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Notes from Greg
Monday, September 9Posted by Greg Chalfin on 9/9/2019
Hope you’re having a great start to the week! It was great to see so many of you at Back to School Night, and thank you for coming out and for all of your support. Students are now in the full swing of their academic sections and are off to a fantastic start. From roundtable discussions to review of summer assignments, students built off the fantastic momentum from the camping trips before Labor Day weekend, and the teachers are so enjoying working with your kids.
Below, I wanted to provide a brief curriculum update about your child’s classes and also let you know of a few upcoming events and notes regarding the middle school.
For sixth grade families, please see the linked invitation here from Julie Daughtry, 6th grade Grade Level Head, and the 6th grade team. Students will have the opportunity to screen the movie “Wonder” together after sports on Wednesday, September 19th from 4:30 to 7 pm in the ballroom. Please RSVP for your child at the link. We hope they can make it!
On another note, one of the highlights of each trimester is our wonderful Cave Shows, a middle school talent show that showcases the immense abilities of our middle schoolers. Our first of the year is on Wednesday, September 25th at 1:15 pm, right after lunch. You are welcome to come out and support our performers!
Also, later this month and next, we’ll also have a few parent coffees for parents of each grade level. All coffees will happen in our Middle School Faculty Lounge on the first floor of building two. Please see the dates and times below, and we hope to see you there!
- 6th grade – Thursday, October 10 at 8:30 am
- 7th grade – Monday, October 21 at 8:30 am
- 8th grade – Monday, October 14 at 8:30 am
As you have probably already realized, there is a wide variety of wonderful opportunities for your children in middle school. Among those are the opportunity for your children to be part of affinity groups, an place where children can explore and engage with conversations on topics of shared interest with their peers. I am grateful and excited that Stanley’s mission supports this work in valuing diversity and individuality. As Stanley’s mission writes, “We develop in children an understanding of similarities and differences in people and the ability to make socially responsible decisions.” Last year, Grace Reilly and Donna Meallet began the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and Students of Color Affinity (SOCA) groups, respectively. Those will continue this year, and each provides an opportunity for students to learn, grow, affirm their own identity, and feel empowered both individually and as a group for who they are and what they believe. Through this open dialogue and meaningful conversations, we believe that this will help fulfill Stanley’s mission for students “to know themselves – their strengths, challenges, learning style, culture and interests.” I am excited for the wonderful growth happening within our community for our students and our staff. Your children learned about these groups this morning at assembly, and if they are interested in starting another group, they simply need to reach out to any teacher or to me.
Additionally, as we head toward next month, I ask for your support as you talk with your students about our first middle school dance on Friday, October 11th and about their Halloween Costumes later next month. As we approach these events, I appreciate your help in supporting your children to be inclusive and caring to all of their classmates. Please help coach your child to not hold parties or events, or wear costumes with peers, that exclude others. Thank you for your help in conveying this message. It supports our themes of Respect, Inclusivity, Safety, and Kindness and the acronym RISK that Tim, the faculty, and I have been speaking about with students.
Finally, I wanted to provide an update for you about your child’s classes. In the 6th grade, students have started to get into the swing of changing classes throughout the day and are settling in well. In Humanities, students have started by studying the American Revolution and the formation of the colonies and are implementing various notetaking strategies. Math students are working on problem solving equations and expressions, in addition to logic puzzles. In science, students have kicked off the year by looking at science in the news and will be starting a space unit. They have also unfortunately been witness to some dramatic events in Kelly’s new fish tank. Ask your students about it! In Spanish, students have been discussing the concept of “no lo tengo”, learning vocabulary by discussing what you need or don’t need for classes. In Drama, students have learned of this year’s Shakespeare play, The Tempest, and are getting into roles soon. In the Learning Center, students have been learning about themselves as learners, discussing auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles. Finally, in the Class of 2022 social-emotional learning class, students have begun by talking about their own vulnerability in discussing their transition into middle school.
In 7th grade, in Language Arts, students are beginning their work by having thoughtful discussions related to their summer reading, The Giver, and are also learning new thinking strategies to aid their learning. In Social Studies, students are conducting roundtable discussions on summer reading and engaging in a Decades project that will provide an overall timeline of American history. In math, discussions of classroom culture and an investigation of arithmetic sequences have kicked off the year. After determining and deciphering rules for the arithmetic sequences, students will be moving into a larger unit of integer study. In science, students are learning about states of matter and phase changes. Spanish students returned to reviewing the “Super 7” verbs from sixth grade and are engaging in creating a video about excuses for not having one’s homework. In music, students too have picked up where they left off last spring and are building on the complexity of their song, idjombi, toward having different rhythms playing at the same time. Finally, in the Learning Center, students are discussing their learning styles and focusing on executive functioning as the year begins, using the work of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences to do so.
