It has been a busy time in Language Arts. Last week, I joined many area educators for LAD Fair Sorting and Judging Days.
The 6th Grade students won first place with their “My Head, My Head” original poetry book; this book is based on a prompt that the 6th grade students have followed the past three year, it is becoming a bit of a tradition. The students write the internal stanzas for the first stanza prompt: “My head, my head contains a space so broad and wide that even I get lost in it.” The students create metaphors or similes that express the way they think about their own brain. Some compare their brains to a filing cabinet that gets out of order, others have compared it to the number pi – infinity, another compared it to the zeros and ones like computer code. There are so many wonderful metaphors and similes, and each student expresses the thought-life a differently.
After we create the poems, Mrs. Murphy leads the students in creating silhouettes of themselves that are inspired by their poems. Here are a few examples.
Lately in 6th Grade
We’re working our way through The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. We’ve learned about iambic pentameter and why Shakespeare would use this style of meter in powerful or heartfelt scenes. Applying our understanding of plot and conflict, we’ve been analyzing the development of the storyline and what is the true, central conflict.
Acting out the play has been exciting; the students have enjoyed getting to take on the parts and dress up.
The students are using their phones and computers to read the electronic script.
As our work with Shakespeare is primarily inside class, students have begun reading Three Times Lucky outside of class and we will have book discussions once or twice a week starting next week. I’m excited to discuss this hilarious murder mystery with them!
Lately in 7th/8th
The 7th and 8th grade students did a phenomenal job on their analysis and discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird! They made great connections to life and to other books we have read. Next Thursday, April 4th, students are welcome to stay after school to view the movie together. I will be sending an email out in the next day or two with details.
While on spring break, I had the opportunity to stop in Monroeville, Alabama which is the hometown of Harper Lee- the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. I was able to visit the old courthouse which she visited as a child where her father worked cases as a lawyer. The courthouse is now a historical site; you can visit just for a tour or if you go in April/May, there is an on-site production of To Kill a Mockingbird with the second act taking place inside the actual courtroom. I felt like I was walking around inside the book! It was an awesome experience.
We are preparing to begin book groups; I provided the students with descriptors for each book and they expressed which books they preferred to read. Each book is an excellent selection, and I look forward to seeing the leadership which arises from holding small, student-led book groups.
Lately in High School
In high school, we are concentrating on writing concise and clean literary analysis papers. The students have been applying their knowledge and analysis skills we have been building in order to formulate a strong opinion-based thesis about a piece of literature they have read. We will repeat this process twice more before the end of the year in order to compare our attempts and look for growth in their analysis writing.
We’ve been reading and discussing Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and it has been very interesting. Mr. Powers has been reading along and joined us for discussion yesterday, and kindly plans to participate with us again for the final discussion next Wednesday. This satire pushes the reader to consider the “sacred cows” of our society- looking at our own hypocrisies.