March 5, 2012
Out with the old trimester, and in with the new!
The weeks since February vacation have flown by in a blur of final touches on projects, make up work, and even a little snow. We have made headway into our literature circle books, and are marching through wars and economic crises in social studies. With the whirlwind of work and events surrounding the end of the trimester, I feel it is more important than ever to explain where we are and where we are going as the third trimester blows our way.
In language arts, students in grades five through eight are working on reading their respective assigned classics (5/6 - Island of the Blue Dolphins; 7/8 - To Kill a Mockingbird). Both classes have been asked to keep a running list of characters as they read, which I will quiz them on periodically. Students have also been grouped into literature circles, which have already met once, and will meet twice more over the course of the book. Literature circles are meant to be an opportunity to have open discussions about the novels students are reading, but it is vitally important they complete the role sheets they have been assigned before each meeting. The jobs rotate after each group meeting, and are designed to help students think as they read. The best thing about participating in literature circles is that it is not up to the teacher to choose a topic or ask the questions. Students get to choose their focus and consider their own ideas without the teacher lecturing. Of course, to ensure comprehension and active reading, I will be assigning comprehension questions that will be counted as quiz grades.
In social studies, we are making strides at both grade levels. Fifth and sixth grade students are preparing for a test on the Revolutionary War. It is my hope to spend some time on current events so we can look at how our country at war today is different from the country that fought against the British. Fast-forward to the 1930‘s, and we find the Great Depression. The seventh and eighth grade class is currently studying how our country was plunged into its greatest economic crisis ever and making connections to our recent economic troubles today. In the coming weeks, we will find how the Depression was overcome by war, of all things.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coins for Cures:
This month, the school is collecting change for the Boston Children’s Hospital. This worthy establishment has helped many children who have to cope with serious health issues. It is my hope that the change jar will fill up with spare pocket change over the next few weeks. Any and all contributions will be very much appreciated and go to what I personally know is a very good cause. Thanks!