In humanities classes these past few weeks, we’ve wrapped up a few different units and projects. Firstly, students revised, peer-edited, and turned in their ancient Rome research essays. These essays represent weeks of research, writing, and hard work; students should be proud of all the learned and accomplished! Soon, we’ll hopefully create a physical project related to our research topics, and we’ll be able to share those projects with parents. In the meantime, ask your child to show you their research essay and ask about what they learned! You might ask: What is the most interesting or surprising thing you learned about your topic? What are some ideas you learned about that seem similar to our world today, and what seems different?
In ELA class, we finished our unit our Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Though the book’s ending was solemn and a little tragic, students responded in a mature way: they appreciated how the book and its ending exposed the harsh reality of life in the South during the Jim Crow era. We complemented our reading with discussion about prejudice in general, learning about how people internalize different prejudices and discriminatory attitudes as they grow up. For example, we talked about the impact of media, role models, and early experiences. I was impressed with the vulnerability and honesty that students brought to these heavy conversations.
To show how the discrimination experienced by African Americans in Roll of Thunder continued through the Civil Rights era, I gave the students a real “literacy” test from the 1960s. Black people in Louisiana were given this test when they went to vote in an election, and they were told that they needed to get every question right in order to cast their ballot. Read more about this tricky quiz here; you can even try to take it yourself!
Next up: we are beginning our unit on coming of age novels, as I recently wrote about in an email to you. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s reactions to the characters and plotlines in The Wednesday Wars and Goodbye Stranger. I’m sure that students will be able to relate to many of the scenarios in the book, and I know each story will lead to lively discussions!
Science continues to explore the body systems. In the last few weeks, students learned about the nervous system and this week we started on the immune system. We conducted different activities that allowed students to explore the different concepts of these systems. They had the opportunity to explore vision and reaction tests. Then students moved onto the immune system and played a Pac-Man tag game in order to understand the different parts of the immune system which includes, antigens, antibodies, and pathogens. In the coming weeks we will continue our exploration of the immune system and discover how amazing this body system is in protecting ourselves from germs.
We finished the scene in Shemot with the burning bush. Students really got passionate when talking about how Moshe feels being asked to do this big task. They also discussed how G-d is being supportive to Moshe and really guiding him. This showed us that great leaders are open to help and sometimes their weaknesses leave room for others to step up too. Each student wrote a kushiyah (text-based question) on the text. We will be creating art showing the scene with our possible answers to the kushiyot. Students looked at art from throughout the ages and picked out which parts were not in the text, showing each artists interpretation of the scene. I can’t wait to show you the final products!
We are now learning Rabbinic text from the Mishnah to Rambam about a women’s obligation and ability to read the Megillah. Students learned many texts and saw how over time the texts were slightly changed and how these changes affected women’s roles and rights. We are now drafting our own rabbinic text with our opinion on who is or is not obligated to read the megillah. I was impressed with the conversation and its overall open tone and brave sharing.
This week we focused on transitioning from general statements to detailed ones, both orally and in writing. In addition, students practiced listening to conversations on birthday parties and on daily life and answered comprehension questions. In addition, the students practiced reading texts and translating and they read and discussed a poem by the famous playwright Hanoch Levin.
I wish everyone a relaxed weekend,
This week, the 6th grade has been working on how to calculate percents. Next week, we will begin learning about tax, discount, and tip. When we do our project for this chapter, we will transform the room into a shopping mall with restaurants and clothing stores. The students will then shop and calculate all the amount they will need to pay. It’s going to be so fun!