Hello from the Academy! Welcome to our weekly blog where we share what we’ve been working on in junior high. Let us know what’s happening with your middle schooler in the comments!
I can tell that summer is getting closer — everyone is getting excited about their plans for a busy vacation of traveling / seeing-friends-and-family / non-stop-video-gaming / sleeping-in-and-taking-many-long-naps! (Bet you can’t guess which one of those options is my favorite!) We’ve just got a few weeks left in the schedule, so I’m looking forward to finishing all of our projects and sending everyone off for a great summer. (It’s the napping. I’m looking forward to napping.)
This week in our Critical Thinking warm-up — SCAM EDITION — we talked about Ponzi schemes and the idea that if something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a Ponzi scheme. (Or a pyramid scheme. Or a version of the Nigerian Prince scam. Or…) After doing the math for “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” we did more math in Math class! (Sometimes I have a hard time thinking of interesting things to say about math class. It’s more fun to do than to talk about.)
We’re into the second half of Isabel Allende’s City of the Beasts in World Literature. Alex and his friend Nadia were busy trying to figure out who is trying to sabotage the expedition when they were kidnapped by the mysterious People of the Mist! Our students also got the list of project options for when we complete the novel. They will each choose one project idea from the list, which includes writing a character diary, creating an art portfolio, planning the film adaptation, and writing a final exam. (We also did this after reading Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch last semester, so this time they have to choose a different project.) From the Amazonian world of City of the Beasts we go to the exciting world of Grammar, where this week we talked about independent clauses, dependent clauses, and subordinating conjunctions! (I find that grammar — like math — is more fun to do than to talk about, although my students may disagree with me.)
In World War II History we’ve reached 1942 and the Allies are starting to turn the tide with the successful invasion of North Africa, the Battle of Midway in the Pacific, and the Soviet defense of Stalingrad. (Meanwhile, Stalin can’t understand why Churchill and FDR haven’t invaded France already. Stalin, slightly paraphrased: “JUST INVADE FRANCE, GUYS. YOU PROMISED YOU WOULD INVADE FRANCE!”) The students have started picking their final project topics, and I can’t wait to learn more about the planes used during the Battle of Britain, superheroes and WWII propaganda, and Operation Mincemeat!
For Biology, Amy and her students enjoyed another beautiful blue-sky day outside (only slightly marred by drifting waves of pollen and the vaguely menacing geese patrolling the parking lot) as they created their own “rock samples” showing strata and the different layers of material. (Pics, as usual, are on instagram!)