It's week 4 - our first full week!
Our first unit in both the honors American Literature (HAmLit) course as well as the Composition through American Literature course (CTAL 10) focuses on what it means to be American. Students are reading a novel of their choice from an American author which will serve as a mentor text during this unit. We will examine what we learn from this writer about the values, beliefs, and perspectives on the American identity. Additionally, we have been exploring excerpts from a wide variety of American voices - foundational texts as well as contemporary voices, poets and journalists, women and men, colonial writers and immigrant voices. This week we will add our reflections on these readings to our Unit 1 Note Catcher in order to prepare us for the essay we will write at the close of this first unit. Over the course of this unit, students are asked to develop their own definition of what it means to be American based on their readings from a wide variety of American voices.
We will also be revisiting our learning and behavior contract for our class - our GRIT matrix. Last week we spent some time reflecting on our progress as readers. We used our writer's notebook to establish some goals and strategies to help us recognize our Growth as readers. This week we will revisit our goals for Respect. What does respect look like in our classroom? We spent time as a class during our first week together coming up with the habits and routines that demonstrate respect. In order to ensure that we are using our time to the fullest, this means being in your seat when the bell rings with our weekly wordplay handout on your desk, making sure phones and earbuds are away before class begins, and making sure that we are listening to one another, responding at appropriate times using appropriate language. We'll spend time reviewing our daily and weekly routines this week and talk more about what respect looks like in our daily classroom space.
At the close of our week, weather permitting, we'll head outside for our reading day and to do some tie-dying in preparation for Homecoming Spirit Days the week of September 20th-24th. I'm looking forward to our first full week together!
Today was our first full day of classes, and later this evening our parents will join us for our Back to School Night at the high school. We're starting off strong!
For those of you planning to join us for this evening's Back to School open house, here is our schedule for the evening:
6:30 p.m. Doors Open at the Auditorium entrance
7:00-7:15 p.m. 1st hour (w/ brief welcome video from Adam Lancto)
7:20-7:30 p.m. 2nd hour
7:35-7:45 p.m. 3rd hour
7:50-8:00 p.m. Seminar
8:05-8:15 p.m. 4th hour
8:20-8:30 p.m. 5th hour
8:35-8:45 p.m. 6th hour
I'm looking forward to meeting the families of our Honors American Literature (HAmLit) and Composition Through American Literature (CTAL 10) students!
It is hard to believe that we are already five weeks into our school year. This is definitely a year that we won't soon forget! We had a few little hiccups as we kicked off our year with both in-person and virtual learners joining in our classes at the same time, but in the last few weeks, we have made some adjustments, tried new tools, and even managed to have a bit of fun along the way! Let me share just a few of the highlights from this past month of learning.
In our second week of class, my ninth grade Composition Through Literature students had the opportunity to chat virtually with author Tiffany Schmidt. We had just read the opening to her crime novel titled Hold Me Like a Breath, so students got to ask Mrs. Schmidt about her inspiration, her writing process, and all about the publication process. Mrs. Schmidt shared some great advice with us about how to develop the specific details of scenes, something that we will be able to incorporate into our own writing in the coming week as we start to work on our personal narrative essays.
Last week, students in both our Independent Novel Studies and ninth grade English classes had another opportunity to hear from virtual presenters. Katie Lawrence and Christine Hekman from the Grandville Kent District Library branch joined us in our classes to share some of the resources that our community library has to offer. They also book talked a ton of great new books for us as well. We heard about new murder mystery novels, poetry books, graphic novels, and so much more. My list of books to read grew exponentially!
And speaking of books, check out the books that our Independent Novel Studies students have been sharing in class over the past month!
Are you looking for a good book to get lost in? Students in my Independent Novel Studies class can help!
During our first unit of the semester, we have been exploring the variety of genres available to readers. In order to learn more about the diversity of books out there, students have been sharing book talks each morning. We have compiled our talks into the slide show below in order to share with you just some of what we've been reading. As we book talk more novels, we'll add more slides. So check it out! Let us help you find a good book to read!
