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Showing posts from April, 2015

Missions, Seagulls, DNA Models and other "fun" projects

I am not a crafty mom.  My mom was not a crafty mom.  I don't own a glue gun, and I don't like Michael's.  The only C I got in middle school was in sewing, and in ceramics class my pots ended up on the ceiling!  Therefore, there is nothing that creates  more fear and dread for me as a parent than when one of my sons brings home five pages of instructions for a "fun" project.   In the past several years, we have built three missions out of sugar cubes, a paper mache, seagull, a DNA model out of plastic beads,  a cell made out of cake and candy , a clay village , a Lego diorama, and a variety of other projects,  NONE of these were FUN!  Pretty much all of them involved my kids crying  and me screaming at the top of my lungs ready to stab my eyes out with pipe cleaner or a  chopstick ( chopstick used for seagull's legs in seagull project)!

What really gets my goat is that teachers say to use things you have around the house for the aforementioned projects.  We h…

Argumentative Writing

Last week we began preparing for our next writing type/essay which will be argumentative.  In The Giver, all marriages are arranged, so I thought it would be interesting to pull in some non-fiction about this very topic!  Most students did not know that it even existed!  The first article we read was about why some cultures believe in arranged marriages and why it tends to work well.  This week we will read another article with a different point of view. We also watched a very interesting video clip which showed both sides of this topic.  For both articles, students will mark the text, identify the author's central claim, and analyze the types of evidence used to support the claim.  More specifically, students are learning about rhetorical appeals-ethos, pathos, logos.  To help them understand the types of appeals, we watched a variety of commercials and discussed the method(s) used in each.
  After we finish reading all of the articles, students will be practicing argumentative wr…

It's April!

It is hard to believe that it is already April! Of course, April 1st would not be complete without a middle school prank! I was greeted by this little creature first thing this morning!  
The kids shared a few of their April Fool's jokes with me, and we had some good laughs. However, this one was my favorite:
Apparently, this young man's dad came up with the idea to play a little joke on Mom.  I would have loved to have seen the look on her face when he came home and presented her with this referral.  
On a more serious note, we started The Giver last week!  In English 7H, students have been assigned one of three focus questions to follow throughout the book.  In English 7CP, all students will be focusing on the same question.  Students must find passages from the book that address their question and complete quote responses.  These passages serve as a catalyst for class discussions, as well  require students to think critically as they read.  

In addition, students read an articl…