Weekly Update: Week of November 23, 2015

Overview this Week:
In Social Studies, students have finished their city guides, which they are turning in today. We will be switching our focus to English for the remainder of the quarter.
In English, students should have finished reading their book for their novel study, and should have completed their summaries and vocabulary words. I will conference with each student this week to go over their reading and understanding. Additionally, we will be using our class time to investigate the elements of fiction in our novels: setting, character, conflict, plot, and theme.

Need to Know:
1. Both City Guides and Novel Study summaries/vocab were due today
2. ​RETAKES during tutorials this week

​-  Asia Map Quiz
​- Location Quiz
– Improvements made to society project essay
3.”Cornerstone Writing Prompt” will be next Tuesday and Wednesday
– ​The “cornerstone” is a writing prompt given to all students once a year in the middle school. It is a two-day writing experience in which the students respond to a prompt without any assistance from the teacher or other outside help so that we can see what the students are independently capable of as writers. In these two days, students are expected to go through all stages of the writing process, from planning to drafting to editing and revising. The data will be used to assess how well students’ writing skills are developing across all grades of the middle school, and is also one of several indicators used to help determine placement into honors English in grade 7. Students will NOT know the prompt ahead of time, and they will NOT be officially “graded” based on their initial product. After we have graded their prompts for the data collection, the grade 6 students will have an opportunity to edit and revise their writing based on feedback before they are ultimately “graded.”

Homework this week:
– Read 30 minutes a day


Table Talk: 
– What are you going to read now that your novel study books is finished?
– What strategies and tools are you using​ to find new book ​s to read​?
– What have you learned to do as a writer this year that you will apply in your cornerstone writing prompt?
– ​What did you reflect on when you looked at the goals you had set this week? Have you gained any new strengths? Have you reached any goals? What goal are you currently working on?

Weekly Update: Week of November 16, 2015

Overview this Week:
In Social Studies, students are wrapping up their research and moving onto creating their travel brochures for the city of their choice. Students will be given a rubric, checklist, and class work time to support their success on this project. The project will be due a week from today, though many students may be finished before the weekend.
In English, students are continuing with their novel study. The students should at this point be about half-way done with their novel, and should have written 5 mini-summaries and investigated 5 new vocabulary words. They should finish their novel study by next Monday, having finished reading the book and having written 10 mini-summaries and investigated 10 new vocabulary words.

Need to Know:
1. QUIZ ​Today11/16 – Location, Longitude, and Latitude
2. ​RETAKES during tutorials this week
– ​Asia Map Quiz
– Improvements made to society project essay
3. Society Projects need to be taken home by Wednesday
– I will inform students of this today and have them discuss with their groups
4. NOVEL finished by next Monday 11/23
5. Travel Brochure DUE next Monday 11/23
–  rubric

Homework this week:
– Read 30 minutes a day

– Finish novel study by end of weekend, including summaries and vocabulary words
– ​Finish city guide by end of weekend (if needed)

Table Talk: 
– ​How is your novel study book so far?
– What strategies will you use to find a new book once you’ve finished your novel study?
– What have you learned about research? What are the challenges? What are some helpful strategies?
– How have you been doing so far with the goals you set in English and Social Studies?
– What important events have happened in the world this week?

Book Character Day:
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Weekly Update: Week of November 9, 2015

Overview this Week:
In Social Studies, students ​are continuing research of a city of their choosing, investigating the causes and effects of the human population on their cities’ geography.

​Next week they will begin to make a travel guide ​applying their research. In English, students​are progressing through their novel ​study. Each student​ has chosen a book based on interest and ability. Over the next few weeks, they will be reading the novels in ten different “chunks,” writing short summaries and investigating new vocabulary words. After the books are read, we will study the novels for their elements of fiction. We will additionally be reviewing sentence types and other grammatical rules to support our writing in both English and Social Studies.

Need to Know:
1. QUIZ ​TOMORROW 11/10 – Asian Countries
– Students have online and print study materials.
2. Grades are Updated

–  This includes the project (social studies) and the essay (English)
– Students will get detailed rubrics and feedback in class today
3. QUIZ NEXT MONDAY ​11/1​6 – Absolute and Relative Location
-​We will review this concept at the end of this week

Homework this week:
– Read 30 minutes a day (novel study and choice)​
– Monday only: ​Study Asian Countries
– ​Over the weekend, if needed: ​review absolute and relative location


Table Talk: 

– ​How have you been doing so far with the goals you set in English and Social Studies?
– How is your novel study book so far?
– ​What are the challenges of writing really short summaries? What are the benefits?
– What city are you researching for your travel guide?

Weekly Update: Week of November 3, 2015

Overview this Week:
In both classes, we are beginning a unit on “cause and effect.” In Social Studies, students will be working on a research project in which they make a kid-friendly travel guide evaluating the causes and effects of various geographic factors in a city of their choosing (this will be introduced to students tomorrow).


In English, students will begin a novel study in which they read a novel of their choosing and use it to investigate vocabulary as well as the causes and effects of various elements of fiction. Students are using several techniques to help them select novels, including making recommendations to one another as well as finding books in their Lexile range “sweet spot.”


Need to Know:
1. QUIZ NEXT TUESDAY 4/10 – Asian Countries
– Students have online and print study materials.
2. Grading for the Society Project
–  I will have the grades updated no later than next week.
3. ​MAP Data/Lexile
​- ​I will be showing students their MAP test data (RIT Scores and Lexiles) today (my homeroom) and tomorrow (McKnight’s homeroom).
– My goal is for students to understand and be armed with this useful knowledge so that they can set reasonable goals for themselves and understand the utility of the MAP test.

Homework this week:
– Read 30 minutes a day
– Study Asian Countries

Table Talk: 
– ​How have you been doing so far with the goals you set in English and Social Studies?
– What books might you like to read for the novel study? How did you select them?
– What books did you recommend to others?
– What city might you want to research for your travel guide?
– What did you learn about cooperation and collaboration during the society project?