Dear Parents,

I hope you had time to look at your child’s report card that came home in the Wednesday envelope yesterday. If you are concerned about performance in a particular class, the best person to ask first is your child. Kids at this age are aware of how they are doing and, most often, why. An honest talk with them and a home support plan can often make a huge difference. Of course, do ask me if you have questions your child can’t answer.

In language arts class we began a new Latin lesson and also a short unit on another type of modifier – the adverb. We will learn about the function of adverbs, what questions they answer, and how to use them effectively to improve our writing. The kids turned in their essays about Lord of the Flies and wrote about whether Golding was stating that humans are basically good or evil. We went over some of the challenges the kids had in their writing and how they might improve. Of course, like any writer, they may re-write to improve their essay (and their grade).

We began our Shakespeare unit by reading the prologue and first two scenes of “Romeo and Juliet”. We learned about Shakespearian language and about the characteristics of a sonnet. The kids were surprised that Shakespeare gave a summary of his play in his fourteen-line prologue, but I assured them that it was not too much of a spoiler. I told them that they may use online resources like “SparkNotes” or “Lit Charts” to help them understand the play, but they may not use those as a substitute for actually reading the play. Please remind your child that he/she is to read 250 pages each week and record the reading on a reading log, due Monday. They also continue to have two book reports per month, due the last school day of the month.

During religion time we learned about the environmental factors that lead to bullying. Some kids said that bullying “is just a part of life.” I was surprised by this, especially as we have spent so much time in history class learning that if you don’t like the state of things (especially injustices), you’ve got to call for a (hopefully peaceful) revolution. Bullying is something that should incense the kids and have them calling for a stop to it. We will continue our discussions about bullying. Any support you wish to give from home is always appreciated, even if simply a discussion around the dinner table about bullying and the peer pressure to engage in it.

We began our next history unit that focuses on early U.S. presidents and the challenges they faced in leading our young nation. We have been participating in debates in class, the most recent being a debate to defend either the Federalist Party or the Democratic Republican Party. The kids seem to enjoy this form of synthesis of their learning. We started to assign roles so that each person has something to be responsible for in preparing for the debate, and this has led to greater participation.

The kids turned in their Legacy Project interview questions today. They should now be using these questions to interview family members and relatives to find out as much as they can about their relative (the subject of their research). Do have them look at the next deadline – the interview completion – on their due dates list as some were caught off guard by the interview questions due today and had to scramble to write some good interview questions.

Have a great, sunny weekend!


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