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AnnouncementsMedia Literacy

Media Literacy: Face the Future…

After a difficult week, 8th graders are thinking about the future. The premise is simple:

“You are in a world where you can feel what other people feel. Now what? Facing History and Institute for the Future will pioneer an online game for social change that will convene students, educators, and community members from around the world to imagine what a better future might look like in 2026. The game will take place November 13–14, 2016.

Together we will challenge each other to radically reimagine the future of empathy and civic participation, taking people outside the bounds of daily modes of thinking. This experience will encourage collaboration to build shared visions and meaningful conversation about what the future might provide for us all.”

The game was created by Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer, best-selling author, and Director of Game Research and Development for The Institute for the Future.

Last Thursday, we discussed the difference between empathy and sympathy. Then we watched an introduction from McGonigal along with the first of the four scenarios from the game. Students then “played” their cards on chart paper and these cards represent both positive and negative possibilities of a future where feelings can be “shared” through social networks.

Students gain points when other people build on their ideas. A livestream launch with Jane McGonigal took place last night. As soon as a link to that exists, I will add it because it was a great talk. She talks about how “predicting our past” and “remembering our future” activates parts of the brain that otherwise remain dormant. Our ability to put ourselves in a situation is what allows us to understand other people’s feelings. That’s what this game is all about. Currently, there are 8423 players on facethefuture.org. Out of all those players, three of our students are listed among the top five “thinkers” and have contributed toward the 40,000+ possible futures that may exist. The game will be live for the rest of the evening (November 14th), so ask your eighth grader about it and see what their thoughts are. Some of our students have also been featured on the Face the Future blog and you should check that out. This is really compelling stuff and I recommend you watch the videos and go through the slideshow below to get a better idea of what this all looks like.

 

 

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Science Gr2-Gr5

One thing I love about living on the East Coast is experiencing seasonal changes. In their continuing exploration of trees, kindergartners are learning how seasonal changes affect trees. During a reading of the beautifully illustrated book, “Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art,” by Thomas Locker, students illustrated and labelled their own trees through the seasons.

From walking sticks and grasshoppers to ladybugs and spittlebugs, the world is just full of terrific, interesting insects. First graders have investigating the structures of these amazing creatures in preparation for a trip to the Environmental Study Center on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, where they will get to study some real life specimens.

Luster, shape, size, color, and texture are just some of the properties of rocks second graders have been studying and using to sort rocks into groups. Recently, students learned that rock sizes even have specific names from the enormous boulder to microscopic clay particles. For the record, the sizes are: boulders, cobbles, pebbles, gravel, sand, silt and clay. Students should also be on the lookout for a favorite rock that they would like to share with the class.

Liters and milliliters are on the minds of third graders these days as we continue our unit on metric measurement. Students investigated whether the 355 mL label on a typical can of soda represents the volume or the capacity of the soda inside the can. What do you think? Ask your child what they discovered. Next up: measuring mass using balances and gram pieces.

0567846c-5f53-4cce-a388-8361de700419Fourth graders learned about a salt marsh ecosystem and the ways of the marsh’s early inhabitants, the Lenni-Lenape, during a trip to the Salt Marsh Nature Center with Ms. Seitz and Ms. Stewart. Students got very attached to burrs (prickly seed cases) found along the trail, sticking them onto their coats and pants for fun. Did you know that burrs inspired a man named George de Mestral to invent Velcro?  Click here for photos!

Fourth graders are also working hard on their food web projects, which are due next week (402 on 11/14/16 and 401 on 11/16/16). Students who are working with a partner should make sure to get together this weekend to put the finishing touches on their work.

Fifth graders have begun their observational studies of birds and will soon be recording data while viewing bird feeding activity via a live cam set up at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. Please allow your child ample time to view the feeders via the Internet. Students will have a short quiz on bird identification on Nov. 17, 2016.