October NewsletterPosted by Kathleen Marshall on 9/26/2018
Greetings and welcome to the PGT October Newsletter!
- Students are preparing for Student-Led Conferences (Wed. Nov. 14th). Your Cloud 10'er will be bringing home a sign-up sheet for you to select a time that works for you. Please return ASAP.
- Students are preparing for our first PARENT NIGHT!
What: Media Matters Night
When: Thursday, November 29th: 6 - 8 p.m. (arrive 5:45)
Where: Pine cafeteria & classrooms
8th Grade ELA: We are hard at work on our yearly Media Literacy study (media & gender) and will soon begin reading The Jungle. Students should be prepared with their "Lit Circle" jobs each Monday. We are also gearing up to begin our yearly bound-book project. This year they are called "Stand Up 8," and will be a collection of personal and family stories of resilience. You will receive ordering info for optional extra copies. Essential Question: What techniques can authors use to influence or change society?
7th Grade ELA: We are hard at work on our yearly Media Literacy study (merchandising) and will soon begin reading Chains. Students should be prepared with Socratic Seminar "prep sheets" each Monday. We are also gearing up to begin our yearly bound-book project. This year they are called "This I Believe," and will be a collection of reflections on personal beliefs. You will receive ordering information for optional extra copies. Essential Question: How can fiction shed light on historical events?
Physical Science: Our 7th grade students are starting the Separation of a Mixture Challenge as they continue to explore the Essential Question: Why is it important to understand interactions? This challenge will allow the teams to study physical properties of matter as they design mini-experiments to separate a heterogeneous mixture. The team who is able to collect the 4 purest components will win an ice cream sundae after break. After our challenge we will continue our Chemistry unit to explore states of matter, phase changes and will even attempt to separate a pure substance, water, into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Please have a discussion about all they have learned about the states of matter. Our second unit in Chemistry will cover atomic structure, the periodic table and chemical reactions.
Honors Biology: Our 8th graders have completed their Bottle Biology projects and presentations. I was so proud of all of their projects. We were invited to visit UNR’s Natural History museum where we learned about the Great Basin, Riparian vegetation and had graduate students share their research on a co evolutionary relationship between a garter snake and an toxic newt. Students are working on projects where teams will research and present different biogeochemical cycles to the class before we head out to the Reno area wetlands for a field study after break to learn more about the ecology of the Great Basin. I would very much like to thank the parents who have helped and will help chaperone these field trips.
The sixth grade will be going to the Nevada Museum of Art on October 11 for a STEAM lesson about light. We will leave after lunch and return before the end of the day.
6th Grade ELA: We have begun working on our Media Lit presentations. The 6th graders study persuasion and propaganda techniques and will be creating their own advertisements using those techniques. This month we begin reading Watership Down and working on the drafts for our books of poetry. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to make this project possible. Essential Questions: How do myths, fables, folktales, and poetry communicate an author's perspective on life? How can writers use poetry to explore aspects of their own identities?
6th Grade Math: We will be finishing up our study of the Number System and will spend most of October exploring fractions.
Science/ History: This month, we are discovering how the stars and elements were formed in Unit 3 of Big History. We will create a comic about the birth of stars. Essential Questions: How can looking at the same information from different perspectives pave the way for progress? How and why do theories become generally accepted?
Art: We are finishing up paper engineering and will continue into origami. We will then do some practice in digital art in preparation for illustrating our poetry books.
7th Grade U.S. History: We are knee-deep into Unit #1: The American Revolution and will be getting into Unit #2: Forming A New Nation. Some of the key concepts we will examine include slavery issues, the disputes over land use, taxation, Federalism, The Bill of Rights, the United States Constitution, separation of powers, and checks and balances. Universal Essential Questions: What does it mean to be an American? How does history shape identify? How can political power be limited or expanded? How do resources affect cooperation and conflict? Why do inequalities and oppression exist and how should it be addressed? How do cultural and physical geography shape decision-making?
8th Grade Social Studies: Students will be studying American Imperialism and World War I this month. They will look at the explosion of the USS Maine and its role in United States declaring war on Spain, the building of the Panama Canal, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, trench warfare, the Zimmermann Telegram, and many other relevant events. Essential Questions: Why did the United States expand abroad? How did the United States gain overseas territories and build an empire? Why did the U.S. end neutrality and enter WWI in 1917? Was the Treaty of Versailles a fair and effective settlement for peace?
