Our long week of conferences (interrupted by a snow day!) went well. The kids worked hard (mostly), and I think the conversations I had with them one on one about their writing were productive. I will finish those up on Monday with the kids that I missed due to the snow day.
This week we’re starting our unit on politics. Our unit question is “What is the relationship between the citizen and the state?” This is clearly a timely issue given the impending presidential election. I really like the question because it asks students to consider how they will engage with the political process. I encourage you to use this opportunity to talk about the current political happenings with your students. Many of them express a complete disinterest in politics, and I’d love to see these smart, soon-to-be voters start to educate themselves. And, please rest assured that I work very hard to represent all political views in my classroom and keep my own views to myself!! I think it’s incredibly important that our discussions about politics aren’t tainted by my own beliefs; rather, I want to expose my students to everything that’s out there and encourage them to think for themselves.
With our politics unit, we will be returning to our work with argumentative writing this week. We’ll be examining lots of op-eds about the current political environment and practicing mimicking how editorialists present evidence with a genuine, natural voice. Later in the week we will read some anchor texts for the unit, “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift (don’t tell your kids what it’s about if you’re familiar with it!) and “On Seeing England for the First Time” by Jamaica Kincaid. We will do some practice with multiple choice using these two texts as well as a graded discussion on Friday. This graded discussion score will be averaged with the score from last week’s discussion.
One last thing: Please do not be alarmed if your student’s grade has dipped a little at the beginning of the semester. We are working with all new skills this semester---mainly timed writing--and it is proving to be a challenge for many. They need not worry just yet. The grades in MiStar represent where they are right now, but there are second (and sometimes third) chances coming for all of those skills prior to the end of the card marking. The key to improving on those skills is practice. I have started providing lots of extra practice for students online and in class; those who take advantage of it will see the gains they're looking for! For example, this weekend students were given some practice multiple choice along with guided reading videos narrated by yours truly. Those aren't "for points" but taking advantage of that practice will pay off when students take the next multiple choice assessment. Please encourage your students to do the provided practice!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire