Sunday, February 8, 2015

Author Visit 2015

Students read Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, a nonfiction crime thriller about an attempt to steal Lincoln's body from its tomb, in preparation for visiting author Steve Sheinkin. Mr. Sheinkin will be speaking to students on February 9th and 10th. If your child enjoyed reading Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, please encourage him or her to read other award-winning books by Mr. Sheinkin

Here are a few questions our students have for Mr. Sheinkin:

How do you maintain stamina when writing your books? from David F.
What are your favorite books and authors? from Troy A.
What is your main source of inspiration? from Lauren W.
How long does it take to write a book? from Ben RK.
As an artist, how did you continue with your dream even when you were let down? from Aryaman B.
What is it like to write a textbook? from Marc B.
How do you make a style, your own style, when you write? How do you write with a flow? from Ryan C.
Why does historical fiction stick out the most when you write? from Sophia K.

We'd like to thank Mr. Carras, English Dept. Chairperson, Catherine Graybosch, Library Media Specialist, our PTA and our administrators for helping to produce this wonderful event. We look forward to it every year! (February 2015)

Second Quarter Review

Mrs. Marr and Mrs. Sidik’s English classes entered the world of the past as they began studying historical fiction and nonfiction in the second quarter. The unit opened with a “Thank a Veteran” event that occurred the week of Veterans Day. Many faculty members and students shared stories and artifacts from veterans in their own families. Students interviewed local veterans (many of whom were retired teachers from Great Neck middle and high schools) who served during WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the conflict in Afghanistan. In their conversations with the veterans, students reflected upon the idea of heroism, the power of storytelling, and the effects of war on an individual and society. The veterans were impressed not only by the caliber of students’ questions, but also by their respectful behavior. The “Thank a Veteran” event was filmed by our local HTV staff and footage appeared in news segments during homeroom. The event was catered by Panera Bread in Little Neck. The “Thank a Veteran” event would not have been possible without the hard work and collaboration of Team Hero teachers and students, the library staff, HTV, the administration, and veterans from the local veterans center. Thank you to all who made it a meaningful experience!

In the historical fiction unit, students read four books and one play as well as a number of nonfiction texts. Many of the historical topics and universal themes align with students’ work in social studies class. First, students read the classic My Brother Sam Is Dead as a whole class novel, and applied the skills of accumulating the text, envisioning, and organizing and evaluating their ideas in their digital notebooks using Notability. Next, in small reading groups, students interpreted the crises faced by the teenage protagonists and the world in which he or she lives in one of the following novels: Light in the Forest, Sophia’s War, Soldier’s Heart, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, or The Fighting Ground. Students analyzed the Coming of Age theme across two texts making sure to cite specific evidence from both novels in classroom discussions and in their digital notebooks and extended responses. Students also read Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, a nonfiction work written by visiting author Steve Sheinkin. Mr. Sheinkin will be speaking to students on February 9th and 10th. If your child enjoyed reading Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, please encourage him or her to read other award-winning books by Mr. Sheinkin. Finally, students will assume the roles of important historical figures when they study and perform scenes from 1776, The Musical. They will consider the historical context in which the play was written, the techniques used by the writers to breathe life into characters that actually existed in the past, the theme of the play, and its relevance to our lives today. Students will be challenged to think about whether they (and the nation) are living up to the promise of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all Americans. Students will also read Petey by Ben Mikaelsen, an author they are familiar with from their work reading Touching Spirit Bear in the sixth grade. Petey is based on a real life story of a person living cerebral palsy in the 1920s. Through their reading, students will explore the rights of Americans with physical disabilities during that time period. Looking ahead in the third quarter, we will be studying nonfiction in greater depth, writing persuasive essays, tackling a research project, and reviewing test-taking techniques for the English Language Arts Assessment to be taken April 14-16, 2015. If you received a letter about your child’s participation in the tutorial(s), please encourage your child to attend to improve his or her skills. As always, students are encouraged to submit writing pieces to The Rebel Pen, South Middle’s Art and Literary Magazine, and to Middleview, South Middle's student newspaper. 

Talent Show 2014

We are so proud of our Team Hero students who courageously took the stage to entertain the whole seventh grade.  It was an unforgettable experience!

* Sidra H. performed a Tae Kwon Do routine.
* Theodore C. sang "Some Nights" by Fun
* Jason Z. showed off his skills with the Rubiks cube.
* Joanna V. and Andreea C. sang "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith.
* Alice Z. created a video showing off her drawing skills.
* Michael F.  juggled.
* James R. sang  "Classic" by MKTO
* Elizabeth H.  sang "Where Has Time Gone?" by Jin Liang Wang in Chinese
* Michael M., Ian M., Daniel G., Amal D., Hans D., and Stephen F. performed a synchronized swimming routine.
(December 2014)