Math

This past week the 8th grade class finished their data analysis unit. During the unit we discussed different ways to collect information, from totally random samples to more biased convenient samples. We studied different ways to display data and how data can be skewed to support different arguments. The culminating activity was to create two different surveys, gather the data in two different ways (one biased and one unbiased), create charts and graphs to display the results, and calculate the most important values associated with the data (mean, median, mode, outliers, etc.). The students did an excellent job understanding the importance of collecting data and creating accurate graphs/charts to display their results.

Language Arts

Why write research papers? As the 8th graders move into the final stages of the complex process that has been our writing journey, it’s worth reminding ourselves why research is so important. In “Reasons Why Students Should Still Write Research Papers,” veteran high school English teacher Dorothy Mikuska notes, “The research paper is not just an assignment, but a commitment to continual dialogue between teachers and students.” I concur–the collegiate relationship we are developing now will serve students well as they enter high school next year.

Moreover, “real research deals with deeper and broader issues than finding isolated facts. Students must learn to think of research as investigating profound and complex issues.” Whether it is in the Language Arts classroom, in a design lab, or on the job, these critical thinking and inquiry skills are vitally important for success in the ever-changing landscape of today’s world.

Finally, although I always love our collaborations with Mr. Conrad, during this unit we’ve had the chance to work more closely with Mr. Kennedy, as 8th grade math students have been working on graphing data, also a key component of our primary research. It’s always good to stretch ourselves and try new things!

For more on the value of research, please read the following article:

http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/8-reasons-why-students-should-still-write-research-papers/

Humanities

The students are well into our studies of the Vietnam War. Our project is based around a news broadcast team circa 1975. The students are in teams of 4 and 5 with a news anchor and news reporters. As we study the war, broken into 5 main sections, students are writing news copy and presenting on camera using a green screen. Once more segments are recorded, student teams will work together to edit the recordings and add backgrounds to the green screen. The ultimate goal is to create a news broadcast that presents the facts of the war in a “Special News Report” format.

This is a great time to check in with your student and remind them to hang on till the end of the school year. At this time many fall into bad habits of not paying attention in class and completing work resulting in grades that do not reflect their ability. Any reminders and support at home is greatly appreciated 🙂

Science

8th graders are almost finished with their study of Light and Sound Waves, and are wrapping up with a short choice-based research project. Throughout the course of the unit, students asked a variety of intriguing questions regarding applications of light and sound. Instead of answering these questions for them, I compiled a list of their questions (and a few of my own) and let them choose the one that interests them most for their research project! Students will present their findings to the class next week. We will then begin a unit on STEM careers, which includes many hands-on design challenges and activities as we study careers within the STEM field. If you or someone you know works in the STEM field and would like to come in to speak about your work please let me know! It’s great to have someone with personal experience speak to students about the endless career opportunities within the STEM field!

Math

Next week we will be wrapping up our unit on systems of equations. The unit has provided the 7th grade class with many opportunities to persevere through some challenging concepts. One of the most difficult concepts…word problems. Reading a problem and translating it into a mathematical equation can be very difficult at times. In order to bring these problems to life, students were given a bag of candy (gummy bears mixed with Mike and Ike’s), and told how many pieces of candy were in the bag. Then using that information, the total weight of the candy in the bag, the weight of a single Mike and Ike, and the weight of a single gummy bear, the students were able to create a system of equations and calculate the number of gummy bears and Mike and Ike’s in the bag. The reward for being accurate and precise…they got to eat the candy in the bag.

Language Arts

“Hearing the spoken words of classic and contemporary poets we learn that we are not alone, that men and women always have felt as we feel, that the human spirit has been the one constant in the history of our kind. In this way the recitation of poetry brings history to life; in this way it creates community.”  –Poetry Out Loud (National Endowment for the Arts & Poetry Foundation)

As you know, Mr. Conrad and I are collaborating as 7th graders study WWII in Humanities: in Language Arts, they have just finished reading and discussing Hitler Youth, a powerful nonfiction book about the German teens and pre-teens who Hitler recruited to fight (and die) for his cause.

