MUN Conference is coming to SPS soon
If your teen has seemed a bit more argumentative of late, it may be due to our current studies on the art of argument. During the past month of Language Arts, students studied the vast array of persuasive techniques employed by authors and speakers. Students were challenged to put these techniques into practice by creating “mini” commercials. The products students chose to sell ranged from laundry products (including Tide Pods, of course) to humorous, fictitious products, such as the “butter stick.”
Our unit will conclude with Seven Peaks’ first ever Model United Nations (UN) Conference. The Model UN conference will be a collaborative project between Humanities and Language Arts and will involve students in “substantial researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, as well as critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership” (bestdelegate.com).
Look for more information about our Model UN Conference coming in the next few weeks. We can’t wait to host our parents as students participate in this valuable experience, addressing real-life issues and employing their best persuasive techniques!
8th graders entered another science rotation after the New Year where we began a study of Motion and Forces. This unit is our first of three physics-focused units where we’re able to make many connections to the real world and participate in many hands-on activities and labs in class. The unit culminated with a student favorite, designing and launching homemade bottle rockets, where we combined all the knowledge and understanding of forces and motion into a fun and hands on lab.
In PE, the first unit of the year was Invasion Game Creation. Students were able to create their own invasion game and teach it to the rest of the class. The second unit was badminton. Along with skill development, students learned rules and terminology of badminton. We had a lot of fun playing in tournaments and putting skills into practice.
Our 8th graders are working hard translating word problems into mathematical representations. They have mastered many skills thus far, and are applying those skills to solve systems of equations that begin with complex contextual situations. Word problems, at any stage, can be intimidating and overwhelming. These past couple of weeks, the 8th graders have been compiling different methods of solving systems of equations and learning about which methods to apply under certain conditions. With these new skills, they are breaking down multi-level word problems by organizing the information provided and then applying problem-solving strategies. I have seen a recent increase in both productivity and understanding within our 8th grade mathematicians! It has been such a pleasure to see their progress as they prepare to take the next steps into high school. I have full confidence that this class will be well prepared.
Humanities with Mr. Conrad
Our 7th and 8th grade Humanities mock trials were both a wonderful success. The prosecution and defense teams in both classes presented their cases like an episode of Law and Order – “bong-booong.” Using critical thinking skills and collaborative teamwork the classes prepared for trial by writing opening statements to introduce their team perspective to the jury, created detailed questions to promote evidence to support their case using their own witnesses, determined what questions could be asked on cross-examination to attempt to trip up the opposing team, and plead their case using facts and emotion to assert their team perspective of guilty or innocent. Each and every student played their role perfectly presenting the jury with a tough decision. The trial centered around the charges that “JC Roberts” possessed, and possessed with the intent to sell, anabolic steroids. In 7th grade, the defendant was found guilty on one count and not guilty on the other. In 8th grade, the defendant was found not guilty on both counts. The trial was very professional and I loved Geoff Chackel’s comment that our students literally out-performed actual attorneys he’s seen in court. I see some future attorneys in our classes.
I appreciate the large gallery of parents and relatives who came to view the trials. That support truly helps students understand your interest and encouragement in their studies. I also thank all volunteers who helped prepare students and those who sat on the jury, we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.
“W🍀W. So well organized. Love how the students take it so serious. I can tell they are growing up. Thanks for being such positive role models. I can see the respect”.
❌⭕️💜🍀 — Quote from Nancy Hoffman
Humanities with Mr. Conrad
Our students are engrossed in preparing for our mock trials on December 21st. Both 7th and 8th grades are currently working to go to trial on a case involving suspicions, uncertainties, possible lies, and the illegal use of anabolic steroids to improve the performance of a high school track student. Students have written opening statements, are currently writing questions for witnesses, and will compose closing arguments all in prep for the trial. These are all complex and challenging ideas that require teamwork and critical thinking.
In preparation, our students visited the Deschutes County Courthouse last Tuesday and Wednesday and were able to view video arraignments and speak to Deschutes County presiding judge, Alta Brady. This, in my humble yet correct opinion (yes, that’s supposed to make you laugh) was a fabulous extension of the real world into the classroom. Students were able to ask Judge Brady questions and learned that the process we are going through is very connected to actual criminal trials. It was also the opportunity to ask questions about possible careers in law and to see the complexities of court. I feel an impactful experience for our students was how many young people were in jail awaiting trial, many commented on how young the defendants were.
Speaking of defendants, our 7th grade student on trial is Jack Duettra and our 8th grade student on trial is Jaxon Giordano. Come watch the trials and consider volunteering to be on the jury to decide their fate. A reminder email and request for jurors will be sent next week, I hope many will be able to attend the trial.
