Monday, November 21, 2016

A Note on Our Spelling Work

The students received their very first spelling work today.  Spelling in English is a two-fold process.  We have a district mandated exploration of root words and definitions, this is what they were handed today, with more explanation to follow in a moment.  The other process is the work they do within their own writing; recognizing words that they do not spell well consistently and working on them.  There are never any quizzes attached to the work but instead (hopefully) a building awareness of what they still need to work on.

The district mandated program is based on the work they have done in previous years and there are two paths for them to choose from.  One is the regular path that consists of an exploration of 5 root words and 5 definitions, the other is the enriched which centers around 25 root words.   Students may choose either one every time.  They do not lock in with a path once they have chosen it the first time.

Today we discussed what analogies are as both paths include analogy work.  Students are expected to work on this word work on their own or with a partner.  Technology should be used to assist them in their venture and the purpose of the work is not memorization but understanding.

Spelling work will always be due two weeks after it has been assigned, but can be handed in sooner.

The actual pages and resources for spelling can be found in their Google Classroom accounts in case they need access to it again.

Monday, November 14, 2016

2nd Quarter in English - An Update

With the first quarter over, we now continue onward in our quest to develop as better readers, writers, and speakers.  With its particular challenge of the 45 minute class period, and how little instructional time it provides us, we now switch our focus from reading strategies in the 1st quarter to more of a writing lens.  This means that the students are starting their first writing project this week in class.  More information about this project can be seen here https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rFFsCZUKK2R6ZZnc...  The due date for this project is December 2nd, with work time given every day in class except for Tuesday the 22nd.

A major focus of this project is the individual journey that each child is on as a writer.  We therefore abstain from many whole class lessons and instead focus on small group and one-on-one conferring.  Students will be asked to set their own specific conventions goals for this project, as well as other writing goals.

Spelling is another component added in the 2nd quarter, unless a child is in Literacy Skills with Mrs. Tanner, then they are exempt from our program.  The very first spelling work will be handed out Monday the 21st of November and will be due Monday the 5th.  There is no quiz attached, only the actual work that goes into the district mandated program.  There are two choices for the program; a regular list or an enriched list.  Students may choose which challenge they would like.  

We continue to work on reading more and deeper.  Every child should be reading at least 20 minutes outside of English, and should be reading books that they like, but that are also stretching them a little.  We will continue to analyze text in class and work on group discussions.

Speeches will also appear again in second quarter, they will be solo speeches in December and another group speech in January.

Conferences with me and the other team members of 7-O: Ms. Stoller, Ms. St. Clair, Mrs. Manzeck, Mr. Spaeth, Mrs. Gratzl and Mrs. Bures, as well as all other teachers will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 15th from 4 PM to 8 PM in the cafeteria. Each conference gets to last 5 minutes.  If you feel you need more time than that please reach out so we may schedule a different time for you.  There are also conferences happening at OMS on the 17th also from 4 PM to 8 PM with all other teachers except for the ones listed previously.  The book fair is also happening at school right now, it is a great place to pick up some great new titles for your learner.  

As always, it is an honor to get to be a part of your learner's journey in 7th grade.  Please reach out with any needs, questions, or concerns you may have.