Notes from Greg

  • Athletic sign-ups for rising 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students

    Posted 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

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  • Middle School update, Wednesday May 8

    Posted 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!

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  • April 23 Update & Curriculum Report

    Posted 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!

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  • Grade Level updates for March

    Posted 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! 

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  • Arts Fest and Wheel Day move

    Posted 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!

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  • 6th-grade packing list for Snow Mountain Ranch

    Posted 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.

    Required Supplies:

    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

    2 t-shirts

    1 sun screen

    1 toothbrush and toothpaste

    2 water bottles

    1 sack lunch for first day

    School appropriate pajamas

    Small backpack

    Optional

    Camera

    Book

    Cards

    Journal

    Not allowed

    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!

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  • What are we up to - Grade Level Updates

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 3/1/2019

    Happy March! Hope you’re well and are having a wonderful Friday and conference day!

    It’s been a busy time here as we change over to the third trimester on Monday with new sections and Skills classes and the performances of our 8th grade musical next week. We all can’t wait to see the 8th graders wow us with “The Little Mermaid” next week! The new sports season has already changed over as well, and while wintry weather last weekend has impeded regular practice venues, we are excited for a fantastic season for our girls soccer, ultimate frisbee, and tennis teams.

    I wanted to provide a few updates for you about things upcoming as we head toward Spring Break in just three short weeks. A couple of calendar notes for you are below:

    • Friday, March 15th – This is our next Friday halfday, so please plan to pick up your children at 12:15 from campus or from the Town Center after that.
    • Thursday, March 21st – Stanley’s Ski Day is on this day, and we look forward to heading to Arapahoe Basin. Taryn and Art will be in touch with more details about this day as we get closer.
    • Friday, March 22nd – Please join us for Stanley’s Arts festival in the morning before our annual Wheel Day in the afternoon on the final day before Spring Break.

    Additionally, as we head into the third trimester, I wanted to provide a brief curriculum update for you. There’s been so many wonderful things happening in classrooms and in the middle school. From acting and singing to science labs and Socratic seminar discussions, you can see snapshots of the joyful learning happening on our middle school bloghere.

    In the 6th grade, students have been working diligently as they conclude the trimester. In math, students are continuing their engagement with a family budgeting project and will be faced with some family budgeting challenges that they haven’t prepared for. Next trimester, they’ll be delving into the study of fractions and probability. In science, students are turning in their created news article on a tectonic event and will be studying weather patterns soon. Learning Center students are revisiting the goals they set at the beginning of the trimester and are continuing to develop their study skills. In Spanish, students have been making comic strips to summarize what happened in the book Escape Cubano, and they will venture into the study of Bolivian music next week. In Humanities, students are doing a mini-poetry unit this week and will move into the study of Westward Expansion in the United States next trimester. In Arts, students are concluding their visual arts projects with Jairo and will move into drumming classes with Koffi next week. Finally, in Chat Room, students are working on how to give and receive apologies, speaking about the topic of forgiveness.

    In 7th grade, math students began a Geometry unit this week, and you may be seeing some hexaflexagons adorning your kitchen table soon. In Language Arts, students continue to progress in their study of To Kill a Mockingbird, examining code switching in the character of Calpurnia and discussing various aspects of the book. In science, students will be working with motion sensors, looking at time-distance graphs with velocity, speed, and acceleration. In the Learning Center, students are examining how to evaluate their own work using rubrics provided from their teachers before receiving feedback. Coming up, they’ll continue to develop test prep and learning consolidation skills. In Spanish, students are learning about the history and geography of Guatemala through the book Esperanza.In the Arts, 7th graders wrapped up their work with Laura in Drama class and look forward to the spring trimester of music with Will and Jairo. Finally, in Social Studies, students are beginning their study of the Civil Rights movement through a case study of the Little Rock Nine.

    In 8th grade, Social Studies students are wrapping up a Holocaust unit with a final panel presentation on a choice topic of interest. In Language Arts, students have also been studying the Holocaust and have completed their work with Elie Wiesel’s Night. They are also finishing book clubs on Holocaust literature and are starting the Diary of Anne Frank next week. In the Learning Center, students are continuing to outline strategies to solve word problems and connect visuals they’ve made with the addition of word problems. They are also organizing their ideas for the upcoming Social Studies assignment. In science, students are learning about the nervous system, recently conducting a reaction time lab to look at their responses to stimuli. In Spanish, students are wrapping up working with fairy tales in the past and present tense, and they will be moving toward looking at the history of El Salvador, preparing for the study of a related novel. Mathematics students are working on word problems with systems of equations as they continue to progress through algebraic concepts. All of this work is in conjunction with the great anticipation and excitement around next week’s 8th grade musical. We all can’t wait for the shows next week!