As the culmination of the unit in Language Arts, students will research, practice, and deliver a spoken word performance—an oral interpretation of a poem or fiction/nonfiction excerpt—that ties in to the character whose scrapbook they are creating in Mr. Conrad’s class. Student objectives are to communicate their own interpretation of the text, to find greater meaning in the text, and to understand that these pieces of text are so much more than words, but lasting reminders of our history.

Stay tuned for details on date/time of the spoken word project and volunteer opportunities leading up to it. Thanks!

Humanities

Our classes are well immersed into our studies of WWII at this time. Students have chosen to follow the path of a historical character during the war years. Each is viewing the war through the perspective of their character such as a Holocaust survivor or soldier at war; there are many different characters. Be sure to ask your student “who” they are.

Thursday, the students had a guest speaker via Skype; Keanu’s grandmother’s friend who experienced being transported from her home in Holland to a concentration camp in Germany. Her story was rich with information to help students understand the complexities of the war. Thank you Katie Hayden-Lewis for providing the connection to Marion for the students to interact with. I recorded the session on Quicktime with the hope of uploading to Canvas for all to have access to.

Students will next begin using the design cycle to create a WWII scrapbook to express the history of the war and their character’s experience. Students are also choosing a poem to represent their character in Language Arts with Mrs. Holdredge for an upcoming spoken word presentation.

This is a great time to check in with your student and remind them to hang on till the end of the school year. At this time many fall into bad habits of not paying attention in class and completing work resulting in grades that do not reflect their ability. Any reminders and support at home is greatly appreciated 🙂

Science

7th graders finished up their study of Genetics and Natural Selection this week, and are beginning our final unit of the year, Geology, on Monday. This unit has special importance because it creates a foundation of knowledge for our end of the year field trip to Mt. St Helens. During the next three weeks we will study Earth’s geologic history and the various types of rocks. We’ll then take a deeper look at plate movement and the volcanoes near us, and end with a study of Mt. St Helens and its eruption. When we visit Mt. St. Helens the next week, students will be able to make countless connections between what they learned in class and the experiences they have on the trip!

As a side note, I sent out an email on Thursday with the packing list and itinerary for the trip, and also a request for chaperones! We owe much of the success of this trip to our chaperones, so please check your schedules and let me know if you are able to come along! It’s a fun trip for everyone!

Music

7th grade students are busy with final preparations for their play Snow White and the Seven Dudes that they’ll be performing for our Spring Show on Thursday, May 25th at 2:00pm. Students have been instructed to bring in specific props for their character, along with their costume. Please check with your student and ask them if their costume is in the music room; if not, lovingly nudge them to get that taken care of ASAP! Also, working on lines is still a good thing to do, all the way up to the show date, in order to solidify their confidence. I appreciate all the help you’ve provided in assisting them with learning their part. We cannot wait to have you see this special and HILARIOUS performance! Please also check your Canvas email for an important MS update.

Science

The link below is to the student’s 30-second public service announcement for the City of Bend’s Clean Water Works contest. The students did a great job and maybe one of the teams will win.

//docs.google.com/document/d/1EdWDQGXbHUGoWcuyY0ZTtvLs2AyIrVczYo0rYbTPpyI/edit?usp=sharing

Next week we will be starting our unit on the human body systems. If anyone has a speciality and would like to do a presentation that would be great, just let me know. The students love having guest presenters in class.

Language Arts

Did you know that in addition to academic knowledge students learn Approaches to Learnings (ATLs) at Seven Peaks School? Through participating in literature circles, students have done a wonderful job of developing of communication, collaboration, and organization skills. Students have also just completed an illustrated plot diagram of their literature circle novel. Making literature visual can help us understand the writing techniques an author used to make the book come alive.

