On the one hand, it feels like we can't possibly already be through 9 full weeks of school. And then on the other hand, it feels like this first quarter has been a million years long. Weird how life during a pandemic can do that, huh?
If you're hoping to surprise your 7th grader at dinner tonight, try throwing this fun fact at them: we're gearing up for our first ELA test of the year! WAHOO!!!
As soon as we finish our novel and do a few secondary items, we'll be taking a Unit Test over the skills that we've learned during this novel study. This test is different from the tests that they're used to because instead of a giant test asking them to parrot the information about the novel back to me....they'll be reading new texts and analyzing them using the tools that I've taught them during the unit.
What tools might those be? I'm so glad you've asked!
We've discussed allusions (brief and indirect references to items of historical or cultural significance) and why they're used by authors in texts. We've discussed how the setting includes the environment around the characters and how it significantly impacts the plot of the story. We've discussed how authors use and alter history to create their own stories. And, of course, we've talked about how to directly quote text evidence in our writing/responses, how to research and use nonfiction texts to expand our background knowledge, and how to write informative short answer responses (including single paragraph and multi-paragraph writings).
We've been busy!!! And I'm excited to see how they do on the test, even though I'm sure that there will be groans and complaints as soon as I pull out the study guide.
This test isn't going to happen until October 21 (BLUE team) and October 23 (SILVER) team, so it's grade will actually start off second quarter's grades. This is good and bad: good because if something horribly wrong occurs, it won't damage your student's current score. Bad because if something goes fabulously well (which it should), your student won't get the boon of a high test score to boost Quarter 1's grade. But, let's focus on the good: no surprises! What you see on your student's skyward will probably be pretty close to what you see on their Q1 report card.
Yes, that could be scary.Very scary. Why? Well, it's because remote learning has been a struggle for some (ALL?!) of us. It's hard to stay on track and get items done, and it's hard to remember what to turn in when you're at school 2 days a week with a 5 day break in between.
No worries, though - all is not lost! I've sent out emails to the students that include links to the assignments they are missing....even the assignments from August. Please encourage your kid to check his or her email and get busy on that missing work. Grades are due on Friday, which means anything that is submitted after Thursday afternoon bears little hope of getting graded for Friday.
Other exciting news: Miss Wiggle, our student teacher, is going to officially take over the class 100% for our next unit. She's been busy crafting an awesome (and spooky!) unit about a new novel, The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle. It's another historical fiction text that will make good use of our WWII background knowledge that we've developed through our study of The Darkest Hour. The exciting change is that this novel is actually historical-fantasy-horror-mystery.....so while it's happening in 1942 Scotland, there are ghosts, magic, flashbacks, and some spooky happenings to get us thinking like detectives. It's going to be GREAT! (And right in time for Halloween.....!)