Good afternoon, and happy new year!
We hope you had a happy and restful winter break with your kids. We’ve hit the ground running in the seventh grade -- here’s what we’re up to.
We started our Seeds of Change work this week, which involved new academic groups for cultural studies, language arts, and math. It’s always good to juggle dynamics! In cultural studies, “seed” groups have started their webquests investigating the history of their particular seed of change – either horses, potatoes, disease, corn, or sugar. These webquests are all linked on Edmodo, if you would like to see how they are organized. The unit will challenge students to be more self-directed, collaborative, and proactive than they have in the fall units!
For the long weekend next week, the cultural studies work will be to select and take notes on a documentary related to a particular seed of change. The assignment is described on the webquests, along with links to the possible documentaries. Most titles are free online or available for instant streaming on Netflix; we also have DVD copies that can be borrowed from school, or you can download them from iTunes or Amazon fairly cheaply. Please talk with your child about his/her preference so that you can plan accordingly.
In language arts, we have started our next novel: Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the story of a young boy born on the Wellpinit Indian Reservation who embarks on a journey to better his education, leading him into crises of conscience and identity as he finds his place between what he sees as the white and Indian worlds. It is a quick and hilarious read, but one that also explores some weighty and important ideas and issues. It was a class favorite last year, and this year’s group is enjoying it so far, too.
As a reminder, the winter Community Service term begins next week. Remind your child that if they have selected a Community Service job for this term, they need to go to it! And speaking of Community Service, please sign up to volunteer for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service here at school, where we will be preparing and delivering food to many area homeless shelters. (An email about this was sent home yesterday.)
That’s all for now; see you next week!
David, Steve, and Virginia
Some questions to ask your child this weekend:
- What SSR book do you have at school?
- How did you and your partner do in the Lego building activity? What strategies proved most effective?
- How is your “seed of change” group going so far?
- How are you enjoying The Absolutely True Diary? What have you discussed about it in class?