Most students in the 7th grade have already created and posted an update about their classes to their blog. The update, though, was not the typical paragraph! It started out as a paragraph, but it was transformed into a Voki. A Voki is a web tool that allows students to express themselves in a style that is unique while working on their communication skills.
The students had to summarize what’s happening in each of their classes and then use the technology to post it to their blog. A Voki looks playful, and it is, but it does require the students to use higher order of thinking skills to pull it all together. They had to summarize and make word choices that would engage the listener. They also had to follow several steps to compose, create an avatar (self-expression), change the text and punctuation to accommodate the voice and use embed codes to post the finished piece in the blog.
Please review your child’s blog by looking for their 4-letter code name to the right (under classes). The Voki should be one of the first blog entries. Or you may click on the "Student Voki" link to the left for all the Vokis that have been approved so far.
Language Arts - After studying Greek mythology and beginning our year-long application of classical vocabulary word origins, we turned to Norse mythology. Students partnered in literature circles to comprehend and analyze the central myths of the Norse and construct summaries of the main points and themes. Then, students teamed with cooperative learning groups to create video story trailers based on these myths. Included in this was the introduction to movie software such as VideoPad Video editor and Windows Movie Maker. Students explored computer file management and various forms of troubleshooting as well.
A large focus of this unit has been collaboration. (See the links on Mrs. Cote’s blog to learn how cooperative learning leads to higher achievement in young adolescence. Also, view the central standards addressed in this unit.)
Next, we move on to the study of science fiction and examine how technology and the sciences influence literature and, in turn, how literature influences the sciences.
Science - Look for those Science Valentines! Students had to incorporate concepts learned in science this year into a Valentine. This assignment forced them to analyze their knowledge and reapply in a different context. I also limited their choices of color. They could only use red, black and white. Students forced to be more creative in designing their work with these limitations. If you are not the recipient of the Valentine, don’t worry! You will be able to catch the sayings on their blog or glog (a web tool at edu.glogster.com).
Please remember the students can always teach you what we have been doing in class. Research does indicate learning occurs through one’s self-explanation through the content.
Math - In 7th grade math, students have just completed Module 2. This unit involved measuring and classifying angles, coordinate graphing, addition and subtraction, with integers and modeling functions with tables, equations, and graphs.
Students used graphing calculators to explore graphs from equations and graphs from tables. They also used the calculators to simulate probability experiments.
The students have been following the Stock Market since November. Each student selected three stocks and could spend $10,000. They check their stocks every Friday and record the results. Each student has created a spreadsheet to keep track of his or her gains or losses.
In Module 3, students will review Number Theory topics, addition and subtraction with fractions and decimals, scientific notation, the Metric System, and properties of triangles
Social Studies - In Social Studies, the students have begun their study of the Roman Empire. During this unit, we will look at the rise of this great civilization from its humble beginnings as a settlement on the Tiber River to its conquest of the Mediterranean world and beyond. The students will compare & contrast the government of the Roman Republic to our own. We’ll take a closer look at the Roman army to try and discover the secrets of its success and we’ll trace the rise of the emperors and the creation of the Pax Romana Empire. The students will take a closer look at the unique Roman entertainment of the Gladiatorial Games by researching and writing a fictional journal of a gladiator. The unit ends with the reasons Rome fell and the lasting legacies of this important civilization.
Music - In music class we're busy studying the music of the Renaissance, making strange instrument replicas and playing polyphonic music. We're learning to perform the Meringue with body percussion and still practicing our guitars.
Art - In art, 7th graders are finishing up their Pop Art Shoe drawings. Students learned about the art movement called Pop Art and are creating some really wonderful drawings of their shoes. Students had the choice of oil pastels, colored pencils, and sharpies. They learned about contour line and have been working hard! They will be displayed after vacation around school. Their next project will be a paper mache project, so donations of paper towel rolls, flattened cereal boxes, and egg cartons would be appreciated. There is a box in the front lobby. Thanks! -ART
7th grade Life Skills/Tech Ed - Final grades are available for Life Skills and Tech. Ed. The students have switched classes. Students who were in Life Skills are now in Tech. Ed. until the end of the year (and vice versa). It was a great half year and we will see the students again next year.