Mid-January Check-in

Posted 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,