Right now ChatGPT the Artificial Intelligence chatbot that was released to the world in November, is raising all sorts of questions for all sorts of industries, including schools. For schools the challenge is being met with everything from banning the app, to shifting to oral exams, to teaching students to use the technology, to creating tools that discern whether a piece of writing was created by a human or a bot. At Westfield, faculty are considering the best mission focused approach to this new technology.
Meanwhile, we are clear that part of our mission is to graduate excellent writers able to communicate their own ideas and opinions clearly and cogently. With this in mind, our students write everyday in every grade from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
For older students this comes in the form of paragraph and short essay responses to writing prompts. For younger students specific parts of writing are taught in workshop format with opportunities to experiment and practice each new concept from using ellipses to using action verbs to adding details to make a story pop.
Our First and Second Grade students are currently working on non-fiction writing units. From non-fiction, creative writing describing a “small moment” in their life to researching a European Country and writing what they learn, our youngest writers are learning to use language to convey their ideas.
Third graders will expand on this non-fiction writing as they learn to argue in support of a thesis. They will write persuasive essays seeking to convince others to agree with their point of view.
Creative fiction writing is threaded throughout the grades as well. Sixth and Seventh grade students recently completed Language Arts units where they read a variety of short stories. Among other stories, Sixth Grade read “Zebra” by Chaim Potok and “Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed” by Ray Bradbury. As a part of their story exploration Seventh Grade read examples of speculative fiction like Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” or Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”.
Sixth grade students were assigned a shoe and had to write a story imagining the owner of that shoe: the assignment was to make the owner of the shoe come alive, experience a conflict, encounter other believable, well imagined characters, and have the story resolve with an exciting climax. You can read some of their stories attached here.
Seventh Grade Students were expected to write complex, speculative fiction stories. Most importantly, the story needed a consistent narrator's voice throughout. The Characters needed to be well-developed, the dialogue crisp, and a rising action had to be evident. You can read a few examples of their stories attached here. Besides the difference in genre, speculative fiction versus realistic, you will notice that the Seventh Grade stories have a decidedly darker tone. This is developmentally appropriate, from sixth to seventh grade, students are well on their way to creating their sense of independence. They are drawn to stories of people struggling and succeeding (or failing) without the presence of parents and other caring adults.
- Remember to affirm your 2023-2024 continuous enrollment through the Parent Portal by February 1st.
- The P&G Council Roller Skating Party is on January 26th
- Parents and Guardians and Student Dance is on Friday February 10th
- Save the date, we are bringing back Grandparents Day, Friday April 28th. Look for more information before spring vacation.
Queries for January Meeting for Worship
- How does our worship nurture all worshippers, creating a deeper sense of community?
- Does worship enhance my capacity for attentive, nonjudgmental listening to others?
- How does participation in meeting for worship contribute to my lifelong spiritual journey?
Have a great week,
What We Are Reading
What We Are Reading in Second Grade
Stunt Boy in the Meantime
By Jason Reynolds
What We Are Reading in Seventh Grade
My Side of the Mountain
by Jean Craighead George
What We Are Reading in Preschool
Things That Go
Featured in our library
The Runaway Wok
by Ying Chang Compestine
Featured in our library
Whoever You Are
by Mem Fox
What I am reading
Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen
by Michelle Icard
- 6th Grade - Ethan S. - The Voice of Halloween.pdf
- 6th Grade - Fall Bliss.pdf
- 6th Grade - Maya B. - The Growing Tree.pdf
- 6th Grade - Natalie O. - Blinded.pdf
- 7th Grade - Kylan H. - Spider-Man-The Loop Sacrifice.pdf
- 7th Grade - Abigale L.- The Short Story ~ Final Draft.pdf
- 7th Grade - Kayla C. - Corrupted Creations.pdf
- 7th Grade - Zahra M. - A Different World.pdf