Saturday, December 17, 2011

Week Before Winter Break with work to be done

No doubt the fundamental thoughts of our students turn to the impending winter break. I can only wish them all the best for a well deserved time away from the rigors of Julian academic and social life. Yet, before this point is reached, there is one more week of work and focus is required to meet such an adversary:

7th Grade
Monday- All students will be submitting their writing tasks for Chapter 6 along with two sets of Chapter 6 questions. This collection will be worth 800 points and my hope is that students will be eagerly working towards meeting this deadline.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday- Students will be working nightly in completing reading and assigned questions from Chapter 7. This is extremely challenging reading because it sets up the Constitution. This unit is something that will require students to focus their energies both in these nights and carry that knowledge with them over after the break, as the Constitution will be our focus of study for January and February.
Friday- Start the process of assembling IT FITS Cards for Chapter 7.
I am confident that student focus will be harnessed in working this week, aided through the use of daily points rubrics.

8th Grade
In class work will be focused on completing Assessments on Howard Zinn. These assessments are due on Friday at the end of class. Each student will submit an assessment as well as a completed enrichment sheet on the Zinn Reading.

Next week, I hope to publish a post of all the things that students can do over break in terms of extra credit that can keep skills sharp over the break and help their grades in Social Studies at the same time.

All best.
Mr. Kannan

Thursday, December 8, 2011

To do for the week of 12.12- 12.16

Seventh Grade
Students need to be completing their Chapter 6 Writing Tasks. Final drafts are due on 12.19, along with two completed sets of Chapter 6 questions. Students should be working nightly on the completion of these writing tasks.

Eighth Grade
Students need to be working towards completing their Howard Zinn Assessments. The completed assessment and the Enrichment Sheet on the Zinn Article are both due on 12.23. Students should be working nightly on the completion of both items.

Happy Hunting and all best.
Mr. Kannan

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Arduous Path of Change

Attention all 7.3 Students- After grading the Chapter 6 Exams, I have decided that I will make the decision as to which Chapter 6 Writing Task to take for any student who has scored under an 80% on the Chapter 6 Exam. I will explain my rationale during class. If you have scored below an 80%, you will most probably wind up completing the Identifications and Pictures Task. Please check your grade online by Saturday night and then confirm by examining the Identifications and Picture Task.

With the icy air of December, a stinging reminder of the difficulty of change is upon us. The challenging nature of evolution and growth is something that is present in the natural ebb and flow of the seasons, but also with our own students. The work is becoming tougher, the demands more intense. Yet, somehow, as nature evolves to such change, so do our students. It is my hope that such evolution will be present this week, also.

7th Graders:
1) Exams returned back on Monday- Revisions of the exam are due on Friday, 12/9. A copy of the revisions policy can be found here.
2) Students will start their Chapter 6 Writing Tasks this week. Students should make their choice as to which task to complete no later than Monday evening. I would invite stakeholders to open this discussion with students in order to guarantee the best possible product and the least painful process in delivering said product. Questions to ask:
* "What did you get on the Chapter 6 Exam?" If the answer to this is any percentage that is below an 80%, the student will have to complete the identifications and pictures task. This rationale will be explained in class on Monday, 12.5.
* "Which task is the most appealing to you? Why do you think the way you do?"
* "Which task do you think you can realistically complete in a solid manner by the due date of the 19th?"
* "Which task do you absolutely know you cannot do?"
* "Which task is the easiest for you to complete with in class and at home time?"
Most of our students are great talkers. (So true.) They can articulate their thoughts in a verbal fashion quite eloquently, so I invite you to talk to them about their choices. Sometimes, when they have to explain why they do what they do, a moment of clarity is present. This might be the process with our students.
3) Students will work on their Chapter 6 Writing Tasks both in class and at home. Students must complete their work by Monday, 12/19. They must turn in a completed Chapter 6 Writing Sample as well as two completed sets of homework questions from Chapter 6.

8th Grade Students
The name of this week's game is Zinn. No doubt, the old historian has been opening up some really interesting discussion points. The concept of annotation has also been one that has seen some embrace on the part of our students. I think that this is a good step in preparing our students, our emerging scholars, for what they will face next year at the next level.
1) Students will finish their Zinn reading this week.
2) Students will start on the Zinn Enrichment sheet by Tuesday night.
3) Students will select their Zinn Project by Thursday night and have in class time and out of class time devoted to its completion. Students will have to complete one project on Howard Zinn's article and one enrichment sheet on Zinn by Friday, 12.23.

For thos who are completing the "IT FITS" Cards, this might help:

For all students, if down time is present, why not complete some extra credit on the blog on quotations. 20 to 25 points each quote could come in handy at the end of the trimester.

As we make the mad dash towards Winter Recess, I can only remind students and stakeholders that what we do now and in the next two weeks has relevance and meaning. Let us return from break rested and confident that we gave everything we had in the work leading up to it, and do not have to play a massive and futile game of "catch- up" when we return from it.

As always, if I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
All best and happy hunting.
Mr. Kannan

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