We finished our short story unit last week - and it culminated with students writing a newsletter or newspaper article about their stories. They had many choices - stories to read, activities to try, and writing options. What wit seventh graders demonstrate when given choice! This past week, we focused on analyzing poetry - see our "scholars' notes" for titles and authors. We read each poem about five or so times, looking for new information each time so we could truly understand the nuances of each. (We then practiced with PARCC-type questions, as well.) We ended the week with a student-selected topic for our article of the week - swimming dogs who help children who are disabled in some way.
We are immersed in our short story unit. Students have been choosing the stories they'd like to read (six out of twelve), and also the assignments they'd like to do alongside each story (one for each story). We're also starting our next writing - a newspaper article - where we have to provide sufficient evidence to back up our claims. For grammar, we've focused on complex sentences, and we added a "read aloud" element to our last two weeks. We started and finished Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. Ask your child what the premise was, and then ask what happened next (or maybe - what SHOULD happen next)...
Soon we'll start some poetry and share our talents. Quick note: We will have a practice PARCC session on the Chromebooks to get familiar with the tools again, and yet we will not "study" for PARCC in March. All year, when asking comprehension questions, we've been "studying," so do not fret if your child does not come home with anything to study. Reading, reading, and MORE reading (and then writing about and/or discussing that reading!) will be what helps them improve from year to year.
Last week, we read two more short stories - "Thank You Ma'am" by Langston Hughes, and "The Miracle Worker" (Act 1) about Anne Sullivan. We briefly reviewed conflict, setting, characters, and reading "signposts." Then third quarter hit. It's time to do something different and give students more control...
Students this week were introduced to an independent study short story unit. They'll have a choice of six stories (from 12). They will then share their notes and understandings with Mrs. Rehberger or me before they choose an activity (out of 18) for each story. Students and teachers are learning what Schoology can do, as this time the classroom resources and assignments are directly connected to Schoology. All of our resources are on one document - check it out here! Below are our detailed notes from the past two weeks - along with further reading for you and your middle school child.
Thank you for reaching out when you have questions or concerns!
Simply email me to come into class in person or via Skype. We'd love to hear book talks (suggestions for good books) or picture books (read aloud by YOU). We hope to see you in class this year!
Mrs. Joy Kirr