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What we've been up to in Grade 7 English

Back in Time

posted Nov 16, 2014, 12:40 AM by   [ updated Nov 16, 2014, 12:42 AM ]

The students have chosen their historical fiction novels for our new unit--Book Clubs.  This year all of our books are set during World War II.  Some of them are predictably set in Europe, where much of the action of the war occurred.  But we wanted to know how the war affected people ALL over the world, so many of our books are set in places like the United States, India  and Korea.  During this unit we will also explore the importance of diaries, both to the individual and to society, and of course, we will continue to practice our performance skills for the upcoming Speech Tournament in March.  But the center of this unit asks “How can we be involved in an active discussion?”  Each week the students will meet in their book clubs twice, to practice skills such as active listening, asking open-ended questions, using others’ ideas as a jumping off point, and disagreeing respectfully.
Grade 7 students read  book jackets to make their choices for book clubs.

All the world's a stage

posted Oct 15, 2014, 1:13 PM by

And so our classroom became the stage for our Readers' Theater performances.

Final Reading Logs

posted Oct 13, 2014, 11:28 PM by

And so we have closed our first chapter on Independent Reading.  Two new reading logs have been designed by the students--one paper and one electronic (see image at left.)  I would like to thank all the students who worked hard to come up with ideas and designs.  And a special thanks goes out to SuA, Katie, Michelle, Rebekah, Eunice, Gabe & Christian who put in extra time to make final revisions to their logs before putting them into circulation.  We have also produced some excellent book reviews that will be added to our Library’s computer system.  Patrons of the library will be able to access our reviews when they search for a book using the library’s online catalogue system called Destiny. We hope that our reviews will be instrumental in helping them make more informed choices as readers about whether or not to check the book out and read it.  We all have created reading goals that are personal and meaningful to each individual, and we will be working towards these goals over the remainder of this quarter.  And yes, we will be using our snazzy new reading logs, which have plenty of space for commenting on books, and even a special section dedicated to recording online reading! 
(This post was written Sept 5, 2014, but was lost until October!)

Reading Log Mockups

posted Aug 22, 2014, 4:42 PM by   [ updated Aug 23, 2014, 4:53 PM ]

Small groups creating mockups of our new reading log.

A student plans and creates a mockup of our new reading log.

We have been working in groups to continue designing the new reading log.  Our brainstorm was compiled and formed into a survey given to all 7th and 8th graders.  The results of the survey helped us to know what was important to those who students who will be using this log to record their reading over the next year.  We found out that:
--The top reason that 7th & 8th graders want to keep track of their reading is to recommend books to other people.
--55% of students prefer to use an electronic reading log.
--The top problem with our current log is that there is not enough space to write responses to the book.

Armed with this information, small groups of students sat together to plan what problems they planned to solve with the new log, how they would solve those problems, and what elements they planned to include on the new log.  Then they began the design process of laying those elements out on a page.   Next week we will finish off our designs, talk about what elements and design work best, and then create a final version that will be distributed to all students.

Reading Log Revamp

posted Aug 12, 2014, 6:00 PM by   [ updated Aug 22, 2014, 4:34 PM ]

Our brainstorm of the things we read.
Everyone did reading over the summer.  Some of us were reading books; others read magazines, ebooks, blog posts and short stories.  When we came back and looked at the reading log that we had been using for the last few years, we decided that the way it was set up didn’t work well.  It didn’t give us enough space to record the things that were important to us in our reading.  So, the 7th graders decided to redesign the log.  To do that we have asked questions like “What do we read?”  and “Why might we want to record information about what we are reading?”  We have worked in groups to brainstorm answers to these, and many more, questions.  We are still in the process of exploring what the final log will be composed of, but be on the lookout for a new reading log coming soon to a bookbag or computer near you!

Ethos, Logos & Pathos in Advertising

posted Apr 25, 2014, 8:37 PM by   [ updated Aug 22, 2014, 4:56 PM ]

We have been exploring Aristotle's methods of persuasion called ethos, logos and pathos.  In particular we have been trying to identify those rhetorical tools in advertising.  If you are watching TV with your 7th grader, ask them about the ads you are seeing on TV!  

We have drawn some conclusions about persuasion in advertising--it is most often based on pathos (feeling & emotion). And when ethos (reputation of the speaker) is used, it is almost always coupled with something else like pathos or logos (logic & reason.)  

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