Integrated II: We just wrapped up bivariate data and are moving on to exponents and radicals. We will be starting our Geometry units in October as well. Essential Question: How can interactions be transformative?
Integrated I: We just wrapped up solving equations and will be moving on to Basic Geometry and applying solving equations to geometric problems. Essential Question: How do we describe geometric relationships algebraically?
Algebra 2: We are in the middle of Radical Operations and our introduction to complex numbers. Next we will be building on our knowledge of Quadratics by adding in our new knowledge of the complex number system. Unit Goal: Develop fluency in operating with radicals and complex numbers.
THE PGT TEAM
August NewsletterPosted by Kathleen Marshall on 8/16/2018
Welcome to the 18/19 school year! The PGT team is thrilled with how things have gotten underway. This year our team name is Cloud 10.
Here is some general info:
GT Parent Evening Night (“Media Matters”) Thursday November 29, 2018 -- 5:45-8pm
GT Celebration Wednesday, May 29, 2019 -- 5:45-8pm
CARPOOL: If you are interested in discussing carpooling, please contact PGT parent Harini Rajasekhar at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we wade into week three, we are starting to see some students struggling to keep up with assigned work. We strongly encourage students and parents to check in on IC so you can stay abreast of grades and assignments. Always feel free to check in with teachers if that information is insufficient.
7th Grade ELA: We have started reading our first quarter novel, Flowers for Algernon. Students should come with their "Socratic Seminar Prep Sheet" prepared every Monday for class discussions. Our first quarter essay form is Cause & Effect. The theme for the year in 7th grade ELA is 'Beliefs.' Our reading Essential Question for the quarter is How do authors explore the meaning of identity? Our writing essential question is How can writers best describe problems and solutions?
8th Grade ELA: We have started reading our first quarter book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, which will be followed by the play, A Raisin in the Sun. Students should come with their "Socratic Seminar Prep Sheet" prepared every Monday for class discussions. Our first quarter essay form is Problem-Solution. The theme for the year in 8th grade ELA is 'resilience.' Our reading Essential Question for the quarter is How can authors demonstrate the impact of large social forces on individuals? Our writing essential question is How can writers clearly describe the impact of causes and/or effects of significant events or phenomena?
6th Grade Science/History: Unit 1 Driving Question: Why do we look at things from far away and close up? We begin the year in The Big History Project with the following objectives:
- Define thresholds of increasing complexity, origin stories, and scale.
- Understand that Big History is a modern, science-based origin story that draws on many different types of knowledge.
- Understand how you fit into the Big History narrative, using the concept of “thresholds” to frame your past, present, and future and the history of the Universe.
- Understand what disciplines are and consider how the viewpoints of many different scholars can be integrated for a better understanding of a topic.
- Learn to use timelines as a way to compare the scale of personal and historic events.
- Identify a thesis statement and how writing is structured, and evaluate both of those elements in writing.
We start at the end of the month in Unit 2, looking at The Big Bang.
6th Grade ELA: We begin the year learning about the PGT ELA program and exploring our various tools and our theme for the year: Identity. We start reading and discussing A Face Like Glass, by Frances Hardinge. We start learning about the first essay form, the Exemplification Essay. Our reading Essential Question for the quarter is How do the decisions and actions of characters reveal their personalities? Our writing essential question is How can writers use compelling examples to make a point?
Math 6: We begin the year learning about the Mathematical Practices by creating presentations to teach each other and creating icons that describe and represent the practices. We will then dive into integers, beginning with number sense and computing with integers.
7th grade Physical Science: Welcome to science! We will start the year reinforcing Scientific Inquiry as we complete many hands-on lab activities using lab equipment safely and metric measurements. Next, we will delve into Chemistry as we explore our Essential Question: Why is it important to understand interactions?
8th Grade Honors Biology: Our first quarter essential question: How does perseverance impact resilience? will be supported in Honors Biology as the students complete their bottle Biology projects. Student teams will design mini ecosystems to study how manipulating a single variable affects the overall biology of the system. Teams will be designing tests to replicate real life ecological challenges existing in the Great Basin today. Teams will present a collaborative project to the class as well as turn in an individually written report per the supplied Bottle Biology rubric.
I am planning two field trips to support our upcoming Ecology PBL (Project-Based Learning) on our area wetlands. More information on these field trips is pending.
