Friday, November 11, 2011

Sunrise and Sunset: Different sides of the same coin

Attention 7th Graders: Computers will be available during Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday's classes for in class work.

With the upcoming week, much is at stake. This will be the last week for First Trimester week. I urge all stakeholders to encourage your emerging scholar to take advantage of one last sprint towards the end of the trimester. Some breath can be taken afterwards... with the understanding that second trimester is rapidly upon us.

For 7th Grade Parents/ Guardians: Please encourage your students to use this upcoming weekend to get much in way of work done in their Chapter 5 Writing Tasks. Some sample questions you might want to ask your student:
1) " Have you finished your two work samples for the task?" Some students will be writing a formal paper, an argument about a John Adams quote, a speech to the Colonists encouraging a particular course of action, or a collage/ some type of art sculpture about the events leading to the Revolution?
2) " Have you finished your defense piece for each? " Each student is required to compose a "defense piece" that explains why a particular work sample represents that specific learning style. For example, why does the collage represent an Intuitive Feeling student? Why does the speech represent the Sensory Feeling student? Students have received instruction as to how each work sample is to be composed and how each defense piece should look. If you need copies of these notes that were given to the students, click here and look for the Daily Notes for 11.7 and 11.8, as these were the dates I delivered specific learning style instruction.
3) "What is your plan for getting Mr. Kannan his work by the end of Wednesday's class?" It's real simple, in my mind. Each student will be submitting 2 completed work samples and 2 defense pieces on Wednesday. The question you want to ask your emerging scholar is how are they going to deliver on this promise. What is their plan? This becomes the central question.
After speaking with all of them in individual conferences, it is evident that this is the weekend that will "make or break" this writing task. I hope for the former. It is going to be with your help that this is accomplished. I certainly hope you can help me help your student become stronger, forged through the fires of intense work and deadline submission.

For 8th Grade Parents/ Guardians: Your discussions with your students are going to be a bit different. At this point, everyone knows where they stand. Grades are nearly finalized for the first trimester. Your talking points with your students will reflect this.
1) "Did you finish your homework due Monday?"- This is the last assignment of the trimester. It requires forming at least seven to eight thoughts/ sentences about the opening quote for the Industrialization Unit. Students have written this quote in their packets and they were to extrapolate connections to it based on our reading in the Industrialization Unit. Students made progress on this in Thursday's class and the finished assignment is collected at the start of Monday's class. It will be worth somewhere in the arena of 150- 200 points.
2) "Do you need to complete any of the extra credit tasks?"- I opened the door and invited students to walk through it. Students were introduced to the "Alternatives to Identifications" and the "Extra Credit Book Work" tasks in their packets. They do not need to do any of them. Yet, if they are examining their grades in the class and realize that they need to make up some ground, these items are open to them. These tasks will be due Monday and can ensure that student points can be enhanced. If you need to preview these tasks, click here and view the packet on Industrialization and Progressivism, pages 29-31.
3) "Are you satisfied with your grades in Social Studies?" This is a really nice reflective moment. We do a lot with driving kids to the next level, but we really could do more on the reflection piece. Ask your kids, honestly and with sobriety, about their own opinion with their performance in Social Studies. I recently sat in on a parent conference where the parent was so open and asked the child, "Who are you in this class? What do you see yourself as?" I liked this discussion because it forced the child to define themselves, their process of assembling work, and how they saw their final product. I liked this a great deal. Ask your child where they saw strengths and where they see need for improvement. I will be completely honest to say that second trimester is much more challenging than the first. Marx and Smith next week, Howard Zinn leading into Winter Recess, Progressivism when we return, World War I and its themes of disillusionment in late January, the 1920s in late February, and The Great Depression in March. This is not light and not for the faint of heart. Engaging in reflection might steady the structure for the intensity of intellectual challenge awaiting your students.

As one phase of our journeys end this week, another starts. I anticipate all of our students being able to rise to yet another bevy of challenges that confront and eagerly await them. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
All best.
Mr. Kannan

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