This week has been largely dedicated to writing workshop and studying mentor texts for our narrative pieces due next Monday. On Monday we discussed a narrative essay by Firoozeh Dumas from her book Funny in Farsi. We noted traditional grammar rules that Dumas “breaks” and discussed the intentional choices writers make to break rules and give their writing an authentic voice. Students experimented with this as homework on Monday, and we began writing conferences to discuss those choices on Tuesday. We will continue that work on Wednesday and Thursday and add another essay by Annie Lamont from her book Bird by Bird to continue to give students professional examples of authentic voice in narrative writing.
This week also begins our vocabulary study. Students will be collecting new words from our discussions and readings. For example, I’ve already instructed them to add “chide” and “commiserate” to their lists as those two words came up in class during discussion and few knew them! We will gather our vocabulary that way all year as research shows students retain vocabulary best when they discover it naturally. I also hope this method helps them develop a curiosity about words as they meet them “in the wild”! Every week we will gather at least ten words and students will be assessed on their ability to use those words the following week.
What should you be seeing at home? Hopefully students have been embracing my mantra of 30 min a night! Please help them pace their work in this class. They should be planning out their week so that they aren’t swamped with work. Narratives will be due on Monday, but this weekend should really only be final edits. I will encourage them to let you read their narratives. They’re doing a great job, and I think you’ll enjoy them!
Enjoy the rest of the week. I hope to meet you at Curriculum Night tonight.
Mrs. Hattie Maguire