Five for Saturday: Theme, Crawfish Boils, Books, Geometry Video, and Field Trips

  We have had a really busy week in the land of Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans!

1)  We have spent our ELA time talking about the characters in our novel, Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher, and discussing possible themes.  I love when it gets to this time of year in sixth grade.  Yes, it is stressful because testing is coming up.  Yes, it is difficult to keep everyone on task and paying attention, but YES they are capable of digging deep into literature and THINKING about the nuances of what they read.  I live for these moments, and we had one this week when we were talking about THEME!  I had previously done an intro lesson, discussing the difference between a theme TOPIC, and an actual theme.  I also show my students a video that has a pretty straight forward message to make sure they "get it."  These lessons are from Erin at I'm Lovin Lit.  They are in her Interactive Notebook for Literature.   She also has them individually {HERE}

  After a day or so with the basics, I used the same tree visual and gave my students five themes from Flying Solo.  We talked about how each theme would relate to the story.  Then I picked one of the five, and gave them the theme sentence.  They had to work in pairs to come up with four pieces of evidence from the book to support the sentence.  This my friends is where the magic happened.  They dug deep!

For example, a theme topic for this book is Grief.  I gave them the theme statement  Grief is about loss and a return to life.  We talked for a few minutes about the OBVIOUS, LITERAL evidence that would exist.  (For those not familiar with the book, a classmate dies, and the class during the novel is still dealing with and grieving for him).  But they dug deeper!  They talked about the grief another student was carrying over having to quarantine his dog, and even deeper over the grief a third student had over the time he does not have with his father.  I was so proud.  Fear not teachers feeling the push of testing. Students are digging deep!  Be a guide..don't give up on them!

2) We went to a Crawfish Boil last weekend at a friend's house. Being a native New Yorker transplanted into the South, this was a totally new thing for me.  Everyone around here is talking about crawfish lately.  I think the season for eating them is starting.  Our friends have a HUGE pot to boil the crawfish and invited us over to join them.  My kids were in awe over this!  We loved every single minute of it.  If the season is just starting, it is going to be a good one!

3)  I finished reading the first book in The Testing Series by Joelle Charbonneau.  If you have students that like the dystopian literature, I think they will love these books.  The heroine Cia, is a great problem solver, and intuitive thinker.  I great role model to teach character traits and the Hero's Journey circle.  Speaking of the Hero's Journey, if you teach this common story analysis in your classroom.  I used it last year while teaching The Lightning Thief and there is a freebie {HERE} if you need a graphic organizer.   The blog post contains a video that I used to introduce the concept, and a link to the organizer.  I hear they will be making movies out of the series.

4)  We started Area this week in Math.  I introduced it with this neat song to help students remember the difference between Area and Perimeter

5)  Finally, at the end of the week I took my class on a field trip to learn about The Bankhead Tunnel and Geology.  My students thought the tunnel was really cool, although we had to walk down about 4 stories of steep steps to reach tunnel level.  Yikes!

We also went to the University of South Alabama to the Archeology Museum.  There we participated in a huge geology lab, identifying rocks and minerals using scratch tests, observations, and even taste.  We also learned about how archaeologists study people, and layers of earth to learn the history of our city.  My students LOVED eating in the campus dining hall.  If you have a college campus near you, check out the programs they may have to offer.  It was an amazing field trip!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs today!  

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