Sunday, 2 June 2013

Grade 7 & the GREAT Summer Reading Challenge for 2013

So here we are.

Just two and a half more weeks before the school-year comes to an end.  
June has waltzed in and will tango its way out of here before we know it.  
Just like that. 

Boy, time sure flies when you're having an interesting time.  
And that's what this year of reading, writing, analyzing, critical thinking, conversing, discussing, questioning, challenging ideas and well, learning in the English classroom has been like.  Interesting. Full. Rich. Intense. And hopefully, fun and challenging.  

So yeah, it's been really great but WAIT!...Before you say "no more books, no more teachers, dirty looks..."  here's something we, as an English department, are excited to be sharing with you today.  :) 

 *drum roll, please*

Your Summer Reading Challenge for 2013.

Bookshelf by Sally
Reading books you like in a thoughtful way
By following a reading trail of your own design

Step one: Choose a book you want to read as a place to start. Here are some great suggestions.
Step two:Think about something interesting - a theme or link - that comes out of the book. Ask yourself, “what can I read/view/listen to next that will help me explore this theme or link?” Start reading your next book or film or newspaper article or advertisement or website or anything that takes you further along your path.
Step three: Continue to follow the path of your theme. Keep your reading diet healthy and diverse. Aim to include: several novels, some non-fiction, some reading from the web, some film, something unexpected.
Step four: Keep a brief record of your journey. In August, your teacher will give you a task to do to introduce yourself as a reader based on this summer reading.

For detailed instructions, read here.

Here is an example of what your reading trail could look like:

Did you get all that? Please come see me if you have any questions.  I will explain the sample reading trail in more detail during class this week.  :) 

Finally, I stumbled upon this last Saturday and was stoked since we were in the thick of finalizing the reading challenge for you guys. How timely, right?  It's Lisa Bu's TED talk on how books open our minds.   It's a quick but powerful watch of what reading can do for all of us. Enjoy! 

The Grade 8 Feature Articles and Stories of Sudan

Hello Grade 8! How's everyone doing? I know, I know. One word to describe the last few weeks of school - HECTIC. 
Full on 
 Been awhile, huh. I've missed engaging in this space to meet you guys.  Like I said...we've all been crazy busy, right?  Anyway, let me get on with it. 

Here are some instructions for publishing the different feature articles that you all worked on for our unit on Truth.  It has been an absolute pleasure to read all of your feature articles. I was impressed by your talent, your dedication, your resilience, your openness and all your hard work. Your articles have been interesting, sensitive and mature, and the world needs to read them!

Mr Raisdana has kindly designed a new blog called Stories From Sudan. We would like to have as many of your articles showcased there as possible. The plan is that once they are all submitted and posted, we will share the site with the Dave Eggers and Valentino Deng as a gift. 

Because we want to showcase work that we are proud of, which reflect all the hard work, there will be some criteria for what makes it to the site. You can work on your article until it meets the following requirements. It must have: 
  • scored no lower than a 5 on any criteria. If you did score lower, you can work with me to write another draft and have it ready for publication. 
  • been edited one final time. Please resolve all my comments and be sure to work on the areas I recommended.
  • citations for all your names, quotes, facts, dates, stats, numbers etc....
  • a title, headline and by-line. 
  • any tags that are relevant to your article.
  • remove the footnotes (since that was more for me than anyone else)
Please make all edits on your google doc and email me your final draft by June 8th. I will then add them all to the blog.

It would be great to have a few student statements about this process:

  • reading the book
  • learning about Sudan
  • messages for Dave or Valentino or the people of Sudan or readers
We can add those bite size reflections to the blog as well.  

Good luck and please make sure you see me if you have any questions regarding the blog, the feature articles, the process.  

Stories of Sudan 
Photo: Sudan by