October 21, 2011

"Dis Be Dat Outrageous Cay, Eh Timothy?"

Last week we completed our first novel study unit, "It's An Adventure!".  We read a truly amazing story, Theodore Taylor's "The Cay." Our criteria was a homage to the study of geography as related to adventure. Predictions served as our compass rose, pointing us in the right direction. Grammar was our communication device, helping us say what we mean. Who/what/when/where/why/how was charted through the use of maps: a setting map, a plot map, character maps, and vocabulary word maps. Theme was the light in which we could see things illuminated. Literary criticism was our GIS device, helping us take a step back and see the whole picture. Our presentation was our handy knapsack, to keep everything safe. To see specifics and learning targets for each area, please see the link below.

It's An Adventure Criteria

Our novel study took one month to complete. We read the novel while note taking on each separate area of the criteria sheet. We spent a portion of each day rereading the day's chapter and discussing the budding relationship between Phillip and Timothy. We always knew Phillip would come around and see Timothy for what he truly was, an amazing man. After finishing the novel, we took the notes and organizers we had created and turned them into the final, polished copies you will see below in the pictures. The posters below show a HUGE amount of work by our students: rich content, thoughtful writing, inferential and literal comprehension, reflection, and quality of presentation. As Timothy would say, "Ahhh, dat be true."

Our project display wall
Projects are the size of a posterboard

Students had to pay particular attention to use of space

Three dimensional objects enhance presentation

Some students chose to add on their own favorite elements

Coconuts and signal fires play a central role in the novel

Students did their own cutting and mapping by folding or using a ruler

We discussed using only colors that would have been found in the actual cay setting

Character maps grouped by trait

Setting map 

Creative title fonts


Predictions modeled after a compass rose
Grammar: Declarative and Interrogative Sentences

Character maps

Plot map

One example of a vocabulary word map

A different example of vocabulary word maps


Another example of a setting map

Stew Cat!

Anime versions of Phillip and Timothy

Literary criticism

Another example of a plot map

Creatively displayed theme

Creatively displayed literary criticism

Character map coconuts

Another example of literary criticism

Phillip and Timothy mind maps
Realistic sketch of Timothy

October 11, 2011

Butterflies are Emerging!

Our hungry little caterpillars spun their cocoons early last week. We carefully hung the cocoons inside the butterfly habitat. All week long we misted the cocoons with room temperature water and waited. On Monday we got a surprise. Our first butterfly had emerged! She was absolutely beautiful. She rested for awhile after coming out of her chrysalis, slowly spreading her wings. Today we watched as three more butterflies appeared. They are slowly exploring their new environment and feasting on the sugar water solution we have prepared for them. How many more will emerge tomorrow?