Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The end of the first quarter was last Friday. Where did the time go!? However, that time has been filled with amazing work accomplished by the students. It's encouraging to see them continue to grow as students and as people.

In the middle school, we are focusing on using unit multipliers for conversions. For example, they are being asked to do things like convert three miles to inches. It's a challenge to get them to show their work, but as this concept becomes more complex, showing ALL of their work will become more crucial.

For the Algebra 1 classes, student's are solving for variables in equations. It's the old "solve for x" concept that is so cherished in Algebra. However, being able to work from beginning to end really helps them use a lot of different math properties that they'll be using in their other math classes.

The Geometry class is focusing on the different centers of a triangle. The four that we look at are the circumcenter, incenter, orthocenter, and centroid. Each of these can be found in a different way, they each have a different use, and they each are defined differently. Being able to wade through it all is tricky, but the students are doing a fantastic job of piecing it out. Hopefully, putting all the pieces together will create a beautiful puzzle in their minds.

It's inspiring to see these kids put their whole heart into the learning that's going on. Sometimes, it convicts me when I'm not doing so well myself. I guess God can use what's going on around us to teach us a lot, if we let Him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

If you were around the 9/10 English class in September, you would have seen much conflict! Fortunately, it was really only in the literature stories we were studying...they found the main and secondary conflicts in stories such as Under the Lion's Paw by Hamlin Garland. Then, Treasure Island excerpts gave a clear example of character revelation ad character development. The students then each created a new character and placed him/her in a new chapter that they wrote. These students have great imaginations!

The 7,8 English class is finishing their second unit: Nature and Man. Short stories like Mahogany Fox, The Life and Death of a Western Gladiator (a snake), excerpts from The Hatchet, and poems by authors like Robert Frost have helped them evaluate man vs. nature conflicts. The reading of the delightful poem "Wild Blackberries" was capped off with a blackberries and cream treat! Many of these writings highlighted the importance of perseverance and hope in challenging circumstances. We talked about the hope Christians have in Jesus Christ.

After a chapter on verbs, the 7,8 grammar students wrote letters to the two Haitian students that KA sponsors. We first read the letters they had written to KA last spring. In return, the grammar students were excited to share about their families, school and their hobbies. They hope to receive letters back in the next few months. It was fun to know their letters would be translated into Creole for the kids to understand them!

In Creative Writing, we have studied and written fairy tales and practiced characterization. It was fun to see that the BFG movie has many elements of a typical fairy tale. We have also studied scenes in Dreamer to see how a character is revealed... specifically, how to show an emotion of a character without naming it. Tricky. We've looked at examples of various authors to see the seven ways to move a character out of the writer's mind and onto the paper. So this is what "close reading" gets us...better writing skills!

It's been a great month. Thanks for all your support!
Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We began at the beginning of the book in US History.  This past 2 weeks we have been studying the native Americans who dwelt here before Europeans and how the "Columbian Exchange" changed the world forever.  We also have been studying the first years of slave trade in the western world and how it was just as evil then as slavery is today.  Did you know there were slaves in North America before the pilgrims?

In Science, we just finished a unit on simple machines.  There are 6 different types and the students did a great job demonstrating how some of them work.  We will also be doing presentations this next week over Extreme Engineering episodes and how different simple machines have enabled us to build mighty structures.   This week the M.S. is focusing on their Science Fair which will be displayed next week during parent-teacher conferences.

In Chemistry, we have been studying different types of chemical reactions.  One the best demonstrations of the year (in my opinion) is when you combine sulfuric acid with sugar.  It produces a carbon pillar that literally rises up out of the beaker.  We also decomposed the shell of an egg in hydrochloric acid which caused a semi-permeable membrane that allows water to diffuse into the egg which is swelling to an enormous size!

In Gym class, played golf, soft ball, mat ball, hockey, frisbee football and will be running the mile until Fall Break.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Welcome to a new school year. It has begun fast and furious with a lot of work on all of our parts, but the students are doing fantastic.

Initially, Geometry was a struggle for the students, due to the differences between it and algebra, but they are doing relatively well now. Right now, they are learning the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning.

In Algebra 1, the students are manipulating algebraic equations to solve for unknowns and algebraic statements to find solutions. They are also having to identify what those unknowns are in the equations and statements. This will help them think deeper when they run into bigger and longer equations and story problems.

The Pre-Algebra classes are learning about fractions. Ideas behind adding and subtracting fractions, and reducing their answers, include finding greatest common factors and least common multiples. The process behind these two concepts can become confusing, but they are incredibly important.

Publications has produced their first newsletter, done some work helping to wrap up last year's yearbook, is helping with computer software, and is continuing to study aspects of creative writing (which will hopefully help their newsletters sound fresh).

Consumer Math has focused a lot on money, and it's effects on everyday life. We have defined a lot of terms, played out several scenarios utilizing a budget, and are reading a book with a biblical look at how money should be viewed. What a blessing!

The keyboarding and foreign language classes continue to work on their material online. This varies per language, per class, and per student depending on where they are at. However, they are doing a great job of keeping pace with the given schedule, and in some cases working ahead!

As you can hopefully see, the students are doing an excellent job in their studies, and with their attitudes. We have amazing students, and with your prayers, we will have an amazing year! Thanks for your past prayers and support!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

This year has started off with all kinds of excitement!

