Nynaeve's Class Report
On Monday we were assigned our African countries that we will all study, write, create artistic elements relating to our country, and give a presentation about in front of our class. After lunch our class split for world language, then again for explorations. In woodworking we continued work on our tops/dreidels, and many students are almost finished. On Tuesday, we had a field trip to the Old Town Library; we rode our bikes there and back to get books for African country projects. In choir we learned a new song for our Halloween assembly. In art we started to draw our perspective building drawings. On Wednesday during handwork, Ms. Nance performed a puppet show for us, and we observed and wrote down some key elements of being a good puppeteer. On Thursday, language arts was study hall and so was most of math. During main lesson we worked on our research for our African country report and then we went to music and began learning an African song on recorder. On Friday we did not have school.
Mark your calendars for camping (and our Museum field trip)!:
Thanks to the wonderful response regarding our camping trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. I have reserved a group campsite for us from May 23-25. Kristen will send out a sign-up genius for chaperones, likely in a couple weeks when we have a few more details worked out, but go ahead and mark your calendars. In the meantime, look for a sign-up genius for our Denver Museum of Art field trip on Tuesday Nov. 10.
Africa reports, internet use and Google-docs
As we began work on our African Geography reports this week, we also began using the chromebooks we have at school for internet research. There are a limited number of web sites and data bases that students can access at school. It is okay with me if they access others from home as long as you are able to monitor what feels appropriate for your child. We will spend most of this week working on getting notes (on note cards or lined paper) written along with a rough draft of a Works Cited page that uses MLA documentation style. A reminder to purchase some notecards for your child next time you're at the store if they need them. The students have information about all of this on both an MLA resources page in their binders, their African Geography report outline and a half-sheet timeline with due dates.
Toward the end of the week (or perhaps sooner) we will begin using google-docs so that students can have the option of typing rough drafts in class. Each 7th grader will receive their google-docs account from me once they’ve shown me that they have collected sufficient notes (labeled with the source citation number and the paragraph/subject category from their report outline). I want all of their notes to be written, in part because this helps to force paraphrasing and avoid plagiarism, but then the 7th graders will have the choice to either write their rough draft (skipping lines) or type it. Many of them are still best at getting ideas down with pencil and paper, but others are already transitioning to a comfort level with their typing where they prefer to compose on the keyboard, and I’m happy to offer them this choice for a research paper. I am carving out significant time in main lesson to allow them to do some of their research and writing in class, but this project is also their only homework (starting Wednesday) other than math and maintaining a rhythm of reading independently for pleasure. The students will receive a school e-mail and password for their google docs account, but we have set the e-mail up so that it is not actually able to be used as an e-mail, only for logging in to the google docs account (which students will be able to access at home through Google Drive). I will send a link to you and a little more information once I’ve begun assigning the google-docs accounts later in the week. Be sure that you also ask your child about the artistic options for this project because that portion of the project will need to be completed at home.
I am still deciding exactly what format our African Geography fair will take, so more details on that will be coming soon.
Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences Oct. 29 and 30 (and Nov. 2 for the school)
This year our parent-conferences for middle school will be held as student-parent-teacher conferences. We believe that as the students take on more responsibility and accountability for their learning, we can enrich their experience by granting them the space to present their learning and their work to you and to discuss some of their own perceptions about their strengths and struggles with you during conferences. Ms. Braun and I will be letting the students know about their role in parent conferences on Monday and will be guiding them as to how they will make their presentation to you in the days leading up to conferences. We wanted to let you know now, though, so that when you sign up for a conference time you can keep in mind that you will need to bring your 7th grader (but not younger siblings) along. It might be helpful to coordinate with another parent so that you can help supervise younger siblings on the playground (or take turns hosting play dates) during conferences.
We will be reserving time at the end of each conference for just you, as parents, and I to talk. Since there will be less time for this private conversation than usual, I will be sending home a form on Monday for you to return in a sealed envelope. This will allow you to share any concerns or observations you are already having so that our time together can be well spent.
Mr. Lazar set up the sign-up genius for us today and should be sending it to you very soon. (As a note, I’m doing the 7th grade conferences only on Thursday and Friday (Oct. 29 and 30) and extending these days so that I can be home with my boys on Monday).
Let me know if you have any concerns or questions, and please be sure to e-mail me if none of the available conference times work for you. It is best for me if I can do the conferences on the allotted days, but it’s also a priority for me to be sure to meet with each of you and to give your children the opportunity to present their learning to you.
Independent Novel projects due Wednesday (Oct. 21):
Just a reminder that students should be wrapping up their reading of an independent novel, if they have not done so already, and should turn in their independent novel project (which is meant to be an opportunity to share their reading with the class without becoming a major project that requires a lot of time). Options for the novel project are outlined on the “7th Grade Reading Program” sheet in the language arts section of their binder.
School Pictures: Thursday (Oct. 22):
School picture day is Thursday. I sent home the order pamphlet/envelope yesterday..
Enjoy your weekend!