Thank you so much to the parents who made it out for our parent evening Thursday. We had rich discussions about how we attempt to guide our tweens and teens as they navigate life in a digital world and about our upcoming human sexuality and coming of age block (and the conversations we are having and will be having as both parents and teachers in this realm). I was grateful for the opportunity to have that conversation with you. This was the most sparsely attended parent evening I’ve ever hosted, so I’m thinking I may see if shifting the time to a “parent afternoon” – perhaps with one parent watching 7th graders and siblings on the playground right around pickup time-- may make sense for us in the future. Let me know if you have feedback regarding that (a preference for evenings or afternoons). I know it’s hard for me as a parent to feel motivated to get back out in the evening.
Human Sexuality and Coming of Age Block
As we head into our human sexuality block, I wanted to let you know how important it is to me that you have a sense of what we’ll be talking about so that you can continue conversations with your 7th graders at home, according to their comfort level. I expect that some students will find they are most comfortable exploring their deepest questions with parents and some will find it easier in the classroom setting. In either case, the first week is all about fostering communication both within the classroom and between you and your 7th grader. You’ll see a couple different brief interview sheets coming home, which are designed to help your child learn more from you about your experiences of adolescence, puberty; and to help foster conversation regarding the stereotypes that have developed regarding teenagers in American Culture.
Here’s a very broad overview of the block:
Week 1: Research and sharing about rites of passage and coming of age rituals among different cultures throughout the world; Building healthy communication and connection; exploring what it means to come into a sense of yourself at a time when concerns about peers and perceptions, and your own physical and emotional changes can make it hard to feel clear and strong in your identity.
Week 2: Exploring puberty and the shared experiences boys and girls have as they go through puberty; then examining some of the experiences that are specific to one gender and the other; study of the male and female reproductive system; the menstrual cycle in females; male fertility and spermatogenesis
Week 3: Exploring embryology, birth, and the life cycle of the human being; exploring parenthood and the responsibilities and gifts that come with it; exploring gender identity and the spectrum of sexuality and the civil rights movement in regards to gender and sexual identity. We will also spend a lesson on the science behind STDs and specifically HIV, as this is one of the 7th grade health state standards.
Baby photos and more
I will be asking the 7th graders to bring in photos of themselves as newborns, older babies (6 months to a year) and toddlers (2 to 3 years old). Feel free to start searching for those this weekend. They will be returned after I make a little photo collage guessing game. They will also be asking if you have photos from your teenage years. No worries if not; but please send one if you can.
Punctuality on Mondays -- and Every Day
Now that we are moving on from our Creative Writing block, our poetry teacher from CSU will continue to come for 5 more sessions during our language arts class on Mondays, beginning promptly at 8:15. Please be sure that you drop off your 7th grader before 8:10 so they have time to get seated and ready to begin class with Ms. Naughton on time. Punctuality has been a problem for just a few students in particular, and it’s especially important to me that we improve over these next 5 Mondays when we have a guest teacher so we honor our time with her.
Homework Help extended on Wednesdays
For those students volunteering with our homework help program, we have decided to extend the session from 3:30 to 4:30 on Wednesdays. If you are able to pick up your 7th grade volunteer between 4:15 and 4:30 that would be ideal, but if you need to get them early on any given day I'm sure the remaining volunteers can take over at that point. Please be sure to arrive by no later than 4:30 so that Jackie, our parent supervisor, doesn't have to stay late. Thanks to Jackie for supervising this time and to Denice (Mia's mom and our 2nd grade teacher) for letting us use her classroom for these sessions!
Mira’s Class Report
This week, we are in our creative writing block and we wrote haikus on Tuesday. Also, we are learning about the shadows in a human face in art. In choir, we are working on two new songs with 6th grade. And on Wednesday, we were working on our puppets for the play in handwork. On Thursday, we went to the 3rd grade shelter fair and learned about shelters from all over the place. In music, we worked on some songs on our recorders. On Friday, we played volleyball and that was fun. We also worked on our dolls in handwork some more. And in main lesson, we read some of our writings for the class and had tea. We heard lots of great poems, stories, and haikus.