Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Re/Preview: 10/17-10/28, 2011

I got out of the blogging routine last week when I was attending the Iowa Talented & Gifted Association's annual state conference in Des Moines on Monday and Tuesday, so I'll recap what happened in class last week AND preview what's to come in the week ahead. Hang on for the wild ride!

Remember that Wednesday is the last day of the quarter. My students need to have all work in by that day to be counted for this quarter's grades.


6th GOAL: The class continued its exploration with black boxes, conceptual models, and coming to consensus decisions.

7th GOAL: The classes looked into past government-funded science programs like NASA and the Manhattan Project.

8th GOAL: The classes continued reading the play of The Diary of Anne Frank as the introduction to their Holocaust literature circle unit. The entire 8th grade got the opportunity to go to the high school on Friday afternoon to see portions of the Fairfield High School Drama production of the same play. If anyone is interested in seeing the play in its entirety, they can see it on October 28, 29, 30, or November 8. It should be a great show.

Language Arts: Classes worked on finishing their pen pal letters and being introduced to the Ideas trait of writing. Week 8 spelling words included: encouragement, idleness, canoe, manage, forgiveness, acreage, outrageous, management, forgive, canoeing, inventiveness, encourage, acre, commencement, advantageous, commence, fierceness, amazement, awareness, and announcement.


6th GOAL: Students are continuing with their Models & Designs unit. This week, they're designing conceptual models of their own black boxes in science. These are creative and entertaining to see! They'll be trying to figure out and recreate the Humdinger invention later in the week.

7th GOAL: Students are still working on their Minds-On Science: For the Sake of the Nation. This week, they'll be looking into biogenetics and its role in society.

8th GOAL: Students will be finishing up reading The Diary of Anne Frank, and then they'll start their literature circle unit on Holocaust books.

7th Language Arts: For the writing assignment to go along with the Ideas trait of writing, students heard the book The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups. They are now creating their own secret rule. Rough drafts are due Tuesday, teacher edit drafts are due Friday, and final drafts are due next Thursday, November 3. Week 9 spelling words center around the suffixes -tion and -ation. Pretest corrections and page 58 (1-20) are due on Wednesday.

Week 9 Spelling Words

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Preview: 10/10-10/14, 2011

Here is what's happening in room 101 this week:

6th GOAL: We'll be finishing up our comics unit on Monday with final sharing, and then after library day on Tuesday, we'll be starting our Models and Design unit. We use the Foss kit for Models & Designs, and it's always a great way for kids to get hands on experience with engineering skills. This week we'll be exploring the concept of a black box and how it relates to science.

7th GOAL: We'll be finishing up our comics unit on Monday with final sharing, and then after library day on Tuesday, we'll be starting our unit called Big Science: For the Sake of the Nation. This unit centers around government funded science projects. Students will use video and pamphlet information to debate what the next government funded big science project should be.

8th GOAL: We'll be finishing up our comics unit on Monday with final sharing, and then after library day on Tuesday, we'll be starting our Holocaust literature circle unit. We'll begin by reading the play The Diary of Anne Frank this week. Next week, we'll begin reading and discussing our literature circle books.

7th Language Arts: Pen pal letters are due Wednesday for teacher edit. 2 peer conferences are required before that point, and envelopes must be included. Final drafts are due by Monday at the latest. Spelling Week 7 pretest will be Monday. This week's lesson focuses in different affixes. Pretest corrections and book page 46 (1-20) are due Wednesday. Posttest will be Friday.

Week 7 Words

Friday, October 7, 2011

Class Act Comics Conference

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 25 FMS students in grades 6-8 had the opportunity to attend the Class Act Comics Conference at the University of Iowa. They met and heard from 3 published graphic novelists and comics and had a chance to see the University of Iowa Museum of Art's special exhibit called Graphic Language: The Art and Literature of Comics which will be open to the public until December 11. Click here for more information on the exhibit and accompanying activities.

Students were encouraged to draw throughout the day, and many received autographs from the authors and artists they met. It was a "once in a lifetime" experience!

James Sturm talks about his start in comics and his current work including The Golem's Mighty Swing and Market Day.

Students ready to hear from Jessica Abel

Jessica Abel, whose work incudes Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, talks about the process she goes through when creating a panel of a comic.

John Porcellino, creator of King Cat, talks about self-publishing and making comics out of everyday life events.

What a great group of kids! We enjoyed lunch at City Park in Iowa City before heading back to Fairfield

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekly Preview: 10/3-10/7, 2011

Happy October! Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in room 101:

6th, 7th, 8th GOAL: We're finishing up our comics, cartoons, & graphic novels unit this week. Final drafts of comics are due Tuesday. On Wednesday, 25 students will be attending a comics conference in Iowa City, and we'll have our final sharing on Friday. On Wednesday and Thursday, students will be getting outside for some GPS activities since we'll have several gone. I want as many here as possible to see the finished comics on Friday.

7th Language Arts: This is a Maintenance Test week for spelling, so there will be no pretest this week. Friday's test will be over words from weeks 1-5 (see past weekly previews for the lists). Spelling pages 39 (1-20), 40 (1-20), and 41 (1-10) are due on Wednesday. On Tuesday, we'll begin our first pen pal letter. I believe this is the 39th year for the 7th grade pen pal program, and our community volunteers look forward to hearing from their pen pals. This activity teaches letter writing and communication for our students, and it gets the community involved in our school! Rough drafts of the letters will be due on Thursday, and we'll begin typing that day as well. Letters will be due next Tuesday for teacher edit, with final drafts due next Friday.