Crafting Effective Arguments

Dear Families,

I hope everybody enjoyed their Winter Break. It was great to spend time with my running, climbing, and quite a vocal toddler. It was simultaneously beautiful and crazy to observe how much cognitive growth he made in just two weeks. Woah!

Our new writing unit is called argument writing. As we prepare students for middle school and beyond, learning how to argue is an integral part of writing effectively AND powerfully. At the beginning of this week, students started by flash-drafting an argument that is important to them. Here are some excerpts from their flash drafts:

I think we should have a class pet because they are fun, entertaining, and something to look forward to like taking care of the animal. ~ Livia

I think that The Band is the most best band because it has very very good music. ~ Patrick

I think we need a longer summer break. ~ Kennedy

I think that school should start at 9:00 o’clock because sometimes people wake up early like at 6:30 o’clock so you have enough time to do all the stuff you need to do before school. ~ Elmer

The next step involves chocolate milk. We’ll learn how to write an effective argument by focusing on whether or not students should be allowed to drink chocolate milk at school. This will be followed by students selecting their own topic to write an argument about.

We finished up our Age of Exploration unit this week. The unit ended with The Atlantic Slave Trade, a horrific piece of world history that affected the cultures and economies of millions in both Africa and the Americas for hundreds of years. Repercussions of the Slave Trade are still evident today, as this TedEd video does a good job explaining. A major emphasis on this unit was placed on understanding how when European cultures collided with the cultures of indigenous societies of the Caribbean and Americas, unfortunate and drastic consequences occurred that forever changed the course of history, specifically the death of millions of people due to diseases brought over from Europe. We can’t change history, but we can certainly learn from it. This unit will now segway into learning about the 13 British colonies that eventually became the United States.

Our new read-aloud book is one of my favorites. We started Richard Peck’s wondrous A Long Way from Chicago this week and have been captivated by his storytelling prowess and the infamous character Grandma Dowdel. If you like reading and appreciate historical fiction, I highly recommend this book. It takes place during the Great Depression and spans a decade as two children, Joey and Mary Alice, spends one week each summer visiting their Grandmother in rural Illinois.

As a reminder, there will be no school Monday 1/21 in honor Martin Luther King, Jr. This means we will have school on Friday, 1/25.

Have a good weekend,

Mr. B

Idiom of the Week: The Long Haul