    In P.E., Donna’s students have been playing badminton and will be working through soccer and pickleball shortly. As mentioned, spring sports teams have started, and we’re excited for a fun season of ultimate frisbee, tennis, and girls soccer for our teams. Go Bulldogs!

    Spring Break will be here before we know it, and we look forward to a wonderful start to the third trimester over these next few weeks. I am continually impressed by and grateful to be working with your students and to be part of such a strong community. Thanks for all your support, and have a good weekend!

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  • Plan for Snow Mountain Ranch trip for 6th Graders

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 2/26/2019

    Happy Tuesday, and hope you're well and are having a great week!

    The 6th grade team and I are excited for our trip to Snow Mountain Ranch next Thursday and Friday, and we look forward to heading up for a winter excursion with your students! Our itinerary will have us leave right after the performance of the 8th grade musical at approximately 11:15-11:30 am to arrive early afternoon. As before, students should plan to pack a lunch, and they will eat on the bus or in cars on the ride up to Granby. We'll stay overnight and have a variety of fun winter activities, including snowshoeing, snow caves, and indoor climbing before some evening recreational and class bonding activities.

    I also wanted to put out one last call for drivers to or from Snow Mountain Ranch on Thursday and Friday. While we have enough drivers, having a few more wouldn’t hurt to have a little more space for the kids. If you are able to drive one direction or the other, please let me know as soon as possible. Tim and I will be driving buses as well, and please know that safety is always the number one priority for our students. We will not be going on the trip if we feel the roads are unsafe.

    Thank you for all your support, and we look forward to a great trip next week!

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  • Students Love New Skills Classes

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 2/14/2019

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you’re well and are having a wonderful week before our upcoming Winter Weekend. I hope you and your families are able to enjoy some relaxing time together.

     

    It’s been a wonderfully busy and fun stretch here in Stanley’s middle school. Yesterday's 7th grade drama showcase was a hilarious and amazing event, and I know our 8th graders are looking forward to tomorrow’s 8th grade vs. faculty basketball game. Last week’s snow day disrupted the departure for our 6th grade trip to Snow Mountain Ranch, but I know the students and faculty alike are excited to head there in a few short weeks.

     

    Below, you’ll find a list of Skills Class offerings for the Spring Trimester, which begins on Monday, March 4th. Students will be selecting their Skills Classes for the spring during homeroom on Wednesday, February 20th, so please review these offerings with your students before then, so they can make their selections in homeroom next week.

     

    Additionally, before the list of Skills Class offerings, I wanted to provide some curriculum updates about the amazing learning and incredible support your students are receiving from faculty. I’ve been in and out of classrooms, and it’s been a joy to see the engagement in classes. I’m very proud of your children for the way they continue to engage and bring our community together.

     

    In 6th grade, Nat’s math students have been working on a family budgeting project, incorporating skills related to work with percentages and proportions. Molly’s Spanish students are finishing up the reading of the book Escape Cubano and will be diving into a comic strip project soon. Julie’s

     

    Humanities students are starting an essay project due next week that will have students examine the features of a verse novel. In science, Kelly’s students are working on drafts of a research project about various tectonic events, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Jairo’s visual art students are continuing their work on their animal outline contrast project, learning about the different densities of different mediums, such as water colors and acrylic paints. In the Learning Center, Angelina has been helping students review writing strategies for their work in Humanities and providing support with math. Finally, in Chat Room, Stephanie has the 6th graders continuing to role play self-advocacy situations and begin to talk about behavior and comments that end in the comment, “I’m just kidding.” It’s been a wonderful stretch of work for the 6th grade, and the faculty and I see such great strides being made. 

