Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The End of the 1st is the Beginning of the Second Semester

Friday is already the end of the first semester. We have a lot going on in the next couple of weeks. Report cards will go home on January 25th. Our overnight stay at Camp Pendalouan is January 31st and February 1st. And we are finalizing our candy order in an effort to sell World's Finest chocolate to raise money for our upcoming Chicago trip in May. Continue to watch for information coming home about these events.

In Social Studies, we continue to study the institution of slavery. We are currently watching specific scenes from the movie Amazing Grace that highlight issues concerning slavery. We discussed how after decades and hundreds of years of trading people, slavery became "normal" to Europeans and hence widely accepted. Most just accepted the practice of people as property especially if it meant gaining a profit. Amazing Grace illustrates William Wilberforce's efforts to end the British slave trade. This is a great historical fiction movie to watch with your children. It is rich with history and based on true events. Although it is rated PG, I would caution you to watch it first in an effort to better explain specific scenes and language.

As always, time is my nemesis in the Language Arts department. We are desperately trying to cram in as much vocabuary, writing, reading and comprehension as we can in our short one hour period each day. Students just finished their New Year's Resolution essays and are currently working on their TEAM letters. In these, students are writing to themselves in eighth grade reminding themselves of one of Officer Luce's lessons. Students are struggling to incorporate their own voice into this format. Additionally, they have been given a slew of writing strategies to sprinkle throughout their letter. Some of which are: repeat a word for emphasis, alliteration, transitions for smoothness, smilies and adjectives to add detail, vocabulary to add depth and exaggeration to stress a point. I must admit this is difficult for most adults to do; however, I have complete faith in their writing abilities.

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