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Day 1, Morning Session

We are made of Star Stuff 

Essential Question:
How does wonder lead to discovery?

Focus Standards

Be A Star!
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the
Mysteries of the Cosmos
by Stephane Ross Sisson

For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, "What are they?" comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan.


Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. 

Be the star that you are! The morning kicked off with several Community Building activities that can be used in the classroom to help teachers and students get to know one another and set the stage for the content of the text.  Our "star stuff" is what makes you special. After learning about their peers through interviews, teachers introduced one another in star studded fashion!

In small groups, participants use Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) with individual pages of Star Stuff.  Specific questions guide a discussion of small sections of text: "What do you see?""What makes you say that?" and "What else do you see?" 

After viewing a brief video "The Pale Blue Dot," participants wrote down wonderings about the universe and the video in their journals.  Then they chose some to put on the Inquiry Wall.

LAFS.5.RI.1.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


LAFS.5.W.1.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.


(SC) BIG IDEA 5: Earth in Space & Time

Humans continue to explore Earth's place in space. Gravity and energy influence the formation of galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, stars, the Solar System, and Earth. Humankind's need to explore continues to lead to the development of knowledge and understanding of our Solar System.

Retired Educator and philanthropist extraordinaire, Wanda Lincoln, made welcoming remarks and offered some words of wisdom.  Mrs. Lincoln also led a Lunch and Learn session later in the week.

Entering Text: VTS

ISN: Interactive Student Notebook

Anchor Text

Building Community

Inquiry Wall

Using their Actor's Tools -  Voice, Body, Mind and Imagination - participants work together to decide how to perform and share small "nuggets" of text with the larger group. In this way, we are introduced to the story.

Entering Text: Story Nuggets

Comprehending Text

Director of Professional Development for SDIRC, Megan Kendrick, introduced the Interactive Student Notebook as a way of documenting student learning and growth.  With the interactive notebook, participants record their learning through: WAR - Writing and Reflecting, WIO - Work it Out, WOW- Words of Wisdom, and TOC- Table of Contents.

Participants read the whole text at their tables and captured wonderings in their Interacitve Student Notebooks.  "What do we think we know?" "What do we wonder?"  They then choose wonderings to contribute to the Inquiry Wall.

"I enjoyed working with teachers from other grades and schools.  It gave me the opportunity to get ideas from differenct perspectives.  Having more time together made a great impact." - Teacher Comment

Creating Text: Storyboards

Storyboards are an excellent way to organize thoughts and allow us to reflect.  They give students multiple ways to communicate through writing, illustration and composition. 

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