     

    In 7th grade, Art’s math students are working on a stock market report and will soon transition into a geometry unit. Molly and Anna’s Spanish students recently finished acting out another story, and they are discussing “la orchestra de basura,” a program in Paraguay that creates instruments out of recycled materials and garbage. In science, Grace and Kelly’s students are digging into Newton’s three laws as they engage with the study of physics. Mike’s Social Studies students are finishing investigations of life under Jim Crow and will do a small writing project in the coming days. In Language Arts, Kathy’s students are talking about the universe of obligation and unwritten rules in society, thinking about how they play out in their own personal lives and those of the characters of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. They will do a bit of ERB test prep over the next few days as well. In the Learning Center, Susan’s students have been working on both comprehension and the examination of symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird and have started work on self-evaluations. Finally, Laura’s Drama students have been busily working toward last night’s awesome showcase and look forward to wrapping up the trimester strong.

     

    Finally, in 8th grade, Ted’s math students are working on systems of equations using the elimination method, which is a precursor to solving these types of equations with real-world problems. In Spanish, Anna’s students have had an introduction to learning the past tense through fairy tales, including a class version of “The 3 Little Pigs.” In Science, Grace’s students took a test earlier this week and will begin study of the nervous system and the brain, looking at development at different stages as well as the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain. In the Learning Center, Brittany’s students have been creating a visual representation for systems of equations and have also been breaking up critical thinking strategies for a recent science assessment. Mike’s Social Studies students have finished their study of the Holocaust and are looking at justice after the Holocaust. In Language Arts, David’s students have been working on a book club discussion that has been student-driven, and they are also in the final stages of their creative writing project. Students will be sharing their recent projects on Night at upcoming conferences. Finally, the musical is coming along swimmingly (pun intended with the Little Mermaid!), and we look forward to the show in early March.

     

    The winter sports season has concluded, and Spring Sports begin on Monday, February 25th. Also in the athletics arena, Donna’s P.E. students continue to be active and have a ton of fun playing floor hockey. They will start a badminton unit soon. Additionally, nearly every 8th grader has taught a lesson in P.E., helping them develop their voices and teaching skills.

     

    All of this great academic work is in addition to a host of wonderful activities in homeroom, Grade Level, and Skills Classes. As mentioned, those Skills Class offerings will be changing soon, and below, you’ll find a list of the Tuesday and Thursday offerings. Please review these with your child before next Wednesday, so they can select then.

     

    TUESDAY OFFERINGS

    Ashes book club (6th grade): Read, discuss, and participate in activities for the third and final book in the Chains series.

    Advanced Geometry Track Prep (6th grade): This is an advanced Algebra skill building class for 6th graders who took the skills class in the winter and want to continue.  Advanced Geometry is for students wishing to complete the high school level Geometry course by the end of 8th grade.

    Advanced Math-Geometry skills class. (7th grade): This offering is for 7th grade students who would like to continue their study of geometry that was initiated in their sixth grade year. Participants will receive homework and assessments that will mirror those of a regular math class.

    7th grade math support (7th grade): Receive an extra day of math support that will help with the 7th grade content. We will preview upcoming material as well as look back and review parts of the curriculum that have been challenging.

    Advanced Spanish Conversation: Telenovelas (7th and 8th grade): Students will hone their Spanish skills through learning from Spanish soap operas.

    8th grade challenge math (8th grade): The third trimester will explore graphing non-linear equations with a particular emphasis on parabolas.

    Infographics (all grades): This skills class is a deep dive into the analysis and creation of data-based infographics.

    Current Events (all grades): Every week we will read or view a current events article or video. We will then discuss and write responses to the topic and sometimes have a debate too, if it’s a topic with many perspectives. Topics of focus will range from the serious, to the exciting, to the future… all scopes of investigation. This skills class is intended to be challenging and dynamic. If you enjoy challenging yourself to reading, writing and discussing exciting events in your world, we look forward to seeing you in the class!

    Project Runway: Sustainability Challenge (all grades):  Students will learn about sustainability and then participate in a fashion design challenge using recycled materials only.

    Student Council (all grades): Students will help organize school wide events (Cave Shows, Arts Fest, Dances, etc.) and develop their leadership skills.

    Stop and Smell the Flowers (all grades): Each day we will go for a walk around the Stanley neighborhood and complete an activity (poetry, drawing, photography, reading, painting)

    Model UN (all grades): Students will get an introductory taste of what it’s like to participate in a Model United Nations conference. Students will have the opportunity represent a wide variety of countries to solve world problems.