In 8th grade students, Language Arts students have begun with an introduction to their first novel, The Power of One, and will be engaging with theme mapping, looking for evidence of the novel’s main themes: coming of age, prejudice, friendship, and dealing with loss. Additionally, they are reviewing parts of speech as they engage with grammar study. Social Studies students are doing roundtable discussions, in addition to watching the film “He Named Me Malala” to provide context on their summer reading. Soon, they will be moving into a unit about democracy. In math, students have started by solving and graphing inequalities, and science students are examining the characteristics of living things and discussing the question of “What does it mean to be alive?” In Spanish, students have been learning how to listen and understand music through the song “la bamba.” They are also learning the “Sweet 16” verbs, including the “to be” verbs of ser and estar. In the Learning Center, students are discussing their learning styles inventories and executive function skills, and they are also talking about their own stories that may hinder them from growing. Finally, in the arts, Jairo’s students are beginning a skateboard design project, and Will and Koffi have begun with song development, helping their students write their own lyrics.
Across all grades, Donna’s PE students have started the year with the Presidential Fitness test and will be soon engaging with archery and golf. Stanley’s cross country team had their first meet on Friday, and the soccer and volleyball teams begin their games this week. Good luck, and go Bulldogs!
Thank you again for all your support as we begin the year. As I mentioned last week at Back to School Night, I am immensely grateful to partner with such a wonderful parent community. Have a great week, and don’t ride the roller coaster with your children! Look forward to crossing paths with each of you soon!
Wednesday, August 28Posted by Greg Chalfin on 8/28/2019
What a wonderful opening to the school year it has been! From homeroom activities to volleyball tournaments to opening academic classes, the year is off to a fantastic start, and students are excited for their homeroom camping trips beginning today. All homerooms have arrived safely to their camping locations, and I know that students and faculty alike are in store for a wonderful time in the mountains. I’m looking forward to driving up to Turquoise Lake this evening!
As the year gets going, please do travel to our middle school blog. Pictures and updates have been posted here, and there will be new posts each and every week chronicling some snapshots of the wonderful learning and activities happening here in Stanley’s middle school.
In addition, I wanted to let you know of an upcoming calendar event. We look forward to welcoming you to Back to School Night next Thursday from 6-8:30 pm. We’ll begin in the ballroom for some brief remarks from Tim Barrier, Head of School, and me, and then you’ll head off to homerooms and rotate through classes to meet your child’s teachers for this coming year. Below is a schedule for the evening.
6-6:15 - Arrive and mingle
6:15-6:40 – All parents in ballroom
- Tim Barrier, Head of School - Welcome!
- Greg Chalfin, Head of Middle School - Life in middle school
6:40-6:45 - Exit to Homeroom Classrooms
6:45-7:00 – Homeroom / Advisory
7:00 – 7:15 – Class 1
7:15 – 7:30 – Class 2
7:30 – 7:45 – Class 3
7:45 – 8:00 – Class 4
8:00 – 8:15 – Class 5
8:15 – 8:30 – Class 6
You’ll receive your child’s particular section schedule in homeroom on the evening of Back to School Night. Given the short amount of time in homeroom and to make the focus on school business, I’ve asked that families limit food and drink for your homeroom on this evening and not bring alcohol to the event. Of all nights during the school year, this is among the most important, and the faculty and I look forward to hosting you and sharing the wonderful enthusiasm they have for their disciplines and for middle schoolers.
Finally, I wanted to let you know of one curricular change that will be occurring for students this school year. This school year, for one trimester each, students in each grade will have a class that focuses on social-emotional learning and health and well-being with our school counselor, Emily Goldberg. Modeled around the work of educational philosopher Nel Noddings, students will learn about caring for themselves and others, thinking about and discussing a wide-variety of topics related to social-emotional health in middle school and beyond. The class will be named after the graduating year for those students (e.g: this year’s 8th graders are the Class of 2020), and students will have it once a week for a trimester. For 6th graders, that work has already begun and will continue through the first trimester. After the first trimester, their “Class of 2022” class will become a 6th grade Writing class taught by our new Middle School teaching fellow, Acelynn Perkins, during the winter and spring trimesters. Acelynn’s work with students will both supplement and expand the writing skills happening across the 6th grade curriculum.
Eighth graders will have their “Class of 2020” class with Emily during the winter trimester, and 7th graders, the Class of 2021, will work with Emily during the spring trimester. To accommodate for this class in the schedule, 7th and 8th grade students will lose either a math or language arts class once per week during the trimester in which they have this important social-emotional course, reducing one of those disciplines from five to four times per week for one trimester. Given Stanley’s 7 goals for learners and philosophical beliefs about the importance of social-emotional learning, we are excited for every student to have intentional time built into their curriculum to work with Emily. As one New York Times op-ed recently outlined, the opportunity for students to build their social-emotional skills and resilience are imperative. This class is vitally important to help students grow and develop in 2019.
Thank you for all of your support as we begin this school year. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a joyful, thoughtful, and connected community. I look forward to seeing you all next week. Have a great rest of the week, and see you soon!
All the best,
Welcome to School and Skills ClassesPosted by Stacey Toevs on 8/16/2019
Dear Middle School Families,
Hope you’re having a great end to the week, and I wish you and your families a great weekend as we head into the final days of summer! It was so great to see many of you at our New Student orientation on Wednesday morning and at homeroom gatherings later that evening. We’re in for a great year, and the faculty and I look forward to welcoming your children to school on Monday. They’re in store for an amazing first week!
