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Our Week(s) In Review (9/21 - 10/2)

In middle school we have completed our dramatic structure unit. This culminated in a their first assessment and some fun analysis of the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into The Woods." Students were divided into groups and quite literally went into the woods to analyze the dramatic structure of the musical. Each group went on a scavenger hunt that required they discuss the elements of plot, specifically characterization, conflict, and theme. What a joy that we can make learning come alive on our beautiful campus!

Students continue to practice learning the parts of speech and using this knowledge to support good writing craft. We had a fun time reading "The Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carrol and using our understanding of the parts of speech and context clues to make sense of the nonsense words. After identifying the parts of speech and creating meaning for the nonsense words, students rewrote portions of the poem using actual words.

We are also continuing our unit on informative writing. Students are focusing their attention on creating strong introductions and conclusions, organizing their writing using appropriate transitional language, and showing awareness of audience and purpose through diction. Our second blog will go public next week. They applied their understanding of informative writing by self-selecting a topic related to their Genius Hour project, researching, and writing a multi-paragraph informative essay. We have super interesting topics, from the evolution of fast fashion and the history of henna tattoos to woodworking and the characteristics of a Budgie. Students are also digging into self and peer-editing by learning about how to conduct a successful peer conference, how to use an editing checklist to support revision, and how to use edit and proofread marks when engaging in an editing activity.

Next week we will begin our first social studies unit which will focus on the foundations of modern government, civics, and nation building. We will kick off this unit by reading Weslandia by Paul Fleischman and thinking deeply about the characteristics of a society. This is a wonderful unit that will ultimately have our students building their own micronations, creating a constitution and bill of rights, electing leaders, and writing legislation - all while enjoying the natural beauty of our outside classroom during this lovely time of year!

Above, students practice identifying the parts speech by collaborating on a Mad Libs activity.

Students working hard on research for our second Genius Hour blog post.

Students head "into the woods" to analyze and discuss dramatic structure.

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