We have been, in a word, busy. Can’t believe this is the start of the third trimester. Let me catch you up on what’s been happening!
7th grade wrote essays for a statewide contest “If I Led My Community,” and I am thrilled to congratulate Olivia Messer on being one of just three winners! Students also wrote informational pieces and are starting research papers on self-selected topics. We enjoyed reading The Outsiders, took an essay test and compared the book with the movie, and we’re now about halfway through the very powerful Holocaust memoir, I Have Lived A Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson. Students seem moved by and engaged with her writing, and this has led to some very good class discussions.
Both 7th and 8th graders had the option of writing a book review or entering a “Letters About Literature” contest. Students had the fun challenge of writing their life stories in six words…these were illustrated and displayed in the hall. Along with grade 6, 7th and 8th grade participated in the Modern Woodmen’s school speech contest (topic: what is a hero?) earlier this month. To help prepare, we watched videos of previous speakers and noted the use of facial and vocal expression and hand gestures. Congratulations to Noelle Killarney (3rd place), Audrey Pike (2nd place), and Olivia Messer who won 1st place and will have the opportunity to participate in the district contest next month. To “warm up” for the speech contest, 7th and 8th graders gave book talks on their independent books. Both classes learned the importance of the Oxford comma when I shared the story of Oakhurst Dairy drivers suing the company for unpaid overtime, all because of a missing comma in the contract! Grammar does matter :).
We are in the midst of a short story unit in grade 8 ELA. The stories are challenging (some at the high school/even college level), and students are doing well with them. We’ve read “The Ledge,” “The Lesson,” “The Landlady,” and “The Lottery” (not sure why so many L’s, but kind of a cool coincidence) and are comparing two stories about father/son relationships: Step-Over Toe-Hold and Cradle Hold. For Writing Workshop, 8th graders can choose from a long list of writing pieces: novella, instruction manual, historical fiction, dystopian, narrative, fantasy, editorial, and many more!
In 8th grade Social Studies, we completed our Civil War unit with a test, small group project and the movie “Glory” which featured the African-American 54th Massachusetts volunteer army. Students were also asked to read a book on the Civil War and present a book talk to the class, as well as write journal entries in the perspective of someone living through the war. We continue to check in on and discuss current world events and are now learning about Reconstruction.
|Dom, Audrey and Lydia with their delicious project of Civil War era foods!|
Looking forward to warmer weather and longer days! Please continue to encourage your children to read at home, every night. Happy spring to everyone.