Diving Right In

English Language Arts (ELA)
It has been a fabulously busy start to the year!  The Grade 7 and 8 class has already begun daily prayer/personal journal writing and persuasive writing.  Their topic for persuasive writing is "Electronics Use in the Classroom" with a real-world application:  our class technology policy will be set by the end of this week!  The students are working toward persuasive writing that is focused, provides a clear opinion with logical argument, refutes an opposing view, and has data and examples to back up their argument.

The first week's spelling list contains two words from ELA, four geography names or abbreviations, and four words the students self-select from their first science lessons on Cells and Systems.  The students will also be doing spelling and reading comprehension assessments at the end of the first full week of classes, and our grammar/usage and spelling program(s) will be integrated often with reading and writing activities in the semester ahead.

The students began their first topic-draft-edit-complete cycle with the completion of a hard copy social media profile page.  The main emphasis of the assignment was on creating a vision and the drafting process.  Peer or parent-editing is a requirement, as one of the next assignments involves learning proof-reading marks so that the students can apply them to their personal and peer-editing in the months ahead.

Our first read aloud, After Ever After, has been introduced as a means to explore Topics - the first of the Traits of Writing that the students will learn more about in their writing process this year.  Our first novel study The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is highly anticipated by several of the students, and the subsequent titles in that series will be available for loan from our class library.

The characteristics of living organisms is the lead-off to the students' first unit of study, and after a tremendous class discussion around the first science homework (Is Fire Alive?), which is a review concept but a new application for the Grade 8 students, and an expansion concept for the Grade 7 students, who covered more rudimentary characteristics of living things in previous study.  Later this week, the students will apply their knowledge of living organisms by comparing a live mammal in the classroom with a plant, and doing an experiment to illustrate characteristics of a live, unicellular organism: yeast.  Safety and procedures for using our school's microscopes will be upcoming.

Christian Studies
In addition to our daily bible verse, grace and journal, the Grade 7/8 class will be involved in the Fruit of the Spirit themed Chapel services, which began on the first day of school.

I have discussed my policy regarding due dates with the students, with reassurances that reasonable expectations for a fair workload, high standards, good work ethic, best effort, and strict but compassionate decisions regarding extenuating circumstances discussed IN ADVANCE OF A DUE DATE are always the goal.  Working together to respect one another's time, and to achieve maximum growth and engagement, usually makes settling any concerns regarding deadlines much less stressful.

For more information on chapel and other whole-school news and dates, you are always welcome at www.bsls.ca.  A link to this blog can also be found there!


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