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When we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
—Wendell Berry

Reminder: The goal is for students to read for two hours a week. At school, we read for about 50 minutes, and thus the remaining 1 hour and 10 minutes is homework (approx. 4-20 minute sessions).

Mrs. Howatt 2015-16



Alberta Education Information and Division Websites
   
                     http://education.alberta.ca/media/6951645/skmbt_c36413050707450.pdf                      http://erlc.ca/resources/resources/cross_curricular_competencies_overview/documents/cross_curricular_comptencies_overview.pdf                                 https://education.alberta.ca/media/6343889/emerge%20final%20report%202010-10-17.pdf   
            
 http://www.crps.ca/                 http://lgms.crps.ca/         






Weekly Updates

December 6, 2017
Language Arts 8
We have finished our Short Story Unit and have now moved on to a Personal Experience Narrative Writing Unit. Students will be writing about a time they will never forget. In their folder, they have a document that guides them through this process as we work together in class.
They have also completed a reflection on their reading progress over the past three months.
Social Studies 8
We are currently finishing up their presentations of their Teenage Guide. We will be, and some have started a Futurist project. In between presentations, we are working on how to complete a summary of a text.
November 13
Language Arts 8
We have started work on November's vocabulary words. Students should have their vocabulary journals for these words complete by tomorrow. They will then work on practicing these words on Vocabulary.com and then take a quiz next Monday. Between interviews, short weeks and Remembrance Day activities our progress has been a little slow. This week students will be expected to complete their letter in their Short Story Unit. Hopefully, they will get a good start on their first constructed response as well. They have all of these assignments on their google drive.
As always - students should be reading to achieve their reading goals. Students should also be watching the calendar for their Booktalk times.
Social Studies 8
All students have completed their Changing Worldviews: Middle Ages to Renaissance assignment and marks are available in PowerSchool for viewing.
We are currently working on a Teenage Guide assignment. In this project - students will research a field of study during this time: math, astrology, literature, medicine, science etc. and examine two major developments in these fields and establish the impact that these developments have had on the worldviews during this time.
A big focus for this project will be on how to create and present an effective presentation. 
October 30
Language Arts 8
We are working our way through the Short Story Unit. We have done looking at techniques used to develop characters and are moving on to three written responses that will require students to apply their learning of characterization techniques. The first written response is a Follow Up Letter followed by two constructed Responses. 
We have also been working on vocabulary. Students just completed a quiz for their October Vocabulary words and will start a new list this week.
Every week two students must give a booktalk. They must make sure they know when their time is and be prepared. Their names are on a calendar in class and on the calendar on my website.
Social Studies 8
Students are wrapping up their Changing Worldviews: Middle Ages to Renaissance and we are moving on to a project called a Teenage Guide. In this project - students will research a field of study during this time: math, astrology, literature, medicine, science etc. and examine two major developments in these fields and establish the impact that these developments have had on the worldviews during this time.
A big focus for this project will be on how to create and present an effective presentation.
October 13
Language Arts 8
We are a week into our Short Story Unit. The guiding question for this unit is: What techniques do writers use to develop their characters and to make their characters plausible? Specifically, we are looking at types of characters, types of conflict and what motivates characters. We are currently practicing identifying these techniques in the short story Thank You Ma'am by Langston Hughes.
Social Studies
We are currently working on a unit with the guiding question: How do new ideas and knowledge challenge our worldviews? To explore this question we have looked at the role that the Black Death played in changing worldviews from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. We are wrapping up this assignment and starting an assignment in which students will explore the new ideas and knowledge developed in different fields of study during the Renaissance, and what impact these developments had on the worldviews during this time.
September 25
Language Arts 8
This week in Language Arts students will continue to practice their vocabulary on Vocabulary.com. I am piloting this program and this is our first week of figuring this out together. If all goes well, there will be a vocab quiz on the practiced words. For our It's Complicated Project, we will take photos and interview each other. The goal is to have the write-ups done by Friday. 
Social Studies 8
We are still exploring worldviews by comparing Canada to Sudan. Last week we watched The Good Lie and now students should be ready to write their response to Does where you live impact your worldviews? The goal is to have this response completed by midweek.
September 13
Language Arts 8
Students are currently working on assignments that will introduce the use of mentor text to guide our writing and help us get to know each other. We have completed Visual Summaries of all their weird stuff. This week we will start work on creating portraits and stories of each other. We will be following the work done by Robin Bowman in her book It's Complicated: The American Teenager.
Social Studies
The main topic in grade 8 is Worldviews. We have spent the first week exploring why we would want or need to learn about worldviews by looking at graphs of the increase in hate groups, news articles on hate speech and the incident in Charlottesville. From these examples, we have come to the conclusion that it is indeed important to learn about other's worldviews in order to be more understanding and open-minded.
Currently, we are exploring if where you live impacts your worldviews by comparing the worldviews of Canada to Southern Sudan

