Grade Eight LA – Updates from the past weeks (October 5-14)

Here are a few of the things we’ve been exploring the past couple of weeks:

  • Read, analyzed, and discussed a CBC Article on racism through a current event at St. Michael’s Middle School here in Calgary. Students suspended over recording of Calgary School Principal using the N-word.
  • We looked at a sample of artwork from Salvador Dali (Persistencia de la Memoria) and tried to make sense of the themes and structure of the art and how it creates tension and mood. Some short ‘hot writing’ of stream of consciousness writing (unedited creative writing).
  • Began our independent reading and word work regimen. Students will read independently and are challenged to find one new vocabulary word each day to conduct research into meaning, etymology, application, and synonym/antonym/parts of speech.
  • Watched and took notes on the YouTube series – “Defying Gravity” and watched a segment (The Aggressive Mentality of the Balance Beam – at 25:56) about Kathy Johnson and overcoming challenges to reach your dreams. We noted and discussed how tone can be established in a biography, how mood is established in a documentary and using suspense as a means of building up an interesting personal story.
  • We’ve started reading a short story from Roald Dahl – The Landlady (PDF) to continue or theme of suspense and building a story through tone and mood. The story is attached below and is also available on CommonLit (The Landlady).
  • Classroom discussion and viewing of a NYTimes Short Doc – “Where are all the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them” We touched on the topics of where pop culture memes come from, why there is a resurgence in his popularity (both as a joke and for some of his less tangible qualities), how art has both value and can be valueless but have an immeasurable impact, and the legacy of his art and personality to millions of ‘fans’.