Music with Mrs. Miller
Our Holiday Sing-A-Long is right around the corner! We are so excited to show our parents all the hard work we’ve done in preparing for this fun evening. Please have your student to the music classroom at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 21st in festive Christmas attire. Our show will begin promptly at 6:00pm and following the conclusion, we invite you to join us to walking or driving to our neighbors at TouchMark and blessing them with a few Christmas carols. We will sing 3 songs as a school community at the end of our show – and you’ll have the lyrics on your programs to take with you to TouchMark. The residents are very much looking forward to seeing us and we are excited to have this Community Partnership in giving to others. Thanks for all your support!
Humanities with Mrs. Foote
Over the past few weeks, the 8th graders have inspired me with their thoughtful engagement as we study the seminal coming-of-age novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s timeless exploration of the moral growth and development of identity that adolescents experience has provided a seamless transition into our first I.B assessment. In preparation for this assessment, students have been crafting personal narratives about a pivotal moment in their life that has shaped their identity. This topic has been challenging for many students, due to its intimate nature. However I am happy to report that I have been blown away by each student’s ability to craft a powerful, personal story.
Science with Ms. Brannon
Students have been working extremely hard on their Drug Education Presentations and I’m very impressed with their results! After learning about the function of the Nervous System, groups of students were given a drug or drug group to research and learn how it affects the Nervous System and the rest of the body negatively immediately and in the long-term. Students then presented their findings to the class to give us a comprehensive understanding of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse at any stage in life, but especially during the teen years while the brain is still developing. I encourage you to speak to your child at home about what they are learning in this unit!
Science with Ms. Brannon
Hi 8th grade families! I am so happy to have finally started a science rotation! We’re off to an exciting start in the science lab learning about the nervous system. Students studied the brain and recently dissected a sheep brain! While the smell might not be my favorite, I love seeing students actively engaged in the learning process and dissections are a great way to make this happen. The dissection was a huge success and I was so proud not only of the level of knowledge your students showed during this activity, but also they way they all participated and worked together. This unit will conclude with a study of how drugs and alcohol interfere with the function of the nervous system, and specifically, why they are so much more harmful during teen years due to brain development. If you have any questions on how this part of the unit will look, please feel free to contact me or stop by for a conference. I’m looking forward to a wonderful 8th grade year with your kids!
Language Arts with Mrs. Foote
Grammar, usage, and mechanics – words that typically inspire shuddering and groans from students. Last week, students were introduced to my Harry Potter-themed “Grammar House Cup.” I am thrilled to report that I have seen tons of enthusiasm from students about this addition to Language Arts. Starting next Friday, each student will work on completing an individualized “game board” focusing on a grammatical skill set. The game board will lead students through a variety of self-paced activities to strengthen and improve their writing. In addition, students can earn points for their “house” by catching grammar and spelling mistakes in the real world.
In the coming weeks, we will continue our novel study of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is part of our larger unit on identity and relationships. Over the course of this unit, students will develop their craft as narrative writers and improve their ability to read classic fiction. My hope is that each student will complete the unit knowing and understanding that people of all races, genders, and ages can teach us life lessons and shape who we become.
Math with Mrs. Hovey Vicknair
While group work is a consistent struggle for the 8th grade mathematicians, I continue to see improvement in the collective class dynamics. They are finishing up their second unit where we investigated different ways to determine and define linear equations, making connections to different representations of linear relationships and investigating the meaning of these relationship when provided context. The main focus is on making sense of the data and application by developing an understanding of how characterizing relationships allows us to solve problems and find solutions.
Geometry with Ms. Williams
In the last few weeks, the Geometry class has really come together to become a high-functioning team. Whether they are working together to design an apartment or figuring out how to calculate the height of a triangle, they do an impressive job of respectfully sharing their own ideas and thoughtfully listening to each other’s ideas. Recent group work has centered around the concepts of congruent angle pairs and similar shapes.
Art with Mrs. Macauley
The 8th graders have had a busy couple months in the art room. So far this year, we have been reviewing the elements of art through the creation of each student’s name designed on their art portfolio. Grades for this assignment, as well as comments, can be found on Canvas! Currently, we are wrapping up a collage unit that will become your students customized sketchbook cover and beginning to plan for the quickly approaching Empty Bowls unit. Empty Bowls is a local fundraiser to raise money for the local organization, Neighbor Impact, to help the less fortunate in our immediate community. There is a Canvas announcement posted on the art page with all the details if you would like to attend the event! Please feel free to come by and visit the art room anytime!