    Organization and Planning Skills Bootcamp (all grades): If you feel like you need some support in breaking down assignments, avoiding procrastination, or time to regularly clean out your backpack and stay organized, this is for you. This is not a study hall, but a focus on developing more efficient systems to get things done.

     

    THURSDAY OFFERINGS

    3d printing (6th grade): This course will allow for an exploration into the world of 3-D printing through various projects and activities.

    Go Set a Watchman Book Club (7th and 8th only): Read and discuss the controversial publication of Harper Lee’s 2nd book. Compare and contrast it to her loved 1st novel (To Kill a Mockingbird).

    8th grade math support (8th grade): Utilize extra time during the week to correct quizzes, get help on assignments and Aleks.

    KIVA (all grades): Learn about poverty and microlending while developing your own fundraising project to fund a loan to a small business owner in a developing country

    Book Club in the Library (all grades): Come participate in a book club in the library about books of your choosing.

    Ukulele (all grades): Come learn 4-5 songs during the trimester as well about basic chords/music theory.

    The Secret Files of Professor L. Otto Funn (all grades): Come learn through a book of different science activities. Students will choose which activities they want to complete from the book, and we will do a different one each week.

    Sports Analytics (all grades): How do we know which player is more impactful to their team? How can we learn about the best strategies for teams through a mathematical lens? Learn about the basic of sports analytics and how sports teams are using math and statistics to make better decisions for their teams.

    Extra time in the LC (all grades): Students who need extra time/support on assignments but do not utilize the Learning Center can work in a small group environment for the skills they need.

    Economics through Settlers of Catan (all grades): Learn about some of the basic principles of economics and see how they apply to the board game Settlers of Catan.

    Compass Creations (all grades): Come explore the mathematical art world of “Compass Creations”. See how this mathematical tool, typically used for creating circles, has an incredibly cool artistic design side to it. No math skills are necessary but patience and creativity will be helpful traits.

    The Chess and Checkers skills club (all grades): If you enjoy the joy and challenge of chess and checkers, come and join us for an afternoon of good old board battle. The tone? Competitive, yet in a kind and friendly environment! Please be sure you know the BASICS of the games of chess and checkers if you are interested in joining. We are looking for players of ALL skill levels - absolute beginners, intermediate or advanced - all welcome!

    Constitutional Law: Those students who are traveling to Washington D.C. in May should plan to continue into the Spring.

     

    Finally, a couple of notes for your calendar. Conferences are next Thursday and Friday afternoon and all day on Friday, March 1st. If you haven’t already, you should receive an email from Taryn by the end of the day tomorrow with your conference time. Additionally, please mark your calendar for our next Learning Resource affinity group meeting from 8:30-9:30 am on Thursday, March 14th. The group will be watching Debbie Reber’s TEDx talk “Why the future will be differently wired…” and discussing. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Anne Schreiber or Julie Dani.

     

    Thank you for all of your support! Stanley’s community continues to amaze me every day, and I am grateful to be working with you and your children. Have a great long weekend, and I look forward to crossing paths soon!

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  • 6th-grade Trip Packing List

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 2/3/2019

    Dear 6th grade Families,

    Hope you’re well and are having a great weekend! 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.   

    The 6th grade team reviewed trip details and the packing list below with students on Friday, and I wanted you to have a copy as well. The temperature is forecast to be cold in Granby during the time we’re there with temperatures projected in the 20s. 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.

    Required Supplies:

    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

    2 t-shirts

    1 sun screen

    1 toothbrush and toothpaste

    2 water bottles

    1 sack lunch for first day

    School appropriate pajamas

    Small backpack

    Optional

    Camera

    Book

    Cards

    Journal

    Not allowed

    iPod, cell phone, and other electronics

    Food (besides packed lunch for Thursday)

    Additionally, I will be out at an accreditation visit for another school on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and may not be able to respond to inquiries quickly on those days. If questions arise about the trip or your child can no longer go, please be sure you reach out to Julie Daughtry, 6th grade Grade Level head, or any member of the 6th grade team, and they will be able to help you out.

    Students should plan for a normal arrival to school on Thursday. After some final trip preparations with the 6th grade team, students will depart for Snow Mountain Ranch at 9:30 am. They should be sure to pack a lunch with them for that day. We will return between 2:30 and 3 pm on Friday.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and looking forward to the trip!

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