Thursday, October 9, 2014

In a Nutshell

"The ancient Roman encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder claimed that a copy of Homer's The Iliad existed that was small enough to fit inside a walnut shell. Almost 2000 years later in the early 1700s the Bishop of Avranches tested Pliny's theory by writing out the epic in tiny handwriting on a walnut-sized piece of paper and lo and behold, he did it!" (

Well, we're not exactly writing The Iliad in room 104 - at least not yet - but here, in the proverbial nutshell, is a review of some of our September activities:

The 8th Grade has investigated and invented some offbeat literary genres. If you'd like to visit a few, please click here.
We often write to prompts. A recent one was the H.L. Mencken quote below. Note: it yielded some illustrations as well. Why not draw the Unknowable?
Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits, nevertheless, calmly licking its chops.

So, what can we know? Why do we believe? These questions underlie our group reading of the National Book Award Winner, Godless, by Pete Hautman. Read the author's own thoughts on this book here.

The 7th Grade started the year bringing in their strangest objects. We wrote about these, as a curated representation of oddities. This correlated with both the upstairs Artifact Project, and our quick look at the Smithsonian 101 Objects That Made America website. Do objects speak across time?
Then, we began to investigate whether or not thoughts "matter" as in ...  do they exist? This lead to a reading of "Levitation" by Joseph Payne Brennan - a super writing prompt.

Grade Six is in the midst of an exploration of the evolution of LANGUAGE! Why does language change? How? What makes a word a WORD?
 If you have a few minutes, please watch this video of The Three Little Pigs told as a Shakespearean would....We'll be wading around in this unit for a while. Stay tuned for more particulars.

Grade Five and I are just getting to know each other as writers and thinkers. We're writing to prompts. Our first unit will explore metaphor - from their use in political speech ("I Have a Dream" - Martin Luther King, Jr. ) to poetry and picture books, to their judicious use in everyday writing. Our culminating goal will be to publish metaphor haiku on The Family Travel Haiku Website.

Thank you for these wonderful question askers, for these quick thinkers, and offbeat creators! It's a joy to come to work. Please contact me by email or phone with any questions you may have!

If you are able, join me at our annual conference. Click HERE for details!

Save the Date!

Maine Educators of the Gifted And Talented (MEGAT)
2014 Annual Conference

Advocating and Navigating:
How do we support Twice Exceptional, Gifted and Talented Students?

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