In US History, we started a new curriculum (Holt McDougal) and it has some very interesting and educational pictures and drawings (That is my favorite part).  We started in Chapter 28 so that we would be studying the Vietnam War during the same time that Mr. Kipfer invited 2 Vets to come in and share their experiences.  If your child has not commented on that, please ask them!  I think it made all of us very thankful that we have not had to experience a draft in our country for many decades.

In General Science, Chapter 1 covered the "history of science" up to the current time.  We studied everyone from Democritus to Bacon to Einstein.  Last week we began Chapter 2 which deals primarily with the Scientific Method.  We created demonstrations, some by the book and some from online, to illustrate all the steps of the Scientific Method. Some were flammable and some were explosive, but all were educational.

In Chemistry, we started off with review on how to convert among units.  Then we spent quite a bit of time on significant figures and how to use different lab tools and how to read measurements correctly.  This last week, we have been dealing with calorimetry which deals with how much energy is released or absorbed in different substances.  We found out that you can calculate how many calories are in a single potato chip by using a calorimeter and the right measurements and variables.

In Gym, we spent the first 2 weeks playing matball inside because of the heat.  In this hot weather, we did venture outside and began playing croquet and and then softball for the next 2 weeks.  The last 2 weeks of September will be golf and we plan on going to the Golf course one day.  Finally, in early October, we will be doing the Mile run for 2 weeks on the River Greenway. 

With Matthew 5:16 ringing in my heart and ears these first few weeks, it is both humbling and exciting to see this lived out at the school I get to teach at. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

The English Corner

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

This verse is the KA "focus verse" for 2018-2019, reminding us that all we do at KA is to glorify the Lord. We are thankful to be able to teach from a Christian worldview!

All the classes here are rolling along, complete with tests already. The students have settled into routines here and doing great! Grammar is divided into 7th and 8th grade curriculum, and each class is eager to understand the lessons. We began with a review of study skills. We've sailed through a few topics, and needed to work a little harder on nouns: plurals and possessives.  They each made a book jacket for their favorite book, which they will present today. Today's demonstration shows why water is a noncount noun and a container filled with water is a count noun.

The middle school English class has been varied. They did well on their first vocab quiz!  We have listened to and analyzed the Secret Garden by Burnett and are now reading short stories that focus on courage. I really appreciate how prepared they are for class!

The 9,10 English class is off to a great start! To begin with, the students prepared and presented a study skills topic. We moved into listening to the audiobook of Animal Farm-a satirical allegory written after the Russian Revolution and WWII: many, many messages Christians can draw from this.
We are now reading stories that focus on the three types of conflict found in literature, and how the conflicts are resolved by the author. Ask your son/daughter which one they liked best so far. We've had some great discussions during class. I love to see the students expressing their ideas!

I am doing a Creative Writing independent study this year, and it's been fun (even when, during the lesson on "Critiquing Literature"  uncovered a verb tense mistake on MY essay)! Creative writing is like creating a painting or shaping pottery, but with words spoken by the characters the author creates. With ten different points of view from which to choose, it will never get boring!

It is a blessing to have all these students everyday to teach the love of God as I teach english in it's many forms. Thank you for all your support!!
Mrs. Lemmen

Friday, May 11, 2018

The English Corner

     Excitement is in the air!  As I look back over my planner, it amazes me the ground that gets covered. The freshmen, sophomore, and juniors completed a three week unit on research. They each chose their own topic, narrowed it, search and "re-searched" for quality information on their topic using the WCPL databases, primarily. They carefully crafted sentence outlines, then created the rough draft, and a works cited page. Their final products were well done (and that attests to their diligence) and fun to read! The 7, 8 Grammar class started their research paper last week and is now working on their rough drafts with plans to finish the final paper on May 17. They get to bring in an object related to their topic and use it in doing a presentation of their research that day.
     The juniors are now finishing their American Literature book with modern American poetry and prose. This week and next we are focusing in on a smaller group of authors of prose who are representative of the time after WWI: Rutledge, Welty, Bradbury, and Thorton Wilder. The last reading will be of an essay by James Stockdale titled Freedom: Out Most Precious National Treasure.
     Romeo and Juliet is entertaining the 9,10 English class. The classroom comes alive with the theme song for Romeo and Juliet, pictures of Verona, Italy, and the students' reading of Shakespeare's lines like: "My ears have not drunk a hundred words of thy tongue's uttering, yet I know the sound. Art thou not Romeo and a Montegue?" and "Make haste, make haste." We will complete the reading on Tuesday next week.
     It is Christmas in May for the 7, 8 Literature class! We just finished reading and analyzing The Christmas Carol. Next Tuesday is the test over Unit 6, Viewpoints. All of the readings have shown how one's beliefs and experiences affect one's viewpoint, and how one's viewpoint can change. We've had some good class discussions on this.
     While I am in DC with the high school students, my subs for my middle school classes will be Mr. Fiechter and Mr. Bertsch. The class will be doing some grammar, another unit in vocab, dramatizing a scene from a story, and listening to a Lamplighter audiobook. I know they will have a good week here under the guidance of such good teachers!
     Thank you all for your prayers and support this year. I am blessed to be able to teach these wonderful students in learning the many parts of English. I am learning much from them, in return.

Mrs. Lemmen

"And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
                                                                                                                                   Colossians 3:14-15