June 12
Language Arts 7&8
Students are currently working on a Poetry Unit. We are looking at analyzing songs for poetic devices. This Wednesday students will present their Song Analysis. On Thursday 8A and Friday, 8B have a Poetic Device quiz. This will be the last unit that we work on in Language Arts this year.
Social Studies 8
We are currently working on the techniques used to create Political/Editorial Cartoons. Students will start working on their own political cartoon this week.
May 29
Language Arts 7&8
Students will present their TED Talks on Wednesday. Next, we will start a Poetry Unit.
Social Studies 8
Students will start a Freelance Journalism Unit this week. They will start by selecting a local, national, and international news article to answer the 5W's and write a summary. Next, students will select one article to create a political cartoon on.
May 22
Language Arts 7&8
Students are now working on their final draft for their TED talks. This week they will work on making revisions and practice reading their talks. The plan is to present this Friday if all goes well. Otherwise, we will plan for Monday.
Social Studies
We will use our Social Studies time to work on finishing up the TED Talks. Next week we will start a Journalism Unit.
May 10
Language Arts 7&8
We have spent the last week looking at the structure and content of TED speakers. Students have started to brainstorm ideas for their topics and will start to draft their speeches this week.
Social Studies
Students will wrap up their Preparing for the Voyage speeches this week. They are due on Monday.
May 1
Language Arts 7&8
Students should have handed their Argumentative Essays into google classroom last Friday. We are now starting a public speaking unit: Project TED. We will be exploring what makes a great TED talk and then, students will create their own TED talk. The plan is to spend three weeks exploring and preparing. 
NOTE - CHECK YOUR BOOK TALK DATE!
April 17
Language Arts 7&8
At this point, students should have the body paragraphs completed for their essay. This week we will work on writing an introduction and this will be due this Friday. Next week we will work on conclusions and the final essay will be due April 28th.
Social Studies
Students should have submitted their Preparing for the Voyage paragraph into google classroom last Friday. This week students will start writing a speech outlining the 5 most important items needed for a voyage (from the Spanish perspective). 
NOTE - CHECK YOUR BOOK TALK DATE!
Social Studies
This week we start a new unit called Preparing for the voyage. Students will be exploring the motivations behind Spanish exploration. They will start by taking notes (due this Friday) in order to establish which motivation was the most significant - then they will write up a paragraph outlining their conclusion with support. Next, they will prepare a speech outlining the five most important items that would be needed on a voyage considering the main motivation.
March 16
Language Arts 7&8
We are still working on our argumentative writing unit. We will be spending a lot of time on this unit as it is the first time students have been asked to write this type of essay. It is important to lay a solid foundation as they will be asked to do a lot of this type of writing in high school and beyond. Students should all have their topic selected at this point and we are currently working on forming claims and solid, supporting reasons.
For our vocabulary block, we are focusing on roots words and will be for the next several weeks.
NOTE - CHECK YOUR BOOK TALK DATE!
Feb 28
Language Arts 7&8
We have now completed our narrative writing unit and are know starting an argumentative writing unit. We will be spending about 5 weeks working through all the steps from leads, claims, reasons, evidence and conclusions. As we work through all of the steps we will be analyzing several different types argumentative pieces. This week will be an introduction to the argumentative pillar (organization framework) and we will look at editorials from the Globe and Mail and New York times.
NOTE - CHECK YOUR BOOK TALK DATE!
Social Studies
This week we will work on creating WeVideos for Worldviews of the Aztec in Pictures assignment. Due date is March 10.
Social Studies 8
Students are wrapping up their Aztec Worldviews in Pictures Video. We will be starting a new unit next week looking at the worldviews of the Spanish before they came in contact with the Aztecs.
Feb. 6-10
Language Arts 7&8
We have been working on elaborative detail for critical characters, settings and objects in their narrative personal experience stories. Specifically, we have been working on showing rather than telling how their characters are feeling. Students should have their narratives complete in order to share with a peer on Monday. They will then have time to make any changes in order to hand in their final draft for Wednesday.
Social Studies
Students finished presenting their topics for their Futurist Presentation assignment last week. We will start our next unit on worldviews and conflict. We will begin by looking at the contact between the Aztecs and the Spanish and the outcome of this contact.
Jan. 23-27
Language Arts 7&8
We are still working on narrative writing. This week we are focusing on elaborate details. At this point in time, students should have a rough draft completed - meaning they have quickly put down their ideas. We will now work on revising with an entertaining beginning (we worked on beginnings last week) and elaborative detail.
Social Studies
This week students will present their work and sit on an expert panel and answer questions from their classmates.