Happy Spring Break! It's our Week 4 check-in!
I'm beginning to feel a little repetitive, but as you know, things have changed again! This time, however, it feels like we have a better understanding of where we're headed for the remainder of our school year. As you know, last week Governor Whitmer closed all Michigan schools for the remainder of the school year. Parents and students received an email from both Mr. Bearup and our principal Mr. Lancto with some updates. You'll find all the updates and information posted on the Grandville Public School website at https://www.gpsbulldogs.org/apps/pages/coronavirus.
This week is our spring break, but next week begins our learning at home! Your teachers have been working hard the past few weeks to put together a plan that supports your learning in your different courses and gives you opportunities to connect and learn virtually with your classmates. In fact, if you didn't complete last week's Google form Week 3 check-in, please do so. It will help me figure out the best way to stay in touch with you in the coming weeks.
WHAT SHOULD I READ?
Check out some of the poetry resources and activities I compiled for you to connect with poets during April's National Poetry Month.
There will be no virtual check-in this week, but if you need anything, don't hesitate to email me. We'll talk soon!
Stay safe and stay in touch!
Well, we are into our third week of learning from home. I hope that you have found a good book to get lost in and have taken this opportunity to learn something new! Since last week, there have been some changes in how our learning at home will work in the coming weeks, so be sure to keep reading. Just like last week, I will post a link for our virtual meet up on Wednesday, April 1st (no joke!) to our Google Classroom page if you are interested in chatting with your classmates.
INDEPENDENT READING: If you are looking for something new to read, check out this list of recommended books from Katie and Christine at Grandville's Kent District Library branch - http://bit.ly/KDLbooks. All of these books and more can be accessed through https://www.kdl.org/downloads.
APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: For those of you that are interested, I'll be posting some optional poetry readings, performances, and writing prompts to our daily agenda slides to inspire you throughout the month of April.
LEARNING: As you read in the email that you received from Mr. Lancto on Monday, there have been some recent changes with our online learning (https://bit.ly/GHSupdates). Teachers are now able to provide feedback on work that was done prior to the break, and students are able to make up any outstanding work! This week you will notice that I am adding feedback to your writing pieces turned in prior to our break and adding in grades to our Infinite Campus gradebook. For those students that are missing or need to make-up work that was to be completed prior to our break, I will also be emailing individual students about options for turning in those assignments.
As things are changing quickly, it is important that you login to your email and Google Classroom spaces regularly. The link to the optional learning opportunities can be found at https://bit.ly/GHSoptional. I have also posted some optional reading and writing prompts to our daily agenda found on our Google Classroom space.
I miss you! I hope that you are able to join us on Wednesday for our virtual check-in. I miss seeing your faces each day. Know that I am thinking of you.
Stay safe and stay in touch,
I hope that you are doing well and feeling healthy in the wake of all that has been happening. I would love to hear more about what you've been up to this past week! You'll find a link to connect virtually posted to our Google Classroom page if you are interested.
VIRTUAL SPIRIT DAY: This Friday, March 27th, we're putting on a virtual spirit day! Snap a pic or short video (10 seconds or less) of you in your favorite Grandville gear and either post it to our Google Classroom site or email it to me. I'm going to compile all the photos into a video which I'll send out at 3pm this Friday! Feel free to share your pride on social media on Friday using #GrandvillePride.
LEARNING: As you may have read in the recent email that you received from Mr. Bearup and Mr. Lancto, there's a great deal of optional learning that you can do during our time away from the classroom, but your teachers are not able at this time to assign any additional work, post grades, or provide feedback on any work that was done prior to the break. This is an effort to make sure that all students have equal opportunity to learn the required material for our class. When we return to the classroom following this break, we can discuss ways to make-up missed work and continue with work we have done in our current unit. However, for right now, take care of yourself, check in with family and friends, and take this opportunity to learn something new that you've always wanted to learn. The link to the optional learning opportunities can be found at https://bit.ly/GHSoptional.
