Grade-level updates before we break for break

Posted by Greg Chalfin on 12/14/2018

As we head into the last weekend before Winter Break, I want to thank each of you for what has been an amazing first semester to the 2018-2019 school year. Heading into the last few days, I also wanted to pass along a couple of reminders for you and wish each of you a relaxing, restful holiday break!


buddy-group holiday program practice First, a reminder that our Holiday Program begins at 8:40 am in the gym on Friday, December 21st, and I look forward to seeing our middle schoolers in action. The program should be over at approximately 10-10:15 am, and you are welcome to take your child after the program. If you can’t pick them up, we will have a movie for students to watch until dismissal at 12:15 pm. At that point, students will need to leave campus to be picked up in the Lowry Town Center.


Winter Break will be a wonderful, rejuvenating two weeks away, and we’ll jump right back into great classes and impactful programs as soon as we return on Tuesday, January 8th. On the following day, Wednesday, January 9th, students will learn in assembly about our visit from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD), an organization that comes each year to work with our students for conversations around topics of substance abuse prevention and making healthy choices. Stephanie Bender will be sending out more information with details about the program and its content shortly, but I know FCD and their facilitators to be incredibly thoughtful and impactful educators. I am confident it will be a wonderful opportunity for our students. Eighth graders will be working with FCD each day from Monday, January 14th through Thursday, January 17th, and 6th and 7th graders will have one or two sessions, respectively, with the facilitator. If you have any questions about this program or we can be of support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to Stephanie. You can also mark your calendar to attend the Parent Evening with FCD on Tuesday, January 15th from 7-8 pm.


Finally, I wanted to provide some curriculum updates in these final days before break. In the 6th grade, science students have been working with plate boundaries and plate tectonics through a lab and quiz, and they will build on this work through the exploration of volcanoes and earthquakes after break. Humanities students have continued their work with the Constitution, examining the three branches of government and also focusing on test-taking strategies to improve for future assessments. In Chat Room, students are working on being assertive in communication and the importance of self-confidence. This discussion is happening in concert with thinking about expectations to have for one’s friends, such as expecting friends to be honest with one another. In math, students had a problem-solving reflection due yesterday, and next week, they’ll be looking at and analyzing some data from Denver neighborhoods, doing the work of a statistician. In the Learning Center, the focus of support has been toward mathematics, as students have been reviewing graphing and spending time on peer editing for their recent problem-solving reflection. Jairo’s Visual Arts students are finishing up contrast pieces, creating patterns around a silhouette of a human doing a physical activity. Finally, in Spanish, Molly’s students have been engaging with holiday themed activities, including a movie with a melting snowman and learning about a tradition with presents in Spain. For some fun, Molly says to ask your children about caga tió!


In the 7th grade, Kelly and Grace’s science students have finished a lab write-up about chemical reactions and have been balancing chemical equations. 7th grade Spanish students have embraced the holiday season by learning about Catalonian Christmas traditions and are creating a story to practice their high-frequency verbs. In Drama, students have received their scripts for their One-Act plays and skits based on student interests. In the Learning Center, students have been diving into long-term study strategies to prepare for a science test, focusing on vocabulary, problem solving, and formulas. They have been using quizlet in a variety of ways based on their learning styles. In Language Arts, students have been working with Jack London’s To Build a Fire, an appropriate story for these winter months, and are brainstorming for writing their own short stories as well. After break, they’ll wrap up the loose ends of their short story unit and jump into Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. In Social Studies, Mike’s students are studying the Reconstruction period of American history, and they are creating their own plans for reconstruction based on healing and justice. Finally, in math, Art’s students have concluded their study of one-step equations and will continue to build their algebra skills by diving into multi-step equations next week and after break.


In the 8th grade, students continue to make progress toward their performances and productions in the arts. Students have run through about one-third of the musical production coming in March, and two-minute documentaries students are concluding their work next week. I look forward to seeing what has been produced and to the musical in early March! In Spanish, Anna’s students have been learning vocabulary about clothing, practicing using their new terminology to talk about how to buy things. They will have a major assessment next week. In the Learning Center, students continue to preview math material and are working on comprehension support for the social studies text, Parallel Journeys.  David’s students have concluded reading The Power of One and are engaging with post-reading activities through the use of the student-favorite Kahoot! They are also continuing work on their creative writing project and are beginning an introduction to their book club discussions that will occur after break. As David emailed earlier this week, students should have both Night by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of Anne Frank for the first day after break, Tuesday, January 8th. In Social Studies, Mike’s students are wrapping up their study of Parallel Journeys and will engage with a roundtable discussion in the new year. Ted’s math students continue to examine graphs and make inferences, and they are preparing for a project on car buying that will begin in January. Finally, Grace’s science students continue their study of the respiratory system and are creating booklets for Sig to use with her 3-4-5 students.


Across all grade levels, Donna’s P.E. students have been doing a fencing unit. After break, 8th graders will be engaging in a teaching unit, and 6th and 7th graders will be playing floor hockey. Multi-sport athletes and Bulldog basketball teams continue to have great success and are learning a lot and improving their fitness and skills greatly. Go Bulldogs! 


The year is flying by, and so much wonderful learning is happening within the middle school. If you haven’t already, please do check out our blog at this link for weekly updates and pictures. I want to thank all of you again for your immense support. It’s an honor to be part of such a thriving, thoughtful community. Happy holidays, and I look forward to being in touch again soon!