The A, B, C’s of this Week in ACE

There’s been a lot on my plate and on my mind this week!  Here, in alphabetical order, are the highlights:

Analogies:  Third graders are in the midst of learning how analogies work.  After all, the WordMasters Challenge will be here before you know it!

Books:  Great books are at the heart of the unit on symbolism Level 2 4th graders are experiencing!   Common symbols we’ll be considering:  birds, color, and size.

Characters:  Have you heard about Chuck the Chipmunk, Lydia Ann (who has a special ability to communicate with foxes), or Jaaron (who is negotiating life on a new planet)?  If you have a 5th grader working on a novel during Tiger Pause then you might know something about the incredible characters being crafted under the direction of Mrs. Goodwin and Mrs. Wright!

Deduction:  As part of the 3rd grade Level 2 unit on Logic, we’ve been checking out some problems that require us to use our deductive reasoning skills.

Ethan C.:  Hanging in my room is a chart that says “Pi Leader”.  For a long time now it has had one name on it.  Well, today that changed.  Fifth grader Ethan impressed one group of third graders (and me) when he showed up and proved that he has 91 digits of pi committed to memory.  WOW!!!  I’d say the gauntlet has been thrown!

Focusing on Detail:  Critical thinking requires that we closely focus in on details.  If your 5th grader recently solved a Directive Detective problem, then you know just how important attention to detail can be!

Geography Bee:  The materials just arrived this week.  Planning for the annual event is now under way!  Expect to hear more in the near future…

Hard Work:  And lots of it.

Islands (of the Mystery variety!):  Third grade ACE kids are hard at work making decisions about how to construct a shelter, where to place it, how to obtain water, and so on.  I love the three dimensional island Mrs. Skomra’s kids have been crafting!

Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth:  There’s still time to sign up.  Just visit the JHU CTY site for more information.

Kakuro:  A new discovery for a few obsessed fifth graders!  Kakuros are wickedly addictive math puzzles and some kids just can’t stop solving them!

Lunar Colony:  “The Boss” has fourth grade ACE students doing a lot of research on topics such as gravity and oxygen as they plan for a colony on the moon.

Metacognition:  It’s the watch word with 5th graders in small group ACE classes this week.  Thinking about thinking makes you a better thinker.  Truly.

New York Times Daily SET Puzzle:  Yet another piece in the critical thinking puzzle.  Fifth grade small group ACE kids are trying to improve their scores on the Daily SET puzzles as the quarter progresses.

October 22nd:  Just checked…it turns out that’s the date the new Philosophy Slam question will be announced.  Last year the “Most Philosophical 3rd Grader in America” came from TJ.  What will happen this year?!

Parodies:  3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who are Level 2 in both Humanities and Math are engaged in an exploration of parodies.  We’ve listened to some musical parodies, read some parodies, and examined art parodies.  Now we’re in the midst of creating parodies of Rene Magritte’s “Son of Man”.

Quizzles:  The kids keep coming to my room to pick up these intensely fun (and sometimes intensely frustrating!) logic puzzles.

Red Herring Mysteries:  Occasionally solving these mysteries as part of the fifth grade Level 2 critical thinking unit has given our brains a quick workout.

Schoology:  I’ve been using Schoology to keep in touch with fourth grade ACE students working on their research and planning for a lunar colony.  I’ve been sharing interesting facts, posing questions, and telling (silly!) jokes.

Teachers:  Where would the ACE program be without the creative energies of the classroom teachers?!  They are taking the Tiger Pause units and turning them into fun, motivating experiences for your children.

Use those Pencils:  5th graders in Ms. Mueller’s ACE Tiger Pause group have been tackling different problem solving strategies, including “Draw a Picture” & “Guess and Check” which both require kids to put pencil to paper.  A lot.  🙂

Vocabulary:  Lots of great new vocabulary being learned for those who have opted (or been forced!) to participate in the WordMasters Challenge this year.  Favorite words so far:  5th grade — scuffle, 4th grade — standoffish, 3rd grade — mediocre.

WordMasters:  Will TJ crack the top ten in the country this year?  We’ve done it before…

X Marks the Spot:  On my door, that is.  If your child encounters a WordMasters Challenge word in their reading, make a copy and send it in.  I’m collecting words to display on my door.  So far we have “emerald” and “outcast”.  I’m not sure if we’ll find them all, but I’m hoping for a few more than two!

Yikes, Zounds!  No wonder I’m so tired!  (LOL!)

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