Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 30: Argument Writing, Biographies, and an AVID field trip (week of 4/8/16)

We're back into the swing of things over here at The Laffin Place, better late than never. I took a break from blogging over Spring Break as I was in LA visiting my parents and my former colleagues. It was a nice break and I hope you enjoyed yours.

At this point, we're nearing the end of our nonfiction argumentative writing unit, Tap versus Bottled Water. After weeks of research, discussion, and study, we're ready to take our knowledge and put it to the test. Our culminating writing assignment is a letter that will be sent to the District Office. The District Office and School Board have been asked to read the letters under the guise of a new state legislature that requires all schools to provide students with water. Students have been asked to present their opinion (drinking fountains with bottle filling stations, in-class water dispensers (like office water coolers), or individual bottles of water daily. This opinion will be backed up with facts found in our in-class research. At the end of this unit, I will collect the letters and send them to the District Office for review. Who knows? Maybe we'll enact some change on campus with our amazing writing!

With the fourth quarter having started, a new Independent Book Project has also started. This quarter's focus is biography and autobiography. Students are free to choose the person who interests them. I have encouraged my students to pick shorter books because we'll be researching our people more fully later in the quarter. I have checked off students who've brought their books to class. I sent out an email to those of you with sons or daughters who haven't been checked off yet. Please make sure that they have a book, as they've lost four weeks of reading at this point and will need to be caught up to be successful on this project.

This Friday, April 15, both the seventh and eighth-grade AVID classes will be taking a college visit field trip to both Stanford and UC Santa Cruz. Permission slips were sent home last week and need to be returned by Thursday, April 14, 2016 at the very latest. Any student without a permission slip will not be able to attend and will have an alternate activity on campus.

 Here are the specifics:
Who: The seventh and eighth-grade AVID classes; chaperoned by Mrs. Dellinger and Mr. Laffin.
What: college visits and campus tours
Where: UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University
When: Friday, April 15, 2016.
          Please meet at LAMS between 6:00am and 6:15am so we can leave promptly 6:3am.
          Please arrange to pick up your son/daughter at 7:30pm.

Questions for the drive home and dinner table:
-Has your opinion of tap versus bottled changed as a result of your research? How has it changed or stayed the same?
-If it was up to you, how should the School Board provide water to students at LAMS? Why is your option the best option?
-What makes for a good argument? How is argument writing different now than in sixth grade?

Warmest wishes,

Kevin Laffin

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