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Notes from Greg
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!
What are we up to - Grade Level UpdatesPosted 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!
Plan for Snow Mountain Ranch trip for 6th GradersPosted 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!
Students Love New Skills ClassesPosted 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.
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.
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!
6th-grade Trip Packing ListPosted 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.
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
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!
Conferences and Grade-level UpdatesPosted by Greg Chalfin on 1/30/2019
Hope you’re having a great week, and all is well! With our heavy snow earlier this week, our campus has been transformed into a winter wonderland, and it is a beautiful, special place to be. It’s been a busy January here in Stanley’s middle school, and please check out updates at our blog here.
February, too, will be a whirlwind month with the end of winter sports, the beginning of spring sports, our upcoming 6th grade trip next week, ERB testing, winter conferences, and the end of the second trimester all happening in the next four weeks! I’ve been in and out of classrooms, and I am ecstatic about the wonderful learning happening and the amazing ways in which our community has come together this year. Our Student Council has even organized a dance contest between faculty and students for our assembly next week. I can’t wait to see what everyone has in store!
I wanted to provide a couple of notes for you as we move into February. First, you should have recently received an email from Taryn asking you to sign-up for conferences. If you have not yet done so, please do so through this link as soon as possible. Thank you in advance, and you should receive your conference assignment by Friday, Feb. 15th.
Additionally, I wanted to provide some information regarding the ERB testing that will take place on the mornings of February 21st and 22nd. While Stanley does not emphasize standardized testing, we take the ERB tests starting in middle school because we believe it is valuable for students to have the experience of sitting and taking longer standardized tests to help prepare for testing experiences they may see in the future. It is important to note that ERB tests are not the focus of our curriculum or our work with students; however, the information provides a snapshot of an individual’s progress over time. Given that, it’s important to neither overreact or undervalue the scores that your child receives, and as with all aspects of their schooling, please encourage your children to do their best on these standardized assessments, getting a good night’s sleep before the tests and eating a healthy breakfast. Additionally, the ERB test provides us data about how Stanley students compare with those students at other independent schools. Stanley seeks to admit all types of learners to reflect the world around us. We expect that our students evenly distribute through the independent school bell curve, and in years past, the data shows that has occurred.
Finally, I wanted to provide you with some curriculum updates as we head into the final four weeks of the trimester. In 6th grade, students are excited for their trip to Snow Mountain Ranch next week. Before departing, students are diving deep into their studies. In Kelly's science class, that has meant discussions of volcanoes and tsunamis before students make their own documentaries about a natural disaster. In Humanities, students are fully engaged with their work with the verse novel Loving vs. Virginia, and they are examining the features of this genre while analyzing the text. I have seen some incredibly powerful discussions and text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections occurring. In math, Nat's students are wrapping up their decimal computation lessons, and they are starting to apply that work to the concepts of budgeting for families, learning about income, expenses and taxes. In Chat Room, Stephanie's students are role playing how to advocate for themselves with their friends. In Visual Arts, Jairo’s students are wrapping up portraits of people chosen by students, including celebrities, YouTubers, athletes, and their own friends. Upcoming, they’ll be working on a contrast project in which they create scenery of habitats inside the outline of an animal. In Spanish, Molly's students wrapped up a unit on Cuba recently and continue to work on reading comprehension and practice with writing. Finally, in the Learning Center, students continue to work on time management, in addition to receiving support with upcoming assessments in science and with character analysis in Loving vs. Virginia, their novel for humanities.
In 7th grade, Mike’s social studies students are working with the end of the Reconstruction period and examining the growth of hate groups during that period. In the Learning Center, students have been making connections between that work and the discussion of the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, the current novel in Language Arts. In that class, students are also exploring the concept of identity and thinking about how society affects our identities. Additionally, students have been practicing their annotation skills through the main character, Scout. In Drama, students are incorporating tech elements, including costumes and props, as they tighten up their shows upcoming on Wednesday, February 13th. We look forward to the shows! In math, Art’s students are concluding an algebra unit with an assessment at the end of this week and will be transitioning into a Geometry unit. They will also continue their tracking of the stock market in working on a report next week. In Spanish, students continue to enhance their vocabulary through a movie talk about the film “A Mouse for Sale” and by learning new verbs. Finally, in science, students are wrapping up projects and presentations about sound and light before moving into physics soon.
In 8th grade, Mike’s social studies class will be studying the various stages of the Holocaust. This is heavy content, so you may want or need to help your students process this work. Similarly, in Language Arts, David’s students have reached the final week of Elie Wiesel’s Night, and they are working on choosing from seven activities to represent their learning, including options for creating a graphic novel or representing their learning through poetry. Students have been planning for this assignment in the Learning Center and are also doing a good bit of review of math concepts there. Upcoming, in Language Arts, students will be delving into book clubs, reading a second choice book in small groups about the Holocaust. In the 8th grade musical, students are continuing with scene work to practice for the show, and sets are coming together. Anna’s Spanish students have also been practicing their acting and are writing a story as a class called “A Camping Adventure.” In math, Ted’s students have been applying point-slope formula to word problems and studying the relationship between parallel and perpendicular lines. Finally, Grace’s science students recently completed a project about the journey of a red blood cell, and they will be engaging with a dissection tomorrow before an upcoming assessment about the circulatory system.
