This blog will be the center of all we do in room 239. Main posts will be by Mrs. Kirr, explaining what we're doing in class, blog posts will be done by each student, and students will help write the Genius Hour blog posts to share what we're learning and producing independently.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

So thankful...
   I am thankful for our 7th graders.
   I am thankful we take quality time with lessons.
   I am thankful we have students owning their own learning.
   I am thankful we are focused on learning, and not grades.
   I am thankful we have caring students in our midst.

After this week of Out of the Dust, reading about the sorrow in Billie Jo's life, I just wanted to say how thankful I am for what I have in my life. May you and your families have a beautiful Thanksgiving week. 
Maybe I'll see some of you at conferences!

          Sincerely,
                  Mrs. Kirr

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking it slowly...

We began Out of the Dust this week, after Genius Hour and Election Day. We've only read 33 pages so far, and it's an easy book. So why are we taking things so slowly?

We are practicing critical reading. We are delving into small sections, bit by bit, finding out more about Billie Jo (the main character) and her situation in this historical fiction set in the 1930s. Students are being nit-picky, finding tiny pieces of text that show what is truly happening in the novel. Here's an tiny glimpse into our room (thanks to photographer Martina)...
video
This coming week, we'll continue to focus solely on Out of the Dust - reading critically, and then writing about what we've read and discussed.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The end of one thing, the beginning of another...

We are finished with our narrative writing unit! What does this mean? It means we're on to "Responding to Fiction," a unit that will blend our LIT class and LA class very nicely. Beginning Wednesday, we will be reading Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. This will be a read-aloud novel in class, as we only have enough copies for a class set.

This unit will lend itself to great questions for our reading journals, and text-supported evidence for our writing prompts. This is a fairly easy novel, written in prose, but we can extrapolate many meaningful lessons from it. This is part of the WEX curriculum, and we are adding to this unit to make it fit our new Common Core Standards as well.

In addition, students will be starting grammar warm-ups and root word warm-ups. We will do these at the start of each class. We will focus on one sentence a week for our grammar warm-up exercises, and one to two root words per week. We will treat them both as puzzles for us to get our brains working right away!