Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. - Leonardo Da Vinci

Dear Parents--

Every two weeks, 6th grade students are responsible for reading a book in preparation for a project or writing activity of some sort, which is completed on the 15th and 30th or thereabouts. The exceptions have been in December and February because of breaks in the school schedule. (That doesn't mean that students should stop reading, however. They are required to have read at least 25 books by the end of the year. . .) Since students were given essentially a month to read the latest book, they should be in good shape for this week's (important) writing assignment. They will be writing a comprehensive
Response to Literature -- a portfolio piece that will go with them to Middle School. Sadly, when I announced it yesterday (and gave them an extended period to get started), very few people had read or finished their book. I must say, I was disappointed. Please remind your child of the importance of reading at least 20 minutes each night. I will hold them accountable for this assignment, since it is something they should have planned for. Be aware that grades will be affected by work that is turned in late.

For the rest of this week, students will work on their persuasive writing piece in Language Arts. The first draft will be due tomorrow, at which time they can conference with me. The finished piece will be due on Thursday. This is not a long assignment; it just has certain guidelines to follow. Students can use this interactive site to map out an argument for their persuasive essay.

5th graders have Social Studies today. We'll work on the activity I discussed in Friday's blog. (The Journey to Jamestown Adventure Begins
here. The valuable resources found at this interactive site will help them to complete the packet of information I gave them titled,
Your Adventure Begins. . . It's lots of fun, and it teaches them what it was like for early colonists making their way to America. From now on, there will be a number of interactive activities, so it is essential that each child has their computer at school. Could you remind your child, please?

We have new reading groups--tomorrow they will finish planning out their reading schedules, and therafter will be responsible for the reading and activities associated with that schedule.

For today, we veered a little off topic and watched a video sent to me by a close family friend whose son died as a result of a drug overdose. It's an award-winning (short) documentary and it seemed to make an impression--students really heard the message and wanted to talk about it afterward. One thing the film stressed was the fact that parents and teachers can continually tell children not to do drugs--that they're bad--but it's ultimately up to each child to make the right decision, which isn't always easy to do. Kids are naturally curious, and they don't yet have the capability to fully comprehend the ramifications of their actions . . . . This film laid it out for them. Two young people, former addicts, described just what they lost when they chose to do drugs. My friend described his family's loss, too, explaining how it redefined their lives. We owe it to our kids to keep the lines of communication open during these vulnerable years. Ask your child what s/he learned from the film.

Thanks for all you do--