A couple of notes for you as we begin the school year. First, please drop your children off on Rampart Way between 8 and 8:15 am and pull all the way forward when doing so. It will help with traffic flow and safety, particularly on these first mornings of the year.
In addition, a quick reminder for you as we begin the year regarding technology. As in years past, Stanley middle school students do not have access to their cell phones during the school day. This, too, extends to Smart Watches. While we respect family wishes around cell phones and Smart Watches, we do not want them to be part of the children’s school day. If your child brings their cell phone or Smart Watch to school, please have them turn it into their homeroom teacher at the start of the day and retrieve it at the end of the day. If you need to contact your child, please call the front desk and ask to be connected to your child’s classroom. If you have extenuating circumstances that require your child to have a Smart Watch (such as a health issue), please let me know and we can figure out a plan that works for you and the classroom community.
Finally, your children will be signing up for Skills Classes in homeroom this week with their advisors. Below, you’ll find descriptions of each of the various Skills classes that are offered. Please review them with your children, so they are prepared to sign-up this coming week. Skills Classes will begin on Tuesday, September 3rd after the homeroom camping trips. Your child will make a first, second, and third choice for both Tuesday and Thursday. We will try to accommodate as many first choice selections as possible; however, class demand may necessitate moving to an alternative choice. Should you have any questions about any of the offerings, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and I would be happy to help answer any questions. Your children are in for some tough decisions – what a wonderful array of offerings the faculty has offered!
Tuesday Skills offerings
Geo Bee (all students) - Practice and compete in this year’s National Geographic Geography Bee.
Book Club (all students) - We will read the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and discuss the literary elements and the social aspects of the novel. We will take this story of two rival groups of teenagers and will apply their struggles to groups today and the struggles that teens face. If time, we will also watch the classic film at the end of the trimester.
Middle School Philosophy and Ethics (all students) - What is the meaning of life? What is truth? The nature of free will? This skills class will examine some of the questions that humans have pondered throughout time through a middle school lens, providing a fun, interactive introduction to philosophy and ethics through simulations, games, and discussions.
STAMP (Students Taking Action, Making Progress) Conference (all students) - What does it mean to be inclusive? Or diverse? How do people feel excluded because of finances, skin color, social status, gender and more? This class will investigate these questions plus other wonders we have about racism and bias. The STAMP (Students Taking Action and Making Progress) Conference empowers middle school students with tools to build more inclusive communities in their home schools. The conference, held in October at the History Colorado Museum, is created and led by high school student leaders. Students in this skills class will attend the conference and develop creative ways to bring what they learn back to Stanley.
Turbo Oral Presentations (all students): Prepare to receive a topic and to create a short, yet very effective and entertaining 2-minute presentation to the group. This is designed to be a fun, entertaining way to boost social confidence and to generate better public speaking skills. Presentations will be both individual and partner/team based.
Exploratory Spanish (all students) - New to Spanish this year? Feeling rusty after a summer off? Come to this fun immersion conversation class to learn the basics and get more comfortable.
Learn to Code (all students) - Learn how to code in Python, one of the world’s premier programming text-based languages! We will use microcomputers to create challenging, relevant projects. All levels are welcome!
Clean Comedy Improv (all students) - Discuss and share ideas and techniques on how to make any situation FUN, but most importantly, APPROPRIATELY FUNNY on the spot! Time to improvise! :)
Student Council (all students) - This is a year long skills class, and will require additional work outside of your normal skills class hour. If you enjoy planning, organizing and executing school wide events, while strengthening your leadership style, this is the place for you! Student Council is in charge or organizing Cave Shows, Arts Fests, Bake Sales, dances, various fundraisers, etc. If interested in this year long skills course, please talk to Molly, and she will get you the required application.
6th grade math support (6th graders only) - Receive supplemental math support that will help with 6th grade content.
7th grade math support (7th graders only) – Come and receive supplemental math support that will help with the 7th grade math content.
7th grade Geometry (7th graders only) – This Skills class is only for 7th graders and those students who completed the 6th grade Geometry Skills class last year. Come continue your Geometry Skills!
8th grade Geometry (8th graders only) – This Skills class is only for 8th graders and those students who have completed the 7th grade Geometry Skills class last year. Come continue your Geometry Skills!
Thursday Skills Offerings
Learning Center Support (all students) - Students who would benefit from extra time/support on assignments but do not utilize the Learning Center will work in a small group environment on the skills they need.
Language Arts Support (all students) - Please come to this skills class and receive some additional support on any reading or writing assignments. We will have time to work on assignments, and will also do mini-lessons on helpful skills in the areas of writing and reading.
Forensics (all students) - Put your forensic science skills to the test! You will learn how scientists help solve crimes and practice different techniques such as: fingerprinting, blood typing, hair analysis.
Word Puzzles and Lateral Thinking Challenges (all students) - Come and challenge yourself to an array of intriguing, challenging puzzles and riddles that are aimed at building problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
3D Printing (all students) - Learn how to design your own 3D models digitally on the computer. We will use BlocksCad, a block based coding software, to model our designs. Each student will get 1 print on the 3D printer over the course of the skills class. No prior experience needed!