I miss our class and our cheesy videos. I miss our low-highs. I miss our jokes and our general goofiness. I miss seeing your faces each day. I miss you. Know that I am thinking of you and am looking forward to seeing you all soon.
Wow! What a week this has been. Things have been moving very quickly, and suddenly we find ourselves out of school through April 12th, a full month away from school. The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented, and as a result, we are all in uncharted territory. Let me reassure students and families that our district administrators and staff are working diligently to think through the best ways to support our Grandville families in a variety of ways during this state of emergency.
During our time away from school, we have an opportunity to reconnect with our families and take care of ourselves and one another. For those that are interested, I created the self-care challenge below. Feel free to make a copy of this document for yourself so that you can highlight each of the challenges that you complete. Use the comment box below to tell us how your self-care challenges are going!
It feels like just yesterday we were kicking off the new school year, and now we are already in the home stretch. With just one quarter left to go, this is the time of year when both students and teachers can feel the added pressure of the last couple months of the school year. To help alleviate some of that pressure, I wanted to take a moment to remind students and parents of some of the resources available to you.
First, know that you can always find more information about what we are working on in our class linked to this website and posted to our Google Classroom space. Our daily agenda slideshow, posted on our "Class Links" page, not only lists our in class activities for each day but also includes hyperlinks to any work that needs to be completed outside of our class. Students will also find this on our weekly schedule which is printed and given to students each Monday. We organize all of the work for our class using Google Classroom. All assignments are also turned in via this space. Use the "Classwork" tab in Google Classroom to easily locate everything we have been working on.
When it comes to needing extra help in particular areas, there are a few online resources that can support your learning. For extra help with grammar and writing, make sure you check out some of the resources that we have been using in class:
When it comes to extra support with close reading skills, perhaps one of the best tools at students' disposal is our Seminar time. Each Wednesday, students have an hour in the middle of our day to meet with teachers in the courses where they may need some extra support. Fortunately, we are able to connect our ninth and tenth grade students with upperclass tutors interested in the helping those students who wish to grow their close reading skills. All students need to do is sign up on our Seminar request sheet which hangs near the door in 217.
We have all sorts of support in our building available to our students. If there is something that you need or a resource that you are wondering about, don't hesitate to ask!
I think March is my favorite month. Yes, we welcome back spring, but even better is the fact that March = National Reading Month! In celebration, we host a March Book Madness voting bracket in our high school library!
In February we surveyed our students and staff, asking them what their favorite reads of the past year have been. This year we had over 100 recommendations. We organized the most popular recommendations into our March Book Madness bracket, and each day students have the opportunity to vote for a new book pairing in our library. And, here's the best part, our voting students are entered into a daily drawing to win a signed copy of a book!
So far we have given away signed copies of Christopher Paolini's Eragon, Amanda Lovelace's The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One, Veronica Roth's The End and Other Beginnings, Brittney Morris's Slay, and Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give. And we have so much more to give away this month, including books by John Green, Jennifer Niven, Tiffany Schmidt, and more! Students can vote each day to win!
You can follow along each day in March as we announce our winners using #BulldogsRead on Twitter. We look forward to seeing you in our GHS library throughout the month!
Ms. Jen Ward
An interest in helping young people discover and define their writing voice and reading interests drives Ms. Jennifer Ward to cultivate a student-centered learning environment, one that supports individual learning goals and incorporates purposeful use of technology. In March 2017, Ms. Ward was named teacher of the month by Michigan's 86th district state representative, Thomas Albert. In March 2016, she was named a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and is also a Google Certified Innovator, National Writing Project Consultant, and a 2014 PASCD Emerging Leader. Ms. Ward taught for 13 years in a Philadelphia suburban district and returned to her home state in 2015. In 2017, she joined the Grandville High School bulldogs!