This was my first year at Durham Academy. Being a “newbie” was not bad AT ALL. The students were very friendly and supporting (perhaps in their own way) and I made lots of friends. However, moving away from my old home was hard. I left behind my home, friends, all the places I knew and considered home, and my old school. During the experience of moving I realized how important family was. I also noticed things that I had taken for granted in my old home and school that I didn’t have here. 6th grade was more challenging, but I still had lots of fun! All my classes were great and my teachers were amazing! I look forward to seventh grade!
This year at Durham Academy, the middle school students all got an iPad each. They were lent by the school to us. We can take them home and to every class. iPads are great because they’re small and portable and we don’t have to go to the computer lab for everything with technology.
Some of our textbooks are on there and there are several great apps to help us study, such as Quizlet, Voicecards, and Trading Cards. However, they are a big responsibility and they also can malfunction. Another problem is that I really don’t like typing on glass. Also, next they are getting a lot of the textbooks only on the iPad. I do not like that because I prefer regular textbooks. It’s easier to flip the pages and highlight. iPads are also helpful because you can always access your emails and the Internet.
This year, our school used an online site called Membean. This program helps kids learn vocabulary and SAT words. The cool things about it is that it uses the shortest, easiest, and most precise definitions. The page to learn a word has many ways you can learn it. As you start practicing more words, it is not as hard because Membean pops up old words. Therefore, when you know a lot of words it is not so overwhelming because you know more than half of them because you practiced them so much. Because of Membean, I now know 240 new SAT words! When I take the SAT, I won’t have to worry about the vocabulary! I highly recommend you use this great learning tool.
In class, we are still currently reading “The Giver”. The Giver is an aged man who has burdened with the memories of the world and previous generations, before there was Sameness and Climate Control. The Giver has a successor, the Receiver, who has to accept the memories of joy and grief.
If I were the Giver, the first memory I would give is the memory of the Olympics. This would teach the successor about the diversity there once was. It would show him or her that differences is okay, and that he or she should not be afraid or ashamed of them. It would also give him or her the experience of pride, excitement, prejudice, and joy. The scene would be during the opening ceremony, when all the athletes representing their countries proudly walk in the procession. It would show all the faces and traditional dress of each nationality, you would be able to hear music and the announcer saying the name of each country. This would teach the Receiver to appreciate each person’s culture and talent (which in this case would be the different kinds of sports).
In language arts we are still reading “The Giver”. We are discussing what an ideal teacher would be like.
To me, an ideal first grade teacher would be fun, encouraging, patient, kind, but firm. I believe he or she should also be able to explain things in many different ways and help establish confidence. The teacher should also encourage fortes but also strengthen less established academic areas to help make the student well-rounded. An ideal first grade teacher (to me) would have the kids play games in groups (boys and girls together) to learn and cooperate. The teacher would not use a lot of technology aside from simple things such as using a mouse, and learning to type so that the first graders can develop their handwriting. He or she would be fair to everyone and if there was a problem between students, the teacher would be able to solve the issue well. If there was a punishment, it would fit the “crime”. If the first grader did something wrong, the teacher shouldn’t yell or get frustrated. That only makes the student not want to do the suggestion or instruction. I also believe that a good teacher should show students how to do public speaking– after all, it is a life skill. I feel that teachers that teach younger children should especially be an excellent role model because it is easier to change at a younger age.
In our class we are reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. If I were given an Assignment I think that the Elders would select the job of Doctor (not surgeon!) for me. I believe they would because I enjoy taking care of people, learning remedies on my own, and making my own concoctions (although I don’t make medical ones, I don’t have the equipment. They also have to be certified to give a concoction to a person). I can also study for long periods of time already, which is important because doctors have to go through a lot of medical training, and have a pretty good memory. However, I get sick easily but would hopefully grow out of it.
A brilliant novel, this Newbery Award mystery will keep the reader from putting the book down. Ellen Raskin wrote about 16 heirs living together in the same apartment complex, Sunset Towers, who dared to play the Westing Game. Amongst them there is a murderer, a thief, a bomber, and a mistake. They are invited to the hearing of the will of Samuel W. Westing, a wealthy businessman, chess master, and owner of Westing Paper Products (a very successful company). These sixteen strangers are paired and each group is given confusing clues and a ten-thousand dollar check. Will they be able to win the game before it’s too late? Who will win Westing’s game?
Photo by Patti Donnelly- Art by me
For this project, I enjoyed how we used the visual arts to support our hero stories. First, we folded a large peice of paper so that we could create a secret room when one popped the book out. We painted the scene in our “secret room” first- where we would place our hero (or something that symbolized him/her). We used textured or print paper to make a collage. Our class layered the ripped or cut paper to depict our vision of our hero. On another side, we continued the setting and cut out a part to reveal the secret scene. Last, we glued covers and flattened it on the booklet. I had lots of fun and I would like to thank the artist who was teaching us, Mrs. Peg Gignoux!
In class, we are reading a book called Cosmic. The protagonist, Liam, was reading a book called Talk to Your Teen. If I had written the book, I would have included homework.
Most students are responsible about completing assignments. One issue is that students procrastinate or don’t do the assignment at all. Another problem some students have is that they work slowly or have time management problems. To improve the former, I would prohibit any non-academic activities until all the assignments are finished. If there were any tests or due project coming up, I would have the child study or work on the project. It might also help to make sure all homework is written down.
If your teen has time management problems or work slowly, I would have them use a timer. Hopefully, your teen would choose a reasonable time to complete assignments. In addition, it would be helpful to have your child to do homework in a certain sequence, such as hardest to easiest, easiest to hardest, study first, etc. Another tip would be to do something that will help your child focus before doing homework. For example, some children do exercise to clear their mind. Others read or listen to music.
Thank you for reading and I hope your teen homework problems improve!
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Rick Riordan, one of my ago favorite authors, wrote a new book in the Heroes of Olympus series called The Mark of Athena. It is about a world of Greek and Roman and mythology that mortals cannot see due to a magical force called the Mist.
In this book, seven Greek and Roman demigods set out to fulfill the Prophecy of Seven or The Great Prophecy and save the world from the earth goddess, Gaea, who has been planning to destroy human civilization. They voyage on the Argo ll to Rome, to save it from being destroyed by the giants, Gaea’s children. While the other demigods go to face the giants, Annabeth, one of the main characters and daughter of Athena, sets out to follow the Mark of Athena and find the Athena Parthenos, one of the most powerful and famous statues of her mother. Before she finds it, she must face dangers that will test her will, bravery, and craftiness. Will she find the statue? Or will she fail, just like the other children of Athena?
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