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After reading Leslie Pietrzyk's Pears on a Willow Tree, we had the privilege of meeting her today! For a month, we have been reading and discussing excerpts from this great book which is written in 4 different points of view.  Some of us have been reading about Rose, a Polish woman who came to the U.S. in search of a better life in the U.S.  Others have read about Helen, Rose's daughter, who knows she can never leave behind her mother or her Polish traditions.  Ginger, who leaves her mother Helen as soon as she gets the chance and rejects all parts of her heritage (except for occasional lapses) and Amy, Ginger's daughter who seeks out a new life in Thailand, only to return to the U.S. and seek some closure after her mother's unexpected death.  It was an interesting way to read the book and to learn about our characters through the eyes of the other characters! With the author we were able to share how we connected with the book and characters.  Many of us have someone in our family like Rose, very traditional and wanting to preserve "the old ways." Others connected with Helen and the idea that mothers understand their daughters more than the daughters realize.  Some of us connected with Amy, being adventurous and wanting to see the world.  Maria, Rediet, Yamileth, and Aleka were able to share their personal narratives with Leslie and here her feedback for their writing.  It was inspiring to hear the process that Leslie took to write the book, and it reminded us of how important discipline, being receptive to feedback, and reading a lot is essent

 
 
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For Wednesday's Hispanic Heritage Assembly, our 7/8 grade class put together an awesome video exploring the theme, where we are from.  Through our entire Roots unit we explored how the people, events, and experiences in our life shaped us to who we are and who we want to become.  The assignment was to take photographs documenting how we define our community.  Then as a class we brainstormed themes we saw transpire through our photographs and connected them to tell a single story.  Thanks to Nanci for presenting our video in front of so many people and representing us well!

 
 
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Danny Crane from SFANG (Shakespeare for a new generation) paid his first visit to our 7/8 grade class this week to jump start our preparation for our performance of Romeo and Juliet (as werewolves and vampires) at the Folger Shakespeare Festival this March.  When asked in one word describe what Romeo and Juliet is about students responded with, "love, fate, prejudice, family, and friendship." We know there is a lot going on in R&J and we're looking forward to digging deeper!

 
 
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What a great trip! Despite our bus not arriving on Thursday, all was forgotten on Friday as we had another pizza dinner and then headed out to "GET SPOOKED" at Markoff's Haunted Forest.  A great time was had by all.  There were no tears this time, (LOL Nanci and Daisy) but there were still definitely a lot of screams of terror! A group of 8th graders and their mothers from Poolseville, MD sponsored us to not only enter the forest, but also to take part in a variety of circle activities.  Some of us were brave enough to do the zip line! It was a great evening not only filled with tricks, but also with goodie bags filled with sweet

 
 
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Mr. Fierro came to speak with 7th-9th grade classes about his work on the 2012 election.  We discussed why elections are important, how they affect our lives, and why it is important to be politically active.  By looking at the 2008 election voter turn out rates, we were able to draw conclusions about the way certain demographics vote and why.  Thanks Mr. Fierro, for starting off our election mini unit! Students have now evaluated issues to see which candidate they side with on topics from energy to education to immigration.  We have also analyzed TV ads and segments of the 2012 presidential debates to see what candidates are saying and not saying.  Some magazine articles on the election from Scholastic have given us more to read, discuss, and write about! We'll see what happens on November 6th.  Get out the vote!