Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cameron 3/28

This was our final week with the inventors and coding unit and we were absolutely thrilled with our students' progress! Though we would have loved to get into some more intense coding modules, Scratch served as a wonderful way for us to integrate our focus on storytelling and coding directions. Our students spent their final moments, today, creating a story using the scratch directions, having their characters interact with one another and act out based on the actions of others. It was a fun activity that they enjoyed!

We also had the chance to give our students another Scholastic Book Order! Though Scholastic has been painfully slow in fulfilling our orders, we have promised our students that they will receive them, even if they must be mailed after the school year ends! The class is excited to finally get their books, and we hope that they allow them to work on their English skills at home!

Next week, Cameron is on their Spring Break! So, the RAPS team will spend their week off beautifying Wyatt with some of our students' works! 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Litton Middle School 3/23

We had an awesome morning at Litton RAPS today. This was our last session before MNPS enjoys their Spring Break! 

All of our students have been working on culminating book projects in really creative and self-directed ways. These are books that they have been reading in book club or individually. Some are writing really moving Found poems. Our Refugee book club group is writing a series of newspaper articles from the book's different perspectives: Nazi Germany, Cuba during the 1990s, and through the present-day Syrian refugee crisis. Each member is contributing to different stories of the characters and the history surrounding the book. Hopefully we will be able to publish a copy of their work to the blog soon!

After Spring Break, we will have several choices of graphic novels and ongoing art and writing projects for the students as they read those texts. We hope that all of MNPS students and families enjoy a relaxing and fun Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cameron 3/21

We had another great week at Cameron Middle School! In keeping with our unit on inventors and coding, we spent more time with Sketch applications. The students had a wonderful time building simple commands. Since they'd spent last week working through some tutorial modules, they were allowed more freedom this week to build worlds with more complicated commands.

Our younger students began working on creating their own "Pong" style video game, with some assistance from more experienced students. They can't wait to show their classmates! Our older students began working on a story using the script, with dialogue and setting being important elements. We are trying to build on the elements of stories that we've used earlier this year, and we can't wait to see what they produce!

For next week, we hope to finish up our projects, before students begin standardized tests. We also hope to finish more book orders and pass out our first round of books! We can't wait to head back!

Wright Middle 3/21

This week at Wright Middle School, we continued working with Kwame Alexander's Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty Nine Cents: A Story in Verse. In our last meeting, the students really enjoyed taking turns reading Alexander's poems aloud, and we discussed the primary characteristics of a memoir, while examining some of the poems in closer detail. For this week's activity, each student was asked to select one of Alexander's poems and adapt it to a graphic novel representation. Students were asked to consider the meaning of their poem, and then to decide how this could be represented in their illustrations. For next week, students will continue working on their graphic novel depictions of the poems, and we will finish reading Kwame Alexander's Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty Nine Cents: A Story in Verse.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Waverly Belmont 3/17

At Waverly Belmont, we dove into our second week with The Wild Robot, written by Peter Brown. The Wild Robot is the story of Rozzum unit 7134, a robot who wakes up for the very first time to find that she’s alone on a remote, wild island. Roz doesn’t know how she got there, or where she came from: she only knows that she wants to stay alive. And by robotically studying her environment she learns everything she needs to know.
          During Roz’s time on the island, she comes to adopt an orphaned gosling. Roz must learn how to take care of the gosling, such as providing food and building a nest. This week, the third graders had the opportunity to build their own nests. The students had the choice of using play-doh, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, string, glue, markers and/ or paper plates to construct their homes. They had a lot of fun exploring what materials were necessary in building the “best” home.
          Our fourth graders started their book clubs by discussing places in the text that provide evidence for Roz being a “Super Mom.” The students were able to find several examples that displayed Roz’s love and affection towards the gosling. Some of the evidence that the students found included Roz teaching the gosling how to swim even though Roz could not get in the water herself.
          Waverly Belmont students are also getting the exciting opportunity to hear from the author of The Wild Robot, Peter Brown, as the author will be visiting their school next week! Our third and fourth graders spent some time brainstorming what questions they might want to ask Brown when he visits. We are all very excited to hear more about his book and the inspiration behind it!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Litton Middle School 3/16

Our Litton RAPS students have been busy the past few weeks making postcards, placing book orders, and finishing up their literature circle books. They really enjoyed getting creative with the postcards from a book. Students illustrated something from their book (settings and symbols were a popular choice) and wrote a note on the reverse side. Many students wrote their notes to a character, recommending the book to a friend, or a note to the author of the book. 

We are patiently waiting for our next Scholastic order to arrive, they can't wait to start new books soon! Today we worked on creating body biographies, where students chose a character and illustrated it's characterization. They chose which emotions, symbols, quotes, and thoughts would go into their biographies. We have two more weeks before MNPS Spring Break. We are ready to do more exciting activities with great texts. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cameron 3/14

After a relaxing Spring Break for the RAPS team, we were back at Cameron Middle School. We had another great week learning about coding and technology! To go along with their unit on inventors in their English class, we worked on with Scratch to help them put in simple commands to create animations.

The students were able to practice their language skills in the context of technology and computing, while creating wonderful images that expressed their creativity. They also had a fun time exploring all the possibilities of the software, and showing off their newfound skills to their classmates!

Some of the younger students spent most of their time on animating their name, an introductory activity in the software. They were required to bring out "sprites" of the letters in their name, and then add effects, such as rotating, moving, changing size or color, and emoting!

Our older students moved along pretty quickly! They wanted to try their hand at something a bit more challenging, so we began working on creating a rudimentary video game! The one displayed above is an early attempt at a Pong-type game, with simply physics. Overall, the students seemed to have a great time, and we can't wait to go back and see what else they can do!