December Language Arts Work

     Dear Families,

     Happy Holiday Season!  I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your family and friends.  Back to the gym!

     Between the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations we are tying together some loose ends, pulling some of the numerous irons from the fire and topping it off with three days with our visiting Chinese teacher.  The loose ends and irons include:
  • completing our Response to Text essay writing
  • grammar work
  • spelling and vocabulary work
  • more entries into our Poetry and Art Journals
  • focus on Personal Reading
        The visiting Chinese teacher, Tao, will be with us  on December 12, 13 & 14.  We have a beautiful schedule of activities including: 
  • Power Point  and discussion about her village in China
  • Power Point and discussion about her school in China
  • Chinese characters
  • Chinese language
  • Origami
  • Chinese eye massage (used by all students every day!)
  • Plus, plenty of time for students to sit and chat!
     You are welcome to drop by anytime, but especially if you want to meet Tao!

     Thank you so much for the donation of all the cakes for our fundraiser at the PTO Holiday Fair.  This is a very generous team with great positive spirit.

    Two important things:

     1.  Keep those off-spring reading at home - the more they read the better they will get!

     2.  We need SNOW!!! 

    Hope you are all well.  Life is truly great here.

     Yours truly,
     Mary Beth Harris

Weeks of November 7 and 14

     Hello to the Winton Families.  As always it has been a very busy time here at SCS.  The UNICEF collection went very well with the team collecting over $170.00  I am pleased with the generosity of our students and their families.  We are also in the midst of signing up for the Penguin Plunge to benefit Vermont Special Olympics.  we had 10 students and one teacher participate last year; we are hoping for more this year.  If interested, sign up under Team Jesse.  Brrrrr!

EXCITING NOTICE!  Tao Ye, the visiting teacher from China, will  be working with the Winton students for three days in December.  We have made a wonderful agenda together and I think the students will learn a lot and enjoy it!

For the Language Arts Classes


     The students are nearing the end of their novels.  The reading, annotating, class work and quizzes have gone well.  For the most part students are keeping up with their work and doing a quality job.  As a finisher we will be working  on a Stepbook  project to analyze various parts of the novels, completing a formal writing  and doing a little theater work.  For the I Am David book, students will be watching the companion movie.  The Home of the Brave students will be taking up a collection for the Vermont Refugee Center.  After these books the students will have some time for their own personal reading.  I am very pleased with the amount of reading that students on this team are doing.


     The new writings will be tie-ins with the books we are finishing.  In both cases students will conduct an in-depth interview someone on a question that ties-in with the central theme of the book.  The interview will then be written into a lengthy poem.


     We are carrying on!  Please be sure to quiz your son or daughter one their words twice or three times a week.


     Also, carrying on with our work in the grammar workbooks!

Thank you for your support in so many ways.  Your children are great to work with!

Week of October 17, 2011

     Good morning Wintonites!  I, for one, am glad that those NECAPS are behind us!  However, I must say how impressed I am with the effort that the 8th graders put into the test taking.  I only monitored 8th grade - but word has it that the other classes were equally serious about the task.  These kids are great and I give them a lot of credit for their hard work.  Thanks guys and gals!

     This week is going to fly by.  We will be at Shelburne Farms all day on Tuesday (dress warmly, bring lots of food and a plastic bag to sit on), and there is no school on Friday since the teachers will be at VEA workshops.

     Reading:  The 6th & 7th graders have begun reading I Am David and the 8th graders have started Home of the Brave.  The students will keep these books so that they can write directly in them learning a variety of annotation skills.  I have lots of plans attached to these great reads.

     Spelling & Vocabulary: We will have both this week, however the quiz day has changed since there is no school on Friday.  The students have their schedule.

     Writing:  We will  begin a piece of writing at Shelburne Farms that we will polish later.

     I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Weeks of October 3 and 10

     Since we have NECAP testing taking some of our time for the next two weeks I am planning around them so as to keep the flow of classwork as smooth as possible.  I am very happy with the students' work ethic, attitude and work so far.  I expect this to be a very positive and productive year.


       During the first week of NECAPS we will continue to focus on personal reading.  We will have a book talk from the librarians and a Book Chat in class where they students share books they love.  I was blown out of the water by my 6th grade Book Chat last week.  The students seem to LOVE reading and  they read a LOT !  I feel that in general we have students who are truly engaged as readers, even in the face of competing with technology.  Go, Readers! 

     During the second week of NECAPS we will begin our first class book:  6th & 7th graders - I Am David and 8th graders Home of the Brave.


     We have focused on two types of writing so far - formal, structured essays and poetry.  Throughout the year students will periodically work on poetry, collecting their best work into a poetry and art journal that they will illustrate.  By the end of the year they should have quite a nice collection.  During the classbook reading time the writing will tie-in with the reading and focus mainly on response to text, although there will be other assignments as well.


     Grammar is well off the ground.  We have had weekly lessons in our beloved grammar books with quizzes on each lesson.  Although this is not the most exciting material, i do feel it is essential to understand the basics of our language and the students have been willing to  jo9in in.


     I continue to try to get every student to participate in every LA class.  I focus on clarity of message, volume and enunciation.  I try to tuck in every skill I can!


     An excellent response!  We have a good amount of money toward the May 30th ropes course outing.  Imagine the Wintonites dangling (safely!) from the trees!

     I hope everyone is enjoying this gorgeous autumn.  Thank you so much parents for supporting your child's reading and general classroom work.


Week of September 19th

     OK, I missed a week in there!  You caught me!  So let me get you up to speed and even a little ahead!  We have been happy, busy and productive - all is well in the Winton LA classes.


     Students are continuing to do their personal reading of one hour a day - 1/2 hour at school during Silent Reading and 1/2 hour at home - even on the weekends!  Of course, we have a lot of students who do a lot more reading than that.  Go, readers!  We will be beginning our first class book in about two weeks.


     The students have done and are doing a lot of writing.  They have completed their "Audacious Goal"  essay and their "Letter to Mrs. Harris".  In both pieces we used the LEAF organizational format.  At present we are working on a short nature poetry unit.  Poetry will be woven in throughout the yearAll of the poetry will be collected in a poetry journal.  Students will illustrate their journals with their own art work.


     All of the classes have begun work in their beloved Grammar Workbooks.


     We are trying hard to do well with the gift wrap sales.  The proceeds will be used for our end-o-the-year outing to the Northern Lights Rock and Ice Ropes Course!

     Thanks for sending me such great young people!

Week of September 5, 2011


      At present, all students are reading books of their own choosing.  There are two required genres this trimester:  poetry and non-fiction.  In a few weeks we will begin our first class book:  8th grade will read Home of the Brave and the 6th & 7th graders will read I Am David.  Friendly reminder:  students should read one hour per day - 1/2 hour at Silent Reading in school and 1/2 hour (or more!) at home.  I am always available to help students find good books.  If the goal of 10 books per trimster is too great,  please encourage your son or daughter to speak to me about adjusting that goal.


The first piece of writing is in response to Mr. Miller's presentation to the team.  The topic is "Audacious Goals" and will be written in the LEAF ( lead, evidence, analysis, finisher)  format.  We will be working on this for several class periods and at home.

Spelling & Vocabulary:

     This will begin on Friday, September 16th.


     This will begin the week of September 19th


  •      Students will be doing their DRP (Degrees of Reading Power) assessment on Friday, September 9th.
  •      The team is hiking up Mt. Philo and participating in team-building activities on Wednesday, September 7th.  Information and permission slips were sent home on Thursday, September 1st and need to be returned by Tuesday, September 6th.
  • Happy Labor Day weekend!