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November 11, 2020 | Ms. Jonker

We’ve been busy in language arts! Students have been studying personal narratives in both reading and writing. These studies have pulled from skills we practiced earlier this year and will push us to think of ourselves not only as writers but as storytellers! Read on for more information.

Reading

We’ve been studying our class read Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka for a couple weeks now. This book is a memoir, making it a strong mentor text as we start writing our own personal narratives.

Last week while they read Knucklehead, students jotted notes about Jon’s actions and traits. This week, students are using their paragraph writing skills to write about a character trait Jon has. They are using their knowledge of Jon’s actions to substantiate why they believe Jon shows a certain trait.

In all of this, we are remembering that “actions are windows into a character.” By looking at a character’s actions, we can see who they are. This idea also came up in worship this week as we discussed different saints we’ve been studying. The actions of these saints show us who these saints are, what they are like, and what (and WHO) guides them!

Next week, students will begin reading another memoir/personal narrative while they write their own stories.

Writing

We wrapped up our partner paragraph project last week. Students have practiced topic sentences, closing sentences, and detail sentences. They have gone through the revising and editing process for this kind of paragraph writing twice now. Now, we move on to a different style of writing: personal narratives.

Students have been eagerly brainstorming different stories they could tell from their own lives. I have been encouraging the students to focus on a “snapshot” — a small moment. As we go through this project we will plan the narrative arc of our stories and add rich descriptive language to help zoom-in on these small moments and “paint a picture” for our readers.

Invite your child to tell you what story they want to write about! Is it a snapshot-story of a person? A place? A fun time? A scary time? A time when they accomplished something?

Kat Jonker

Teacher, Grades 4

Kat Jonker is energized by how passionately Mustard Seed School nurtures each student to blossom into the person God has made them to be. She’s honored to teach and learn beside the fourth and fifth grade students here.

Ms. Jonker’s always been surrounded and inspired by dedicated teachers--including her mother! When she began teaching private violin lessons as a high school student, Ms. Jonker began to think about teaching as a career. Soon she realized her passion for teaching and learning as an Elementary Education with an integrated science major at Calvin College. There she flourished as an assistant teacher at Calvin’s middle school chemistry camp. She also led elementary nature programs at Calvin’s ecosystem preserve.

Music remains one of Ms. Jonkers passions and you’ll sometimes get to hear her playing in worship. She’s an avid violin player and spent a disproportionately large amount of her college life in string quartet rehearsals. She listens to music constantly and likes to keep it eclectic, so if you have any music recommendations, send them her way.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is Ms. Jonker’s home town. Through God-gifted communities of faith there, she found her roots in grace and a life of service.

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