Humanities

This week we began a unit on ancient Greece with the statement of inquiry: “The development of government and culture of an ancient civilization continues to affect the modern world.” Our study will focus on the geography, culture, and political systems of Greece. In addition to the Olympics and democracy, the ancient Greek civilization has left us an indelible legacy of art, literature, math, and science.

Math

We are focused on finding percentages. It would be great to ask your student how to find percentages when out shopping to reinforce this concept. Example: 30% of $20 (Find 10% then multiply by 3)

Music

6th graders are doing amazing work in class preparing for their upcoming Spring Show on Thursday, May 25th at 2:00pm. Please make plans to join us and see our xylophone piece (Captain Obvious), Pachelbel’s Canon in D on Boomwhackers, a sampling of our Scoring for Animation unit and a fun Rhythm stick routine! Your students are amazingly creative and many of them have willingly taken on leadership roles and it’s been a treasure to watch them grow and mature. Thank you for sharing them with us in music. Please also check your Canvas email for an important MS update.

In Prekindergarten this week, we celebrated our MOMS!  We spent our week talking about why are moms are important, what they do for us and what we love most about them. On Friday, we culminated our learning by inviting our mother’s in for a very special performance and to enjoy some tea, lemonade and cookies! It was truly a wonderful celebration and filled with lots of LOVE!

 

In Kindergarten, we completed our Painted Lady’s Butterfly Unit with the release of our hatched Painted Lady’s. The children have also helped bring in Spring by planting herbs in our school garden. The joys of new life have been so present, exciting and supported by our hands-on activities, class art, wonderful stories and writings. We have moved into our Opinion Writing learning to use writing in terms of persuading someone as to how to do something with logical reasoning. The children went on a field trip across the street to witness the new construction happening in our school neighborhood and have been working on individual letters to the construction crew as to what they think should be built and focusing on the many reasons why our ideas should be heard! Such joy in writing combined with real world application!

First grade has been busy these past two weeks! With the nice weather last week we were able finally celebrate outdoor day! We had almost all of our learning outside that day and it was a great change of scenery for the kids. It coincided perfectly with our math unit all about measurement. The kids were able to apply their measurement learning directly to the real world through an outdoor measurement scavenger hunt. They had a blast and were able to apply their learning about standard and non-standard measurement to everything from the the playground to the circumference of a tree and a blade grass.

We also spent time preparing for our upcoming Mother’s Day celebration! As we head into our math unit all about fractions we spent time baking some muffins for our moms and learning about how important fractions are in the baking process.

Both of these real life examples of math at work gave the kids such insight into the “why” behind the math. They were engaged and having fun while they were learning and I can guarantee they won’t forget these lessons! What a great week!

Wrapping up our Simple Machines unit, second graders partnered with their fifth grade buddies to build a z-pulley on the playground! First, students tried lifting a fifth grader off the ground with only one pulley. Even with all their strength, the fifth grader did not budge off the ground. By creating a z-pulley, with two pulleys and two Prusik knots, students discovered that you can use less force if that force is extended over a longer distance. It was a great opportunity for students to learn, firsthand, how z-pulleys are used in crevasse rescue situations to make work easier.

Project based learning is happening in 3rd grade! To supplement our study of area, perimeter and geometry, the third graders are designing and building a miniature 3D version of a tiny house! The size of the houses will all be the same, but each student is creating a unique version based on their own ideas, imagination and application of skills.Third graders are responsible for designing and building a tiny house. It will include the layout, picking furniture, and using real-world math skills to finish the project. This project based learning activity focuses on the real-world application of math concepts used in building and designing homes, while practicing problem-solving skills (which are one of the most sought after skills in the workforce today), collaboration, and using their imagination. It allows for differentiation, so students can work at a pace which allows them to be most successful. Be sure to stop by the classroom to check out our tiny home prototypes!