Author Archives: melissathompson

Grade 8: The Giver Final Task – Part 1

Ever since I first read The Giver as a student myself, it has always been one of my favourite books. Each time I read it, I always discover something new, some new connection to my life, or some parallel to what is going on in the world. And I don’t think that happens by accident.

The ending to The Giver, as Lois Lowry points out herself, is meant to be ambiguous, so that it can be interpreted by each reader in their own way. So that is exactly what we will be doing as Part 1 of our final task for The Giver.

Students will be writing the next chapter of the book as they believe it continues. The prompt can be seen as, what happens when the sled stops? Following with the same format as the rest of the book, students will write a 1-3 page “chapter 24” of the book. They will use imagery, point of view, and their own imagination to determine what exactly happens to Jonas and Gabriel.

This IN CLASS task will be worked on all throughout the week. Students will spend the next 3 days writing, and will then have an opportunity to provide peer feedback and editing on Friday. All chapters MUST be finished by Monday, February 7, as we will be sharing in class.

Here is the full project description, and rubric.

Grade 7: Narrative Writing

Over the last number of weeks, the grade 7 students have been preparing to write their final narrative in Language Arts. The process has been a little different this time, as each element of the story arc has been really broken down and developed.

We started by creating story arcs for our narratives (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution). Then, we looked at various short stories as mentor texts to focus in on leads, point of view, setting, figurative language, transitions and endings. Students have even already written their leads and endings, so all that’s left to do is fill in the middle!

We will be spending the next week working on this in class, starting with the rough draft. Students will have 4 class periods (Dec 7, 8, 9 and 13) to finish up their rough draft. We will then spend 2 classes editing and peer-editing (Dec. 14 and 15), culminating with our publishing party on December 16!

These narratives can be anywhere between 2 – 5 pages long, and must include these elements, as outlined on the rubric:

  • A strong lead
  • A problem that builds though multiple examples
  • A clear climax
  • Multiple details that then lead to the resolution
  • A strong ending
  • Dialogue
  • Strong vocabulary
  • Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation

Here is a quick 2 page example of what the narratives can look like.

We will also be using this student checklist to ensure we’re included everything, and will use the list below to check our work before submitting.

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I can’t wait to read the final products!

 

Grade 8 – Ceremony of 12

If you’ve ever read The Giver by Lois Lowrey, the Ceremony of 12 should sound familiar to you. This is when the 11s become 12, and are given their assignments for their careers for the rest of their lives.

When the Grade 8 students came into class today, they were each given an envelope with their ‘assignment’ enclosed. One at a time, students read out their assignments, and as a class, we “thanked them for their childhood.” Some careers that were assigned include: Caretake or the Old, Pilot, Recreation Director, Doctor, Instructor of 9s, Landscape Worker, and Laborer. Our class is so special, that we even had one person assigned to the Committee of Elders, and one is the next Receiver of Memories.

However, just as in The Giver, not all students were pleased with their assignments, and so they all now have the opportunity to accept their career, or appeal to the Committee of Elders. We will be working on their speeches in class over the next few days, and will present on Tuesday, November 9th.

Students can find the rubric and expectations here, as well as some sentence starters in case they get stuck!

Grade 8 – Elements of Evidence Based Writing

Today was our first lesson on Evidence Based Writing in grade 8. We reviewed and took notes on all the various elements of a full, well-written Response to Literature. It was great to see the students engaged in discussions about why these elements are important, and starting to add in their own examples to demonstrate comprehension. Stay tuned for examples of their work in progress.

If you’d like to review the slides, you can access them here.

 

Grammar Bootcamp is On!

Over the last number of classes, both grades 7 and 8 have been workin’ up a sweat and stretching their minds (and sentences) as we learn some important new grammar rules and terms.  And what bootcamp experience would be complete without sweatbands??

In grade 7, students have engaged in friendly competition, reviewing coordinating conjunctions, dependent conjunctions, prepositions, interjections, subjective, objective and possessive pronouns, past, present and future perfect verbs, as well as examining illogical shifts in person and number. You can thank me later when they all use “me” and “I” correctly (fingers crossed).

In grade 8, the focus has been on independent and dependent clauses, which then led us into simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences, gerunds, infinitives, and participles, and various types of mood, such as indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional and subjunctive (say that 5 times fast).

I can’t wait to see all this grammar in action in our writing throughout the year!

Two Exciting Events

We have two amazing upcoming events we want to share with you.

First, next Friday, September 24th, will be our first Dress Down Day! It also happens to be our anual Terry Fox Run. Therefore, all funds collected from the day will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation. Please remember to bring in your donation.

The second event is called Clean the Capital! OJCS has partnered with JNF Ottawa for World Clean-Up Day.  On Sunday, October 3rd from 1-3 PM OJCS families are encouraged to sign up to help clean our OJCS and JCC campus. Sign up is limited to 25 people so sign up quickly at this link. Let’s keep our space clean!

Grade 7 and 8: Reading Challenge

Today marked the launch of our brand new Reading Challenge for grades 7 and 8. To learn more about it, check out this page, which can also be found under Important Documents in our menu above.

Kidaha / Pixabay

Instead of getting a prescribed challenge from me, students were able to build their own grid, using categories and genres that interested them! I can’t wait for them to explore new topics and fall in love with reading even more!

Over the next few weeks, students will continue to learn more about this task, but for now, they all must choose their first book to read, and bring it to school for Friday, September 17th. 

Shabbat Shalom 🙂