In the athletics arena, Donna’s 8th graders are continuing their student teaching unit while 6th and 7th grade P.E. has been playing wall ball and floor hockey. Winter sports wrap-up next week as well, and Bulldog basketball teams have had amazing seasons. I’m so proud of our teams for the sportsmanship and team play they have shown. We’re looking forward to a great spring sports season, which begins on Monday, February 25.
Thank you for a wonderful start back to the school year and to 2019, and all of us in the middle school look forward to an amazing February! Have a great day, and look forward to crossing paths with all of you soon!
Mid-January Check-inPosted by Greg Chalfin on 1/16/2019
Dear Middle School Families,
Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re all having a great week, and all is well!
We’re off to a flying start back here in the middle school, and you can check out some of the highlights and snapshots through our blog linked here. Please do check it out, as there’s so many great things happening here at Stanley!
This week is another busy one. A reminder that your students are working with a facilitator, Ian, from Freedom From Chemical Dependency (FCD) this week. Students received a preview and some preparation for some of the content this week during assembly and Grade Level class last week, and the conversations have already been productive and worthwhile. If you have time this evening, a reminder of our FCD parent evening from 7-8 pm in the Pub. We look forward to seeing you there!
Relatedly, a huge thank you to Stephanie Bender for securing Dr. Mark Ebadi as a speaker for our 7th and 8th grade students on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 2 pm. Dr. Ebadi will be speaking with our students about the epidemic of vaping occurring in schools, an important topic and one that will build on the work done in FCD and in Grace’s science class in their recent study of the respiratory system. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, please see a link here to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse about this alarming trend and this news report from NBC Nightly News.
I also wanted to provide you just a couple other reminders of events upcoming this month to have on your calendar. First, this Friday is a halfday, so please remember that your children are dismissed at 12:15 pm. They are welcome to be picked up on Rampart Way then, but if they are being picked up later, they should take their belongings with them to be picked up in the Lowry Town Center. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful three-day weekend!
On Friday, we also have our annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly from 8:30-9:40 am, and we look forward to welcoming back Jeremy Vasquez, an activist, artist and educator from California here to speak with and work with the students.
Next week, please also note two events for Wednesday, Jan. 23rd. From 8:15-9:15, we will have a middle school parent coffee in Taryn’s office. This is an informal opportunity to mingle with other parents and chat with me, and I look forward to crossing paths with you soon. Later that afternoon, at 1:15 pm, we’ll have our next Cave Show, a wonderful celebration of the immense talent in Stanley’s middle school.
It’s a busy month, and in the classroom, students and teachers alike have hit the ground running. In 6th grade, students will embark on a field trip this Friday to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for an exhibit and IMAX film on Cuba, related to Molly’s work in Spanish class. They have been discussing Cuba’s political history and religion in preparation for the visit. Nat’s math students have been working intently with decimal and place value skills, developing their number sense skills. Kelly’s science students have been working on types of fault lines and types of stress that lead to earthquakes. In the Learning Center, Angelina has been working on long-term planning to help students with their time management outside of school. In Humanities, students have been doing a Landmark Supreme Court Case research project that will culminate in an iMovie. In addition, upcoming, Julie’s students will begin reading the novel Loving vs. Virginia. This is an important text, one that will have immense impact for your children. You should know, however, that the book does contain minor references to sex and pregnancy. Should you have concerns or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Julie or to me. You can also learn more at this link from Common Sense media. Finally, in Chat Room, students have identified their three own personal friendship rights, comparing this idea to that of a right as presented in humanities in their study of America’s Bill of Rights.
In 7th grade, Art’s math students have been working on a stock market game, opening the second half of the year by researching various stocks and learning about shares, assets, earnings, and the art of investing. This is alongside work on two-step algebraic equations. Mike’s Social Studies students have been prepping for a roundtable discussion on the 14thamendment, working toward understanding the importance of citizenship in the United States, and Kathy’s language arts students are working on previewing characters in their new novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. They are working on questions in electronic journals in talking about empathy and identity. This works in concert with work being done in the Learning Center around character previewing, in addition to support happening there for science. Kelly and Grace’s science students have started a mini-unit on energy, engaging with lab stations and discussing different forms of energy. Additionally, Molly and Anna’s Spanish students have presented their Mad Libs scripts, and they are moving into another storytelling unit about a giraffe looking for medicine. Finally, Laura’s drama students are preparing for next month’s showcase. Having memorized their lines, they are trying on different characters to see what works in their scenes.
