Middle School Book Club We have been hard at work reading the book Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan which we have really enjoyed. There are many intriguing characters in the book. Our next selection will be A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. It is based on a true story of Salva Dut’s journey from being a “Lost Boy” of Sudan to becoming a crusader for providing clean water to South Sudan.
Our theme this semester is “A Potpourri of Plays” with Mrs. Talley and Mrs. Nichols bringing back some of their favorite plays as well as introducing some new ones! By now, your actor(s) will know their parts and should be hard at work memorizing their lines. Each actor will be responsible for providing his/her own costume, with some rare exceptions. We will communicate these details soon! In the coming weeks, look for an email from your actor’s teacher with more specifics about costumes, line memorization, dates of performances, etc. Drama performances will be during the first two weeks of December. It is always exciting when we have parts cast and we are getting up on stage, moving and speaking like our characters! When we have time in our quick class time, we sneak in a fun attendance question and/or drama game!!
Our theme in ART this year is “Animals in Art!” It has been fun to connect /reconnect with students, and we are really excited to be back in our space. Many, many art supply boxes have been unpacked, and just last week the flooring and windows were completed in the art room. It is really bright and beautiful in the room now with lots of natural light.
Grades K/1 are finishing up a unit which focuses on the author illustrator Eric Carle. We are creating collage style 2-D animals and hoping to include a little writing class connection about their work.
Grades 2/3, 4/5, & 6-8 students have spent some time with “Animals in Art” Compositions. We started with watercolor paper and discussed various types of animals including Arctic animals, rainforest animals, pets, endangered species, farm animals, etc.. Students created 2-D works with their choice of animal(s) and choice of materials such as watercolor, pastels, colored pencils, watercolor marker, crayon, etc. in which to create the color. Some also experimented with salt as it reacts with watercolor paint to create texture.
Grades 9-12 have just completed their five week block of Art. We enjoyed designing plaster face masks on molds which are embellished with items of their choice and reflect their personality.
Coming up soon...CLAY!
K-1st Grade Writing
We have been enjoying all things Fall related to our writing. We have loved using our Fall word list to sound out and write words and sentences about pumpkins, scarecrows, squirrels, and turkeys. Kindergarteners have loved putting on two plays with our popular read aloud books: Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See and The LIttle Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything. First Grade students have been learning how to use their own personal word dictionaries to help them with their story ideas and writing. Ask your child to show off their Writer’s Notebook to you. It is a fantastic way to see what they have been doing and learning.
We are off to a super start as we have been working through the Idea trait and have recently begun learning about the Organization trait. The 2nd/3rd graders have enjoyed mentor texts such as The Idea Jar and The Runaway Pumpkin. Be sure to take a peek at their Writer’s Notebooks to see your student’s small moment seed story and their retell of the book, The Runaway Pumpkin, by Kevin Lewis.
Our 4th and 5th grade writers have really hit the ground running this fall! We started by discussing the many ways writers get their ideas for writing during our study of the Ideas writing trait. We learned how to take a “watermelon topic” and turn it into a “seed story.” In doing so, we end up with a focused idea that is much easier to write about. Last week during our Personal Narrative Share Out, we heard our writers' ideas come to life in their writing. During our presentations last week, we heard grabber leads, strong details, and great seed stories. We’re moving on to the Organization trait this week. Our next project will be to come up with an idea of something we’re good at or know a lot about. Then, our task will be to develop a how-to written speech. Be sure to ask your 4th/5th grader to share their Writer’s Notebook with you, so you can see what we’re learning in class. It’s been a great start to the school year!
6th-12th Grade Writing
We are currently learning about narrative writing and are in the process of writing personal narratives. We have discussed that every good story needs to have a conflict (a problem) the characters must solve as well as obstacles they encounter when trying to solve the conflict(s). So far, we have created our story arcs (plotlines), fast drafts (quick drafts that just have the events that happened without details), pacing guides (deciding which events will be summaries and which will be scenes), and are now starting to stretch out those events that will become scenes with more details. In the coming weeks, we will continue to revise our narratives as we learn new techniques such as dialogue, exposition, description, etc.
K-5 students have been enjoying all their favorite activities to review the basics (colors, numbers, calendar, basic conversation questions, question words). Ask them how to play the all-time favorite game, Quince Siéntense! Soon we will start a unit on emotions, and then we will follow with a unit on sports to coincide with the 2022 Winter Games!!
6th/7th graders graders are in the course called Spanish Stories. They have been practicing with some basic vocabulary and then some specialized vocabulary from the first story. This week, I am telling the first story for the first time (all in Spanish) which is about a cat. Please make sure students are studying their weekly review sheets (which review what we did in class), or looking at the same review sheet on my webpage www.bit.ly/homeschoolspanish. We have a mini quiz each week at the beginning of each class, and my goal is for everyone to get 100% or just miss one or two. The review sheets are always printed on lavender paper and are either a one-sided full sheet or one-sided half-sheet.
8th graders graders picked up RIGHT where we left off last spring with the Realidades textbook, used in Spanish 1 at all of the WDM schools. They should be able to confidently conjugate an AR verb! This week we are making a class video as we learn the location prepositions (on top of, under, next to, in, behind, in front of). Watch for it to be published on the homepage of my website next week: www.bit.ly/homeschoolspanish. Please make sure students are studying their weekly review sheets (which review what we did in class), or looking at the same review sheet on my webpage www.bit.ly/homeschoolspanish. We have a mini quiz each week at the beginning of each class, and my goal is for everyone to get 100% or just miss one or two. The review sheets are always printed on yellow paper and are either a one-sided full sheet or one-sided half-sheet.
The students are off to a great start in science! We have been reviewing how to measure distance, volume and mass using the metric system. Students have used metric rulers, graduated cylinders, and balances to practice their measurement skills using correct units. Kindergarten and first grade students are getting ready to begin their unit learning about insects, and second grade students on up are getting ready to start chemistry and the periodic table.
I have also introduced the students to the zoo webcams at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Some are familiar with this from last year, but I wanted to show the students how much the baby panda has grown, AND they have 5 new cheetah cubs to see! It is a fun way to “visit” animals at the zoo from your home. :)
Physical Education classes have enjoyed so much good weather throughout the first quarter. Your students were able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air for many of the PE class periods. As the season changes, the likelihood is that classes will be in the gym much more. Please know that if the weather/temperature is moderate and conditions are good, we will still try to go outside. Be sure to include a jacket/coat in your child’s backpack.
Students are offered the opportunity to have fun, move, and select activities. This is done through light stretching and jogging/running at the beginning of class, but eventually becomes activity-based. Some examples of students choosing activities are as follows: Capture the pin, soccer, basketball, freeze tag, noodle tag, scooters, wiffle ball, dodgeball, scatter ball, and kick ball. While it is recognized that not everyone “loves” every activity, the expectation is that all students will do their best in whatever activity is considered and chosen. Thank you for sharing your child with us in the PE classroom.