Current Events Club (all students) Curious about what’s going on in the world? Looking for a place to discuss big issues in the news? Come on down!
Introductory French Class (all students) - This course will cover some basic French conversation skills.. English: My name is Koffi! French: Mon nom est Koffi! Or Je m’appelle Koffi!
Journalism (all students) – Come learn the craft of interviewing and reporting as we learn how to report the news and move toward publishing our stories to share with the Stanley community.
Book Club (6th graders only) - Read a second book by Wonder author RJ Palacio. As a group we will decide to read The Julian Chapter, Shingaling, or Auggie & Me.
7th Grade Constitutional Law (7th graders only) - Students who are interested in participating in the Constitutional Law program will learn the essential elements of the content and the program through lecture style lessons. Support may also be provided for the paper due after
Constitutional Law (8th graders only) Con Law Students who participated in the 7th grade skills class last year will begin an intensive study building of that knowledge in preparation for the National Competition in Washington, DC.
ISEE/HSPT Test Prep (8th graders only): For those interested in working on skills related to high school entrance exams. We will discuss test-taking strategies and work through practice problems.
8th grade math support (8th graders only): Receive supplemental math support that will help with 8th grade content.
I hope you and your families enjoy a wonderful, relaxing weekend! As the school year gets started, be sure to check in to our MS Blog: Learn, Do, Become for updates and pictures about all of the wonderful happenings here at school. New content will be posted each week. Have a great weekend, and see you soon!
All the best,
Middle School Head
Update for Wednesday, May 22Posted by Greg Chalfin on 5/22/2019
Hope you’re having a great week, and all is well! While the wintry weather earlier this week did not have it feeling like school is over next week, we are in the home stretch and are looking forward to a great final few days of the year. Our last Cave Show was this afternoon, our final Skills class is tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to a great last week next week! As a reminder, our annual Wheel Day is on Tuesday, May 28th after lunch, and directly after that is our Middle School Buy-A-Share afternoon of “Inflatable Fun” from 3 to 5 pm. If you would like to purchase a spot for your child, please follow the link here. We hope all children attend regardless of your ability to pay.
Additionally, for 8th grade families, a couple of details for graduation morning of Saturday, June 1st. The ceremony begins at 9 am, and we ask your children to please arrive by 8:30. You are welcome to have as many guests attend graduation on Saturday as you would like, and we look forward to the 8th grade speeches and to a wonderful celebration of the Class of 2019!
On an unrelated note, we have some Tupperware and kitchenware that belongs to middle school parents. If you are missing anything, please check Taryn’s office to pick up your items.
Finally, a reminder that next Friday, May 31st, our last day of school, is a half day for your children with a 12:15 dismissal time. Please plan to pick up your children then, and best wishes for an amazing summer!
Thanks for all your support this year. It has been a wonderful year in middle school, and I wish you and your families all the best this summer. Thanks again, and hope to cross paths with each of you soon! Have a great day!
Athletic sign-ups for rising 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade studentsPosted by Greg Chalfin & Art Gluck on 5/9/2019
Hope you’re having a good Thursday! As May marks the concluding weeks of our school year, we are looking forward to the 2019-2020 school year. To prepare for the year, one of the helpful pieces of information to have is with respect to athletics.
In middle school, students are asked to participate in at least one after school athletics option in one of the three seasons during each of their middle school years. Students may participate in all three seasons but are required to participate in at least one. Sports can only run if we have enough students to participate, so in the form linked below, please fill out a first and a second choice, if your child would be willing to play another sport if their first choice has to be cancelled due to low enrollment.
By next Friday, May 17th, please fill out the linked form here that has next year’s offering for Stanley athletics. For current 5th grade families who are not continuing at Stanley, please ignore this email.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and we look forward to having you play for Stanley next year! Go Bulldogs!
Greg Chalfin, Head of Middle School and Art Gluck, Director of Athletics
Middle School update, Wednesday May 8Posted by Greg Chalfin on 5/8/2019
Hope you’re having a great week, and all is well! As the year concludes, the middle school continues to be a very busy place. Our Constitutional Law team returned from Washington D.C. last night after a wonderful trip and competition. Congratulations to the students and to Mike and Susan on all of their hard work this year! 8th grade students leave for England on Friday, and as I have learned about the itinerary, I know they’ll have an amazing trip across the pond. And here on campus, there’s been a myriad of wonderful lessons across the middle school from 6th grade probability games in math to 7th grade persuasive essays in Language Arts to 8th grade debates about genetic editing in science. You can find snapshots of all of it on our blog linked here.
As the year concludes, I wanted to provide a brief update about some upcoming events, the wonderful curriculum happening in our classes, as well as give an update about some changes in staffing in middle school for next year.
