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What a great week in Washington, D.C. Thank you, eighth graders, for everything! We had a lot of fun together, enjoying the many historical sites of the district, as well as some outside of the D.C. area, and I hope it's something you'll carry with you for a long, long while.
Thank yous are in order, as this trip wouldn't be possible without the help and commitment of the following people:
Thank you, too, to you, parents, for all the support and assistance along the way. I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Eighth graders, the trip to D.C. is here. Get some sleep, as we'll meet at St. Paul bright and early Monday morning, the buses leaving at 4:30. We expect to arrive in D.C. around 5 p.m. for an eventful and fun few days, before returning to St. Paul around 1 a.m. Friday morning. Please contact myself or Mrs. Winchester with any last-minute questions.
D.C. isn't the only thing for the eighth graders this week. We also have the Confirmation Retreat, information of which has been passed out and forms/payments of which should've been turned by Friday. Mrs. Kesteloot came and spoke to the class about the retreat, as well as answered questions and passed out forms for anyone who still needed them. For more information on the retreat, please contact Mrs. Kesteloot.
Religion: In the manner of Whose Line is it Anyway?, the eighth graders this week performed improv skits relating to various scenarios in which we could apply the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As candidates of Confirmation, it's important the eighth graders continue to develop an understanding of the gifts and the importance in and applications to their lives.
Homework: None, and no class next week due to D.C.
Literature 7: Both classes are reading T.H. White's Sword in the Stone, and as we continue through the novel, we're strengthening our understanding of the character archetypes within the legend/fable/myth genre, as well as the structure of the Hero's Journey. We're currently looking at Merlyn's character as the mentor archetype, comparing him to Sir Ector. Understanding this is building into our creating an adventure game based on the archetypes and the Hero's Journey.
For next week, before Camp Tamarack, both classes will work on plotting out the Hero's Journey for their game, as well developing the map of the various "rooms" for how the game/story will play out.
Homework: Hero's Journey plot is due Friday, Oct. 25; Please schedule Book Talks before the 1st quarter ends.
English 7: During the week, both classes reviewed MLA formatting and took notes on the paragraph structures of an expository essay. In doing so, they wrote out, in MLA format, the first assignment of their adventure game project--the essay detailing characters, basic plot, setting and winning. We also studied six specific traits to Writing Like a Pro--participial, absolute and appositive phrases, adjectives, vivid verbs and similes and metaphors--and will continue to apply these traits to our writing, as well as took the Unit 4 Vocabulary test on Friday and a Ch. 1 grammar retest for those interested.
Homework: Vocabulary Unit 5 WB and Test on Friday, Oct. 25
English 8: Every year, the Farm Bureau Insurance Agency sponsors the America & Me Essay contest, where eighth graders from across Michigan are eligible to submit a 500-word essay about "My Personal Michigan Hero." During the week, we read and broke down the third-place winner from last year's competition (we looked at first and second places last week), brainstormed characteristics of a hero, and began working through who in our lives fit those qualities. Students spent the past couple days writing out their essay rough drafts, as well as studying the six specific traits to Writing Like a Pro. Rough drafts were due Friday.
Homework: None, and no class next week due to D.C.
Have a great weekend, and best wishes to the 7th graders at Camp Tamarack this week and to the 8th graders in D.C.!
Before I begin this week's update, I'd first like to thank Kam Uebbing, the Nahra family, Sharon Kuchta, all involved with the bake sale, and all the other parents, students and staff who helped put together Tuesday's volleyball fundraiser for Payton Shock. Kam worked tirelessly to plan a truly special night, and the showing of support from everyone is part of what makes St. Paul such an amazing place to be. Thank you!
Thank you also to Mrs. Catalano and Mrs. Merritt for planning the field trip to the Detroit Zoo with the eighth graders and our first-grade buddies. Weather was perfect, and everyone had a great time!
Now, here's what we worked on this week, and what to expect for next week.
Religion: The eighth graders continue to grow in their understanding of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. This week, we looked at possible scenarios in their lives that might arise regarding difficult choices and how to utilize the gifts in our responses to each. Looking ahead, we'll spend another week on the gifts before moving on to Chapter 16 of the Chosen program. On Monday, my homeroom will also take the AOD Religion Test.
Homework: None, unless not finished with the SCENARIOS page.
Literature 7: In Lit this week, we continued reading T.H. White's Sword in the Stone, and as we read, we've begun to compare the characters of Merlin and Sir Ector from the lens of the mentor archetype. What qualities does each possess, what is each teaching Wart and Kay, how do the boys respond to each, etc. In developing this comparison, we'll eventually create a compare-contrast essay on the two characters regarding which is more in connection to the common mentor archetype.
Homework: Keep reading on your own. Book Talks need to be completed by the end of the first quarter.
English 7: This week was divided into grammar and writing/analyzing writers' moves. The seventh graders completed their first unit on nouns and took the test on Thursday. We also continued in breaking down individual scenes in writing, analyzing a short work from Sherman Alexie in which we made note of his use of scenes and the various elements of scene that he utilizes to tell his story. In the week ahead, we'll shift focus from analyzing scenes to writing out our own in preparation for the adventure game project we're currently working on. As well, we'll look at expository essays and the elements of writing them.
Homework: Vocabulary Unit 4 WB (Test Friday); Expository Essay on adventure project due Friday as well
English 8: Eighth graders also reviewed for a Noun test of their own, though theirs will be on Monday. Additionally, we introduced the America and Me: My Michigan Hero Essay Contest, and the class has begun reading through previous winners, looking for commonalities and at structure, word choice, style, grammar choices, etc. We'll start brainstorming and planning out our own essays next week.
Thank you, and have a great weekend!
Religion: In preparing for Confirmation, we studied the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, defining them and working through practical applications of them in our lives. It's important for the students to know and understand the gifts, for one, because the bishop could ask about them in his homily or other points during the Mass, and two, so that they can embrace and learn to utilize what's strengthened in them at Confirmation.
Homework: Handwriting up to letter "P", and the 7 Gifts illustration (for those who didn't turn it in on Thursday).
Literature 7: In continuing with the concept of the Hero's Journey, we explored in more detail the various character archetypes associated with these stories as they relate to legends, fables, myths, folktales and other similar genres. Knowing these will also help in developing the writing assignment for the Sword in the Stone unit.
We'll begin reading Sword in the Stone next week.
English 7: Classes were introduced to the writing assignment for the Sword in the Stone unit, which will consist of creating a text-based adventure game, with a foundation in the Hero's Journey, on the website inform7.com. Creating the game is a single component of the overall project, which also includes an essay, detailed and organized map of the different scenarios and a graphic organizer with information about the gameplay and story.
In preparing for writing the game, we also defined and started looking at SCENES and their make-up, from including characters and sensory details to dialogue and conflict. Most stories consist of 40-60 scenes, so it's important to have a decent understanding of scene so that we're more comfortable in crafting one.
Homework: Finish Vocabulary Cumulative Review and Sect. 1.6 (possessive nouns) in grammar WB
English 8: In English this week, we worked a bit on becoming more concise writers, paying more attention to word choice and the way we say things. This led to creating a six-word memoir, which will be due on Tuesday of next week.
Homework: Six-word memoir rough drafts and Sect. 1.6 (possessive nouns) in grammar WB.
I hope everyone has a great weekend!