Ms. Chow's Classroom News

Sixth Grade GE LA January 11, 2018   01/11/2019
Happy New Year!  We are completing some major units of study during the next two weeks and starting some exciting new ones.  Mrs. Buzard’s Greek Mythology unit is culminating with three events.  The first event is a group performance of the Greek mythology plays that students worked diligently on before winter break. Preparation for the performances included scripts completely written in class, artistic banners depicting a scene and symbolism from the story, and open-ended discussion questions to lead the class in understanding the story. After rehearsing their productions, students were finally ready to perform and teach the class. Performances were fully costumed with props, and those colorful banners were displayed as backdrops. Performances were absolutely magnificent! Students worked well together, created high quality written work, and performed like stars. We are so proud of their talents and efforts. Our second culminating activity for mythology will be a unit test which will take place on Monday, January 14. Students have created their own study guides and should be well-prepared for the test. And our final Greek mythology activity will be a newspaper article assignment. It will start with the underlining premise of the Greek gods enrolling at Attea Middle School, utilizing the skills of newspaper article writing.  Also wrapping up next week will be our Where The Red Fern Grows novel study.  Working in groups, the class created a study guide for all twenty chapters of the book.  A test on Thursday, January 17, will focus on the writing techniques used so brilliantly in the story.  Beginning the week of January 20 the classes will begin reading the play The Miracle Worker, the story of Helen Keller’s teacher.  The writing classes will commence a short unit on prepositions.  The two highlights will be “preposition poems” and a descriptive paper inspired by each student’s bedroom. Both Mrs. Buzard and I continue to be impressed every day with the skills and enthusiasm of the students.  They have formed a supportive learning community and are a pleasure to know and teach.
 
Sixth Grade GE LA December 21, 2018   12/20/2018
During the final week of 2018 the classes completed our reading of Winston Rawls’ classic novel Where The Red Fern Grows.  As we read, students completed daily discussion questions and there were five summative quizzes focusing on the content and plot of the story.  After winter break we will examine the author’s craft and message – writing techniques and theme.  Students will complete a study guide and take a final test to complete the unit.  Concurrent to reading Red Fern we have been studying Greek Mythology with a comprehensive reading of all the major stories.  A “mythology” writing component has now begun.  Students have scripted their own plays, based on other actual Greek myths that explain human behavior.  We will address performance standards and a visual arts requirement when the plays are shared with their classmates.  Students will also be writing “news articles” involving the mythological characters and there will be a comprehensive final test to complete the unit.  Mrs. Buzard and I continue to be impressed with the students’ work ethic and thoughtfulness.  We look forward to seeing them in January after a well deserved refreshing break.
 
Sixth Grade GE LA December 7, 2018   12/10/2018
Mrs. Buzard and I are very much enjoying our time with Mrs. Chow’s students.  They are eager learners and have made us both feel very welcome.  Our recent writing assignment, The Storm Paper, produced some outstanding descriptive writing and students especially progressed in the area of active verbs, use of participles as modifiers, and a technique for shifting adjectives out of order.  Ask you child to let you read their story, if you haven’t seen it already.  Mrs. Buzard has students enthralled with Greek Mythology.  After learning the basic stories, many through reader’s theater,  she will be using the lives and personalities of the gods and mortals as a springboard for writing experiences that will include newspaper articles and scripting of plays.  The grades for those projects will be recorded as “writing” grades because of the skills involved, while other assignments in the unit that reflect comprehension will be credited for reading grades. Under my direction, the classes are reading Wilson Rawl’s classic novel Where The Red Fern Grows.  We are “taking it slow” to appreciate his writing technique and craftsmanship, especially in terms of the rich characterization and description.  Regular content quizzes will check for understanding of the story itself and the final test will focus more on analysis of the writing. Both Mythology and Red Fern will continue into the early weeks of January.
 
6th Grade GE LA 11/29/2018   11/28/2018
My name is Scott Buzard and I am "guest teaching" in Mrs. Chow's classes while she is on maternity leave.  Mrs. Chow will be returning during the last week of February.  I am celebrating my 46th year in District 34 middle schools, as I began teaching at Springman in 1973.  Over a thirty-nine year career I taught social studies, language arts, and physical education at Springman before "retiring" in 2012.  Since then I have served the district as a long-term substitute for extended teacher leaves. My wife, Barbara Buzard, also retired from a long teaching career at Springman in 2012, and we have often combined forces to fill those positions. 
Barbara taught writing and reading at Springman and also has a degree in drama, radio, and television. By the end of this year between us we will have completed 21 long-term positions since our retirement, about evenly split between Attea and Springman, including two previous gifted positions.  While I am the teacher hired to fill this particular position, she will be volunteering in the classroom with me until February when she begins another maternity leave at Springman.  I will then join her there to finish out the year.  We enjoy teaching together and the students benefit from working with a second experienced teacher.

We are currently completing a writing piece titled “The Storm Paper.”  It is a descriptive writing experience utilizing a “camera eye” view that focuses on particular skills.  These include eliminating passive verbs and replacing them with active verbs, the use of participles, varying sentence starts, shifting adjectives out of order, and transitions.  For our first reading lessons we read a pair of short stories and then considered how the authors used four techniques to reveal the character of people in each story.  We are now just beginning a unit on Greek Mythology, led by Mrs. Buzard.  We will be considering the following questions:  “What are the qualities of the gods and goddesses?”, “How does myth explain human behavior?”, “How does myth explain elements of the natural world?”, and “Why does myth endure?”  The unit will include reader’s theater and also crossover assignments in writing.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at sbuzard@glenview34.org if you have any questions.  We are enjoying getting to know your children and look forward to the next three months with them.
 

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