First, as you know, there are many special events for your children as we conclude these final weeks. For your calendars, please do mark the afternoon of Tuesday, May 28th from 3-5 pm for the middle school buy-a-share of an afternoon of “Inflatable Fun” on the soccer field. If you would like to purchase a spot for your child, please follow the link here. There will be lots of fun and games for the kids to engage with right after school on the final Tuesday of the year, and we hope all children attend regardless of your ability to pay. This event will come on the heels of our annual Wheel Day, which will happen after lunch on the Tuesday, the 28th.
In addition, I wanted to provide an update for you about staffing changes for next year. The departing staff members Nat Oliver, Angelina Nicol, Taryn Steil, Jill Teas, and Stephanie Bender have done tremendous work over their years in the middle school and leave big shoes to fill. We are excited to welcome the following individuals into our community next year:
- Andrew Nusbaum will be joining us next year as our new 6th grade math teacher and will be joining Kathy and Jairo in homeroom next year. Andrew comes to us from the Charles Armstrong School outside of San Francisco where he has been teaching middle school math and Language Arts.
- Rebecca Bouslog will be joining us next year as the new Learning Specialist and will work alongside Susan and Brittany in the Learning Center. Rebecca joins us from the Bayside School in Daphne, Alabama where she has most recently been a Learning Specialist and a 5th and 6th grade teacher.
- Acelynn Perkins will be joining us next year as a Middle School Teaching Fellow, a new one-year position that will provide a new teacher the opportunity to learn the craft of being a teacher and advisor and to engage with British Primary Philosophy through having a mentor teacher and by teaching classes over the course of the year. Acelynn will also be handling some administrative responsibilities. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver.
Other staff changes:
- Koffi Toudji will be expanding his role at Stanley in becoming a full-time middle school music teacher, teaching all grades and joining Ted and Molly in homeroom as a homeroom teacher and advisor.
- Jairo Barsallo will too be expanding his responsibilities in middle school, joining Kathy and our new 6th grade math teacher, Andrew, in homeroom as a homeroom teacher and advisor.
- Donna Meallet, will also be expanding her responsibilities in middle school, joining David and Laura in homeroom as a homeroom teacher and advisor.
- In addition, we have started a search for a Middle School Counselor and will be in touch when that position is filled.
- Finally, we are in the process of searching for an After School Choir teacher and will also let you know when that position is filled.
We look forward to a great end to the school year and to welcoming these new members to our amazing community next year!
Finally, I wanted to provide an update for you regarding the final weeks of the year in your child's classes. In 6th grade, Julie and Angelina have started book clubs within Humanities class. Students recently set their calendars, and they are excited to begin to engage in discussion. In the Learning Center, students are having reading and annotation strategies for Humanities reinforced. In Chat Room, students have been talking about consent and personal boundaries. Spanish class has seen students diving into making their own “Create Your Own Adventure” stories. They will be reading another story next week and watching a film before a compare/contrast exercise. In science, students have recently finished a documentary on Climate Change and will soon be doing their own research about an issue related to that topic. In math, Nat’s students are engaged with a Geometry unit, working with lots of vocabulary as they do naming and notation for geometric concepts. Students are encouraged to apply strategies from other classes (e.g: note cards) to help learn the wide array of vocabulary. Most recently, students had a wonderful time with their casino projects, a great application of their learning about probability. Finally, in drumming class, students continue to learn increasingly complex beats, working on their posture and wearing their, as Koffi says, “natural makeup” (smiles) to bring life to the music. It’s a joy to observe.
In 7th grade, students in Language Arts have been working on their persuasive letters and continuing with their book club reading. In math, students have begun an investigation in pizza pricing, an application of geometry where they will compare good deals. In Social Studies, students are working on the five themes of geography and exploring application of these skills. In the Learning Center, students are getting support with each of these classes and projects, in addition to debriefing their Social Studies presentations and reflecting on their process. In science, students are finishing up stations on simple machines and will conclude the year with a Rube Goldberg project. Spanish class has students engaging with acting and a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. And in the Arts, students are wrapping up recording their songs in their bands.
In 8th grade, students are wrapping up their final classes as Stanley students and look forward to departing for England on Friday. As a reminder, 8th grade students should not attend school this Friday, as they get ready to depart for England later that day. In Language Arts, students have been delving into the genre of the short story and analyzing the beauty and the challenges of those works. Examining stories like “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara and Walter Dean Myers’ “The Treasure of Lemon Brown,” the unit allows students to connect their ideas about a diverse array of environments, cultures, and viewpoints. In addition, David’s students have been preparing for their England trip by learning about various historical aspects of British History, including the linguistic and cultural impacts that various invaders have had on the country. Please ask your kids about it! In Social Students, students should have completed their Cold War documentary project and will present upon their return from England. Parents, please check to make sure these are completed, as the presentation date is a long way from the start of the assignment.
Students are also working on final independent project on “levers of power” and will be choosing a lever and designing a summit to share how the lever can be activated to solve the issue. In science, students are in the midst of their study of genetics, having a debate about the ethics of the genetic editing of human embryos. After England, they will move into a final discussion of evolution and adaptation. In the Learning Center, students have been wrapping up projects for the year. They took all of the important science terms and created a visual representation to help them study for their quiz. They also previewed the Social Studies Youth Summit project to give individualized time to the planning process. In math, students have been engaging with year-end review and have been watching a film about the building of the London Eye. They will also be looking at the conversion of U.S. dollars to British Pounds. Arts class continues to explore play in various disciplines after Cabaret, and in Spanish class, students have wrapped up projects and their book and are practicing conversation with the use of “Sweet 16” verbs.
