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:


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!