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Back in the Swing of Things-Period 1

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all had a relaxing break.  I must admit, I was ready to come back. During break,  I slept in almost every day, read three books, baked three pies and various other goodies, hosted a Polish dinner on Christmas Eve, went for two beautiful hikes, wasted time on Pinterest, and spent time with family and friends. It was wonderful!
Here is one of my creations:  

 I love to bake, especially pies.  

Anyhow, we picked up right where we left off when I returned!  The students didn't miss a beat, and I was impressed with the way they got right back to work.

College Prep English

This week we read three non-fiction articles to for our juvenile justice unit.  Students had to read all three articles, circle key terms, and underline the author's claims.  Two of the articles were about teens who are accused of committing terrible crimes.  In one of the articles, a sixteen-year old was driving drunk and killed four innocent people.  His defense said that he suffered from "affluenza," and he ended up getting one year in a drug rehab in Malibu.  In the other article, four boys dropped an eight pound rock off of an freeway overpass.  The rock crashed through a woman's windshield and struck her in the head.  Although she survived, she will never be the same.  Your students can share the details of the cases!  They were very interested in them.  The third article we read was about the teen brain and how it develops.  It explained why teens are impulsive and at times, make poor decisions.  

As a culminating activity, students had to prepare for a Socratic Seminar.  This is one of my favorite activities as a teacher.  After explaining the ground rules, I get to sit back and listen to all of the brilliant things they have to say about the topic! Here is some of what we did to prepare:

 During the activity, half of the class is in the middle having the discussion.  The other half of the class is observing and taking notes using the handout below.  This keeps them engaged and listening!
Students sure had some opinions about these two cases and how the boys should be handled by the legal system.  I was so pleased with how the students conducted themselves during this activity.  They were focused, polite, knowledgeable, and passionate!  I was especially happy with how some students made sure that everyone had a chance to speak and was included.  Some students are shy but willing to speak if someone asks them a question.  

I hope you will ask your child about the articles they read.  Here are the links in case you are interested:

Affluenza article

Woman hit by rock

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