Saturday, February 13, 2016

Week 23: Characterization and Contests (Week of 2/12/2016)


This week, we had our second Book Club meeting. Characterization was our focus this week and the students did a great job discussing their characters at length. Our sub-focus for Book Clubs this week was having a meaningful conversation. I noticed, through no fault of the students, that their talks we focussed on answering the study questions and not taking the conversation any further. With this mental note, I taught them briefly about conversation skills and provided them with sentence frames to take their conversations to the next level. They did an awesome job!

This month, we're gearing up for the Laguna Writing Celebration. All Laguna Middle School students are encouraged to enter their writing into the celebration. Entries can be any piece of writing that a student is proud of in these categories: informational writing, argumentative writing, and poetry. The writing can be from a class your student is taking this year at Laguna, but does not have to be. If they're proud of it, they should enter it! The deadline to enter is Friday, March 11, 2016. Students will be submitting their writing through their English teachers. If you'd like more information, please feel free to contact me or Mrs. Rollinger at

Speaking of contests, Mrs. Schwoerer is hosting a photo contest for our budding Lancer photographers! This year's theme is Simply the Best @ Laguna. Students can take a picture of anything they feel exemplifies what's best about Laguna Middle School! Entering is simple, just email the photo to Mrs. Schwoerer ( with your name and a caption describing how your photo fits this year's theme. Prizes will be awarded for students who place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and the winning images will be posted on the LAMS homepage as well as the LAMS Library homepage. How exciting!

This week, we dug a little deeper into Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven", this time hunting for symbolism. We started off the week by finishing the symbolism posters we created last week with our guest teacher. Students were to choose a symbol, talk about its literal and figurative meaning, and identify any color symbolism that may be connected to their symbol. Students then did a "quick and easy" presentation for their classmates. We then continued our study by digging back into "The Raven" in small groups, this time looking for symbolic objects and colors that may give us deeper meaning into the author's tone and purpose. We're not done quite yet, but I heard some incredible, deep discussion going on in the small groups! I'm a little surprised that we're not tired of this poem yet, but how could we be? It's so good!!! (OK, that's just me personal opinion).

Questions for the drive home and dinner table:
-Which character are you writing about for your character development essay? How would you describe them at the beginning of "The Outsiders"?
-Are they a static or dynamic character? How do you know? 

-If they changed, what cause that change? If they didn't, what caused them to stay the same?

Warmest wishes,

Kevin Laffin

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