Mr. Dzianott's Classroom News

FUTURE Project and Reflection   04/27/2018

As we get toward the end of the 8th grade experience, I continue to challenge readers and writers to dig deeply into literature and to work hard to create meaningful writing.   The two projects we are working on include the FUTURE PROJECT and the end of the year Reflection process.  The FUTURE PROJECT involves students doing research on either Climate Change or Science Change.  This unit began with an exploration of literature in two closely related genres:  Science Fiction and the new and growing genre of Climate Fiction.   From our study of literature, we have branched off into some research to discover information on either Climate Change or Science Change (looking at future growth and learning related to science).  Students are also beginning to reflect on their middle school experience with a goal of writing either a Graduation Speech or a Graduation Poem.   A handful of students will be chosen to present their Speech or Poem in the Graduation ceremony.
Shakespeare   01/26/2018

During January and part of February our LA classes are studying Shakespeare.  We are reading A Midsummer Night's Dream and learning about the magical language of Shakespeare.  Besides learning the story, the characters, and the themes, students are learning how to "Break the Code" of the complex poetry and how to translate lines into their own words.  Once they can do this, students can begin to dive deeply into meanings, including humor, commentary on life, and complex and hidden themes.  Our goal is for students to appreciate just how many wonderful ideas and how much stunning literary art is buried in the work of the Bard.  An even broader goal is for students to appreciate that language is an art, and that they, themselves, can raise the level of their own writing when they consider it as an art form.
Narrative Poetry   12/07/2017

During December we are pursuing a genre study of Narrative Poetry in Writing Workshop.  Students are reading a series of poems that tell stories and we are discussing these and analyzing them for key elements of this genre.  Students will also be following a writing process that guides them to build toward poetry by beginning with prose.   To date, we have worked on a series of Journal entries to build a bank of ideas from which to write.  In Reading, students are developing skill in presention and analysis by presenting Book Talks.  We had fun discovering the meaning of disfluencies (filler words such as uh, um, like) and learning how to avoid the use of these.  By the time Winter break arrives, students will have completed a couple of Pithy Book Talks and at least one Narrative Poem—accomplishments they can celebrate as we go on break.  
Finishing the Portfolio   11/14/2017
Students are working hard to complete writing for their Portfolio collection.   They have been working during most of the trimester on various pieces of writing of their own choosing.  Now we are in the last week of our work, and students are doing final revision and editing to a variety of writing that includes short stories, flash fiction, memoirs, essays, slice of life pieces, haiku, free verse poems, and more.   It is exciting to see the variety of creative ideas as well as the quality of writing begin produced.  Portfolio work is due on Monday, November 20.  Students will have a chance to share work with each other during a Publication Celebration the following day.   We will celebrate the writing and then enjoy Thanksgiving Break!