Week of February 12th, 2007

15 02 2007

Social Studies – This is the final workweek for the claymation project in our whaling unit.  Students will be spending time creating scenery, building characters, photographing their scenes, and finally editing their video.  We have a perseverance contract signed by every member of the class that would earn us a pizza party on Friday if we:

  • Complete project by Friday, 2/16
  • Earn a B or better
  • Work together as a team

Math – Continuing work with negative and positive integers.  See last week’s post for the rules/song that we use to remember how to solve these problems. 

Homework:

  • Monday – worksheet subtracting integers (30 mins)
  • Tuesday – book work p. 7, do A-E (40 mins)
  • Wednesday – book work p. 8, do “1.1 follow up” (15 mins)

Social Skills – Students are working on listening strategies (of peers – we are not focused on improving listening skills during class at this time).  Every class period begins with one student in the spotlight for “5 Minutes of Fame.”  That student is the center of attention while the rest are to ask interest-driven questions of that student.

Keys to being a good listener:

  • Body basics (show interest)
  • Appropriate responses, such as nodding or verbally affirming what was said
  • Asking interest-driven questions that show the person genuine interest

The final item above is the most difficult, as rated by students.  We looked at video of class discussions and noted that, in many cases, asking questions of peers comes secondary to discussing our personal interests. 
For example, one kid may ask another, “whatcha doin’ this weekend?”
Friend responds, “Going skiing…”
First kid says, “Oh, I go skiing all the time…I bet I’ve gone more times than you…I’ve gone about 100 times…”

Many teens have a difficult time with showing interest in other kids’ activities, and this can serve to ostracize them.  Kids get tired of hearing about one person all the time, and it may cause some alienation.

So this has been our focus this week.  Please feel free to review the basics to good listening as bulleted above.  You could also do a role play with your child.  One of you would be “in the spotlight,” where you get to talk about yourself while the other follows the steps to good listening.  Then switch places.

 Other Events this week:

  • Wednesday: 8th grade field trip to school forest and energy plant.
  • Thursday: Students with highest GPA (grade point averag) and students with most improved GPA from 1st quarter to 2nd quarter will be going up to Golden Corral for lunch buffet.
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