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7th Grade Update – Miniterm and Fairytales

December 16, 2020 | Brent Harris

Hello, Everyone!

This blog will cover two quick topics:

  1. Miniterm.
  2. The 6-8th Grade fairytale Project

First, miniterm. Miniterm wrapped up on Tuesday. It was such wonderful time! It comes at such a joyous time of year, and it adds to the festivity and excitement about the upcoming Christmas break.

Students were in all kinds of classes for miniterm, from Crocheting to Letter Writing. I led a Pixar Animated Short Films class. 

For my class, we watched a number of short animated films, chatted about them, and learned about the math, physics and hard work behind the animation process. Towards the end of miniterm, we tried our hand at the storyboarding process. For this, students came up with a short story plot, created a character drawing, and wrote a comic strip that represents the progression of their story. This is the same sequence of events that professional animators use when starting out with a new project.

Here’s an example of Cooper Brennan and River Gray’s storyboarding process and their main character:

 

I heard plenty of positive feedback from all the 7th grade students about their miniterms. I think that it’s a great way to have a bit more of a casual approach to the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Now for the second thing, the fairytale assignment.

Students have been grouped up with some 6th and 8th graders to complete their own fairytale. By Thursday night, students must, in their groups, write a 1000 word fairytale, record an audiobook/Reader’s Theater version of their story, create a soundtrack/song that goes along with the reading, and write character profiles for their main characters. So far, students have done a wonderful job collaborating to get all of this work done.

One big thing we’ve been missing this year because of our cohorts and groupings is Academic Teams. Usually, students are grouped up with other students from 6-8th grade for their morning classes. We haven’t had that this year, but the last three weeks really emphasized the importance of this cross-grade time. Students have only been working with their groups for about 2 weeks on this assignments, and it’s all been virtual, but it still feels like academic teams.

So far, I’ve noticed students working very hard, solving problems as a group, and creating some really fun and interesting stories. On Friday, we will listen to as many of these Audiobooks as we possibly can. We are really excited!

 

As you can tell, there’s a lot going on in the Middle School. But the pace has felt very different. Everything seems a touch more casual than normal, and the reminder of the upcoming Christmas break is in the air.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Talk to you again in the New Year!

— Brent Harris

Brent Harris

Teacher, Grade 7; Language Arts, Seventh and Eighth Grades

Brent Harris has been teaching Middle School students since 2015. He loves teaching students how to understand the world through literature and writing. He teaches English Language Arts, but he likes to teach other things too! Both of Mr. Harris' parents are educators, and despite trying his hardest to avoid following in his parents’ footsteps, he graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English Education and a Minor in Physical Education; as a result, Brent is a great argument piece for any “Nature versus Nurture” debate.

In addition to teaching, Mr. Harris enjoys playing guitar and drums, listening to music, spending time outside, playing sports, and hanging out with his kind and loving wife, Lauren. A native of Ontario, Canada, Mr. Harris stays true to all the Canadian stereotypes by being extremely kind and perpetually sorry. He has been a director and counselor at multiple children’s camps in Canada and Michigan, and he appreciates the idea of teaching students and campers in a place where there is freedom to entertain new ideas and try out new things. Mr. Harris has enjoyed coaching volleyball, soccer, and baseball, and while he loves nature, he is being slowly converted into a city boy.

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