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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Author Skype!

Before Winter Break, Mrs. Kirr won a Skype visit with Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of One for the Murphys! She'd read the book (which came out in the spring of 2012) in the summer and thought it was perfect for middle school readers. So... she started rounding up readers, and had nine readers ready to join us today. We had Molly, Morgan, Maddy, Sammie, Hannah, Katherine, Elise, Mr. Hillmer, and Mrs. Lott in attendance, and enjoyed answers to our questions. We asked about what made her want to write a book, why it started in Vegas, what was her inspiration for the characters, why she made the ending the way she did, and what happens when they go back to Vegas... Suddenly, we were given a sneak peek into her next book! Oh, the girls were overjoyed!

Check out the interaction between Ms. Hunt and her audience of 7th graders...

And here are our tweets back and forth...

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Outsiders

We are beginning fourth quarter with The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton! This classic middle school novel will give students a chance to do some close reading (see the Common Core standards) with text that isn't too challenging. There will be a bit more homework for this quarter, and students are expected to bring their own copy of their book back and forth to class each day. These books are theirs to keep, and they are expected to write in them (favorite quotes, important events/quotes, "aha" moments, questions for clarification or wonderings, vocabulary, etc.), or put these ideas on sticky notes throughout the book.

Grades for this unit will be based on group discussions (students cannot participate in group discussions if they have not read the required chapter), comprehension questions, participation in paraphrasing activities and writing prompts. The final assessment will be a writing activity but will be graded on reading comprehension. Approximately one chapter will be assigned per night, with some time to begin each chapter during class time.

Here is the timeline for homework as it stands now (this site will be revised if we get off the schedule):

     4/3 - Chapter 1
     4/4 - Chapter 2
     4/5 - Chapter 3

     4/10 - Chapter 4
     4/11 - Chapter 5
     4/12 - Chapters 6 & 7

     4/16 - Chapter 8
     4/17 - Chapter 9
     4/18 - Chapter 10
     4/19 - Chapters 11 & 12

As for the first day of each week, we will be working on our Q4 Genius Hour projects - please see the letter home that your child should have showed you - there is also a copy on Edline. Students & parents may look at the LiveBinder for the explanation we'll have in class on 4/2/13. The LiveBinder is here - . Due dates, rubrics, and short examples of what students can do are on this site.