Language Arts with Elsa Foote
It’s hard to believe that September has already come and gone. Our first month in Language Arts has flown by, and the progress students are making already is inspiring! For the past week, students have been learning how to annotate and identify literary devices in a text, while exploring classic short fiction such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe and “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. Annotation will continue to be a skill focus throughout our year together in Language Arts. The benefits of learning this vital skill include better retention, an improved ability to write about/discuss a text, a focus on active, alert reading and increased stamina.
This week in Language Arts students will present their assigned short story to the class, developing their skills as professional, public speakers – a major component of the Common Core State Standards. Upon completion of our short story unit, students will take a brief intermission to complete the NWEA test before beginning our first class novel of the year, How to Kill a Mockingbird.
October marks the first month for our “Book of the Month” program. In case your child hasn’t shared information with you about this component of 8th grade Language Arts, here is what you need to know:
- Your child should be reading daily at home. There is no time requirement, but 30 minutes or more is optimal.
- Each month students are required to read a minimum of one book outside of class.
- The book students select should also be brought to Language Arts daily.
- Students will select a genre for each month from the list of required genres (see the Canvas modules for this list).
- Selecting three books per month allows students to have a backup option, if their first selection ends up not being a good fit.
An essential part of this program is student choice: whatever your child chooses to read, make sure they are truly interested in their selection.
Design with Mr. Lenz & Mr. Seehausen
Our upper school students are lucky in that they get to come to the lab 3 days a week. We dove straight into teaching the upper school students the proper workflow in order to use our laser cutter. This involves learning Adobe Illustrator, a powerful and equally complex design program that is used to create projects the laser cutter can understand. Our 8th grade students tackled Illustrator and learned the basics by designing personal bookmarks as well as class norms posters to hang in their classroom. Each student got to have their bookmark design “printed” on the laser cutter, and the top 4 class norms posters were voted on and “printed” as well. With this basic Illustrator skill-set, students have a great foundation for digitally designing their future projects and are ready to acquaint themselves with the other tools in the lab.