Pay It Forward – Culmination is coming up!

Students have been working hard for the past 2 months researching root causes, impacts, and solutions on issues they care about.  Students reached out to experts in the community to learn more about their topic and then gave back to the greater community through their efforts to make a difference.  

Check out the main Pay It Forward webpage, which lists all of the students’ Pay It Forward topics and links directly to each student-design PIF webpage that they coded using HTML and CSS!

Below are pictures of 7th graders presenting their projects to 5th graders in preparation for the culminating event:

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Proportions

This spring we have been working on proportional relationships. Students are bringing their knowledge of linear equations from fall and winter to deepen their understanding of proportional trends. Here are some recent notes:

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Learning targets for this spring include:

I can write an equation based on a real life scenario. Such as the number of water bottles saved per day.

I can determine whether a situation is linear.

I can determine whether a situation is proportional.

I can use percent tables, fraction busters, unit rates, and other strategies to solve proportional relationships.

Later this spring we will investigate intersections of lines and finish up the first half of Algebra I!

Correcting the Textbook!

This week in Social Studies we’ve been learning about government policies in the second half of the 19th century that deprived Native Americans of their land and culture. Students first read a commonly used textbook – Washington: A State of Contrasts – that says this about why it happened:

“By the start of the 20th century, tribes around the country were forced onto reservations. They were taught the white man’s way of life. The Native Americans lost control of their land. Their way of life was lost due to the expansion of a country.”

In thinking about this line, students commented that the fault (according to this account) seems to lie in either the Native Americans themselves (who “lost control” of their land) or to some amorphous “country” that simply absorbed land in its path. To learn more about what actually took place, they then learned about 2 critically important congressional acts: the Donation Land Act (1850) and the Dawes Act (1887). The policies contained in these acts led to the reservation system, boarding schools and the transfer of any un-used land in the west to white settlers.

Students looked at ten commonly held myths about Native Americans and learned the facts that disprove each myth. We watched a documentary clip (PBS: Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools) and listened to a podcast from the NPR series Scene on Radio (Little War on the Prairie). Finally, we read primary accounts and examined photos from boarding schools in the Library of Congress collection.

Students next week will be using all of these sources to write their own chapter summaries to correct the record! The assignment:Setting the Textbook Straight on Indian Policy

What surprised them the most about what they’ve learned?

  • That it didn’t surprise me at all!
  • That people in charge admitted that education in mission schools was not a priority.
  • That someone took the time to condemn Indian schools in a government report.
  • That of the people who called themselves “educators” in mission schools, only 1/10 said the primary mission of the schools was academic.

Be sure to ask questions of the historian/activist in your house!

What’s Happening in LA Class!

In Language Arts class, 7th graders have been busy reading Pacific Northwest Native Myths and Legends and reflecting on the different cultures’ creation myths, important deities and animals, and the location of ancestral lands.  We will be connecting this knowledge of the past with the present by investigating the stories of contemporary Native American youth and families and writing our own creation myths related to local indigenous plants, animals, and natural landmasses of the Pacific Northwest.

Students have also been given their next Choice Book Assignment which will be in the format of a newspaper. While some class time will be given for reading and working on this task, students should also be prepared to work at home, too!  Students are required to provide information regarding and bring their selected books to class on Monday, April 2nd (the same day as the next vocabulary quiz).  

It has been lots of fun helping students select new books because I love reading and talking about books!  If anyone needs suggestions, just let me know.