Sports, Skills and Grade-level Updates

Posted by Greg Chalfin on 10/31/2018

Happy Halloween! This morning, I experienced my first Stanley Halloween Parade, and I was so impressed by our 8th graders who led it and by the wonderful array of costumes that I saw. A few snapshots of this morning’s parade and of the wonderful costumes seen about campus can be found here at our blog alongside other updates from last week’s amazing 8th grade Arts showcase and other happenings in recent classes.

Four wizards As you know, this week marks Student/Parent/Teacher conferences, and it is an important time in your child’s year for them to reflect on the positive strides they have made and to showcase the work in their portfolio. In addition, as the trimester winds to a close in a couple of weeks, it is a great opportunity to praise and affirm your child and to also challenge them to build off their own self-assessment and off the feedback from their teachers. These goals may be large or small, but I encourage you to use this important, supportive, and vulnerable moment for parents, teachers, and students alike to be accessed as an opportunity to grow. One of the summer reads for Stanley’s faculty this year was Sara Lawrence Lightfoot’s book, The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other. I enjoy Lightfoot’s work immensely, and I highlight this quote as a reminder as you enter conferences in the coming days: “To parents, their child is the most important in their lives, the one who arouses their deepest passions and greatest vulnerabilities, the one who inspires their fiercest advocacy and protection. And it is teachers – society’s professional adults – who are the primary people with whom the parents must seek alliance and support in the crucial work of child rearing. They must quickly learn to release their child and trust that he or she will be well cared for by a perfect stranger whose roles as teacher gives her access to the most intimate territory, the deepest emotional places. Their productive engagement with the teacher is essential for the child’s learning and growth, and for the parents’ peace of mind.” Please use this valuable time as an important check-in and know that your child’s teachers care deeply about them and know them well. I look forward to a great set of conferences.

A couple of reminders for you for the coming weeks. Tomorrow, November 1st, is a half day for students, so please plan to pick up your student at 12:15 pm before conferences begin. Friday and Monday are also dedicated to conferences.

With the change in season, as evidenced by this week’s wet, wintery weather, we are beginning a new sports season on Monday, November 12th. As in the fall, if your son or daughter is not playing sports this winter but would like to be part of Homework Club, please email Taryn Steil at to sign your child up to be part of the Homework Club. They can sign up to be part of the Homework Club as many days as they would like from Monday to Thursday from 3 until 4:30 pm. Ted has done a fantastic job with that group this fall, and with his coaching basketball this winter, Anna, Grace, and Kelly will be taking over the Homework Club this winter and will be great supports for your children. If you are interested, please sign-up with Taryn by email by this coming Tuesday, November 6th.

Additionally, a new trimester begins directly after Winter Break, which means a new set of Skills Class offerings for your children. While some students are signed up for Skills Classes that require a multi-trimester commitment (e.g: Constitutional Law, Science Fair), others will have the opportunity to switch. Below, you’ll find all of the descriptions for the offerings. Teachers will speak about these at an assembly next Wednesday, but you may want to preview these with your child before that day. We’ll ask students to sign up next week.


Progress Monitoring (6th/7th/8th) - This is a class for students who need to update their DPS IEP. We will need a minimum of 6 weeks for PM data to provide before the IEP can be updated. There is a group and individual aspect to this class.

Spanish: Superstitions and Stories (6th/7th/8th) - Expand your Spanish skills through the study of superstitions and stories. Learn about culture and different beliefs around the world.

Cave of Creative Writing: (6th,7th,8th) - Each week we will be presented with an interesting, alluring, intriguing or eerie writing prompt and seeing where our creativity and imagination take us. Some of the prompts will be images; some will be words and riddles, but your challenge will be to turn your inspirations into entertaining, well-written stories to enthrall us! Join this class if you enjoy writing or would like to expand your creative writing skills. This class will also help to develop your self-confidence as a writer because you will be reading your creations aloud to the class.

Science Fair (6th/7th/8th) - You will engage in research and application of the scientific method through the completion of a formal science fair project in an area of your choice. This is two-trimester skills class commitment (fall and winter) with the intention of competing in the Denver Metro Science Fair in February.

Mindful Minutes (6th/7th/8th) - This skills class will provide an introduction to meditation and yoga. Namaste!

The Joy of Literature: (6th/7th/8th) - We will read and discuss classic short stories and poetry, and will also learn about famous authors and historical time periods that are tied to the literature we read.

Student Council (6th/7th/8th) - Develop your leadership by organizing and carrying out school-wide activities and service projects. You will have the chance to help organize school spirit weeks, dances, concessions stands, service projects and more.

Spelling Bee (6th/7th/8th) – Are you interested in competing in the Stanley Spelling and earning an opportunity to compete in the Colorado State Spelling Bee next spring and potentially the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. broadcast on national television. If so, this is the Skills Class for you. We’ll be practicing for the Bee through a variety of word games and spelling strategies.

Advanced Geometry Track Prep (6th) - This is an advanced Algebra skill building class for 6th graders who would like to be doing the Advanced Geometry Track starting in the spring.  Advanced Geometry is for students wishing to complete the high school level Geometry course by the end of 8th grade.

7th grade math support (7th) - 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 Math-Geometry - (7th) - 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.

8th Grade Challenge Math (8th) - This offering is for 8th grade students that would like to explore more challenging/abstract algebraic concepts.


Spanish acting (6th/7th/8th) - If you’d like to improve your improv skills while practicing Spanish, this is the skills class for you!

Costume Skills for The Little Mermaid (6th/7th/8th) - This is an offering for students who would like to help create and/or put together costumes for the 8th grade musical.

