Can you believe we have already been in school for almost 6 weeks, and that Conferences are right around the corner?! It has been a great start to the year. New classes, new students - but lots of learning and fun. Read below to find out what’s happening in the classes I teach, and what we will be working on in the near future.
Course 1 Math - This is my first year teaching Math, and if I’m being honest - I was nervous about it. But all has been working out well so far. The students are wonderful. They are experts at Saxon, so they know the drill. We begin each class by checking our homework from the previous lesson and discussing any questions that come up. Then we take a few minutes to do what is called a “Power Up”. This consists of a short review of math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division), and well as few mental math problems that the students should be able to figure out in their heads, as well as a story problem that has multiple steps. Saxon gives us daily practice at these skills so that they don’t become rusty. I do see that some students are not “automatic” with their math facts, especially multiplication and division. If this is your student, encourage them to get in some extra practice with flash cards, or by using online games to time and practice. From Course 1 and beyond, it is expected that students know these facts, and can easily recall them when working with more difficult and multi-step equations. If students can’t remember their math facts, a large number of their calculations are going to end up incorrect. After the Power Up we go through the lesson or skill for the day, doing multiple samples together on white boards so that I can check for understanding. Finally I assign the homework that will help them practice the new skill, as well as reviewing some of the previous lessons so that they stay fresh in their minds. They are a great group of hard workers. They are very focused, and do not waste class time. Our first 15 lessons have been review of previous years’ concepts, but soon we will be encountering new material. As parents who want to help their student to do their best, I ask you to encourage and remind them of these things: practice math facts, always review your work (does my answer make sense - if I estimate, am I close?), and double check that I’ve done the entire assignment. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
7th/8th Reading - We have just finished our first novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Students are preparing final projects that are due next Wednesday, October 5th. We practice fluency each week, as well as difficult vocabulary from the novel. With this novel we have spent a lot of our discussion time looking at mood, tone, and theme. Because this novel takes place during World War II, the author (through the narrator) has a lot to say about the theme of war. And even though that seems like ancient history to students today, we also can relate to this story because the characters are teenagers. They are friends, who struggle with their friendship at times, like most teenagers do. We’ve had some really great discussions. Next week we will begin some pre-reading work for our next novel, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, as well as presenting our projects.
6th Guidance - It’s been great to start this year having 6th grade for Guidance for the first trimester. We have covered many topics such as time management, effective study skills, learning styles, and multiple intelligences. This week we will talk about test taking skills - with a specific discussion focused on our upcoming Iowa Assessments.
Student Council - Student Council elections were this week! Congratulations to President - Shaylin Gonzalez, Vice President - Andrew Robey, Treasurer - Matthew Dietrich, and 6th grade class representatives - Yalitza Lovan, Emily Ponxs, and Joshua Ponxs. Our first meeting will be Wednesday, October 12th from 3:15-4:00 in Miss Ramaeker’s room.