We began each week with our article of the week, and this week we were able to have a fishbowl discussion as well. We then read the irony of the mocking tone used in "Us and Them" by David Sedaris, and "Breaking the Ice" by Dave Barry. At the end of last week, we read some 55-word stories aloud, and then wrote and shared our own. We were fortunate to have Ms. Julie Jergens from AHML's Hub at school this week - she gave many book talks! They are all kept on our website here, along with your children's book talks! After our in-class spelling bee, we practiced our comprehension skills with two stories from O.Henry - each with a twist at the end. Thank you to parents who filled out the survey from first quarter, and thank you to Nina, Nathan, and Julia for many of our photos this week. I hope you get a chance to relax this Thanksgiving!
Further Reading: Middle School: The New High School for Moms
What a whirlwind two weeks... Last week, we worked individually, creating our Independent Inquiry projects. Guidelines were inspired by Caine's Arcade, and students naturally helped each other and gave each other valuable feedback. During this preparation, Mrs. Kirr and Mrs. Rehberger had individual conferences with students regarding their learning this quarter. Those conversations are invaluable! Some seventh grades were very reflective, and some had a tough time thinking back to the feedback given. Our hope is that students will grow each quarter. Notes from our conferences, along with students' goals, will be sent home along with report cards. Be sure to look for them and discuss them with your children!
This last week... WOAH! Halloween + Cardboard / Creativity Challenge + CUBS WIN + Chromebook rollout?! Exhausting! Students wrote about their experience with our challenge. Of course, we received feedback from peers on various skills before turning them in for further feedback from teachers. We ended the week by organizing our binders and getting ready for second quarter!
Thank you to Mia, Grayson, Natalia, Julia, and Bob for taking photos this (distracting) week!
Further Reading... Essay contests!
Metra Safety Poster and Essay Contest (due January 31st)
Letters About Literature Contest (due January 9th)
These past two weeks, we've been reading our independent books and sharing them through book talks, summaries, reviews, and more! Options for sharing books read each quarter are on this document. It's an ELA teacher's dream come true when peers give book talks and then three more students are reading those books! We've read two more articles for annotation and discussion (Friday fishbowl discussions have been a hit), and we also read Cherokee Paul McDonald's "A View from the Bridge," reviewing "Aha Moments" in texts. As for writing, we wrote in response to "A View from the Bridge," and we've been enjoying writing about different atmospheres this week. Ask your child to share examples of atmosphere in his or her independent reading book.
Further Reading... Students on this part of our website ("Our Stories") have decided we could publish their stories!
The photos in this slideshow might look a bit different... they're finally from students' perspectives! Special thanks to Victor, Cole, Sophia, Ashley, Alec, and Zoe L. for taking our photos these two weeks!
The past two weeks, we've added to our repertoire of ideas from which to write ("Moments that Matter"), and we will use these throughout the year. I heard one student say, "I used to not like writing, but I like to write about this." The more we can get scholars writing, the better! We also began writing in response to nonfiction (our article of the week). We are writing consistently throughout each week, and students can (usually) choose which pieces to submit for feedback on specific writing skills and grammar.
We've read articles about standardized testing and urban farms, and also narratives from Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. (As always, our work is linked to students' notes here.) We've been annotating, questioning, discussing, and writing to analyze and understand these pieces of text better.
Our further reading this week comes from valuable parent questions:
FAQs about Feedback in Lieu of Grades (includes a video about how to interpret Edline reports)
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