Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Updates for English

6th Grade:
6th grade recently finished reading Bud, Not Buddy and related non-fiction articles about The Great Depression. They wrote collaborative persuasive letters in small groups to convince the social worker that after a long and difficult journey, Bud had finally found a good home and should stay in Grand Calloway Station. We also watched Walt Disney's musical "Newsies" and compared the life of the orphan Jack Kelley to Bud's life. Although the time periods were different, the students found many similarities in the rise of the unions and increase in strikes, the treatment of children in the orphanages, the level of poverty in the cities, and unfair working conditions for children. They saw how determined both main characters were to find "a family". 
Coming up:
6th graders will be learning the expectations and procedures for literature circles in preparation for our Obstacle unit. During this unit, there will be several small groups reading different books centered around the theme of obstacles and resilience. Some of the titles are Daniel's Story, Milkweed, Fever 1793, A Corner of the Universe, and Freak the Mighty. 

7th Grade:
7th graders worked on their argument writing skills while reading the The Giver. The Dystopian setting of the book made for great discussion and writing. Students considered whether or not a community should have pets, books, love, pain, color, music and more. They wrote 2 collaborative essays in small groups focusing on a variety of these topics. They incorporated information from the text, their own lives, and non-fiction articles into their essays. 
Coming up:
We will be continuing with our study of Dystopian literature but adding more of a Science Fiction element as well. Students will read and discuss books in literature circles. Students will create their own schedule of readings and assign jobs as a group. Students work individually on the reading and jobs in order to be ready for the scheduled discussion days. The jobs include: Discussion Director, Vocabulary Enricher, Connection Creator and Passage Master. 

8th Grade: 
8th graders have just finished their reading of "A Raisin in the Sun". They took turns taking parts as we read the play aloud in class. We stopped to discuss events, write responses, learn vocabulary words, and see clips from 2 different versions of the film. They will begin a formal essay on the play this week where they will once again practice in- text citations. 
Coming up: 
8th graders will be starting The Outsiders as their final independent reading book of the year. They will be blogging about the book in small groups outside of class. We will come together for a whole class discussion, assessment,  and opportunity to view the film in early June. In the meantime, they will be working in student lead literature circles on books centered around the theme of Human Nature. Some titles include: Lord of the Flies, The Chocolate War, The Wave, and Animal Farm. 

On a personal note, my son, Jackson,  turned 1 at the end of February and started a couple days per week at the Cornwall Child Center. He brings us much joy at home and many fun stories to share with the students. 

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