Talon Talk

HMS - Where Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Soar!

Exploration Report Instructional Strategy

Submitted by: Shannon Kay

Recently a group of 8th graders have been working in the Hemingway room in their historical fiction book clubs. Along with reading and discussing the book, we incorporated a couple additional activities that enabled all students to really show and discuss their thinking. These activities allowed kids to tap into prior knowledge and connect with the book. They also encouraged questioning, facilitated student discourse and ultimately supported a deeper understanding of the reading and historical content.

Students worked in pairs or small groups to complete these activities and there was a lot of talk involved. This led to some pretty intense conversations not to mention competition to share thoughts first. There were great arguments about predictions and observations where differences of opinion were shared, heard by others and discussed. It was powerful to see these things develop and occur naturally and without teacher prompting.

Please feel free to stop by the Hemingway room and check out our work.

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Seventh Grade FLEX - Guest Speaker

Submitted by: Chris Borleis

The seventh grade Flex Photography class had a professional photographer by the name of Wayde Peronto come and speak to them about taking portraits and how to pose for pictures. He also showed them pictures he took when he was on missions trips to places like Pakistan, India, Lebanon and the Philippine Islands.

It was a lot of fun and the students were polite and engaged!

Also, Mr. Peronto told me he would be posting some pictures he took today of the students and the building on his studio website, so check back at this address to see some really AWESOME, professional pictures of our beloved students and school!


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Following pictures: Sixth Grade students in "Genius Hour"/FLEX Class - Learning from Mr. Hanson at the Waukesha Salvation Army and Mr. Amiel, a computer programmer, from Sega

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HMS Teachers Modeling Academic Discourse (Socratic Seminar Style) - The Art of Changing the Brain Collegial Study Group

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PDF of entire book

Feel free to join us for food and great discussion!

2:45-3:30 p.m. in FLIGHT Academy

Wednesday, January 27

Chapters 1, 2, and 3:

What are the implications on our life, teaching, and learning if “all that the brain knows comes from the physical world, the things in its environment, the physical body that holds the brain inside itself, or the womb that holds that body as it develops. A physical brain means a physical mind; meaning itself is physical.” Be the first person to talk to Mr. Wegner about an answer to one of these questions for a prize.

What is the learning cycle? How is it connected to our physical brains?

  • What if we view our teaching simply as sensory input? Could we use knowledge of the sensory brain to guide us in our practice? Would this change how we plan our teaching and how we present information?

  • How can we intentionally design learning to integrate experience and memory through reflection?

  • How can we bring the motor brain into our teaching? How can we insist that students actively demonstrate their ideas - not our ideas, but theirs?

What are your understandings of the back cortex and front cortex (and the transformation line)? How do these understandings impact your ideas about teaching/learning?

Wednesday, February 3

Chapters 4 and 5:

What do our brains want? How does this impact how we teach/learn?

What are your thoughts and connections regarding emotion, motivation, movement, and happiness from these chapters?

What are your reflections on how our brains have evolved?

What are your thoughts/experiences on “learning is suffering” vs. “learning is fun” debate?

What are the implications of “feelings always affect reasoning and memory”?

Wednesday, February 10

Chapters 6 and 7:

How is prior knowledge something physical? What does that mean for our teaching/learning?

What do/can teachers do to physically alter our students’ brains?

Wednesday, February 17

Chapters 8 and 9:

How are images important?

How do the senses impact teaching/learning?

How do/can we integrate our own learning? How do/can we help students integrate their learning?

What were your thoughts on speed, reflection, and language in teaching/learning from Chapter 9?

Wednesday, February 24

Chapters 10 and 11:

What did you learn about working memory and long-term memory? How might this influence your teaching/learning?

What is executive processing?

Why is action/doing so important in the learning cycle? How do we collectively define “active learning”? How does this knowledge connect to your own teaching/learning?

Wednesday, March 2

Chapter 12:

Synthesize our collective understanding about emotion and the brain cycle of learning.

What are our understandings about motivation, self-evaluation, and control in the learning process?

What are the big ideas that you will continue to utilize in your teaching/learning?

1 Credit:

  • Participate in all discussions (in person and on blog) and readings.

2 Credits:

  • Participate in all discussions (in person and on blog) and readings.

  • Explain how one lesson was impacted from your new learning. Share with group on Wednesday, March 2.

3 Credits:

  • Participate in all discussions (in person and on blog) and readings.

  • Explain how one lesson was impacted from your new learning.

  • Create something that shares your knowledge with the larger HMS community (fellow teachers, students, parents, and/or community members). Some ideas may include organizing PD for faculty meeting or PLC, leading a parent night on this topic, displaying/explaining artifacts for HMS community to see/reflect on. Share plan with group on Wednesday, March 2.