Next week is Terra Nova Testing and High School Recruitment week. This means numerous changes to our usual routine Monday through Thursday. For specifics, please take a look at the schedule that we went over in class.
Some reminders…make sure you are getting enough sleep next week so that you can perform your best. Also, try an eat a health breakfast so that you’ll have the energy to take multiple tests in a day. Lastly, do you best to be present and arrive on time so that you won’t feel rushed and or have to make up a test at a later date.
“He taught nothing but reading and writing. And being a Scot believed that the art of writing lay in thrift. […] So while my friends attended Missoula Elementary, I stayed home and learned to write the American language.”
– A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
– Steven King, On Writing
While I could say that I chose these quotes because of their grammatical importance – notice how Maclean uses the past tense of lie, lay, correctly AND how King plays with the adage that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, of, by adding the phrase “no shortcut” after it – I just really like their message. It fits well with what eighth grade Language Arts is about.
Throughout the year, students will be exposed to a variety of reading and writing opportunities. On the LITERATURE side of things, students will be reading fictional short stories and novels as well as non-fictional essays and diaries. Through these texts, students will be exposed to a diverse group of authors writing about a range of subject matter. Students will also complete a poetry unit where one of the assessment options includes writing and presenting – dare I say singing – one’s own lyrical ode.
ENGLISH will be a combination of vocabulary exercises, grammar studies, and writing assignments. Vocabulary will focus on learning Latin and Greek roots and how knowing those makes it easier to not only identify words but also remember their meanings. Our writing assignments will be varied. From smaller, daily journal entries to larger narratives and descriptive pieces, students will be writing in a variety of different formats. The penultimate English unit is the research paper. Beginning in the third quarter and lasting into the fourth, students will research, organize, draft, revise, and finally submit a 5 to 7 page paper on a topic of their choosing…pending teacher approval, of course.
Seeing that I am still in the process of completely grasping all the nuances of the English language myself, I have zero plans to overwhelm students with grammatical minutia to such a degree that they freeze when it comes to the actual writing process. In fact, the opposite is true. My goal is to get students comfortable with writing and writing in a classroom setting. More to the point, I want students at ease embracing and expressing their own voice.
It will be a journey, no doubt. But from what I’ve read, it comes with the territory.
With graduation a week away, the time to look back on this year and previous years here at SPSL and celebrate the journey is upon us. The following are excerpts from the eighth-graders’ Keynote Addresses to their classmates.
“No matter how many turns life threw at me, I could always rely on my friends at SPSL because they understand me more than anyone else. There are even a few people here I could consider my sister or brother because of how close we are and how strong our friendships are.” ~ Adrianna Webster
“Walking into preschool may have been one of my greatest memories. Even though I was scared and didn’t know what it would be like, I was so welcomed. After walking in, shy as a mouse, I came back home wanting to go back everyday because I made so many friends and learned so much.” ~ Wosuk Ando
“All the teachers I’ve had have made me a better student. They didn’t just teach me topics, they made me feel safe to always be able to go to them for help with anything. The education I have received here at SPSL will lead me to do more in the world.” ~ Abie Mihulka
“Overall, I would say to enjoy your time with your classmates as much as possible. I know this advice definitely would have been helpful for me to hear before starting eighth grade. Hopefully, if incoming students were to hear this advice, it would help them remember to cherish every moment of school.” ~ Maggie Morris
“But most importantly we learned how to pray, how to be kind, how to help others, and many more valuable lessons. These lessons are what make Pius so special.” ~ Caroline Sall
“Pius has helped set me up for my future and has taught me to think in a Catholic view. It has also taught me to challenge yourself and help others even if you don’t think it’ll help.” ~ Manuelli Bakou
“This whole experience taught me to cherish the times as they come and turn bad experiences into lessons to be learned for the future.” ~ Olivia Weist
“The one and only thing you can’t Google is your life, like the life before high school, the life before you were released into the world like the little birds you are.” ~ Hillary Adovlo
“In writing this speech, it puts in perspective how grateful we should all be to have the chance to go to a great school, with great teachers, great support, and have an overall amazing time, and I hope that while you all were writing yours that you could realize the same things as me.” ~ Anderson Lopez
“You guys have been the best class I could have ever hoped for. You made my childhood wonderful, and I thank you for that.” ~ Preston Leach
“All I can do is think memories are shared with everyone, and I have never been more happy that I got to share memories with you.” ~ Chelsea Okosi
“I thought this day would never come, and now that it’s here, I’m not ready for it to end. I have made the best friends I could ask for, and I just wanted to say thanks for all the laughs, dumb moments, dancing, singing, boring classes, good days and bad.” ~ Sophia Tripp
“I will never forget SPSL not because of the math problems and the tests I had to do but the memories and friendships I made here.” ~ Tim Herek
“I going to miss all my friends who helped me get out of card marks or color changes because they took the blame for me.” ~ Oscar Rowe
“For my friends and I, SPSL is our second home. All the hallways and classrooms are filled with memories from when we were younger from all of the fads we had like Silly Bands, Fidget spinners, and Crocs to the strange yet hilarious moments with our classmates.” ~ Anna Mertz
“I hope to see y’all once again, at least I hope to try. I won’t forget any of your faces that popped into my life. I’ve wanted this day to happen, but now it’s here, I don’t want it to end. Goodbye, class of 2019. Goodbye, all my fellow friends.” ~ Daniel Kampe
A proud graduate of SPSL, this marks my eighth year teaching English and Literature at the school. Outside the classroom, I can be found passing the time in various stages of the writing process, reading, watching movies, fretting over Creighton's latest performance, and doling out questionable life advice to one of my eleven nieces and nephews.