In 8th grade, Mike’s social studies students returned from break to wrap up their work on their novel study of Parallel Journeys. In concert with David’s Language Arts class, they will be moving into looking at the Nazis in power, moving toward study of the Holocaust. Along the same lines, David’s language arts students have begun reading Elie Wiesel’s Night, and they too have launched their unit on literature about the Holocaust. They will be starting book clubs soon and will continue to work on grammar, parts of speech, and an ongoing creative writing project. In the Learning Center, students have been planning an organizing their in-class essays for Social Studies, and upcoming, they will be working on annotation and vocabulary development for their Holocaust study in Language Arts and Social Studies. In math, Ted’s students started the new year with a car buying project, examining the price of ownership for various vehicles in applying the concepts of slope and y-intercept. In Spanish, Anna’s students have started learning about Mayan weaving traditions and will be creating art to represent these ideas. In the Musical, students have been diligently preparing for their show in March, working on their lines and songs, and they will be doing more intensive set design upcoming. Finally, in Science, students are learning about the circulatory system and have a sheep heart dissection to look forward to in a couple of weeks.
In the athletics arena, Donna’s 8th grade P.E. students continue to teach their peers as part of the 8th grade teaching unit, while 6th and 7th graders have come back from break to play dodgeball games. Upcoming, they’ll be playing floor hockey. Additionally, Bulldog basketball teams continue to have an amazing season with lots of teamwork, camaraderie, and dramatic finishes.
We’re off to a great start this second semester, and we look forward to a continued great year. Thanks for all your support, and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of help. Best wishes for a great rest of the week!
All the best,
Happy New Year!Posted by Greg Chalfin on 1/8/2019
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a relaxing, rejuvenating winter break, and 2019 is off to an amazing start! The middle school faculty and I are so excited to be back working with your children and look forward to an incredible second half of the school year! Faculty returned to Stanley yesterday for a professional development day, working with each other to prepare for amazing classes with your children.
I’m writing to let you know of a couple of opportunities that will be coming up for your children in the coming weeks. We’re hitting the ground running here in the middle school and look forward to diving right back into a slew of wonderful learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom for your children.
First, as discussed before Winter Break, your children will be working with a facilitator from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) beginning next week. Students will learn more about this organization and their work in assembly tomorrow, and please reference Stephanie Bender’s letter for more specific information about the curriculum itself. Eighth grade students will work with a facilitator each day during one of their classes from Monday, January 14th through Thursday, January 17th. Sixth and seventh grade students will meet with facilitators once or twice, respectively, in their class during the course of the week. Additionally, please mark your calendar for our Parent Evening with FCD from 7-8 pm on Tuesday, January 15th in the Pub.
Additionally, next week will be a busy one with FCD on campus and with our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day assembly on Friday, January 18th. The assembly will be running from 8:30-9:40 am in the gym, and we will be having Jeremy Vasquez, an activist, artist and educator from California here to speak with and work with the students. Jeremy visited our middle school community right after Thanksgiving Break during an assembly, and he shared some of his powerful poetry and personal journey with our students. The kids loved learning from him, and we look forward to having him return.
In conjunction with Jeremy’s visit and the upcoming honoring of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and legacy, the middle school will be beginning an affinity group for students who self-identify as students of color next week. P.E. teacher Donna Meallet will be facilitating this group monthly at lunch, and students will learn more from Donna about SOCA, the Students of Color affinity group, during an assembly on Monday, January 14th. For students who do not self-identify as Students of Color who wish to participate in learning about being an ally in diversity work, they will have an opportunity to do so with Stephanie Bender. Neither opportunity is required for any student, but these spaces are important places for students who seek to have a place to explore their own identity.
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.” In alignment with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance started by Grace Reilly and Angelina Nicol in the first semester, affinity groups offer 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.
On another note, if you haven’t already, please do mark your calendars for the afternoon of Wednesday, January 23rd, which is our next Middle School Cave Show. The show will begin right after lunch at 1:15, and students will begin signing up in the coming days. I look forward to seeing everyone showcase their talents in just a couple of weeks! Additionally, another note for your calendar is our next middle school dance on Friday, January 25th at 7 pm.
Finally, a quick reminder about Spring Sports sign-ups for those of you who have not yet done so. While Spring Sports do not begin until Monday, February 25th, we need each family to fill out this Google Form as soon as possible. This form was sent before break as well, and if you haven’t yet done so, please do so as soon as possible.
One important note, even if your child is not participating in a Spring Sport, please fill out the Google Form, so we can be sure to have accurate numbers for each of our middle school teams. As a reminder, the Middle School sports policy requires that all of our students need to participate in at least one season of athletics. If your child has yet to play a sport this year, they are required to do so this spring.
Thank you for all of your support, and best wishes for a great start to 2019! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything with which I can help, and I look forward to crossing paths soon. Have a great week!
All the best,