We are now in week two of our Animal Farm unit, and the kids are enjoying the themes surrounding this book. We spent a good deal of time learning about the allegory of the Russian Revolution to Orwell's novel. We even did a Capitalist/Socialist/Communist simulation where kids won and lost Starburst through rock, paper, scissors, so they could get a better understanding of the three different economic and political systems.
While reading the novel, students are exploring nonfiction articles that touch on some of the themes of this text. This week, we are reading an article about parents in Venezuela who are unhappy with the contents of their children's textbook, so they are speaking up and burning the books.
Your child should be reading Animal Farm and answering questions nightly. Please ask them to tell you about the book and review some of their comprehension questions and vocabulary with them. All work for the week is due on Friday!
On Monday of this week students were busy at work creating squares on the lengths of triangles to discover the Pythagorean Theorem. This week we are adding more detail and exploring what side-lengths would make right triangles. Next week students will be challenging their parents during demonstration night with some tough questions involving right triangles and three-dimensional figures.
This past week, we wrapped up our Short Stories unit with our final story, the first chapter of Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. We continued with close reading, predicting, inferring, irony, imagery and characterization. Although this is a very sad story, I do think the students enjoyed it for its strong descriptions, methods of characterization and overall theme. The end of unit assessment was given on Friday, and students will receive their results this week. So far, it looks like the students were able to successfully apply all that was learned during the unit.
This week, I will introduce the themes of our first class text, Animal Farm, by George Orwell. The overall theme for the unit relates to critical thinking, social responsibility and civic engagement. Through the themes in Animal Farm, we will explore the idea of language manipulation and how important it is to be aware of all the messages that surround us. Throughout the unit, we will also read non-fiction articles that address how companies and organizations use propaganda to mislead the consumer and how important it is for us to be aware of the techniques used for persuasion. For our final projects, we will create parody advertisements, exposing the truths behind the advertising techniques of certain organizations.
This week, we will explore background information related to Animal Farm, and next week a copy of the book will be assigned to your child. Please note that students will have reading homework almost every evening starting next week. If your child is struggling with the reading, the audio version of Animal Farm will be posted in Google Classroom. Please encourage them to use this to supplement their reading rather than replace it. If they are going to listen to the audio of the text, I encourage them to follow along in the book word for word. In addition, they will be required to complete comprehension questions and vocabulary related to the weekly reading. I will post the reading schedule as soon as it is solid.
We hope to see you from 5:50-6:30 on the 22nd for demonstration night. Let us know if you have any questions.