The Cooper School Daily

Look for New Perspectives

For years I kept this sign on my desk at a previous teaching job:

Despite its dramatic appearance, it is simply the formula that Frederick Taylor used at the turn of the century to determine how efficiently a laborer could perform “barrow work” – loading, transporting, and unloading a wheelbarrow at a steel plant. Not surprisingly, the effort to apply Scientific Management to such an individualized task was a colossal failure, and a strong indication that common goals may often best instead be achieved through individual methods. Teachers must be guided by similar thoughts and understand that students may arrive at a common destination by wildly divergent paths.
I didn’t bring the sign with me to The Cooper School because, well, we don’t really use teacher desks, and wall space is too precious of a commodity. Ironically, however, I can’t think of a better place than TCS where this sign applies. It is one of the most unique places I have ever seen. And interestingly enough, each student’s uniqueness is as noticeable in the play area as in the classroom. The cooler weather these past few days has liberated them to turn it up a notch: to chase faster, to play harder, to be themselves in ways that a 98-degree sun inhibits. They play in as many individual ways as they learn in the classroom. Maybe I’m focusing on the outdoors more than usual because it would have snowed already where I lived until 6 months ago. But change can make us aware of things that we might not otherwise have noticed. Like the idea that each kid is different: as teachers we inherently know that. But that they play differently as well as learn differently? That’s been a fun one to watch – they’re so entertaining!
Neither teaching nor learning is a one-size-fits-all. Perhaps it’s fitting that I don’t have room for my sign. I’d rather be reminded each day of its message in much more organic ways, like outdoors and in the classroom. And sign or no sign, TCS is an ideal place to celebrate that uniqueness.

Here’s a look at what is happening in each of the classes:

What’s happening in Science?
Sixth Graders learned how the climate is changing due to the increase of greenhouse gasses and how scientists are certain that the increase of human caused carbon dioxide is impacting climate change. They explored articles, blogs, and videos and then had discussions about their understanding. The students also worked diligently on their Ted Talks! The topics chosen are varied and interesting! Some include sea-level rise, how climate change is impacting the coral reef, and how the rainforest is being affected by the rise of global temperatures. We will have our Ted Talk presentations before the end of the trimester. More information about the date and time will be announced next week.

What’s up in ELA?

Sixth Graders have decided what small moment in their lives they will write about. They are off to a great start in their personal narrative writings. Some students are writing about Christmas vacations and lost little brothers. Other students are writing about monster trucks and fishing experiences. We looked at including imagery and dialogues in our writings. Parents, please take some time to review your kids’ writings and help them to edit. Please keep an eye out for their grammar/vocabulary rubrics that are sent home every Friday and their reading log journal rubrics that are sent home on Mondays.

What’s going on in Math?
Ratios between two things have turned into ratios between three things, like finding how many nickels, dimes, and quarters are in a pile of 500 coins totalling $91, or some such unrealistic setup. And in an extension of the unit rate work they’ve been doing, the Sixth Graders will be spending time converting back and forth between units: meters to inches, gallons to liters, other metric & standard trade-offs. (If the US would finally convert to the metric system we could probably eliminate this unit altogether, but the Secretary of Commerce isn’t biting.) We’ll end the week comparing speeds and prices and unlike ratios to see if they are equivalent – it’s not always so easy to tell.

What’s happening in Social Studies?
Sixth Grade had an informative week in social studies. We learned about Pharaohs and even completed a mini-research project about a pharaoh from the early Egyptian empires.

Next week, the students will learn about ancient Egypt’s achievements and try to create a pyramid themselves using popsicle sticks! Students will then begin a writing workshop that looks at how the geography impacted the people of ancient Egypt and Kush. This will lead to their first official paper being produced in social studies.

Important Dates:
October 17-18 – Fall Break (No School)
October 31st- Halloween Carnival (11:30 Dismissal)
November 1st- Teacher Work Day (No School)