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15. Week of December 18, 2017

Hi Parents, 

Even though it is a shortened week, we have quite a bit going on during this last week before winter break.  It's also the second to last week of the quarter so we are wrapping quite a few different things.

1. Holocaust Novel Unit - We finished reading the novels last Friday, so the students will be assessed on their comprehension this week.  The assessment will include a multiple choice portion, which will be given on Monday, and a written portion, which will be given on Tuesday.  The students will be allowed to use their book and their novel packet for both parts of the test.   Students will be given time to complete the written portion in class on Tuesday, and anyone who doesn't finish will have to finish that night for homework.    We will also be wrapping up our novel study with a class discussion of the themes found in the novel.  

2. Drama Unit - Back in mid-November, the students chose poems, monologues, stories or skits to memorize and perform as part of our drama unit, which meets the 6th grade speaking standards.  Students have been practicing in class (and at home too hopefully) to memorize the materials they chose, and they will be performing in class on Monday and Tuesday of this week.  Last week, the students were given a rubric on how they will be assessed, so please look this over with your child. 

3. Book Trailers -  All students must complete a book trailer on a book they have read this quarter by this Wednesday, 12/20.  The students have known about this project since the end of October, so most students have already shared their trailers with the class.  However, there are still several students that need to finish the project and post the finished product to Google Classroom.  The book trailers must be made using the website Animoto.com, for which all students were given login information.  If you have a question about whether or not your child has completed this assignment, please don't hesitate to ask.  I will also be available after school on Monday, 12/18 if any student wants to stay and finish the project at school. 

4. Independent Reading - I continue to have parents tell me that their child is saying he or she has no ELA homework.  Please remember that nightly reading is their daily homework.  The reading we do in class DOES NOT count as their homework.  Every student is expected to read for 20-30 minutes every night of the week.  I have been really impressed with the amount of reading many of the students are doing, and I am confident that they growing as readers and enjoying the books they are choosing along the way.  As I tell my students all the time, the only way to to get better at anything is to practice, and the same goes for reading - the only way to become a better reader is to read!  Thank you for all you do to help your child find time to squeeze some reading time into their busy schedules.  Your efforts really do go a long way.   While I won't be assigning any projects or official homework over the 2 week break, I will be having the students set goals for how much reading they hope to accomplish over this time period.  After the busy holiday events settle down, please encourage your child to spend some time reading!

Finally, I wanted to officially announce that this week will be my last week with the students before I will go on maternity leave for the months of January, February and March.  I have spoken with the students about this and with many of you at conferences, but I wanted to make sure everyone is aware.  Ashley Grady, who has been covering 8th grade language arts and 7th grade science for other teachers out on leave, will be taking over my classes on Monday, January 9th.  Deb Jankiewicz, my co-teacher in periods 1/2 and 6/7, will continue to co-teach with Ms. Grady as well.  While I will miss seeing the students' smiling faces each day, I am looking forward to spending this time at home with my new baby whenever he or she decides to arrive in the next few weeks!  

I know I've said it before, but thank you for all you've done and continue to do to support your child.  It truly is a pleasure working with each and everyone of you.  I will return to WMS after spring break for the final quarter of school.  

Have a wonderful holiday with your families and friends!