Mastery Club Newsletter
Erwin Montessori AG
Do schools kill Creativity?
Why are the arts so absent in schools today?
What can I do to advocate for the arts?
These are questions that the 5th grade students have pondered during this unit. As we wrap up this unit students will complete a culminating project. They will use all of the information they have gained during this unit. We have also had seminars around this topic. Students have worked on the speaking and listening skills they will continue to need as they advance in school.
We are half way through our stock market game unit. Students have worked hard to understand the dynamics of stocks and the stock market. Students are now buying and selling stock during each class. This unit does a great job of showing students how math is used in every day life.
ELA- The Power of Literate People
Through reading and research, students have become knowledgeable about literacy. They have looked at obstacles that many students face when trying to become literate. The 4th graders have a great project that will help one literacy organization. (more information will come later, but you are welcome to ask your child)
We are halfway through our unit called Math in real life. With this unit we have focused on using math to solve real word problems. Out first problem was determining if hybrid vehicles really save consumers money. We worked on finding out how many miles cars can get per gallon and used that to tally savings. Students found this difficult and we used our GRIT to get through. We will continue with this unit and determine how to calculate savings. Be sure to include your child in the math you use everyday!
What Is Critical Thinking? https://blogs.tip.duke.edu/giftedtoday/2014/12/08/what-is-critical-thinking/#more-190
Critical thinking is a skill that focuses on using logic and analysis—and not just memorized facts—to answer questions and solve problems. Essentially, critical thinking relies on practicing how to think, not what to think. For example, asking, “What makes biology a science?” requires far more thought and reflection than asking, “What is the definition of biology?” Many scholars argue that teaching critical thinking is essential for the effective education of children, especially gifted children, and point out that the traditional classroom may not provide enough opportunities to develop deep critical thought.
How Can I Practice Critical Thinking With My Child? Critical thinking is an ongoing process that requires practice. Even when you aren’t actively thinking about encouraging critical thinking, small changes in your communication with your child can inspire more critical and independent thought.
Foster Open-Ended Conversation Children can learn critical thinking strategies by engaging in conversations or friendly debates with parents. Children find critical thinking exercises more interesting when they relate to their interests and real-world situations. You can base your discussions on news stories, social conflicts, or even characters or plots in your child’s favorite TV programs and movies. If children reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their own opinions, as well as their counterarguments, they can make more logical decisions. During your debate or discussions, encourage your child to consider alternative explanations and solutions to problems. Your gifted child may bring up ethical questions that may not have a clear answer. Sometimes, admitting that you do not have the answers to certain questions can give children the chance to consider different viewpoints and beliefs. When your child comes to a conclusion that is different than yours, ask them about what led them to that conclusion rather than choosing a right or wrong side of the argument.
Example: Next time you watch a TV show or movie together, discuss the main character’s dilemma. You can ask questions like, “What is another way the character could have handled the situation? How would you have handled the situation?”
Promote Exploration The curiosity of gifted children can sometimes be overwhelming, and we might want to brush off their questions with answers like, “Because I said so.” Helping children work through their questions by encouraging them to seek answers, consider alternatives, and come to their own conclusions can help them to create better problem-solving strategies. If their questions can’t be answered immediately, making them responsible for scheduling research at a more convenient time can help them develop time management responsibilities.
Example: Your child asks you a question to which he or she can find the answer, e.g., What causes meteor showers? or you can promote exploration by asking a guiding question, e.g.,What are some resources that we can use to find the answer? Ask for Explanations Studies show that having an audience can help children better evaluate their arguments.
Children can learn by giving reasons for their own conclusions and considering alternative points of view. In a study of children’s learning through self-explanation, children were more likely to present alternative ideas, provide more detail, and include more justifications for their argument when they explained a concept to a parent.
Additionally, children who play video games and regularly explain their strategies show more evidence of learning than children who do not explain their strategies.
Example: Ask your child about his or her strategies and planning during activities (this includes video games, computer games, and board or card games). Point out parts of their strategies that use logic, probability, and economic principles.
Promote Personal Decision Making Critical thinking requires children to make decisions on their own, and parents can provide safe situations for them to practice this. When children are given the opportunity to figure out the answers and consider alternatives, this allows for more innovation, exploration, and retained knowledge.
Example: If your child comes to you with a problem (e.g., whether to save or spend last month’s allowance, what book to choose for a report, etc.), help your child consider the pros and cons, but don’t be afraid to let him or her make a wrong choice. The two of you can evaluate the decision later with questions such as, “How do you feel about your decision?” or “What would you do differently next time?
We have been learning about Caesar's English during this 1st semester. Here are some links to practice at home.