Snapshot: November 20-23, 2017

Dear Knights,

It was so great to see so many families at Student-Led Conferences on Tuesday. Thank you for stopping by Room 207. For families who were unable to make it, please check your email, as I have reached out to see whether you have any questions. As always, reach out if ever you have a question or would like to chat about your child’s progress: jsorokowski@sjsd.net.

This week In Mathématiques with 7F2, we continued practicing our division strategy, which is to use multiplication instead! That means to solve 29 ÷ 3, we ask “3 times what equals roughly 29?” The answer is 9, because 3 x 9 equals 27. So, we know that part of our quotient is 9. But there’s one more step. Because 3 x 9 = 27, not 29, we still need to divide what’s left, 2 (the difference of 29-27, since we already divided 27 by 3…), by 3. That’s easy! 2 ÷ 3 can also be written as the fraction ⅔.  That means 29 ÷ 3 = 9⅔. It might sound confusing written out like this, but step-by-step in your head it makes sense! We focus on efficient mental math strategies that don’t require pencil or paper. Along with these division strategies, we reviewed our understanding of equivalent fractions and simplified fractions. Some students have not yet mastered these concepts from previous years, so they will have extra-help opportunities to review them this week. Next week: Decimal numbers and repeating decimals…and how to convert between them and fractions.  

In Français with 7F1, students chose and began to research an animal. We discussed as a class what a reader would normally find in an informative text about an animal. We then used four French websites to find that information. Students created an organizer to keep their notes and recorded their sources to make a bibliography. This coming week, we will begin to write the text, which will allow us to formalize common sentence structures, review present-tense verb conjugation, and practice vocabulary introduced in class. We will also discuss how to use headings, sub-headings, images, and captions.

Finally, in English Language Arts with 7F1 and 7F2, we completed a peer edit of our Calvin and Hobbes dialogue scenes. We will use this feedback to improve the mechanics and ideas of our dialogue scene. Much of our class time together this week was spent listening to Book Talks. I must say, I was very impressed by the quality of these presentations. Students were extremely well prepared, and most spoke easily for two to three minutes about a book they love. Bravo! We will continue book talks throughout the year. We are a bit behind last week’s plans (because of the amazing book talks, so no biggie!), so our pre-writing and drafting of our final narrative piece will begin this week.

Happy reading!

M. J. Sorokowski

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Snapshot: November 13-17, 2017

Dear Knights,

Excellence is very evident in 7F1 and 7F2; I’m pleased to see how many students took the opportunity to resubmit work where they felt they could have done better. It is great to see students using the feedback they received to improve their performance; isn’t that what learning is all about?

This week in English with 7F1 and 7F2, we finished our mini-lessons about snapshots and dialogue in narrative. Students took a boring, original scene and rewrote it, snapshot-style. They also took a snapshot that was already written and drew what they visualized. To study dialogue, we dusted off some old Calvin and Hobbes anthologies and transformed a comic strip into a narrative scene. Students’ drafts of their dialogue scene are due Monday for both sections. Starting this coming week, students will begin to write their own narrative, similar to the mentor texts that we studied, all featuring a memory or a vignette of something that has happened in their lives. We also prepared to deliver our first book talks of the year, the next Speechtastic speech.

In Français with 7F1, we studied some more texte explicatif in order to look at the structure. We practiced our comprehension strategies (prédire, questionner, clarifier, résumer) and also organized information into an organigramme in order to identify le sujet (the main idea) of the text and les aspects (the supporting details). Students were introduced to our next writing project in French, which will be to write a texte explicatif about an animal of their choice, which leads us into our first novel study: Les prisonniers du zoo by Denis Côté. And, to continue our verb practice, we reviewed the present-tense conjugations of vouloir and pouvoir and noticed they are very similar. We then played tic-tac-toe with a partner to review conjugations. Fun, fun!

Finally, in Mathématiques with 7F2, we forged on with learning about ordering and comparing decimal numbers. We are also reviewing our division strategies and completing some problem-solving tasks involving the concepts we have learned during the first term. Next, we will be moving on to comparing fractions.

