Saturday, March 11, 2017

Weeks 21 and 22: Incredible Presentations (Bullying), the IBP, and the End of the Quarter (weeks of 03/03 and 03/10/2017)

I'm sorry to say I skipped a week last week. What I've noticed is that it's really easy to skip weeks in the Spring semester. My apologies for leaving you out of the loop.

In an instant, we've reached the final week of the third quarter. Third quarter ends on Friday, March 17, 2017. Any and all missing work from the third quarter is due on Friday, March 17, 2017 for credit. After that date, the grade will remain a zero in the gradebook. Speaking of missing work, I'm furiously grading both on-time and late work. My intention is to have the gradebook solidified by Sunday, March 19th. I try to grade the work I collect in class in a timely manner (which works most of the time). In the case of late work, I grade late work when I can get to it. Please bear with me as I get everything squared away. I appreciate all who've checked in with me regarding late/missing work; thanks for keep me on top of things.

This week we spent Monday through Wednesday working on our Independent Book Project Travelogues in class. Monday started with a presentation, by me, of what the project presentation will look like and sound like. The remainder of Monday was spent working in small groups to create a game plan for Tuesday, Wednesday, and the rest of the days leading up to the presentations. My students worked diligently in class to get their information on their slides, to make sure that information was in "final form", and found pictures that were labeled for reuse (incredibly important for this project). Most groups are on track for success. Thursday and Friday, we had a "reality check" in class to remind students of their job, both in class and out. The crux of group projects is teamwork, or as we say in class, "teamwork makes the dream work". Please check in with you son or daughter on their progress in this project as well as the progress as others in their group. No more days in class will be spent working on this project. Presentations begin Tuesday, March 14, 2017. For a sample of the travelogue slides, please visit my website.

Lastly, the bullying project. It seems like every blog I write emphatically gushes over how amazing my students are and the bullying project is no different! It's always rough to watch a presentation, at any level, when it's chock full of messy, over-worded slides and presenters who haven't prepared for their presentation. While that's slightly typical for middle schoolers (and embarrassingly typical at the collegiate and professional level), I'm incredibly proud to say that none of my students were ill-prepared nor did they present disastrous slides! I've never had a collective class of students take to the "4 by 6" rule so easily. The "4 by 6" rules means that students can only have 4 main bullet points per slide with six words per bullet point. This rule, as well as the other "Final"Form" guidelines for slide shows, ensures that the presenter becomes the expert while not overloading the audience with text, pictures, or wild transitions. My students did a phenomenal job not only researching their type of bullying and presenting their arguments beautifully, but they also formatted their slide shows in professional and scholarly ways. I am very, very, VERY impressed with what I saw and their presentation grades certainly reflect their hard work.

Lastly, a Donors Choose update. We're getting closer to the finish line with $665 left! Thank you all for your support!!!

Question for the dinner table/drive home:
1. How are you and your group doing on your travelogue presentation? How much more work is there to do before your presentation? How is that work going to get done?
2. What does it mean to have your slides be in "final form"? What is the "4 by 6" rule? Why is this formatting important to remember when building your slide show and presenting it?
3. How can you finish this quarter strong? How can you start and end fourth quarter strong? What are you looking forward to?

Warmest wishes,
Kevin Laffin

Class website:

Join my Remind classes to receive reminders and updates. Text the following codes to 81010:
Period 1- @laffin1
Period 2- @laffin2
Period 3- @laffin3
Period 4- @laffin4
AVID (Period 6)- @avidlams

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