8th Grade Social Studies: We began the year with the Historical Thinking Skills unit, in which students have been reviewing how to use sourcing, corroboration, contextualization, and close reading to determine the validity of a source, and what the source reveals about the past. Students will practice assessing primary and secondary sources using these skills. After this short unit, we will begin the Gilded Age unit of study. Students will look at business tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie to analyze the pros and cons of their business practices, and the government’s response to those practices. Students will also study journalists and progressives of the time to see how they influenced the era. Essential Questions: How do we know what really happened in the past? Were capitalists of the Gilded Age “captains of industry” or “robber barons?” Is muckraking an effective tool of reform?
ALL MATH: We’ve started the year off by diving into different activities designed to help students understand my classroom procedures, google classroom, edpuzzle, and the flipped classroom model. We have set up our interactive notebooks and have been reviewing the 8 Mathematical Practices through a problem-solving activity that prompted great critical thinking. Ask them about it!
Integrated I: (The problem solving activity was about postage stamps.) Our first unit will be a review of Integers, Order of Operations, and Rational Numbers. Essential Content Question: How Does the structure of arithmetic help us model and predict the world around us?
Integrated II: (The problem solving activity was about rectangles with the same perimeter and area.) Our first unit after review will be on Linear Functions. Essential Question: How are relationships connected to resilience?
Algebra 2 H: (The problem solving activity is about a walk home from school.) Our first unit after review will be on Radical Operations and Imaginary Numbers. The Essential Question for the course: Why is modeling phenomena essential?
7th Grade US History: Students are learning that history (pronounced “his/her story” in class) is so much more than memorizing dates and names. It’s a series of exciting stories that reveal much about ourselves when viewed from multiple perspectives. Students will become Retronauts (sailors/explores of the past) as they examine primary and secondary sources. First Quarter Topics: Unit: 1 American Revolution: An Experiment in Democracy and Unit 2: Forming a new nation: US Constitution & Bill of Rights. Essential Questions: What does it mean to be an American; How does history shape identity?; How can political and social power be limited or expanded?; How do resources affect cooperation and conflict?; Why do inequalities and oppression exist and how should they be addressed?; How do cultural and physical geography shape decision-making? Guiding Questions: How do people (individually and collectively) influence the development of a new nation?; How do hierarchies influence interactions?
What are the Common Characteristics of Gifted?
Because gifted children are so diverse, not all exhibit all characteristics all of the time. However, there are common characteristics that many gifted individuals share:
- Unusual alertness, even in infancy
- Rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly
- Excellent memory
- Unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age
- Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas
- Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles
- Often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler
- Deep, intense feelings and reactions
- Highly sensitive
- Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful
- Idealism and sense of justice at early age
- Concern with social and political issues and injustices
- Longer attention span and intense concentration
- Preoccupied with own thoughts—daydreamer
- Learn basic skills quickly and with little practice
- Asks probing questions
- Wide range of interests (or extreme focus in one area)
- Highly developed curiosity
- Interest in experimenting and doing things differently
- Puts idea or things together that are not typical
- Keen and/or unusual sense of humor
- Desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas
- Vivid imaginations (and imaginary playmates when in preschool)
What is Project Based Learning (PBL)?
Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, Essential Project Design Elements include:
- Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
- Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
- Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
- Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
- Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
- Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
- Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a process which helps children cultivate essential life skills including awareness of one’s own emotions, fostering respect and care for others, establishing strong relationships, making ethical and responsible decisions, and handling adversity constructively.
Many gifted students face social or emotional concerns ranging from perfectionism to low self-esteem to overexcitabilities. Asynchronous development can leave a gifted child thinking like an adult while his/her ability to process emotions remains that of a child. Exploring and discussing is-sues such as organizational skills, procrastination, stress, good character and impulse control can help students to maximize their potential and utilize their intelligence more effectively in their world. Pulling from a variety of sources, students will discover, discuss and analyze social and emotional concerns.
What is a Driving Question (DQ)?
The driving question is both the foundation and the blueprint that gets learners started and guides them throughout the project. A well designed project is based on a driving question that sets off an inquiry based learning process where the project activities, and objectives are all determined by the driving question.
What is an Essential Question (EQ)?
Essential questions are simply lesson objectives reworded in an interrogative format. Essential questions are posted on the board and changed each day to reflect the goals of the lesson. Essential questions will be answered that day (week, unit, year, etc.).