Tag Archives: weekly updates

6 Weeks to the End of Semester

This quarter does not seem to be so much a bout transformation but acceleration; we get back from the October and there are only 6 weeks to go!

Important Items (Assessments) Coming:

  1. Task 1: Poetic Brain Frame is due on Friday, November 14 at 3pm.
  2. Task 2: Poetry form 3 Side Essay/Analysis is due on Friday, November 28 at 3pm.
  3. Task 3: Poetry Scrapbook is due on Monday/Tuesday Dec 8/9 at the start of the class.

I will have the assignments posted directly after this post, and these will include student requirements and rubrics.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

There are still a few parents who haven’t had a chance to meet me this semester.  I am still ready to get together- contact Ms Kristine or Ms Susan in the MS office and they can make an appointment for you.  I would love to share my observations about your son or daughter as well as chat about how we can support English learning.

A New Quarter: Transformations

Welcome to the second quarter of grade 8. Our overarching concept for this quarter within all of our core subjects will be transformations.

In English class we will explore the transformative power of words and how they can change their own meanings, and our minds.  We will be looking through the lens of poetry to try to capture the power of words.

I will repost our assessments for this quarter to remind you of just what is going on.

Important Nuts and Bolts Issues: 

The parent-teacher interviews have been advertised and will be held next week, (October 20-21). I have spoken to a few parents who could not book appointments because all of the slots being filled- I apologize for this, but this is what happens when we have to limit the time so it doesn’t impact teaching time.

If you did not get a time with me, please feel free to contact Ms Susan in the MS office, and we can arrange another time that can work for you.  Please go through Ms Susan, and not me, because she is in control of the master schedule and can ensure that we get the time right. I feel strongly about trying to meet everyone and I hope that we can do this before the autumn holiday hits.

I look forward to getting together with you and talking about how your child is learning.

Week 8: A CWW Short Week

The first quarter is rapidly coming to a close- as usual, there is much to do, and little time left!

On our educational radar now:

1. This week we have our final quiz on the literary terms; the first class of the week will be taken up with this task.

2. The memoirs are well on the way.  We have two due dates for the memoir: the first is Wednesday, October 8, where the students will need a printed ‘hard’ copy to share at our Reading Carnival in the Little Theater.  This is the time when everyone’s work will be available for peer reading. The final due date is Thursday/Friday Oct 9-10, when the final product will be handed in to me.

3. Stevi Quate, specialist on Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops, will visit our school during the week of September 29-October 3. She will join the MS English team during the week, sharing her expertise with the teachers by applying the workshop model to our time together.  For parents, Stevi is hosting a parent coffee on Tuesday, September 30 at 7:30 where she will give ideas and advice to parents about how you can help to make your children better readers and writers. Please contact the MS office for more details.

4. CWW is upon us! Although it is not an English class, please encourage your son or daughter to take a book to Caliraya.


Week 7: September 15-19

Another 5 Day Week… is a great thing.

I hope that I can say that powerschool has opened seamlessly for you and the numbers are making perfect sense. There just a few items that I would like to clarify for you on our assessment categories; I will include a short presentation in my next blog post about our new way of assessing, but for now, let me point out some important items:

Formative Assessments: We assess for learning but also to help learning. Some assessments will show up on powerschool that do not count toward a final grade. These are called formative assessments, and they are usually a great way for students to know where they stand and how they can improve.
Summative Assessments: These are the pieces presented in the quarterly syllabus and they do count toward a final grade. For this quarter, we have 2 quizzes and a memoir that will help decide each student’s final grade.
Learning Habits: The LHs will show up in powerschool every month, usually in the first week. We assess, and have students self- assess, these. Like formative assessments, the LHs are not part of the final grade, but will be shown in each semester’s report card. The learning habits examine each student’s organization, engagement, and collaboration.

More detail is revealed in the presentation to follow. If you have any questions, please get in touch with me, I’m happy to talk about assessments with you!

Quiz on the Meta-cognitive Reading Strategies:
It is being handed back today and Friday. I am asking all students to show Mom and Dad, and ask them to sign it for me. I don’t usually ask for signatures, but I just want to make sure that you see the first piece of assessment for this year. Some students who have not performed as well as they would have liked will have a chance to show their learning, and improve their numbers, next week in tutorials.

Next Quiz:
We will have our literary terms quiz Thursday/Friday of week 7 (Sept 18-19)

I hope you had a chance to read my explanation of the performance task for this quarter. Your son or daughter is looking for stories that matter, so you may want to talk to them about memories and have them share some of their small moments… and thinking.

EH Week 3 Transformation (November 4-8)

Welcome back from your autumnal break- I hope everyone is recharged and ready to go.

We have only 6 weeks until the end of semester- and many things to do. Here is a simple list of the larger assignments and due dates for the remainder of our time with Transformation:

Task 1: Creating a ‘Things Poetic’ Scrapbook *DUE DECEMBER 12-13*
Ongoing through the quarter, you will create your own collection of things poetic; your goal is to create and collective transformative pieces that deal with change (personal, societal, world).

