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Middle School Language Arts: October 2012

We have launched this year’s reading and writing workshop by starting with narrative writing. Students have been digging deep in to their personal experiences to come up with the moments that they have learned from and grown with. Narrative writing is probably the easiest place to start, because students are writing on a topic in which they are experts- themselves! In the coming weeks, we will be shifting our focus from short narrative to short fiction. We will be studying both classic and contemporary works of short fiction, as well as trying out writing our own.

Middle School Language Arts: June 2012

We wrapped up our mystery fiction unit with a variety of activities.  We played the board game, Clue, then watched the movie.  We have read a few of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and then during the last week of school, we watched one of the episodes of the modern BBC series, “Sherlock.”  Finally, to finish off the year, we will be playing a murder mystery role playing game.  What fun we have had!

In order to reduce summer lag, make sure your middle school student keeps up their skills by continuing to read (beach novels work!) as well as write (summer journaling?) daily!  See you all in the fall!

Elizabeth Scott

Middle School Language Arts News: May 2012

Things are getting mysterious in the middle school reading and writing workshop as we have just started reading mystery novels in small groups.  It is fun witnessing the students’ book talks and hearing their speculations of who is guilty of what crime!  Look for their character and clue maps at curriculum celebration!

We just wrapped up persuasive writing and will be finishing out the year with writing portfolios.  Those will be done on the google sites we started earlier in the year.  I look forward to hearing more about what students enjoyed and found valuable this school year.  Can you believe only a few weeks are left in the 2011-2012 school year?

Middle School Language Arts News: April 2012

What an exciting time it’s been in the middle school language arts classes!  We have been reading The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer as a whole class, and have had some great discussions about fair treatment, discrimination, ethics in science, and the overarching theme of good versus evil.  Ask a middle schooler about their new favorite science fiction novel!

While we have been reading this great piece of fiction, we have begun writing nonfiction.  Each student has chosen an issue that matters to them and have started doing research on the topic.  When we return from break, we will begin drafting persuasive essays.  Look for logical, well crafted arguments in your middle schooler’s writer’s notebook!

Middle School Language Arts News: March 2012

We’ve been busy in Middle School Language Arts during the month of February.  Work on multi-genre projects has been in full swing, and students are immersing themselves in the research of their biography topic as well as the genres they plan on writing.  As always, they will be on display at curriculum celebration.

Upon our return from mid-winter break, two big things are now taking place.  First, we are launching a whole class study of the science fiction novel, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.  Though it is a weighty novel at nearly 400 pages, it is engaging, and full of pithy topics to discuss at the middle school level.  We will also be working on our essay writing skills through the exploration of these topics.  I look forward to taking this group of middle schoolers through this study!

Finally, we will be conducting Terra Nova testing for reading and language the week of March 5th-8th.  Please make sure your child is on time and well fed on those days.

MS Language Arts update for January, 2012

Through the month of December, we held our first literature circle groups both online and in person. Students were able to choose between one of two books about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. While many students chose to read Alive in the Killing Fields by Nawuth Keat, quite a few read The Clay Marble by Minfong Ho. Great discussions took place about overcoming adversity as well as survival and loyalty. It was a great round of discussion! Also, thanks to the generous donations from parents, we were able to reduce the cost of the books from over $1000 to just under $200. Thanks, as well, goes to Nicola’s Bookstore for providing her educator discount to the parents purchasing books for the school.

As we move into January, we are finishing up our written memoirs, and will be starting on our biography project. Each student will choose a biography to read, and students will be doing multi-genre projects based on the person they have studied. The multi-genre projects we did last year were fascinating, and I am excited to see these as well!

MS Language Arts update for December, 2011

After weeks of revising and refining, everyone was able to post their final copies of their poems to their electronic portfolio sites, hosted by google sites, through their school google accounts. Now that we have finished our genre study on poetry, we will start writing memoir and reading books written about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. Once again, the support of the community has made it possible for us to purchase new books to read, saving us hundreds of dollars, as well as supporting Nicola’s Bookstore.

Thanks to all of the parents who offered to buy their children a copy of the book to read, and a special thanks to parents who purchased extra copies to donate to the school! The topics that we study and literature that we read are limitless thanks to your support.

Language Arts update for November, 2011

As we make our way in to November, we will begin to wrap up our genre study of poetry, and start our first book club study of the year. We have read many different poems, both written by middle school students, as well as the pros, and have examined features such as “the power of I,” using line breaks and stanzas, as well as “beginning inside.” While identifying these characteristics in good poetry, students are trying them out in their own writing.

Our first book club of the year will involve two different books relating to Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. This book club will be running the same time as students start to study Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge in Social Studies. It is so exciting when there are connections between classes, and I am again looking forward to seeing the ways the study of history can inform our reading of literature.

We have continued to use moodle this year, and students have been participating in weekly posts regarding their independent reading. Starting this week, we will also start using Google Sites for electronic portfolios. Not only are we using less paper, but we are better utilizing technology to communicate.

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