The first week of 8th grade is now history, but not without an eventful debut assembly of the year. I can’t remember the last time I attended a middle school assembly (probably when I was in junior high) but I highly recommend doing so. That is, if you enjoy off-the-wall energy, ear-splitting screaming, and the sight (and sound) of Brass on Bikes (middle school teachers riding unicycles and playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” on trumpets). All while wearing wigs, tiger-striped pants, and oversized sunglasses. Got the picture? And, if that act didn’t bring down the house, the big-screen viewing of the “Eclipse” trailer followed by an “SAS Eclipse” skit, followed by the arrival of a life-sized cutout of Jacob left me near tone deaf. Clearly Jacob is “the one” for Bella, according to SAS middle school girls. While their screams echoed off the gym walls, the boys rolled their eyes, plugged their ears, and looked either bemused — or downright disgusted. Talk about response! [I wish I could’ve bottled this — or captured it on video — to show my students at Western. Especially those who scoffed at the “invitation” to read Twilight in our young adult literature class. The culture of today’s teens (and pre-teens) includes vampires — and a thunderous obsession for Jacob Black, whether adults like it or not.]
What an ending to a memorable week learning from 8th graders! In only five days we’ve created our Reader’s Notebooks (displayed below are Wooho’s and Riko’s notebook covers) and we’ve written two response entries to the read aloud, Touch Blue (Cynthia Lord’s new novel).
We’ve also worked on the covers for our Writer’s Notebooks, designing heart maps (see Shiv and Kyle hard at work in the photo below) that we’ll use next week to generate ideas for the first extended writing pieces in our notebooks. The kids’ abilities, interests, and energy is all over the map (SAS is a “real school,” after all!).
But they’ve been engaged and they’re learning the rituals and expectations of our reading and writing workshop in the 8th grade. My hope is that they’ll soon experience the rewards as readers/writers/learners, if they haven’t already.