Elementary Schools

Barcroft Gravity Roller Coaster

Barcroft fifth gradestudents have been working on a gravity roller coaster. Initiallystudents created a marble maze out of boxtops in order to understandgravity’s pull, followed by a simple experiment on the speed paper dropsdue to friction. After a short video from NASA, where an astronautproves Galileo and Newton’s ideas, students worked as a team to design aroller coaster. The designs are tried and tested using a pingpong ball, marble, insulation foam piping, hollow paper tubes and some masking tape. The project culminates with a scoring rubric for each team attempting 10 complete marble runs, and each bend or loop adds bonus points for difficulty.

Oakridge Galimoto Workshops

Visual artist Karen Brown led Oakridge’s K-2 grade classes in a workshop where each student created their own Galimotos (moving toy vehicles). This workshop was the culminating activity for a quarter-long study of the book Galimoto by Karen Lynne Williams, using the reading comprehension strategy of synthesis. For a month prior to the week-long workshop, the Oakridge community sent in their recycled items and students used this trash to create their own unique Galimotos.

McKinley Poetry Project

With the fourth grade reading SOL behind them, students in Natani Vaughn’s fourth grade class have been working on a “Poetry off the Page” project. The project was inspired by a Kennedy Center workshop offered to McKinley staff as a part of their exemplary project, Kaleidoscope. Since poetry is typically layered with subtext, kids often find it hard to understand what a poem really means. That’s why students in Vaughn’s class are using art and acting to help them. First, the kids worked together to find the emotional subtext of pieces of art. After that, they inferred the emotions that characters were feeling in text. Next, they acted out the emotions using their body language, facial expressions and voice pitch, furthering their understanding of the emotional subtext. Finally, each student chose a poem to focus on for their individual endeavors. Throughout the course of the poem project, students will infer the emotions that the character or narrator feels, determine the figurative language being used, and ultimately confirm the theme or message that the poet intended to get across. Each student will memorize his or her poem, write an essay about it, create a poster, and also film themselves reciting their poems as a dramatic monologue. As you can see, projects like this one are keeping McKinley students engaged and working hard these last few weeks of school.

Hoffman-Boston Book Reports

Fifth grade All Stars in Kathryn Brennan’s class completed a book talk and project using a fiction book of their choice. During their book talk, students presented a summary of major events. Afterwards, they tried to persuade classmates to read their fiction book. Creating a visual representation of their book was the second part of this project. Students had the opportunity to choose one of these options: PowerPoint presentation, board game, diorama, DVD cover, or book jacket.

Ashlawn’s Civilizations Projects and Market Day

How does a civilization include the themes of: geography, economics, history, and government? “Barkville” is leading by example in Keith Knott’s classroom. After reading the book Weslandia by Paul Fleishman, students learned about a boy who gains popularity by creating a culture and civilization all his own. Following the book, students discussed how the themes of geography, economics, history, and government played into his culture. Barkville is the class replica of such a civilization. Students used their math knowledge of geometry to create their own homes and businesses using architecture guidelines, and decisions made through our government Town Hall influence our city through both positive and negative changes. Students will soon be creating their very own made-up civilizations in their interactive notebooks, and building them as well during class as a post-SOL unit. As part of this unit, the students will participate in an economy experience related to Barkville. Students have created their own currency, and students will earn money on a daily basis, and have opportunities to earn additional income by choosing responsible behavior choices. The students will use their income to spend at Market Day on June 18.

Long Branch Poetry

At Long Branch Elementary School, fifth graders have been learning all about figurative language and different types of poems. The students learned about rhyming poems and patterned poems and then made 10 original poems of their own and turned them into a Google presentation with animation and illustrations.

McKinley Critical Thinking Exercises

Fourth grade teacher Lauren Gautier and Gifted Resource Teacher Kevin Trainor collaborated to implement a critical-thinking strategy called the Concept Development Model to think deeply about the concept of exploration, the fourth grade social studies theme. The students started by using note cards to create a list of words that they associated with the words explore, exploration, and/or explorers. The students then categorized the cards, defined the relationships between the items in each group, and added labels for each. The next step involved creating groups within the groups and/or creating new groups based on additional thinking. This type of flexible thinking helped promote the students’ understanding that every person, object, or idea has many characteristics and may be grouped in many different ways. Finally, the students were asked to look over the groups and labels and summarize all of the information in one sentence.

ATS Book Projects

ATS third graders will be working on book projects which they will present to the class. Students can choose from several options: doing a basic written book report , writing a script and filming a commercial for their book, creating a board game about their book, writing a poem, creating a crossword puzzle, or making a quiz about their book.Students will choose a book from one of the genres we have learned about this year, and it must be a book they have not read before.
Additional activites will be added daily.