Starting off the year right!

Thank you to both students and parents for a great start to the 2009-2010 school year! Some highlights so far include:
-90% of students scored an 80% or better on our first math quiz.
-70% of students scored an 80% or better on our second vocabulary quiz.
-Every student published a memoir using the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing).

Homework:

Students were given a homework calendar at the beginning of the year to keep track of their homework assignments. Please check these calendars daily to make sure your child is keeping up with their homework. I give weekly math and vocabulary quizzes, so students should be studying for them all week. In addition, please encourage your child to read independently for at least 20 minutes a night.

What your child is learning:

ELA:
This initial unit is focused on establishing the procedures, routines, investment strategies and systems that are necessary for significant reading and writing growth in the middle school English classroom. Students received a framework for both reading—in the form of independent reading and reader’s workshop. In writer’s workshop students will learn the writer’s process and will begin to experiment with the 6 traits of excellent writers. In this unit, students set class wide Big Goals, as well as individualized writing goals. This unit sets up the reading and writing structures to be used throughout the remainder of the school year.

Math:
Unit 1 covers number systems and operations and begins out with place value. Place value and decimal operations are fundamental to the rest of the year. Number properties and number operations (exponents, order of operations, estimation) follow this same trend; they provide a basis of understanding that the students will need for the remainder of the school year.

Social Studies:
The unit begins by establishing the fundamental difference between various political entities including cities, states, countries and continents, then moves on to identify and differentiate types of maps including political, physical and thematic, examining their purpose and function, in addition to the basic features of a map – compasses, scales and legends/keys. The unit then focuses in on political maps, identifying capital cities and major borders between countries, then transitioning to physical maps by describing, defining and identifying major physical features and ecosystems that are found around the world, comparing and contrasting their similarities and differences in climate, weather patterns and location. The unit concludes by examining how geographers, cartographers, historians and explorers define and describe locations using hemispheres, longitude and latitude.