Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 Memorial Quilt Project

Following an interdisciplinary viewing of the documentary 9/11 narrated by Robert DeNiro and focused on the September 11th terrorist attacks from the point of view of the New York City Fire Department, students will be created a "square" for a grade level memorial "quilt" which will then be displayed in the school.

Students participated in a discussion in class today, where many ideas were shared, questions were asked, and feelings were addressed.  I was incredibly proud of the level of respect demonstrated by all students.  One of the most exciting parts of teaching for me is having the opportunity to learn from my students, and today was a day of tremendous reflection for me.

Students will be finishing their quilt squares on Monday in class or as homework Tuesday night. 

Here is the project description handed out to students:
The 9/11 Ten Year Memorial Quilt Project
On September 11, 2001, extremists attacked American soil, resulting in the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers, serious damage to the Pentagon, passengers on board a hijacked airplane headed for Washington D.C. taking down the flight, the deaths of nearly 3,000 … and the grief of an entire nation.
This Sunday marks the ten year anniversary of one of America’s great tragedies.  To commemorate the event, Pittsfield 9th and 10th graders (or those fortunate enough to have a 9th or 10th grade class with Hamilton and Loud) will each create their own “quilt square” after viewing and discussing the Robert DeNiro-narrated documentary 9/11.
When the quilt squares are put together, we will have a fitting memorial to one of America’s darkest days.
You will be given a square to personalize in the way you feel best captures your thoughts and feelings … and provides a valuable tribute.  Please make an effort to ensure that your quilt square is aesthetically appealing.  Some ideas …
Mosaic of Questions or Phrases
Use a program such as Wordle or create your own “mosaic of questions or phrases” that you have after viewing 9/11.
The simplicity of a haiku (a three-lined poem containing 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line, and 5 in the third line) is ideal for capturing powerful images.
Concrete Poem
 pyramid shape
          an idea of creating
    concrete poetry imagery
Collage of Visual Images

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Plot Elements: 9/6

We reviewed the elements of Freitag's Triangle of Plot in class today, just to make sure that everyone was on the same page and using the same terminology.
1.  Exposition
2.  Rising Action
3.  Climax (or "Turning Point")
4.  Falling Action
5.  Resolution (Denouement)

Period 2 then read Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (Period 1 wasn't able to get to this because of school pictures, but we'll catch up tomorrow).  Students were given a handout asking them to summarize the story then identify which parts of the story fall under each plot element.

This handout is due on Thursday.

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day :-)!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Interesting Discussion ... and Best Wishes for a Happy Long Weekend!

Today, the ninth graders demonstrated to me that they remember the discussion protocols established last year.  Students talked frankly about education and the need to balance the individual needs of students (freedom to express creativity chief among them) with the realities of standardized testing.

This is an interesting approach to discussing an informational piece, so I'm sharing it with you.
1.  Topic-based Quickwrite
2.  Short formal whole-class discussion
3.  Read the text
4.  Text-related writing assignment
5.  Follow-up discussion
6.  Written reflection of the topic and the protocol.

While we didn't get a chance to finish, I was incredibly impressed with the depth students reached with their discussion as well as their collective ability to articulate.

They have definitely earned their four-day weekend :-)