Across all grades, Donna’s students are doing the Presidential fitness test this week and will move into frisbee to conclude the year. And Spring sports seasons wrap up for our Ultimate Frisbee, girls’ soccer, and tennis teams this week. It’s been an amazing year on the fields and courts for the Bulldogs!
Thanks again for all your support, and we look forward to a great final stretch to the year. Best wishes to our 8th graders for a safe trip to England, and look forward to crossing paths with all of you soon! Have a great day!
April 23 Update & Curriculum ReportPosted by Greg Chalfin on 4/23/2019
Hope you’re having a great week! It’s a busy one here at Stanley with our 8th grade Cabaret tomorrow night, our final middle school dance on Friday night, and Stanley’s auction on Saturday night. Look forward to seeing you all at these events!
We’ve had a terrific first few weeks back from break. Last week, the 7th grade enjoyed a fantastic trip to Moab, and there’s so much wonderful learning happening on and off campus. You can see some snapshots of it all on our blog here. From field trips to athletics games to 8th graders preparing for Wednesday night’s Cabaret performance and the upcoming England Trip, there’s been much to celebrate in recent weeks.
In addition to this week’s busy schedule of Wednesday’s 8th grade Cabaret, Friday night’s dance, and Saturday night’s auction, I wanted to alert you to another great evening opportunity in a viewing of the film "Screenagers" on Wednesday, May 1st at 6 pm. Your children will be seeing the film during homeroom and advisory this Wednesday, April 24th, and I encourage you to chat with your children about the film. If you’re interested in a trailer, you can find one linked here. Hope to see you for our parent event next Wednesday, May 1st in the ballroom at 6 pm.
Additionally, approximately one month from today, you will receive the final Spring academic report for your child. As mentioned in a previous letter, faculty will not be writing full academic reports about each academic class this Spring. Instead, advisors will write a summative comment about the year, examining and commenting on your child’s progress in the context of Stanley’s 7 Goals for Learners. You can expect to receive this report in the final weeks of the year, and should you wish to have a follow-up conversation with your child’s advisor, any of your child’s teachers, or me before the year concludes, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are so proud of your children for the progress they have made this year.
Finally, I wanted to provide a curriculum update as we head into these final weeks of the year. In 6th grade, Julie’s humanities students are learning Cornell style notes and are studying slavery and resistance to it. They have a quiz this Wednesday. In science, Kelly’s students have just started a unit on climate change, looking at greenhouse gases. In math, Nat’s students are working on a casino project, designing games based on probability. In Chat Room, Stephanie’s students are learning about refusal skills, talking about peer pressure and considering middle school situations in which they are challenged to save a friendship and make a positive choice. In Spanish, Molly’s students are discussing the phrase “Pura Vida” from Costa Rica and will be starting a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book soon. In drumming, Koffi’s students are working on more complex beats and are having a wonderful time. Finally, in the Learning Center, Angelina’s students are working on project organization and study skills for quizzes.
In 7th grade, students have returned from Moab and jumped right back into the final stretch of academics. Jairo and Will’s arts students are working on their final practices for their musical groups, and they will begin recording next week. In math, Art’s students will be transitioning into calculating the surface area of simple and compound three dimensional polyhedrons. In Social Studies, Mike’s students are preparing for their panel presentations on race and the Civil Rights movement next Tuesday, April 30th. In Language Arts, Kathy’s students are turning in final character analysis essays for To Kill A Mockingbird today, and they will be moving into organizing book club meetings with the theme of leadership and legacy in memoirs. Moving forward, they will turn in persuasive letters as a final major writing assignment. Additionally, if you need a good story as a supplement to your child’s study of To Kill A Mockingbird, check out this story from CBS Sunday Morning. It’s a really nice extension of the book today and of its impact on middle school students. In the Learning Center, Susan's 7th graders are working on strategies to preview a book, including finding a character list, reading a summary, and reading the themes for the text. They also spent time with grammar lessons, as they edited and worked on final drafts of their To Kill a Mockingbird essays, including how to cite quotes from a novel and how to keep verb tenses consistent through a paper. Upcoming, they will preview the format for a panel presentation and think about how to participate as an audience member and create questions. They will also be previewing vocabulary and key terms for science. In Kelly and Grace’s science class, work will focus on a final unit on simple machines to conclude the year. Finally, in Spanish, Molly and Anna's students will be finishing their book this week and starting a choice-based project.
