying to locate books in the fiction, nonfiction, and genre-fied sections.
After recess, we returned to class. Mr. Jimmy was away today, so we ended up having music in the class. Of course, we couldn’t have music without… math. While Mr. Jimmy’s absence could have been a problem, we turned it into an opportunity to connect notes to… fractions. Working with partners, we created a four-meter rhythm with a related fraction equation.