Over the past week, students have gotten several opportunities to show what they learned during our short story mini-unit. We kicked the week off with student presentations and finished with a unit assessment. For the presentations, each group taught their class about a classic short story and shared their thoughts and opinions on the story, as well. The unit test assessed each student’s ability to comprehend both literal and complex texts, annotate difficult text and justify their growth over the course of our first unit together. I’ve been so impressed with each student’s ability to be reflective about what they are learning and how it is impacting their growth as readers.
The past two days of class were spent focusing on the fall NWEA “MAP” Growth test. All students took both the reading and language portions of the test during their Language Arts class period. The MAP Growth test “measures what students know and informs what they’re ready to learn next [and] creates a personalized assessment experience that accurately measures performance” (NWEA.org). I am looking forward to sharing the test results with students in the coming weeks and setting goals for growth over the course of the school year!
This week our classes wrapped up our first unit on Equality, Freedom, and Tolerance. Last week students researched and created images and text to represent a person or event connected to human rights. This project was worked on with Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen in the design lab. Students are creating what I call the “memorial cube.” I hope to have the finished product by Friday so students can bring the cubes home. We are ending this unit with a Google slides presentation by groups of 2 and 3 highlighting some important people and events of the US civil rights movement. Students are working to identify main ideas and to express those through their own interpretation of importance AND are attempting to connect these events of the past to current examples of discrimination. The final goal is to interpret the connections of past and present to make sense of the advances made and current challenges to maintaining those advancements. We will wrap up the week with an in-class debate regarding whose protest method is better; MLK and non-violence or Malcolm X and militant actions. These in-class debates help students with communication and argumentative skills while having a bunch of fun trying to prove their side is the best. For added fun, the students are randomly selected to defend one side. This means they must look at both sides first before learning who they will argue for. This is a great challenge, especially when a student has to defend the side opposite of their personal belief. Fridays are currently devoted to current events with the goal of helping students know what is going on in our world helping make those connections of history to present times. Be sure and ask them what they’ve seen or read about and share your insight into the world around us to help build their curiosity and knowledge. I’ll be back with the beginning of our next unit right after the Thanksgiving break. Happy Holidays.
Our 7th/8th grade music students were able to spend four days last week in the Design Lab building their unique instruments. I was super impressed with their creativity and diligence in the Lab. A special shout-out goes to Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen for all of their expertise in assisting us. Students are now researching the question “Does Music Increase IQ?” Many students, in their individual research, have been learning about “the Mozart effect.” Ask your son or daughter what they’ve learned!