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Grammar: Grammar continued with its focus on sentence structure (simple sentences, compound subjects, compound predicates, compound sentences, complex sentences, fragments, and run-ons). Students worked on descriptive sentence writing using a variety of sentence structures or by editing/improving fragments and run-ons. Toward the end of the month we began working on nouns (common and proper nouns, singular and plural nouns).
Writing: Students began working on persuasive writing, learning how to develop an argument, support their position, and address the concerns of their audience. Their first assignment was to write a letter to persuade someone to do something, such as persuading parents to get them a pet or to convince their favorite singer to come visit them.
Literature: Upon their return from winter break, My City School students prepared for and took their final test on Jurassic Park. They also wrote their final essay, 5 paragraphs to 2 pages long, answering a question about characterization, perspective, compare and contrast, etc. Mid-month we began reading historical non-fiction of first person accounts of a variety of people’s experiences during the American Revolution, which tied to our history lessons.
Our science focus in January was on waves (light waves, sound waves, electromagnetic waves, ocean waves) and electromagnetic radiation. Our hands on experiences with this vast variety of waves included a trip to the Exploratorium and activities using ropes and slinkies to demonstrate transverse and longitudinal waves, and use of prisms, tuning forks, and mixing colored lights. We also had the opportunity to work with a laser and diffuse the light it produced.
This month, we had the opportunity to take a trip to the California Capitol building in Sacramento. We had a fabulous tour and learned about the start of the California government and how legislation occurs in the Capitol building today. Our focus this month was on the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and legislation. The students began preparing for a Constitutional Debate, by reading first person accounts of people from the American Revolution time period (such as Northern merchants and Southern farm/plantation owners, both free and enslaved African Americans, Native Americans, indentured servants, and women) and writing down the people’s perspectives on who should have a right to vote and slavery. We also continued to learn about current events through reading Time for Kids, and for those who were able, we attended a Civil War reenactment at Fort Point on a Saturday.
Students began the new year with a EF class focusing on implementing changes in their homework based on teacher feedback as well as their own opinions of what they wish to improve upon most. Students broke down tasks to create a path to the needed change.
To support the writing in language Arts, students practiced deciphering between fact, opinion or an opposing side. The class was presented with hot coco and needed to create a persuasive argument that included three angles I order to drink the hot coco. Motivation was high that morning and the arguments became very persuasive. In the end, everyone enjoyed the chocolate goodness.
During our third EF class in January, students practiced solving visual spatial challenges and replicating models found in a picture. Students were required to first identify their strategy and tricks that would help them complete the model and account for missing information. Once their models were built, they then presented to their peers and guests visiting.
We gardened at the Alemany Farm! It was an intensive and fun morning of clearing weeds from around two avocado trees and then adding mulch around them. We followed it up with a tour of the farm, tasting some of the fresh greens and flowers, and visiting their beehives.
PE: Students hiked in Golden Gate Park, discovering different areas and visiting the buffalo. The average hike is anywhere from 1 – 4 miles.