Sunday, October 11, 2015

Homework Return/Social Skills/Academic Progress

We have now completed our first full month of school and I can't say enough about how the 8th graders have come. Everyone is more focused, showing greater self control, and handling the increased pacing of 8th grade with aplomb.

As a class, we are still working on getting homework in not only on time, but also done well. For some the idea of doing work well the first time because that is what is expected and because one should always do their best work instead of doing it because there will be consequences is still a work in progress. Parents can help at home by asking their student each Thursday how many days this week they had the opportunity to enjoy lunch recess. 

Our other focus is on transitioning quickly an quietly. You may have heard about our incentive program that began the last week of September. Mr. Vieira gifted me a unicorn fish bowl which we have been trying to fill with bouncy balls. Each time the class transitions quickly and quietly they earn one ball. After two weeks, we've earned about 10 balls.

As we enter month two, we will be focusing on homework return, transitioning quietly, and increasing the length and quality of written assignments. We have now completed three essays and most students demonstrated mastery of basic writing. We will now continue to step up the expectations, specifically in the area of proof. It is never enough to say "I think" without backing it up with facts or solid reasons. This last week students were given a quiz on chapters 1 - 4 of The Good Earth. Most not only failed to give proof, but failed to give their answer in a complete sentences. This was their first quiz of this type and a learning opportunity. On Monday we will be modeling the correct answers. Parents can help at home by asking for evidence/proof/reasons when talking with your student. If they say "My room is clean.", ask them to elaborate. "I took out all of the garbage, picked up the dirty clothes, and put all of my clean clothes away, so my room is clean."

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