Jan. 9-13
Language Arts 7&8
We have started to work on the second narrative writing piece. This piece will focus on a place that students have revisited over time. We have been journaling and brainstorming the experiences we have had at these places. Students will pick one experience to write about. We will then go deeper with beginnings, elaborative detail, endings and conventions. We will be working on this for a couple of weeks.
Social Studies
We are getting close to the end of the Futurist Presentations project. We are hoping to start presentations and panel discussions the week of Jan. 23rd. Next week we will focus on putting the presentation together.
Dec. 12-17
Language Arts 7&8
We are will be spending this week working on a Review Package in order to prepare for the Outsiders final test which will be written on Wednesday, December 22.
Social Studies
We have started working on a Futurist Presentation. Students have selected their topic and will spend the week researching and gathering information. All research must be completed by this Friday.
November 29, 2016
Language Arts 7 & 8: Students will work on chapter 9&10 in their literacy groups. They are also working on a Outsiders Conflict assignment which is due this Friday. Chapter 9&10 quiz next week.
Students are also gathering all of their vocab of the week assignments and preparing a quiz with their words. See calendar for quiz dates.

Social Studies 8: Students have completed their Teenage Guide assignment and will be presenting this week to small groups. They will then move on to an assignment (Futurist Assignment) that deals with areas of rapid change in today's world.
Sept. 20, 2016
Language Arts 7 & 8:This week we will continue to work on the narrative essay by doing small exercises with sensory details and looking at dialogue. Students will work on their first draft. Due date will depend on how things go in class.

Social Studies 7: Students will complete their interview questions and practice their interview. Interviews will start next week date TBD.
Social Studies 8: Students have completed their comparison chart and will start to work on the written response. 



Sept. 15, 2016
Language Arts 7 & 8: Students will be asked to write a narrative essay in response to the following prompt:  Select one moment in your life that has formed you. The focus will be on voice, sensory details, and figurative language and how these elements help the reader to create pictures in their minds and to convey meaning. This week students have been looking at examples of writing and identifying these elements as well as experimenting with these elements in their Writer's Notebook. Next week students will start drafting their own essays.
(grade 7 students will have different criteria for their essay)

Social Studies 7: This week students have selected a British or French explorer to research. Once done their research, they will participate in a mock interview. The goal is to establish the impact that the selected explorer has had for himself, his country and any people he encountered.

Social Studies 8: This week students have been exploring worldviews by comparing the Dinka people of Southern Sudan to Canadians. They have read an article on the Dinka people and have watched The Good Lie. They are now filling in a comparison chart and will end with a written response to the following question: What what degree is your worldview impacted by where you live?

Reading Survey 7/8B





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