Below is information about a few of the excellent classes offered at KMS. If there is a link to a separate page that the teacher has created, you can click through to see more details about what is happening in class. If your student is in one of those classes, please feel free to check the teacher’s website regularly to help your student keep up with course assignments and actively engage with their learning.
Our history teachers have been digging into the the DBQ Project. Document Based Questioning and MiniQs integrate skills with content in history. Historical content is embedded in a pedagogy which we now call The DBQ Method which helps students learn to think and write. As a result, our lessons address most all of the Common Core Standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and several standards in language. The DBQ Method helps students read with understanding, think analytically, and write clearly about history by using authentic historical documents.
Mr. Fulumirani’s Green Crew has been invited to participate in a clean-up of the Greenway under the BART tracks. This is just one example of our students supporting our community.
Mr. McCormick’s Page. ELA8 classes are in the midst of finalizing their persuasive essays and will soon be studying persuasive speaking and delivering 3-minute persuasive speeches. Earlier, students learned about the specifics of persuasive writing, including rhetoric and rhetorical appeal with considerations for audience, organizational strategies, paragraph structures, Nestorian order, transitions, and how to craft three-part thesis statements. Essays are being drafted as Google docs within the district’s Google drive and will be MLA formatted, including the bibliography. Students will use their essay’s topic, thesis, and supporting evidence for their speeches.
Afterwards, students will identify an organization or individual that relates to their topic and thesis to whom they will write an MLA-formatted business letter. Students end up writing to a variety of nonprofits, companies, and all sorts of individuals, from offices within the school district to representatives in Washington, D.C. The best part of all of the above is reading the response letters to the students.
Activism in action! In the past, we’ve had several written responses from the White House, in fact. In February students will read “Ender’s Game” and “Fareheit 451” (graphic novel), which will lead us into a group comparative literature project.
Ms. Bogie’s Library Page. The library is open throughout the school day, at lunch, and after school every day except Wednesdays until 3 pm. Students come in individually or in small groups, or with their whole class when teachers schedule visits. They are welcome to come anytime the library is open. Students need their IDs to check out books and may have up to four books at a time. Current library projects are the Library Reading and Tech Stars (RATS), the Battle of the Books, and the National Junior Honors Society.
Ms. LaDue’s English Classes. 7th grade students have just begun a unit centered on the idea of empathy. So far in 2016 they have read, discussed, and written about Ray Bradbury’s short story “All in a Summer Day” and watched the documentary “Bully”. 8th graders have nearly finished reading Elie Wiesel’s famous memoir about the Holocaust, “Night”. Students in all these classes are improving their writing skills as evidenced by their ever-increasing scores on weekly Response to Literature essays, in which students must create a clear claim statement which is backed up by solid textual evidence. This weekly writing helps students meet Common Core standards and prepares them for 8th grade, high school, and the upcoming SBAC.
The 8th grade class took a field trip to Standford University on January 21st. Although many students don’t start thinking about college until they are a junior in high school, in reality, 8th grade is a critical time to begin preparing for post-high school plans. Studies have shown that students who do not perform well in 9th grade are at a much higher risk for dropping out, and it can be difficult for students to bring up their GPA after getting bad grades during their freshman year. Ms. LaDue hopes that this field trip left students feeling inspired and ready to start their high school careers off right!
Ms. Renee’s English Classes. Ms. Renee uses a new literacy program called UDIO. It was developed at Harvard, and Korematsu is the west coast pilot school. UDIO is often used together with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) programs, brought to KMS in 2013-14 by our scholar in residence, Dr. Anne Marie Baines. UDIO integrates technological solutions with sound pedagogical practices to address reading struggles at the middle school level. We are all excited to bring this innovative opportunity to our students. You can read more about this program at http://www.cast.org/research/projects/udio.html and http://www.edutopia.org/blog/udio-tech-platform-reading-disabilities-ted-hasselbring.
English 7 students are preparing for a class spelling bee. Two top winners from each class will go to a school spelling bee in early February. The class has just completed problem-solution essays. Students began researching issues in December, collected notes and text evidence, and then put their ideas and explanations into five-paragraph essay format. Students will now evaluate their own essays and create written goals for improving their writing in the future.
Ms. Aloccer’s Spanish Classes. With good study skills and respect for the language, students have begun to read write, and speak Spanish. Gradually, students will continue to be exposed to the lifestyles, history, politics, and culture of Spanish-speaking populations. Through exposure to children’s Spanish literature, hands-on art activities, research projects, and the textbook curriculum, students will gain knowledge and access to a new cultural awareness as well as the ability to one day communicate internationally.
Ms. Alcocer’s Beginning Art students are being introduced to materials, techniques, concepts, and processes necessary to understanding visual arts. Students are developing an awareness and appreciation of self-expression and the visual experience through a variety of projects, critiques, readings, and writings. Students are learning to respond, analyze, and interpret others’ artwork as well as their own.
Jackson Lee’s History Classes. My name is Jackson Lee and I started teaching at Korematsu this year. Information about how I shape my curriculum and instructional pedagogy can be found here.
Mr. Fulumirani and I have been collaborating weekly on implementing a Project Based Learning curriculum for 7th graders. Along with 21st Century Learner skills. Our instructional strategies are shaped by Bloom’s taxonomy which is theory that suggests that students should do more than just memorize and regurgitate facts. As such, Me and Mr. Fulumirani are focusing more on student-centered learning and we are creating our own DBQs this year, we call them ‘Mini-Q’s’.
Jeffery Nelson, Science
Remind codes for Jeffery Nelson’s Sciences classes are:
7th grade: text @3c9g9f to 81010
8th grade: text @89a474 to 81010