Thursday, February 6, 2014

English 6-8 News for New Year!

Figurative Language:
All 3 middle school classes have been working on figurative language and literary terms needed for narrative writing and understanding literature and poetry. Some of the terms include idiom, simile, metaphor, alliteration and paradox.  6th and 7th graders discussed how often figurative language is a part of pop culture. They viewed examples from movies, TV shows, songs, books, and poetry. All students brought in song lyrics to practice with. Students found numerous examples in their songs (Example: "I came in like a wrecking ball..." Miley Cyrus) and picked the best one to explain and illustrate for our board. 
6-7th Grade Song Lyric Examples 
8th graders worked in pairs to become familiar with 3 of the literary terms from the list. Each pair prepared a lesson for the rest of the class including the definitions, examples, and a hands on activity for their classmates. Once all the terms had been learned, students took a 2 part test. The 2nd part allowed them to work with a partner to complete a full in-depth  analysis of a modern song. 8th graders will be continuing to utilize these terms as we move into our African American unit which includes short stories, poems, and the famous play "A Raisin in the Sun". 

"I Have a Dream..."
 6th and 7th graders compiled lists of issues or challenges in our society today. Some of the items listed were unemployment, gas prices, distracted driving, terrorism, and so on. Next, they watched a clip of the famous MLK speech and created what might have been on Martin Luther King Jr.'s  list (prejudice, segregation, racisim, etc.) We compared lists and discussed what progress has been made and what new issues have been created. Students then followed MLK's format to create their own modern version of a "I Have a Dream..." speech. They read their speeches aloud to a peer and worked on making changes, typing,  and choosing appropriate art work to emphasize their ideas. The final products are powerful and inspiring! 

Utopia or Dystopia?
 7th graders have continued to use their lists of societal problemsas part of our introduction to Utopia/ Dystopia. Students have been working in groups to determine what problems could be solved, how they could be solved, and what new issues the solutions may bring about. They have been introduced to famous utopias in the world or literature and are learning about why a utopia may fail or become a dystopia. These ideas will help with their understanding of our next whole class novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. In Jonas's community everything is the same. The community leaders make all the choices in order to create a peaceful and safe environment. When Jonas turns 12 he is given a position in the community that allows him to uncover some of the secrets that allow the community to function as it does. Jonas must decide if he can live with these new truths about his home community. 
7th Grade group working together on "My Utopia" plans 

The Great Depression
 6th graders are beginning their study of The Great Depression as an introduction to the next class novel, Bud, Not Buddy. They have been reading articles about the 1930's and working on informational and compare/contrast writing as they look at how different life was for kids at that time. 

Independent Reading (IR)
All grades continue to read independent books and write responses in booklets or online logs. For the 1st trimester, 6-7th graders completed PowerPoint Presentations in English and US/IT on their IR books. 8th graders wrote formal literary analysis papers complete with in-text citations. 2nd trimester books will be complete in the beginning of March and new projects/papers will follow.  

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