Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Conferences and ERB's

It was great seeing so many of you at conferences last week!  I truly appreciated the opportunity to sit down and discuss your children's progress and learn a little more about how we can become better partners in their education.  When I turned off the lights and closed the classroom door Thursday night, I took a moment to reflect on what I had consistently heard over the last two days.  Clearly, you want a welcoming environment where your children enjoy learning and where they feel secure in sharing their thoughts and ideas.  At the same time, you desire teachers who have an interest in knowing your children as individuals.  What are they starting out with? Where could they go?  Their likes, needs, dreams, and fears are pieces of the puzzle necessary to helping them reach their academic potentials.  Finally, throughout the two days, I heard that you are trying to find the delicate balance between letting go and the need to manage your children.  In the end, I believe that we share the same goals and we want the same outcomes for your children.  We have a great opportunity to work together and ensure your children's continued school success and I look forward to watching them grow throughout the rest of the year.

Testing is underway this week in the sixth grade.  Monday through Thursday, students will follow a modified schedule, dividing their time between the ERB and their regular classes.  Knowing that the week can be stressful, the sixth grade team incorporated a variety of breaks into each day.  From daily physical education to regular morning snack time, students had many opportunities for movement and fuel.  In between tests, teachers led classroom brain breaks to help focus, energize, and stimulate the mind.  These activities help to strengthen neurological pathways as well as engage both sides of the mind.  The video clip below is an example of a brain break.

In between it all, we are still moving forward in literature and composition classes.  Students are presenting their book projects in literature class this week.  From newscasts to iMovies, I have been impressed with the text-to-world connections students have been making as they demonstrate their knowledge of the enduring understandings found in The Outsiders.  Once presentations have been completed, we will resume our study of the background knowledge needed to fully appreciate our next novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor.  Composition students have started their exploration of the narrative writing genre.  Throughout second quarter, we will analyze mentor texts and practice a variety of narrative writing tasks.  We are beginning with the six-word memoir.  This type of short story was inspired by a legend involving Ernest Hemingway.  Supposedly, Hemingway was bet that he couldn't write a story in ten words or less.  He came back with: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."  Hemingway's memoir has inspired countless writers to take the same bet.  This week, composition students will meet the challenge. So will I!

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