MESA Report #1: Motion sensors & the math of colors


Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer. He came to our classroom and showed us that when you zoom in on a picture it ends up being a bunch little squares called “pixels”. He taught us that a pixel is a “very small area of illumination on a display, one of many from which an image is composed”. He also told us that white is 1, black is 0, and grey is .5.

After Mr. Stern’s presentation we made videos in our school courtyard. It was fun because we learned how to make motion video recorder just with a camera. We learned that you could use anything with a motion recorder. Some groups did a dance and made scary faces. My group did a dance, and then we saw pixels back in the classoom. When we were in the courtyard we learned to work together.

One of our favorite parts of the experience was learning about pixels. We also liked learning about the motion sensor. Plus we got to shoot our own motion video with our groups. We liked to learn the math of colors. For example white equals 1, black equals 0, and gray equals .5. Last but not least we got notebooks to write down things that we learned, and we can write more things when Mr. Stern comes back. We hope that you can learn the same.

We have questions about the next time you come. What will be our next project/activity? What will we do in the class? Will the project take place outside again? What will the subject be this time? Just like with the camera, will you bring anything else? Those are some questions that we have right now.

Bonus videos of the action that took place during the session:


To: Mr. McNeary; From: Room 215

The students from Metcalfe took a slightly different approach to the introductory assignment, writing their YAW facilitator directly. Check it out:

Dear Mr. McNeary,

Hi Michael, this is room 215, a room you will never forget. We are fourth graders here at Ralph H. Metcalfe. We are honored to have you visit our school, because we love having guests. Let us tell you a little about our classroom.

The most important thing you need to know is that we like to have fun. We like to play games on our laptops, but we also like to learn. 26 out of 29 of us like math. That means only 3 don’t. 16 of us love to read! We also like writing, earning Moola, Helping out, and Pizza parties!

However, SOME kids are rude, so please just ignore them. And sometimes EACH of us have our ups and downs. Sometimes we have problems, but mostly we’re good! So, that’s the truth about our class. We look forward to meeting you on Wednesday. Have a great day.


Room 215

Intro to La Causa

la causa


My 5th grade students and I are very excited to begin our Young Author’s workshop with our facilitators. We are very grateful for this opportunity and I am sure the students are excited to learn more. I will begin by giving you a short summary of our school. Charter School is located in the Southside of Milwaukee and serves approximately 800 students and their families. Grades range from 1st through 8th grade. The main languages spoken are Spanish and English. The school provides innovative, foundational, bilingual and multi-cultural learning experiences. La Causa has a strong emphasis on Fine Arts and Vocational Education. Some of these programs include: Music, Art, Physical Education, Video production, Robotics, Project Lead the Way, and Computer Science. Our extracurricular activities include Soccer, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Guitars, Dance, First Stage Theater, LEGO Robotics Club, STEM Science Club, Boys Scout, Soccer, Girls on the Run (and Boys on the Run) and Choir, to name a few. We participate in events such as 5 de Mayo, Cantos de Las Americas, and many others. La Causa also has a school garden in which staff and students volunteer to plant vegetables and fruits.

Our 5th grade bilingual classroom consists of 31 students who are enthusiastic and curious learners. At times they can get chatty but they are great students. They all know the school and classroom expectations and for the most part follow through with it. When my students are interested or excited about a topic, they usually love to get involved. Most of my students are Spanish speakers with English as their second language. Many of our students have strong cultural backgrounds and are involved in many of the activities and events that the school offers.

Our 5th grade class is very excited for their first YAW presentation. They enjoyed their Discovery World visit and all of the workshops. Thank you very much for allowing us to experience everything that Young Author’s workshops had to offer. We look forward in seeing you again.


Ms. Narvaez

La Causa Charter School

5th Grade Bilingual Teacher

Intro to Milwaukee Environmental Science Academy


Have you heard about Milwaukee Environmental Sciences Academy? Here at M.E.S.A. everyone is one big crew. We call ourselves “Crew 6600”. M.E.S.A. is a school that has your grades high to the sky! It is an Expeditionary Learning school, and that makes for a great experience.

One interesting thing about our school is that we have a courtyard cistern. The courtyard is also home to several gardening beds. Planting is done by each grade in the spring, and in the summer classmates help pick out the organic vegetables in the school’s garden. When we harvest our vegetables we get to eat them. Another unique thing about our school is that we have a Toyota Family Learning program where parents get to learn more about our school and do projects. We wear uniforms each day so we all look the same. Our shirts have a yellow jacket on it as that is our school mascot. The best part is the staff cares about our learning.

M.E.S.A is a great place to learn. In class we have LLI groups so kids can get better at reading. It is very easy to learn new things because the teachers are so smart and creative. We have 1st grade buddies that we meet with on Friday afternoons. Each month we try to donate gifts to our neighbors. In October we left decorated pumpkins at their homes. In November we left “thankful rocks”. In December we delivered hand­made Christmas ornaments. We skipped January because it was cold and busy. We made Valentines in February. We’re very proud of our school and classroom.

Intro to Notre Dame


Notre Dame primary building is just four years old.  The middle school is almost 20 years old.  The primary building is a dual language program.  Students in K4 to 4th are taught in English and Spanish.  Primary is coed, but the middle school is all girls.  There are two homerooms of each class. 

In 4A there are 18 girls and 2 boys.  The reason for that is that many girls come to our school in 4th grade so they can enter the middle school for 5th grade.  After 4th grade the boys go to a variety of schools.  I teach subjects in English so in my homeroom only English is spoken. 

The students do work in centers and other groupings so they are used to working in groups.  Their behavior is quite good when they are working together.  They enjoy the group activities.  They are looking forward to Jess coming and the activities they will participate in.