I hope that all of the students and their families had a wonderful Chinese New Year holiday and I hope the new year brings prosperity and good fortune for all!


This month has been all about starting our new year with a new unit. We will be talking about life in Medieval England for this unit, and to kick it off we started by watching a section of a BBC documentary series about the lives of different members of the Feudal system, including peasants, monks, and knights. As we dive deeper into this unit, we will learn more and more about the lives of all of these people and the ways that some parts of their lives influenced modern culture and values. It is a very interesting time, and a popular one for fiction authors to write about, and yet there is a lot of misinformation about what life was really like then. We will be separating fact from fiction in this unit and hopefully finding out where and why modern fiction has placed its own different values backwards into medieval times to sell to modern audiences. To this end, the students will read a combination of fiction and nonfiction and try to locate the discrepancies between the two and identify the reason that authors might be writing about history differently.


In our writing class, we have finished up our work with settings, and hopefully the students will continue to apply what they have learned about including interesting, well-described settings in their fiction work going forward. For the time being, we have turned our attention to how to use revisions to improve the overall quality of our work. We wrote a timed essay about what skill we want to learn, and with some revisions we were able greatly to improve the quality of this piece. The students had some great ideas about how to revise their own work, and incorporated some ideas from each other and from me as well, and the finished product is an excellent piece. I know that the students will continue using this skill on their own in order to monitor their writing quality on their own.


In periodical reading class, we have talked quite a bit about two very important current topics: the dispute between various countries over the islands, waters, and underwater resources of the South China Sea, and the outcome of America’s presidential primaries, which will be continuing through the rest of this month. These relevant current topics are complicated issues, but the students have risen to the challenge of understanding them and have discussed these problems with maturity and intelligence.


February was such a wonderful month for Level 9, and I can’t wait to jump into our new books in the first of March! See you all then!