Thursday, August 25, 2016

Welcome to Seventh Grade

You are officially in the middle of middle school.  It's going to be a great year!  You will learn so much about yourself, others and the world.  I look forward to helping you make progress in your reading, writing, listening, speaking, organization and technology skills.

Please bring your Summer Reading Assignment to class the first day of school.  We will spend the first week of school getting to know each other by discussing and writing about what you have read this summer. 

Fourth Quarter Review

Team Hero teachers are so proud of what our students have accomplished this year. Our students have been dedicated to their studies and to making the world a better place. We know they have worked hard this year and have practiced the skills they need to be successful in the eighth grade. We wish all our students a reinvigorating summer vacation. We encourage them to keep their skills sharp by reading good books, staying current with national and local politics by reading the newspaper, visiting a local park to enjoy the natural world, and practicing their math skills by playing fun strategy games like Sudoku, Othello or Blokus.

Students on Team Hero showcased their literacy, research, technology, critical thinking and collaborative skills in their Akidemy Awards video research projects. On May 10, 2016, students, teachers and guests celebrated with a mini-gala and awards ceremony. Congratulations to every student for working so well on this intensive research project! Students who enjoyed the project are encouraged to join the staff of HTV or to sign up for video-making electives next year. A heartfelt thanks to parents, teachers, staff and administration for helping to make the project and the evening celebration a wonderful success.

Visions of the Future is the fourth quarter unit for Mrs. Marr’s seventh grade English classes. Students study the genre of science fiction in depth by reading two science fiction novels. Most students chose books that are novels in a series, so they may pursue another title by the same author after reading the first text. Students began their analyses of artists’ and writers’ visions of the future by reading Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" and “Thanks for the Knife” (an excerpt from The Hunger Games) and noting the characteristics of science fiction. They compared the book versions to excerpts from the film versions of the texts. Then students considered other works of science fiction that they have encountered outside of class: Fifth Wave, Divergent, and The Hunger Games topped the list of novels; Big Hero 6 and Wall-E topped the list of films; and Supergirl and The Walking Dead topped the list of television series. Students discussed how science fiction artists and writers help us to see how our present actions might impact future generations. In the writing portion of the unit, students created a science fiction story to express their own vision of life on Earth set at least two hundred years in the future. Besides being influenced by the science fiction novels they were reading, students mined newspapers and their notes from their health, technology, science and social studies classes for inspiration for their stories. Many stories contained references to wars or the loss of constitutional rights gleaned from social studies class and references to genetic engineering and viruses gleaned from science class. It is wonderful to see how students incorporated facts from across the curriculum in their science fiction stories.

Finally, students completed a digital portfolio project using GoogleDrive and Kidblog to showcase their growth as writers, readers and thinkers in the seventh grade. Information about the Self-Select Honors program and the Summer Reading Project was distributed in class and is available online. Students should be prepared to take an assessment on what they have read for their Summer Reading Project upon their return to school in September. A special thanks goes to the PTA for organizing a Book Fair in June to encourage students to read over the summer to keep their skills sharp. Rebel Pen, South Middle’s art and literary magazine, was distributed in June. It is a wonderful showcase for our students’ talents in art, music and writing. Please encourage your child to write for Rebel Pen or for Middleview, the school newspaper, next year.