Dear DODEA TAG Students and respective Parents:
These past few weeks of the start-up of school were very busy planning times for all of us. Our TAG program this year is full-inclusion classes for grades 1-2 and combination full-inclusion with pull-out classes for grades 3-5.
For middle School students, this year I have 17 TAG students in my Seminar who meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:25 to 2:45. They are mixed 6th, 7th and 8th graders inclusive.
Each elementary class gets at least 40 minutes of a single lesson on critical thinking once a week with at least one or two hands-on/academic related activities for the students to work in class. So far, things have been smooth except when I was absent this past September 5 and 6. I was down with the flu and a bad case at that! This was also the first time I was absent for illness reasons in my three years at DoDEA. I am better now!
Third grade TAG students are working on a model city compete with roads and skyscrapers. The other project is the model neighborhood with street signs and a McDonalds.
Fourth grade TAG students are working on a Zoo model. Currently the students are researching animal groups, presenting their findings in class, making habitats using the diorama model, and learning the scientific names of the animals they researched. These information will be used later for the Academic Challenge Bowl competitions in the Spring.
So far, it has been difficult to pull-out 5th graders who are in TAG. But, I am working on it! Because I am the only one teaching TAG, it is difficult to cover all classes, and all students every week. I may have to resort to every other week for 5th grade TAG students
The Middle School TAG students are collectively working on directing, starring, and producing their own movie! This is a first attempt so I am nervous but confident! However, almost all of them are totally oblivious to their audience as they seem to think the audience should think and feel like they do! Obviously, I need to work on some egos here and there for this one.
We are currently working on script writing, theme and plot. The students have voted on "Silenced Whispers" as their title with "Deadly Tones" coming in close behind. As one can tell, they have a grave perception about life in general! We shall make it through and I am sure they will be impressed with their own talents and the skills of others.
Lessons Covered so far:
#1 Yes, No, Po - comparability between statements of logic and sense.
#2 In, Process, Out - information processing using logical sequencing in everyday questions, answers, and rhetoric.
#3 Shuttle Statistics - adventures in learning about the missions, speed, technology, and other fascinating facts about the spacecraft.
#4 Simple Problem Solving - using toothpicks and everyday objects in the classroom, students learn about innovative solutions to creative problem solving.
#5 Four Productive Thinking Exercises - four words led students to discover that what they know about everyday objects may not be all that a student can see.
Fluency means many responses to an object or thing. Descriptors are solicited to get thinking going.
Flexibility means to change. This allowed students to view an object in a different or similar form than what it actually is.
Elaboration means more descriptors are presented for the same object allowing for fluency to extend meaning and new ways of thinking.
Finally, Originality means viewing something in a totally different and new light. This allows for students to view an object in a new way by using old thinking and producing creative views.
Lessons for September 11-15:
#6 Developing Rules - definition of rules, practicing, processing and the principles of rule making.
#7 CAF = Consider All Factors - looking at rule making and how to make rules better for the majority of people.
#8 C&S = Consequence and Sequel -learning about the collective development of inventions and how they were able to consequently develop other related inventions.
Dr. Gregg San Nicolas