NFS Curriculum Update :: December, 2014
Debate & Public Speaking
Veteran and new Debate and Public Speaking students are off to a great start! Students were recorded reading the new Newtown Friends School mission statement and given feedback regarding pace, volume, articulation, eye contact, body control, emphasis and gesture. They wrote “I Like” speeches describing a particular passion and again viewed themselves after being recorded. Currently, students are preparing “Please, parent, please” speeches where they argue for a privilege or item they have been denied previously. Debate class capitalizes on teenagers’ natural ability to argue!
Seventh grade mathematicians will continue using algebra tiles and model drawings as visual models for solving algebraic equations and will be introduced to solving algebraic equations with variables on both sides. This includes reinforcing the use of inverse operations, combining like-terms, simplifying to lowest terms, and checking each equation as the final step. Balancing equations involves paying close attention to every calculation since one calculation error will affect the end result. Then students will model real-world situations in a literal equation or formula by building a chart, writing an equation and creating a visual model. Students will be given formulas that are unfamiliar to them and evaluate a word problem given what each variable means. This is an important skill because in many occupations, various formulas are used to represent situations. As an extension to the unit, students will learn about microcredit lending and how it is designed to help people out of poverty as well as how examine population trends for Japan and India. We will also continue working with Microsoft Excel, learning functions on the graphing calculators, and sharing class notes and resources in Google Classroom.
In seventh grade Spanish, students will finish reading the final five chapters of the reading text Esperanza. To be better informed regarding the Maya culture and the Guatemalan Civil War, the class will read La Guerra Civil de Guatemala handout. The class will have discussions about the reading and will also need to answer comprehension questions about the war. How long did it last? Why did it occur? Who was involved? The final chapters of the book contain language relating to immigration and basic human rights. These topics will present opportunities for reflection, conversations and investigation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.