Task 2: Research Brainframe *DUE NOVEMBER 14-15*
You will research one important poet of your choice. Your research article will be worked on throughout the quarter and completed by the assigned due date. It will be published in your poetic scrapbook as well.

Task 3: Looking at Poetry from Three Sides *DUE NOVEMBER 28-29*
You will analyze one of your poet’s pieces that best represents his or her contribution to change (personal, societal, world). This analysis will become a part of your scrapbook.

Task 4: Transformative Performance *DUE DECEMBER 10-11*
You will use your research and poetry analysis to create a transformative presentation on your poem and poet. You will have a choice board to select your approach to poetic transformation so that you can display personal, societal, and/or world transformation.


EH Starting the Year in Grade 8 English

I would like to welcome all of my grade 8 students and parents to a new year at ISM. There have been many questions about schedules, reading, homework, seating arrangements… and much more. I will try to keep you up to date on what we are doing -and when- by using this blog as our prime source of information. Some other key things you should know:

1. My email address is burked@ismanila.org. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about our classes or upcoming assignments.

2. This blog should give you updates on the details of our work this year; it is important to check it regularly. To help parents in the Parent Portal, I will designate posts as E (Grade 8 English) H (Honors) or J (Journalism). EH will be a combination of regular and honors English, and these letters will pop up in the title for quick indentification.

3. We will try to be as paperless as possible this year; therefore, many readings will be handed out ‘electronicially’ (as in the case of some of our short stories in the first semester) Student will be able to retrieve readings, asignment sheets and notes from their school googledoc accounts. If you lose a paper handout you can go to your computer and print a new one!

4. Please check your school email address regularly-important information may be sent there!

5. I will have a more detailed schedule for our first quarter’s studies later this week. Just in case you are unsure, we are starting the year looking at Systems with our focus on short story/memoir reading, writing, and structures. There is much more to come.

6. Finally, for parents, I look forward to meeting you at the open house on August 20, 2013.

I am looking forward to a great year.

David Burke

For Those Who Want to Lead, Read by John Coleman

This is an interesting blog post that I found in the Harvard Business Review (online) by the author John Coleman. He makes some strong connections between leadership and reading, along with some good recommendations on how to read.

“When David Petraeus visited the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009, one of the meetings he requested was with author Doris Kearns Goodwin. Petraeus, who holds a PhD in International Relations from Princeton, is a fan of Team of Rivals and wanted time to speak to the famed historian about her work. Apparently, the great general (and current CIA Director) is something of a bibliophile.

He’s increasingly an outlier. Even as global literacy rates are high (84%), people are reading less and less deeply. The National Endowment for the Arts (PDF) has found that “[r]eading has declined among every group of adult Americans,” and for the first time in American history, “less than half of the U.S. adult American population is reading literature.” Literacy has been improving in countries like India and China, but that literacy may not translate into more or deeper reading.

This is terrible for leadership, where my experience suggests those trends are even more pronounced. Business people seem to be reading less — particularly material unrelated to business. But deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.

Note how many business titans are or have been avid readers. According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an “inexhaustible interest” in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets “the original systems thinkers,” quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week. And history is littered not only with great leaders who were avid readers and writers (remember, Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace), but with business leaders who believed that deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.

The leadership benefits of reading are wide-ranging. Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight. Some studies have shown, for example, that reading makes you smarter through “a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills.” Reading — whether Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle — is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information. Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity. And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology, the physical sciences, economics, or psychology, and apply them to their organizations are more likely to innovate and prosper.

Reading can also make you more effective in leading others. Reading increases verbal intelligence (PDF), making a leader a more adept and articulate communicator. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others — traits that author Anne Kreamer persuasively linked to increased organizational effectiveness, and to pay raises and promotions for the leaders who possessed these qualities. And any business person understands that heightened emotional intelligence will improve his or her leadership and management ability.

Finally, an active literary life can make you more personally effective by keeping you relaxed and improving health. For stressed executives, reading is the best way to relax, as reading for six minutes can reduce stress by 68%, and some studies suggest reading may even fend off Alzheimer’s, extending the longevity of the mind.

Reading more can lead to a host of benefits for business people of all stripes, and broad, deep reading can make you a better leader. So how can you get started? Here are a few tips:

Join a reading group. One of my friends meets bimonthly with a group of colleagues to read classics in philosophy, fiction, history, and other areas. Find a group of friends who will do the same with you.

Vary your reading. If you’re a business person who typically only reads business writing, commit to reading one book this year in three areas outside your comfort zone: a novel, a book of poetry, or a nonfiction piece in science, biography, history, or the arts.

Apply your reading to your work. Are you struggling with a problem at work? Pick up a book on neuroscience or psychology and see if there are ways in which you can apply the lessons from those fields to your profession.

Encourage others. After working on a project with colleagues, I’ll often send them a book that I think they’ll enjoy. Try it out; it might encourage discussion, cross-application of important lessons, and a proliferation of readers in your workplace.

Read for fun. Not all reading has to be developmental. Read to relax, escape, and put your mind at ease.
Reading has many benefits, but it is underappreciated as an essential component of leadership development. So, where have you seen reading benefit your life? What suggestions would you have for others seeking to grow their leadership through reading?”