In 8th grade, arts students are preparing for Cabaret tomorrow night, and we look forward to the show! In Spanish, Anna’s students have read 10 chapters of their book and are examining the book through the lens of choice and agency. In Language Arts, David’s students have wrapped up their Holocaust study and will be moving into study of short stories. Additionally, they will begin working on their 8th grade graduation speeches, considering the themes of legacy and memory. You may want to touch base with your 8th grader about what they’re thinking about saying. In science, Grace’s students are in the middle of a unit on genetics and are looking at how traits are passed down. In Social Studies, Mike’s students have started a documentary project on one event from the Cold War. In math, Ted’s students have started exploring exponential functions and how that looks in equations and in graphs. Finally, in the Learning Center, Brittany’s students have been practicing factoring polynomials using the “rocket ship” method in math, planning and outlining their documentaries for social studies and honing in on their genetics knowledge for science. Additionally, they are connecting the work they do to the bigger picture and purpose of school, thinking about why they are doing what they are doing to maintain perseverance through the last weeks of middle school.
Across all grades, Donna’s P.E. students are playing pickleball and tennis, and Stanley’s spring athletics teams return to game action this week. It’s hard to believe we have less than three weeks left in the season!
As the weather turns to Spring, we look forward to continuing to support your students as they enter these final weeks. It's been an amazing year, and please encourage your child to make the most of each of their classes and honor the hard work faculty continue to put into planning wonderful lessons for your children. Have a great rest of the week, and look forward to crossing paths with you soon!
Grade Level updates for MarchPosted by Greg Chalfin on 3/20/2019
It’s almost Spring Break, and I wanted to say thank you for all your help and support in making this a truly fantastic year. The middle school continues to thrive, and I am so grateful to be working with you and your students. Thank you for all you do, and hope you enjoy a wonderful week away next week! We are looking forward to a great next couple days with our MS Ski Day tomorrow and the Arts Festival on Friday. As a reminder, your children are welcome to leave at the conclusion of the Arts Festival at Noon. For students who cannot be picked up until 3 pm, coverage will be provided for them. If your child has already ordered lunch, it too will be provided for them.
Below, you’ll find an update about the amazing learning that has been happening in classrooms. Students are engaged in a wide variety of activities, and the faculty and I have seen such immense growth in your children. Last week’s most recent set of academic reports highlighted the great work that has been happening.
Additionally, I wanted to let you know of a couple of events upcoming after Spring Break that I hope you’ll mark your calendars for. On Friday, April 12th, please join me for a middle school parent coffee from 8:30-9:30 am in Taryn’s office. It will be a great chance to connect as we head into the final months of the year.
Additionally, on the evening of Wednesday, May 1st, we are excited to host parents to a viewing of the film “Screenagers”. Building on our event in December around the book iGen: Why Today’s Super Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us, “Screenagers” is a film that too examines the impact of technology on our students. Your children will be viewing the film during homeroom and advisory on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 24th and having debrief conversations after. Please do chat with them about it, and we hope you can attend the following week on May 1st.
As mentioned, here is a curriculum update for you for each of our respective courses. In 6th grade, Nat’s math students finished up the problem solving activity they started last week, which was a designing a snack mix that would be popular and/or meet a specific price requirement. Moving forward, students will continue their work around fractions and probability. In the Learning Center, Angelina’s students are work on peer editing their math problem solving reflections and have been spending time looking at the elements of a good outline to help with their writing. In Spanish, Molly’s students have been reading short stories and doing comprehension activities, using their new verbs comprar, salir, dar, ver and buscar. In Humanities, Julie’s students have been examining the Cherokee Indian Removal and are writing a persuasive essay about whether to accept or resist removal from the perspective of the Cherokee. Koffi’s drumming students have started to build rhythms that will become increasingly complex as the semester progresses. In Chat Room, Stephanie’s students have started to discuss dating and what that means in middle school, looking at considerations to make as they decide whether they are ready to date. Finally, in science, Kelly’s students have been continued their unit on weather and will be making weather stations soon. After last week’s bomb cyclone, it has been quite the timely unit!
In 7th grade, Art’s math students are deep into their investigation of geometry and have delved into Pythagorean’s Theorem and studied its history and application. Additionally, students transitioned into calculating area and perimeter as it relates to different polygons, and their most recent investigation had students working with a circle’s area and circumference. In the Learning Center, Susan’s students have been previewing and reviewing the math material, in addition to getting support with finding and citing annotations for To Kill A Mockingbird in Language Arts. Along those lines, in Kathy’s Language Arts class, students have been working on finalizing annotations, pulling out important events in the text. Over Spring Break, they should finish the novel, and they will be working on a character analysis piece after break. In Social Studies, Mike’s students are finishing up their work around the film “Freedom Riders,” and after break, they will create a youth summit about that very topic in relation to their study of Civil Rights. In music, Will and Jairo have students developing their own bands, working toward recording and performing later in the trimester. They are also developing their own band names and art! In science, Kelly and Grace’s science students are starting roller coaster projects that provide an application of their study of physics. Finally, in Spanish, Molly and Anna’s students are reading Esperanza and doing a variety of comprehension activities.
Relatedly, if your students are interested in an extension activity with the reading in 7th grade Spanish, Stanley librarian Allan Cutler is part of a fantastic play entitled “The Basque Things in Life” about what happens when a Basque family leaves behind their homeland to settle in Idaho without losing the parts of themselves they've always loved and known. It ties in nicely with what students are currently reading in Spanish class and runs through April 14. If you or your child is interested in attending this play, please visit the following link to reserve tickets: https://bitsystage.com/2019-season-announcement-1.
