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8 South Language Arts Units
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Students are just wrapping up their One Book, One School reading of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. As a culminating project, students are creating a Piktochart that analyzes the theme of the book and how the characters help to develop theme. In our next unit, students will be working in literature circles to read and analyze a dystopian novel. In years past, this unit has been a student favorite as the books do an excellent job getting students to think about the society we live in.
Posted by ddalton  On Feb 01, 2016 at 8:54 AM
We are kicking off the new year with our One Book, One School initiative. All students and staff at John Winthrop will be reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. The narrator is an 11th grade boy named Leo who tells the story of Stargirl, the new girl at his school. Stargirl is not your average teenager. She wears weird clothing, plays the ukulele, sings birthday songs to peers in the cafeteria, decorates her desk before class, and changes the lives of those around her. As a class we will be looking at the use of literary devices to progress the story and character development throughout the story. Students will read both in and out of class. In addition, we will continue to study grammar in our daily warmups and students will continue to read their independent reading books. 
Posted by ddalton  On Jan 05, 2016 at 8:54 AM
Greek mythology is a great topic for eight-grade students to study because of the high-interest material. Also, the topic coincides with the Global Studies unit on ancient Greece. This gives students the opportunity to connect what they are learning about the people of that time and place with the literary works those people created. Specifically, the students will read the Greek creation myth that explains how the earth was created up until the rise of the Olympian gods. Students will read a small portion of The Odyssey, as retold by Geraldine McCaughrean. This portion will include the beginning of the voyage from Troy, and Odysseus' encounter with the loss eaters and Polyphemus the cyclops. Finally the unit will include a viewing of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and a written analysis comparing the heroes of the two works. To wrap up, students will then create a creative piece where they take the central plot and characters of The Odyssey, but recreate the story in a modern setting. The essential questions that the students will consider during this unit are: How do modern works draw upon works that have come before them, but maintain their freshness? How has the idea of a "hero" changed over time?  
Posted by ddalton  On Oct 15, 2015 at 7:45 PM
Language Arts is off to a great start.  So far, I have enjoyed getting to know each of your students on personal and academic bases.  It has been easy to do this because of the work we have been doing in class.   The students have been working on writing poems focused on what makes them unique individuals.  As a model, they read “Where I'm From” by George Ella Lyon.  Then the students brainstormed about themselves, focusing on memories, family, vacations, favorite foods, and other topics.  Utilizing a repeating line for rhythm and descriptive and figurative language for elaboration, the students will incorporate some of their ideas into a poem.  This writing process will yield unique, descriptive poems that are reflections of the students’ individuality. I can't wait to read the final poems in the coming week.   For our next unit of study, the students will be reading argumentative essays about kids and screen time.  This pairs nicely with the work the students will be doing in Writing, which focuses on argumentative essays about plastic surgery. I anticipate that both will be fun and rigorous units. 
Posted by ddalton  On Sep 09, 2015 at 9:39 AM