Friday, February 24, 2017

Week 20: Looking Forward, Building Our Arguments (week of 02/24/2017)

This week wasn't heavy on anything new, so I'll be talking more about what the next few weeks will look like followed by a recap of this week.
Next week is not only our final book club meeting (Friday) for our Independent Book Projects, but my students will also be presenting their bullying projects to their class. Monday will be our last in-class work day (Tuesday-Thursday of this week were in-class work days as well). Tuesday-Thursday will be presentations. Please help your son or daughter prepare for this presentation by checking over their Google Slides presentation and making sure it's in Final Form (follow this link for a sample slideshow). The following week, March 6-10, we'll be building our Travelogue presentations and working on our script. We'll also be wrapping up the bullying unit and moving deeper into argumentative writing. With the end of the Independent Book Project will come the end of the third quarter. Please check in with your son or daughter's grade on Power School to make sure missing assignments are taken care of. I'm working hard on getting assignments graded; "on time" work will get graded first in a big chunk and then the "late" assignments will get graded as I have time. Everything will be graded by the end of the quarter (Friday, March 17, 2017).

This week we wrapped up our research on bullying and began to build out Google Slides presentations. Because students tend to go crazy when they build Google Slides, Prezis, and/or PowerPoints (in regards to backgrounds, fonts, transitions, and pictures), I've provided them with a "final form" guidelines sheet for these types of presentations (look for a pink handout with CRAAP on the front and "Prezis and Google Slides Tips" on the back; a slide show is available on my website as well). Now is a great time for students to begin practicing getting their work into "final form", or work that is scholarly, academic, and professional. It may not matter to all teachers, but I like to help my students present their absolute best work at a high standard in preparation for the real, professional world. Please ask them to show you their work and constructively critique it. Presentations will begin Tuesday 2/28/2017, after a final work day in class on Monday 2/27/2017.

We also reviewed plot/story elements in class this week. You may remember the couple of weeks we spent on it in September with the various Pixar shorts. On Friday we had another book club meeting. Because of last week's meetings (and the excitement I heard in all of the club discussions), I actually picked up "And Then There Were None" and finished it in time for this week's meeting. It's always inspiring to see my students so excited for reading. They were so excited this year that it made me get a book. Well done everyone!!!

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to you for helping spread the word of my Donor's Choose project!!! We're down to just $865 before being fully funded. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this project.

Question for the dinner table/drive home:
1. What still needs to be done for your bullying project? Will Monday in class be enough time to finish or will you need to spend time on it this weekend?
2. How do the elements of plot work together in your story to create an exciting or interesting story? What is your favorite part of the story so far? Why?
3. How did book club go this week? What can you do in preparation for next week's meeting?

Warmest wishes,
Kevin Laffin

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