Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beginning Stages of Monster Building

The monster building has begun for the Global Monster Project. Teams planned their strategies and divided up the work.  Supplies were evaluated.  The beginning stages of the building can be a time of messy construction and experimentation. Teams need to reevaluate their structure each day and determine how it will connect to the other pieces in the final product.

The premise of this project is that each of the schools describes a different part of the monster challenging teams to bring these ideas together into one creation.  This year we have 5 teams building monsters.

Beginnings of Monsters 10/19/17

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Planning Begins for Monsters

Groups began planning today for the monster building.  Initially, students requested on notecards, two students they would like to work with in their group. Groups were arranged so that each student has one other person they requested.

Today we discussed what is collaboration in a group, how should each group decide on parts of the monster, and the importance of understanding engineering principles in the design and build of their monsters.

Monster Planning

A link to the monster parts can be found here

Monday, October 2, 2017

Growth Mindset

What does growth mindset mean to 6th-grade Catalyst?

Let's Talk Monsters

How do you describe a monster, especially one you can't see? The answer is with a question.  That is what happened today in 6th-grade Catalyst. Students had monster images taped to their back that they could not see.  Students needed to only ask questions that could be answered with "yes or no". At first, we discussed the type of questions you should ask and the importance of taking down notes. You could only ask a person a question once which meant you needed to interact with everyone in the class. Following the questioning session, students had the task of drawing their monsters.  Below are photos from the interaction that happened during the questions.  The monster drawings will be on display during our showcase night.  The monster drawings led into a lesson on writing a personal narrative using their monster in the story.

Let's Talk Monsters

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

6th-Grade Mystery Hangout

Catalyst 6th-graders had their first "Mystery Hangout" of the year today.  A mystery hangout involves two schools using yes/no questions to discover where each other is located.
Roles included:

  • Greeter
  • Lead Thinker -
  • Questioner Team
  • Answerer Team  
  • Filterer
  • World/State Mappers
  • Wi State Mappers

Students turned in Post-its during the activity suggesting questions to be asked. The filterer's job was to sort through the questions, assisting the team asking the questions.  The WI mappers assisted the team answering the questions while the world/state mappers assisted the team asking the questions.  The lead thinker coordinated the information between all the teams.  Each time we have a mystery hangout we switch roles.
A key piece at the end of the activity is a reflection on how well we performed both as digital citizens and as critical thinkers.

Photos from the Mystery Hangout with St. William's School in Chicago can be seen below.

Mystery Hangout 9/26/17

Sunday, September 24, 2017

6th-Grade Engineering Challenge 9/22/17

6th-grade Catalyst students were given the challenge to nonverbally construct a tower/castle using only the provided materials with 15 minutes of construction time. Initially, the students had 2-minutes to discuss and plan.
Materials Allowed: one pair of scissors, one roll of tape, 20 sheets of printer paper.

After construction, students walked around to observe all the towers/castles and see how others interpreted the task.
Individually, they answered the following reflective questions.

·  What was the purpose of this activity beyond building a tower/castle? Why might nonverbal communication be as important as verbal communication?
·  How did your group make sure all members got to participate?
·  What social skills, as a group, did you need to be successful at this task?
·  How would you change the way you work in a group?

Photos of the activity can be seen below:
9/22/17 Engineering Challenge

Thursday, September 21, 2017

7th-Grade Habits of Mind

The 7th-grade Catalyst students have been working on their Habits of Mind projects!  The students have worked in groups to design lesson plans and teach the class about different habits that will make them successful students and effective citizens.  Each lesson plan asks students to lead the class in an active learning experience that requires the class to apply the habit.  We have seen everything from a life-size Sudoku board to building a standing structure while blind-folded!  Attached you will see pictures of these presentations.  The next step for students is to identify one habit that they would like to work on developing this year and finding a community member who uses this habit in their profession.  Students will interview these community members to learn more about how the habit is applied in everyday life!

2017-2018 School Year