Newsletter 26 – 4/1/16

Is it already APRIL?

This week we watched Wall-E and used it as a way to analyze our agreements and the work we’ve been doing in writers workshop. Here are some questions kids were thinking about…

  • What are the “on the surface” struggles? (what are the problems the characters have to solve?)
  • What are the ”under the surface” struggles? (what big themes are suggested in the movie?)
    • How do the film creators show and tell you these struggles?
    • How do these struggles impact you as a viewer?
  • How do the characters assume/show goodwill (or how do they not)?
  • How do the characters take risks?
  • How do they learn from these risks?
  • When/where are there examples of equity and justice?
  • How do the characters create fun?
  • How do characters build each other up?

While we were watching, we were asking kids what they thought the themes of the movie were. Their answers were absolutely *amazing*. They said things like “it’s about how technology forces us away from human interaction” and “it’s about taking care of and preserving our environment.” They talked about how “technology was taking over everything and people weren’t thinking for themselves,” and how “all the people on the ship are just the same – there is nothing special about any of them.”

That was just the beginning of our week.

We started some work with book clubs that are focused on community. The titles that made it are

  • Wringer
  • Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • The Jumbies
  • Among the Hidden
  • The City of Ember

We also launched a two-week revision unit. The goal is to totally rework a piece of writing – one of the two drafts students generated before spring break.

With all that good work going on, it was a lovely time for us to have a group of teachers from Vermont observing and asking questions of kids throughout the week. Kids were so articulate and sophisticated in their responses to the work they were doing.

Last little tidbits…

  • The theme of CPR this week was “diversity,” we’ve been talking about in-group and out-group dynamics
  • We are running a tad low on snack
  • Thank you to all who donated/are letting us borrow copies of Harry Potter
  • New passions begin Monday (!!!)
  • We have started a 10 minute math practice time every day in the mornings

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