Sunday, December 9, 2018

Week 15 SNOW!

Happy snow day to you. I'll just take a few minutes of your time on this gorgeous Sunday to update you on the Galaxy's latest adventure.

Our mock trial was a success. All the students learned about a "wild" and pivotal event that occurred as our nation struggled toward freedom. They also were introduced to our legal system by role playing as lawyers and witnesses. The lawyers each wrote their own opening and closing statements. These statements were organized, well written with excellent word choices, compelling, and persuasive. John Wooton was an essential part of this event. He graciously shared his legal and historical expertise. Thank you so much, Judge Wooton.

I'm planning to give an occasional snow day assignment; the first one is assigned for tomorrow. Please make sure your student checks Google Classroom. I've posted The Gift of the Magi in the English Language Arts classroom. The assignment is to read it, answer the questions, and become familiar with the vocabulary.

Tuesday, or whenever we get back to school, we will be finishing up the study of cell mitosis. The other two assignments due this week is one for American Studies and holiday writing. Jog your student's memory about these. They are also reading a book of their choice and will produce a book trailer when they are finished.

If you haven't brought in your Christmas 4 a Knight gift yet,  please do so the first day we go back to school. Our class Secret Santa exchange and party will be held on Wednesday, December 19 and our school wide festivities will happen on Thursday, December 20 which is the last day of school for the year. WOW!

Enjoy the snow.
Mrs. J

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Week 14 It's December!

I want to invite family and friends to the Galaxy's mock trial of the Boston Massacre. The Honorable Judge John Wooton will be presiding over our court on Friday, December 7 at 10:00 am. The students are working diligently and this is sure to be a fun as well as educational event. Let me know if you will be attending and if you plan to bring others with you.

As we head into December, please make sure to check the school newsletter and all flyers that come home. There are numerous giving opportunities and events lined up. Also, if you haven't given to the annual fund, please do so. Any amount counts towards our participation. We want a pizza and ice cream party!

Progress reports will be coming to you soon. I've attached a fantastic visual of standard based grading. Take a few minutes to read this so that you can fully understand your child's report.

As always, contact me with any questions and/or concerns. I hope to see many of you this Friday at the trial.

Mrs. J

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Week 13

I've been putting the final touches on progress reports. This has led me to tweak my teaching just a little. I realize that some students are ready to soar while others are finding it difficult to get off the ground. This trimester I'm designing lesson plans and assignments that will enable the students to work at their own pace and at their individual level. The students will work independently a good deal of the time, and so it is crucial that they develop positive habits in order to be successful. I expect that when students turn in an assignment, they are turning in what they consider to be their best work. Some students are already doing this while others are rushing through the assignments, not following directions, and sometimes not doing the work at all. I promise to never assign a task that I do not believe is of value. But they need to put the time and effort into learning in order to receive that value.

With all that said, here are some important points about this upcoming trimester.

  • Starting tomorrow, every student must have an independent reading book at school. The classroom library is overflowing with excellent choices. They need to be reading a book now and finishing it over Christmas break. They will have a light assignment to do over the holidays.
  • All assignments are expected to be finished and turned in on or before the due date. The turned in product should be an example of the student's best work. Mrs. Troyer and I will help any student that might be struggling or not understanding any assignment.
  • When there is homework, students will take a homework slip home. Please sign this and return to me the following school day. If I don't get a returned slip, I will call you to make sure you were informed of the homework.
  • Please, please, please have your child show you their assignments on Google Classroom. This is a wonderful tool that Mrs. Troyer and I use everyday. It makes it possible to teach to all learning styles - visual, auditory, and kinetic. By accessing the classroom calendar and clicking on the assignment, students not only see exact due dates, they also are directed to precise instructions and necessary attachments.
Here's the line up of study between now and Christmas:

1. Mock Trial of the Boston Massacre
    Skills - reading comprehension, persuasive techniques, public speaking, collaboration, critical thinking, organization, listening skills, and examination of original documents.
2. Cell Mitosis
    Skills - memorization, spelling, reading comprehension, and outlining.
3. "Paul Revere's Ride"- Longfellow, "The Gift of the Magi" - O. Henry, and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" - Dr. Seuss
     Skills - close reading, paraphrasing, compare/contrast, writing, listening skills, and literary analysis.
4. Family holiday traditions
     Skills  - prewriting, topic sentences, transition words, concluding sentences, and paragraph organization.

I'm looking forward to returning to a refreshed class ready to progress; always being wild and free.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Week 12 Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving break is right around the corner and I think that we're all looking forward to it. The students have worked hard over this past trimester and have compiled much new knowledge. It's always a good practice to reflect on accomplishments so here are just a few...

  • Developed discipline while enjoying XC practices and meets.
  • Learned or reviewed the parts of speech with a catchy song. (See if they remember it now and then.)
  • Became familiar with several Native American tribes and realized that they are truly the first Americans.
  • Read Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", learned about Ponce de Leon, and the Fountain of Youth.
  • Got creeped out by Edgar Allan Poe's the Raven and created original blackout poetry.
  • Spent a copious amount of time reading and writing about the Monarch butterfly's journey.
  • Held snakes!
  • Discussed the contradictions of Thomas Jefferson's life.
  • Explored plant and animal cells by comparing them to everyday life.
... and I could go on but it's time to move on.

We will be wrapping things up this week and also enjoying some special events.

Monday - Friday: Usborne Book Fair in the Commons.

Monday, 11/12: Luke Bair will visit the class at 1:00 and talk about Armistice Day. Parents are invited to join us. 