I look forward to seeing many familiar faces at the Student-Led Conferences, this upcoming Tuesday, November 21 from 4-7:30 PM. No appointment is necessary – come and go!

Happy reading!

M. J. Sorokowski

 

Snapshot: November 6-9, 2017

Dear Knights,

I hope you were able to take some time today to recognize Remembrance Day. Earlier this week, the Ness Middle School community came together to commemorate the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Many students from 7F1 and 7F2 were involved in the ceremony, and I thank you for giving your time to be part of such an important event.

In class, we took time this week in English with 7F1 and 7F2 to fine-tune some assignments. After a few weeks away from our writing, we self-evaluated our Humans of Ness pieces. They will be on display soon in the classroom for student-led conferences (Tuesday, November 21: 4-7:30 PM). Students also finished their analysis of the story “The Landlady,” by Roald Dahl, which we read on Halloween. We also critiqued a few “What’s Going On in this Picture?” responses by rating them against the evaluation criteria. We did this so that students could improve their work before submitting it for evaluation. Finally, students listened to two Remembrance Day-related songs and interpreted the message by connecting them to their own beliefs.

In Mathématiques with 7F2, we continued to review what we know about decimal numbers. We worked specifically on writing them, which can be tricky in French. Students wrote a quiz on patterns and relations, and we began to study some division mental math strategies. This coming week, we will work on ordering decimals and fractions.

That brings us to Français with 7F1. We had another set of CFOO presentations from Group B, which were, as always, very entertaining. Lots of speakers shared the frigid weather! Students finished their Il faut absolument visiter…  text. It takes lots of time to write well in French, and I look forward to displaying the students’ work during student-led conferences! We also worked on our critical thinking and discussion skills. Students were presented with four discussion questions about technology and got into groups to discuss them. After, they expressed their opinion, with evidence from their discussions, in writing. I’m proud to hear so much French being spoken during formal discussion times – now to increase our French-language use at other times! 

Finally, there will be a number of assignments popping up on PowerSchool over the next few days. Mid-week, a missing assignments report will also be shared with each student to be brought home. As always, students are invited to rework assignments on which they could do better: In Room 207, we aim to uphold the Ness value of Excellence in our work. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy reading!

M. J. Sorokowski

Snapshot: October 30-November 3

Dear Knights,

November is here! Thanks for showing such great school spirit this past week. I enjoyed seeing all of the unique costumes and interpretations of each spirit day as the week unfolded.

This week in English with 7F1 and 7F2, we showcased and presented our Comedy Scenes. Students reviewed the evaluation criteria before their performance and predicted the mark they would earn. There are great actors in both classes! We also accomplished daily writing of “Slices of Life.” I notice it is becoming easier for students to immediately get to writing without needing to think too much about what they are going to write. We are going to continue Slicing throughout the year. Finally, we completed another “What’s Going On in this Picture?” Unlike last time, when we discussed one picture as a whole class, students worked completely in their table groups in order to work on their collaboration and communication skills. There were some pretty wild pictures this week, including an escaped chimpanzee and Chicken Elmo toys being tested in a factory.

We worked on many listening activities this week in French with 7F1. Given how French accents vary around the world, we watched a few video clips that featured narrators with accents that are possibly less familiar to us here in Manitoba. To check for comprehension, we reconstructed the message. We listened to each video multiple times to help us clarify what we heard. In reading, we used the four strategies we learned about and practiced as a whole class and in our groups (prédire, questionner, clarifier, résumer); this time, we applied the strategies while independently reading an article (Les inondations). We also had another Course aux verbes, this time reviewing être, avoir, -ER, and aller. Bien fait, les Chevaliers!

Finally, in Mathématiques with 7F2, we began wrapping up our unit on patterns and relations (for now). Students have completed a problem solving assessment to demonstrate their knowledge and were given some review questions to prepare for a short quiz on Wednesday, November 8. We have now begun our unit on fractions, decimal numbers, and percentages. We will strive to answer the guiding question, “How are fractions, decimal numbers, and percentages related?” This content builds on what students have learned in previous years, so we will begin with a review to be sure we have the foundational knowledge to learn the Grade 7 concepts.

Happy reading!

M. Sorokowski