Word Games, Puzzles and Mysteries (6th/7th/8th) - Join this skills class if you enjoy tackling brain teasers, riddles, crossword puzzles and other games that are not only fun, but also help to develop a love and appreciation of language and, of course, higher-level problem-solving skills. You will work in teams to solve word and logic challenges, covering all matter of mystery and mayhem.

Wait, what! (6th/7th/8th) - In this skills class we will explore different science questions, read scientific articles from magazines, and have conversations about why things are the way they are. Some examples might be:

  • Can we smell shapes?
  • Everything is 99.99% empty space
  • What does infinity even mean?
  • Are dreams real?
  • How does artificial intelligence work? (Will robots be smarter than me?)

Speech and Debate (6th/7th/8th) - Work on speech and debate skills through fun activities and formal presentations. We will prepare for a variety of speeches and will also complete a formal debate.

Cubes in Space (6th/7th/8th) - This skills class will prepare kids for a “global competition...for students 11-18 years of age to design and propose experiments to launch into space or a near space environment on a NASA sounding rocket and zero-pressure scientific balloon.”

Comic and Graphic Novel Making (6th/7th/8th) Spend a trimester working to create your own comic book or graphic novel story using a combination of traditional and digital tools.

Decimal Skills Class (6th) - Students who are chosen to do this Skills class will receive extra math support.

Forge book club (6th) - This skills class will read Forge, the sequel to 6th grade humanities novel, Chains.

7th grade math extensions (7th) - This is an offering for students who would like to dig into some challenging math concepts that will push your thinking and go beyond our 7th grade math curriculum

7th Grade Chat Room (7th) - This skills class is for students who are interested in learning skills for handling sticky situations and other issues and ideas students bring to class.

Constitutional Law 101 (7th) -  Students who are interested in participating in the Constitutional Law program will learn the essential elements of the content and the program through lecture style lessons.  Support may also be provided for the paper due after Thanksgiving.  This is required if you have are interested in being a member of the travel team in 8th grade.

Constitutional Law Travel Team (8th) - Constitutional Law Students who participated in the 7th grade skills class last year will begin an intensive study building of that knowledge in preparation for the National Competition in Washington, DC.

8th Grade Math Support (8th) - This offering is for 8th grade students that would like extra support in learning the 8th grade curriculum and for students needing support in their independent Aleks learning.

Finally, as we head toward conferences, I wanted to provide an update of the wonderful things that have been happening in classes in recent weeks.

In 6th grade, students are winding down their first trimester of middle school. Julie’s Humanities students have recently finished reading Chains and will begin their final project for the trimester, a simulation debate of patriots and loyalists. In science, students too are finishing up their modeling round for seasons, and next week, they will be constructing 3-d models for eclipses, seasons, and lunar phases. In math, students are concluding an algebra unit with an open-ended assessment that will help them demonstrate what they know and check their understanding against their learning goals. In Spanish, students are continuing to work with the verbs tener, ser, querer, haber, estar, and poder, and they recently discussed a silent film. In the Learning Center, students are working on their organization and study skills and working on how they explain their thinking. Finally, Laura’s drama students are preparing for the upcoming Shakespeare shows on November 14th, and they are working on flow, pacing, and timing. I can’t wait to watch them in action!

Seventh graders are making great progress as well. In Language Arts, students are teaching each other the parts of speech and will be reading a wonderful short story today, The Monkey’s Paw, that is apt for Halloween. They will also begin diving into their book club essays soon. Science students have begun their study of chemistry and are talking about what atoms are made up of through station work. They’ll be introduced to the Periodic Table upcoming. In Social Studies, students are beginning to look at the Syrian refugee crisis and are building background knowledge for an upcoming paper about the United States and refugees. Math students are wrapping up a song lyric investigation, and in Spanish, students are reading and learning about the Day of the Dead. Drumming students with Koffi are doing final work with more complex beats, and it’s impressive how far they’ve come. Finally, in the Learning Center, students have working on previewing upcoming science vocabulary and are working on making the connection between their math understandings of integers and of the science work of electrons and protons.

Our 8th graders are in the midst of a busy time of year as well. With shadow days and the Arts festival, there’s been a lot on the plate of our school’s student leaders, but they continue to set a great tone for our middle school. After the Arts festival, students have moved on to auditioning for the winter musical, and some are jumping into creating two-minute documentaries. In Language Arts, students are wrapping up The Power of One with David, and they will soon be engaging with a final essay that challenges them to synthesize and analyze the text in a meaningful way. Ted’s math students have recently visited a number of local businesses in relation to their own math business project, and after conferences, they’ll be working on functions and graphing. In Social Studies, Mike’s students are learning about Weimar Germany and are preparing to write a speech to campaign for the presidency in 1932. In Spanish, the Day of the Dead is a central topic of discussion, and students are creating a building model of a traditional altar as part of their work. Additionally, students in the Learning Center have been previewing and reviewing important concepts and vocabulary in math, science, and language arts. They are also making connections with this vocabulary and are discussing ways to incorporate it into their work.

Across all grade levels, Donna has the students engaging with yoga and will soon be jumping into teaching the game of vortex and then a basketball unit in P.E. Speaking of basketball and multi-sport, winter sports start on Monday, November 12th, and details about practice and game schedules will be coming soon. Congratulations to all the fall Bulldog sports teams! It has been an amazing season for our student-athletes.

Most of all, thank you to all of you for your continued support. I am continually grateful to be part of this community and thank you for your partnership in supporting your children. Best wishes for a Happy Halloween and a great conference, and I look forward to crossing paths with all of you soon!