Sunday, November 10, 2013

Newsletter #10 (11/8/13)

Students working together to create a skit using primitive language.

Student Led Conferences
This week, the portal for the student led conferences will open.  This is an online way for you to sign up for conferences.  If you do not have computer access, please write a note to indicate which time slot you would like to sign up for, and we will sign you up.

The conferences may look different than what you have seen in the past.  Throughout the trimester, we have been gathering evidence towards particular goals. This continual reflection is intended to help students understand why they are learning what they are learning, and how it can contribute to their development as a middle schooler.  When students share this information, in a room where other students are also sharing their work, it builds validation for their work, and ownership of their progress.  There is time for goal setting with both teachers and parents during these conferences.

The times for conferences are 30 - 45 minutes in length, and during that time, your student will lead you through his / her work from this first trimester.  As these are completely student led, there will be 4 - 7 conferences going on at the same time.  We reserve the library, which enables us to have space so families can sit together and focus on only their student.

This is a photo of student led conferences from last year.

The teachers are available during these conferences.  Curtis Taylor, Melissa Williams, and Melanie Zima will be in the library, stopping in at the different conferences.  If you want to speak to a particular teacher during the conference, you will put up a small "flag" that will signal that teacher to go to that particular table.  If, after the student led conference, you would like to sign up for an individual conference with one of the teachers, there will be a sign up sheet for Tuesday night's conferences. Note:  There is no sign up for Tuesday night until after the student led conference on Monday night.

If you are unable to attend the conference on Monday night, you might opt to have your student review his / her portfolio at home with you.  Most of the information is on their e-portfolios, and in a paper portfolio at school.  These will be available on Monday, the 25th for you to see.  If you need to see it sooner than the 25th, you may contact us, and we can help your student have it available for Friday the 22nd.

We hope you find this format empowering for your student.  Let us know if you have any questions regarding conferences.  The times on Monday are: 3:00, 3:45, 4:30, 5:45, 6:30, and 7:15. 

In our Bones and Stones unit, students were busy this week exploring the development of language and early human cave art.  Activities included creating our own early human language, performing skits, using nature to make paint brushes, and painting our classroom with early human cave art.  Next week, students will be starting a project of their choice on a topic from our Early Humans unit.  Information about this project will be available on our website.

Mick painting, using a brush she created from the woods!

This week we will wrap up our work with division strategies and begin a new unit on 3D Geometry and Measurement.  You can find the parent letter linked to the Quest website.

Questers have been working on Multiplication Fast Fact Goals for the past few months and have met their first goal!  As a reward, students will have next week OFF from homework in Math class.  Their Math's Mate Sheet 6 is due Tuesday, but they will not have homework on Thursday or a Math's Mate for next week.  Keep up the fast fact studying so we can reach our next goal!

Language Arts 

This week we used Google Calendars to map out our reading for our most recent book group books.  We also began reading, and looking for details about characters and figurative language.  We continue with writing with details, both to our epals, and in our POWs.  Next week, we will have book group meetings, and will learn about the narrator's point of view.

What was your early human skit about?
What is an example of figurative writing?
What has your ePal written to you about?
What did you paint on the "cave wall?"
How does a 'menu' help you solve long division problems?
What did you do with your AG on Early Release Day?

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