Monday, March 12, 2012

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. - Oprah Winfrey

by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator

Hello, families--

Ahh, a short week. With such nice weather, there'll be no complaining from these students; they have an insatiable urge to be outside in this unseasonably warm March air. Have you noticed anything different lately? A cacophony of birdsong greets you as you walk to your car in the morning. It smells different. The sun warms the earth and life stirs. I predict the peepers (my true indicator that spring has arrived) will be early this year.

This (short) week will be no less busy as we move forward in our final trimester. In the weeks ahead, writing prompts, research reports, projects and activities in both Social Studies and Writing (subjects will merge more often now) will provide opportunities for students to "show what they know" in unique and creative ways. Please, please ask your child what's going on in school--check (and initial) their planner for assignments and due dates. Of course, you can look here, too. . .

For this week:

In writing class we're beginning our discussion of Persuasive writing-- which, done well, is nothing short of an art form! If your child is able to convince you that you need to start a sanctuary for wayward llamas, you can thank me. No wait. . . Being able to express your opinions and support those opinions effectively and respectfully is a valuable tool in life. Equally, knowing how to analyze the powers of persuasion helps us to become less susceptible to their negative effects. (Think wise consumers. . .) Although the activities vary between the grades, both classes will eventually be responsible for completing a well-written persuasive piece on the topic of their choice.
  • In 6th grade: We divided the room in half and worked cooperatively to determine the value of country life versus city life. Then we turned the classroom into a giant continuum and took a stand on a number of topics ranging from whether or not school uniforms are a good idea to whether or not those who choose not to wear seat belts should face criminal charges. Very thought-provoking! The assignment for tonight is to take the position of a classroom teacher in persuading students that it is important to have writing standards for class work. Many students (certainly not ours) do not see the importance of taking the time to do what is required of them well. (I have to tell you, I think this assignment is brilliant! They get to articulate what I've been trying to tell them all year!)
  • In 5th grade: We also talked about the value of writing persuasively, and began working cooperatively on short worksheet activities aimed at increasing their ability to write convincingly. We will move into activities like the ones I did with 6th graders shortly.
There was no Social Studies today. I'll fill you in tomorrow on what's happening this week.

Well, that's about it for today; time to go home. . . Good night, everybody-