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Language Arts: We’ve spent time continuing to develop our creative stories. In addition, we’ve begun to discuss and practice editing, the next step in the writing process. Some students have already begun to edit their writing. Next week, we’ll launch into more formal writing as we discuss traits of good writing.

The first trait we’ll focus on is IDEAS. Students will decide how to narrow a topic to make it manageable and appropriate for the purpose. We’ll work with creating “hooks” or strong writing leads and including relevant facts that go beyond the obvious. Students will practice these skills as they work on a essay about a facet of a chosen religion.

Integrated Studies: What an exciting week! On Tuesday we had the privilege of visiting the Islamic Center of Tacoma where Cal, a 19 year old college student who is a member of the center, gave a presentation about Islam. He answered many questions and helped further the understanding of this religion. The students conducted themselves with the utmost respect as we had a chance to watch the afternoon prayer.

We had a chance to listen to the muezzin give the call to prayer as Cal explained what his words meant. We then watched as members prayed alone – going through the repetitious motions on their own. Finally, an elder member led the men in the group prayer. Students described the experience as, “Amazing” and the sense of calm throughout the room was palpable.

It was noted that the women’s area was behind a screen. That day, there were no women praying – but the girls got a chance to meet a woman as we exited through the women’s side. The students got to see firsthand the Islamic principle of Zakah, or charity, as they noticed the many bags of clothing that were collected to sent to the victims of the floods in Pakistan. The members took time to warmly thank the students for coming and we left with a new found understand and respect for the Islamic Center of Tacoma.

Working with Adam, the students are currently working on a away to demonstrate their knowledge of Islam by creating a new “Windows Movie Maker” movie.

Next Wednesday, we’ll get a chance to visit Temple Beth El, a Jewish Synagogue. There we’ll meet with Rabbi Kadden who will give us a tour and talk to the students about the tenants of Judaism. Once again, we ask that your student dress “more nicely than usual” that day. (No t-shirts, sweatpants etc…)

As we tie our study of religions back to cultural universals, we had the chance to meet with an Anthropologist, Dr. Andrews at Pacific Lutheran University today. Dr. Andrews talked to the students about how human culture is studied by cultural anthropologists. He had crania to show the students from early Australopithecus Afarensis to Neandertal to Modern Man. He discussed how culture began to evolve as early hominin became bipeds and had free hands.

As he is a specialist in stone tools, he passed around examples of early stone tools. The highlight was when he demonstrated how to create stone tools using a piece of obsidian. Students were able to take a shard home. Although he abraded the edges, they are still very sharp so be careful!

Check out our pictures from the week, including the favorite new game, broomball! :

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