This week in humanities, students received back their spelling quizzes. On these bi-weekly quizzes students get practice in spelling new words and use the words from the lists in their own sentences. They receive a mark on the quiz itself and on the quality of the sentences they write. Mr. Brewer attached a 1 ~ 4 rubric to the quizzes this week that can be seen in the picture to the left. Over the course of term I, many students have greatly improved on the content and length of the sentences they write. In the beginning, most students faced challenges in remembering to capitalize at the beginnings of sentences or including end-punctuation. While these are still areas of growth for many students, there is a growing awareness of how to self-edit. Many students are becoming far more conscious about such errors in their own work. Typing on Google docs has also had the effect of making students aware of such issues too. Mr. Brewer offers feedback on sentence writing and students always edit and proofread their work. Spelling lists often comprise curricular words (e.g. travois, First Nations, pemmican), sight words (common words that do not always follow orthographic rules e.g.: mountain, because, too) and there is frequently a focus on a particular spelling rule: (e.g. "When two vowels go walking the first does the talking": load, road, toad.") As students practice, they work towards internalizing rules. Interesting discussions result too. On this week's test, many students failed to capitalize First Nations. We talked about how proper nouns: days of the week, place names, personal names etc. are always capitalized. When the emphasis in the list is not on a particular rule it's easy to overlook other important conventions. Many students do benefit from these reminders. The work that students have done over the course of term I will contribute towards my overall assessment of their progress in writing.
Also in this week's class, most students chose a working title for their legendary stories. Students learned through reading "Mistakes of Old Man" and "Nanabosho: How the Turtle Got Its Shell" that legends often have an explanatory value. They explain how something came to be. Many students chose a provisional title for their own story like, "How the Cat Got Its Meow" or "How the Zebra Got Its Stripes." We also learned that in a story we can use common 'red flag' words and phrases to heighten tension and make a story more exciting. Some of these words and phrases are: