February Newsletter

A Look into Our Classroom

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." -John Lennon

Closing out the 4th Six Weeks

On Monday, February 8th at 4:30pm, I will close my gradebook for the 4th six weeks. This will give me time to get any last minute make up or late work assignments graded before turning in my grades on Wednesday. Students are aware of this but I know that it is nice to know when you are a parent - especially when the six weeks goes by as quickly as this one did!

Other Noteworthy Items

PSAT booklets were sent home with your student on Monday, February 1st. They can pick up their scores from Mrs. Bradford (our testing coordinator) during lunches this week. Scores may have already been emailed to you, but they can also be picked up from her. These scores can help you assess whether or not your student should take the PSAT again their junior year - something recommended if they are close to achieving scores that would qualify them as a National Merit Scholar.

ELA Simulation scores have been shared with your student. We looked over our lowest scoring questions and discussed SAQs and the persuasive essay. Overall, my PreAP students did wonderfully and I am very proud of their hard work and effort. In March we will focus more on testing strategies and reaching the commended level but for now, they are in a good place and I have no concerns about the STAAR test March 31st.

Julius Caesar is in its final leg. We have worked very hard on rhetorical devices and persuasion with this unit and again, I am proud of the students' hard work and effort. Shakespeare is not easy and they have learned great skills (teamwork, patience, critical thinking) as they worked through decoding and analyzing his work.

It wasn't all work though! Students came into a crime scene one day and were charged with investigating who was responsible for Caesar's death. They looked through sources and learned about Caesar's mental health, listened to statements of witnesses, and served as judge and jury in the conviction!

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Our next book study will be over A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Students will need the book by February 10th and although I've been telling them to go to Half Price books for over a month, you can also purchase it at Amazon or My Office.

During this book study, our primary focus will be on figurative devices. We will also pull in some expository articles and poetry to pair with the reading. Students will be using literary circles (one of my favorite things ever) to discuss the novel.

Poetry Practice

Students can expect to see more poetry in the 5th six weeks. If you have any favorite poets or poems, please let me know. It is always nice to incorporate writing that is well-loved while also providing the opportunity for discussion to continue at home.

Classroom Library

I am trying to add books to my *new* classroom library. If you would like to donate a book in honor of your student, I would love to have it! I will have book plates made up so you can donate a book in your student's honor. There is not a time constraint on this! I have been inspired by the success of my mom's Little Library and am so excited to have some books in my classroom that students can enjoy. So far, I have about 32 books I've provided and I know that number will grow as the years continue. Though I'm guilty of reading mainly on my Kindle these days, I can't pass up a favorite when I see it at Half Price or a garage sale and now I'll won't have to buy another bookshelf for my house! Bonus!

Shameless Advertising for an Event Close to My Heart

The Rosenzweig Memorial Tournament is this Saturday night, February 6th. You may not have had the pleasure of knowing Joel Rosenzweig but the money raised from this "tournament" supports an annual memorial scholarship in his name. If you are looking for some family-friendly fun on Saturday, join us at USA Bowl for a couple games of bowling. More information can be found here on the LH Alley Cats website.

Classroom Request

With the bizarre Texas weather, we have lots of runny noses and allergies are rampant. We could really use some facial tissue if you come across a great deal. We are not picky at all about tissue!