Finally, in 8th grade, Ted’s math students have been looking at simplifying monomials that have exponents that are positive, negative, and zero. Students have also learned how to express very large and small numbers using scientific notation. In the Learning Center, Brittany’s students have been working on support in a variety of different areas, from math games to help with exponents to support and practice with their panel presentation for Social Studies. In Mike’s Social Studies class, students are wrapping up their panel presentations and will begin study of the Cold War soon. In Spanish, Anna’s students have been learning about the history and culture of El Salvador, pulling key ideas from articles and creating visuals to present them to the class. Students did this to teach one another about El Salvador's civil war, immigration stories, the beginnings of gangs in the U.S. and El Salvador, as well as other aspects of history that affect both countries. After Spring Break, students will continue reading the book Vida y Muerte en La Mara Salvatrucha. For another fun cultural activity, students also began "Mania Musical de Marzo" (March Music Madness), with an NCAA tournament style bracket in which students vote on favorite Spanish songs over the next few weeks. In Language Arts, David’s students are turning in final creative writing projects and are about halfway through their work with The Diary of Anne Frank. Upcoming, they’ll be creating concluding monument projects, which provide an opportunity for students to express what they have learned about their Holocaust study. In science, Grace’s students are continuing their study of the nervous system, looking at the effects of different drugs. And after a wonderful musical two weeks ago, 8th graders have entered their final arts rotation, working with Jill, Jairo, and Laura in choral, visual arts, and drama classes. Cabaret is in just a few short weeks on the evening of Wednesday, April 24th.
Across all grades, Donna’s P.E. students are wrapping up a soccer unit and will continue with tennis after break. And while the weather hasn’t cooperated much, spring sports have begun, and Stanley’s ultimate frisbee, co-ed tennis, and girls’ soccer teams are off to a fantastic first few weeks.
The weeks will fly by as the year concludes, and before we know it, the England trip and Graduation will be upon us. Whether you are a parent of a 6th, 7th, 8th grader, please savor these wonderfully messy years in your child’s life. There are some great snapshots of your children on our blog, so please do check it out.
We are grateful to be part of your children’s lives and to help guide them through the triumphs and challenges of adolescence. Thank you for your support, and best wishes to you and your families for a great Spring Break. Look forward to crossing paths with each of you soon!
Arts Fest and Wheel Day movePosted by Greg Chalfin on 3/6/2019
Hope you’re well and are having a great week! The middle school is buzzing after two wonderful performances from our 8thgraders yesterday, and we look forward to amazing shows tomorrow as well!
I’m writing with a quick update. First, faculty are working hard this week on completing academic reports for your children. You can expect to receive those by the middle of next week. Please use these reports as an opportunity to work with your children and help them continue to grow as they finish out what has been an amazing year. We are so grateful for your support!
Additionally, I wanted to let you know that the middle school community has decided to postpone our annual Wheel Day from Friday, March 22nd to the end of the school year in late May. The weather should be more predictable then, and it will give us another opportunity to come together as a middle school in our final days of the 2018-2019 year. Given that, you are welcome to pick up your children after the Arts Festival concludes at approximately Noon on the final day before Spring Break. For students who cannot be picked up until 3 pm, coverage will be provided for them. If your child has already ordered lunch, it too will be provided for them.
Thank you again for all your support, and we’re looking forward to a great spring!
6th-grade packing list for Snow Mountain RanchPosted by Greg Chalfin on 3/4/2019
Hope you’re well and are having a great start to the week! The 6th grade team and I are looking forward to our class trip to Snow Mountain Ranch this Thursday and Friday. I know it will be a fun, educational winter excursion for our students and a great opportunity for this amazing group to come together as a class.
Below, you'll find our packing list for the trip. The temperature is forecast to be snowy in Granby, but much warmer than it would have been a month ago with temperatures in the mid to high 30s and low 40s. Please be sure your child has enough warm and dry clothing with them, as we will be outside for much of Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
1 winter jacket
1 pair of boots or shoes appropriate to being in snow
1 pair snow pants
1 winter hat
1 pair waterproof gloves
1-2 pair polypropylene long underwear (top & bottom)
1 sweater (wool) or fleece – please no cotton hoodies!
2-3 pairs wool socks (or polypropolene)
2 pairs underwear
1 pair indoor shoes
1 long sleeve shirt
1 sun screen
1 toothbrush and toothpaste
2 water bottles
1 sack lunch for first day
School appropriate pajamas
iPod, cell phone, and other electronics
Students should plan for a normal arrival to school on Thursday. After some final trip preparations with the 6th grade team, students will watch the 8th grade musical and then depart for Snow Mountain Ranch at approximately 11:15 am. They should be sure to pack a lunch with them for that day to eat on the bus or in the cars of parent drivers. We will return between 2:30 and 3 pm on Friday.
Enjoy the rest of your week, and looking forward to the trip!