Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all students and parents!

We had a good week, despite its shortness (or maybe because of its shortness!). Today, students finished working on mini-projects related to folktales around the world. We'll be doing a quick writing assignment in class on Monday to "wrap up" the folktales.

Starting next week, we'll be moving into a new unit on John Steinbeck's novel, The Pearl. We'll be reading it with an eye to writing a persuasive essay by the end, using the novel as one of our "proofs" in the essay. I am planning on generating with the students some of the themes of the novel, and either proving or disproving these statements in a persuasive essay. The novel deals with greed, man's inhumanity to man, goodness, and many other abstract ideas that we'll be working with to create theme statements.

To get the kids started thinking about the novel, I have proposed the following homework assignment: Ask three adults to answer this question with a simple "yes" or "no" -- Are people basically good by nature? The students will compile the answers into some statistics to possibly use as they write their persuasive essays. I have offered an extra credit option for this assignment as well... If any of the adults are willing to be quoted as explaining their answer (ie, saying why they said yes or why they said no), students may write down the explanation and share it with the class.

Green sheets are also due on Monday, and students should be working on reading, taking notes, and completing a glossary for December 9th.