Wednesday, 11/14: We will travel to the American Shakespeare Theater in Staunton, VA and view "As You Like It". The day's schedule is-
  • Be at school by 8:00 am so that we can leave at 8:15. The drivers are Troyer, Wood, Lumsden, and Johnson. We need to arrive before 10:00 am.
  • The play starts at 10:30 am with an actor talk back at 12:45 pm. The snack bar is open at intermission. Students are responsible for buying their own snack if wanted.
  • Lunch will be at a local pizza place. Please send $10 with your student for lunch. I will order pizzas to be ready ahead of time.
  • We go back to the theater at 2:00 pm for a behind the scenes tour.
  • We'll depart at 3:15 with an ETA at GES of 4:45 pm.
Friday, 11/16: Grandparents/Special friend day. Please join us for a morning of fellowship school wide and in our classroom. Let the office know if you are coming and if you will be staying for lunch. Early dismissal is at 1:00 pm.

Monday, 11/19 - Friday 11/23: Thanksgiving Break. Relax... Refresh... Refuel!

Mrs. J

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Week 11

I hope you are all enjoying this gorgeous Fall weekend. The end of the first trimester is quickly approaching and I certainly feel that the class as a whole and individually has made quite a bit of progress. We have establish a good routine and are understanding the expectations associated with growing up and being in Middle School.

We had a fabulous trip to Monticello. Our guide was excellent and I know that we all learned a lot about Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence, and Monticello. All the students were well behaved and engaged. It definitely was a success.

We only have two weeks until Thanksgiving break and several items need to be completed before then.

This week...

  • we will reflect on our trip to Monticello as we read and discuss the Declaration of Independence. The students will also practice their handwriting skills by copying a portion of the document and committing it to memory.
  • we will explore political cartoons of the Revolution and discuss propaganda. This will prepare the class for our mock trial which we will focus on between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • we will learn about ethos, pathos, and logos and how they are used in persuasive arguments.
  • the Cell Analogy projects are due (Friday) and will be presented.
  • the students will be tested (Friday) on the countries of South America, the Caribbean, and Central America.
  • is full of activities and learning experiences, so encourage your students to be well rested and ready to give their best in all they do.

Make sure to support the GrabNGo so that we can continue to pay for our field trips. Please let Tanya know when you are able to provide the food.

Mrs. J

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Week 10's Treats

I've been gone all weekend visiting my granddaughter, so this will be brief and to the point.

Events this week:

  • Wednesday - Trunk or Treat. Students bring their costumes to school and we'll have a great time celebrating Halloween in the afternoon.
  • Friday - Day trip to Monticello in Charlottesville,VA. We need to leave the school at 7:30 A.M. so plan to get up early and be ready to go. Drivers are Keri Troyer, Kate Wood, Tara Wooton, and me. Each student needs to bring money to buy lunch.Please take a look at the menu.  Cafe menu. I anticipate being back to Lewisburg between 4:30 and 5:00 P.M.
Academics this week:
  • Cell Analogy Project due November 9. Check Google classroom for details.
  • History text reading and note taking.  We are learning about the events that sparked our Revolution. This assignment will also be on Google Classroom.
  • Word Sorts. Most of the students have begun individualized spelling instruction.
  • We'll listen to Clay Jenkinson as Thomas Jefferson reading the Declaration of Independence.
  • The students will create a black out poem of "The Raven".
As always, don't hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. 

Mrs. J

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Week 9

Fall weather is definitely here and with it some news to help switch us into another season.

  • All students need to have coats on these chilly days because we will go outside. We all need the fresh air whenever possible. 
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts wore inside need to continue to be uniform appropriate.
  • Please return your student's XC jersey this week.
  • Trunk or Treat - Wednesday, October 31. We will run on a 1 hour delay Thursday, November 1. Happy Haloweening!
  • Day trip to Monticello, Charlottesville VA - Friday, November 2. We will leave the school at 7:30 am and return around 4:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, November 15 -  We have tickets to see "As You Like It" at the American Shakespeare Theater in Staunton, Virginia. The day will consist of attending the play, having lunch at a pizzeria, returning to the theater for a behind the scenes tour, and traveling home. We'll leave the school at 8:30 am and return around 5:00 pm.
  • Grandparent's/Special Friend Day - Friday, November 16 with early dismissal at 1:00pm.
Students can thrive in any educational environment (homeschool, private/public school) if certain elements are in place. Safe classrooms, engaging activities, differentiated lesson plans, and individual attention are just a few elements that GES provides. Another important element is parent involvement. Please talk to your child about what we're doing in the classroom and look at the work. The more accountability students have with caring adults, the better they perform directly affecting their self-esteem.

Here's what's on tap for this week.
  • Plant/animal cells, their structure, and organelles. The students will begin a project in which they will create a cell analogy comparing different organelles to different elements in a city, zoo, theme park, school, or whatever they come up with. I will be giving specific instructions and a timeline in order to help with their time management.
  • Annotating and note taking. Last week, we read (out loud) chapter 1 from Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States. The students highlighted important and interesting information as we discussed Christopher Columbus. This week, they will go back on their own and write that information (paraphrasing) into note form. They will then have their own notes to study.
  • Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven". We'll begin dissecting this poem. We'll listen to, read out loud, discuss literary elements, and finish up next week by creating a "black-out poem". I know the class will enjoy this.
  • Programming. Ves Burford is back and the kids are happy. They will spend time with him every Friday.
  • and... I'll begin small group spelling lessons this week. 

I'll end with a thought for the week.

Mrs. J