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!
Over the past week, students have gotten several opportunities to show what they learned during our short story mini-unit. We kicked the week off with student presentations and finished with a unit assessment. For the presentations, each group taught their class about a classic short story and shared their thoughts and opinions on the story, as well. The unit test assessed each student’s ability to comprehend both literal and complex texts, annotate difficult text and justify their growth over the course of our first unit together. I’ve been so impressed with each student’s ability to be reflective about what they are learning and how it is impacting their growth as readers.
The past two days of class were spent focusing on the fall NWEA “MAP” Growth test. All students took both the reading and language portions of the test during their Language Arts class period. The MAP Growth test “measures what students know and informs what they’re ready to learn next [and] creates a personalized assessment experience that accurately measures performance” (NWEA.org). I am looking forward to sharing the test results with students in the coming weeks and setting goals for growth over the course of the school year!
This week our classes wrapped up our first unit on Equality, Freedom, and Tolerance. Last week students researched and created images and text to represent a person or event connected to human rights. This project was worked on with Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen in the design lab. Students are creating what I call the “memorial cube.” I hope to have the finished product by Friday so students can bring the cubes home. We are ending this unit with a Google slides presentation by groups of 2 and 3 highlighting some important people and events of the US civil rights movement. Students are working to identify main ideas and to express those through their own interpretation of importance AND are attempting to connect these events of the past to current examples of discrimination. The final goal is to interpret the connections of past and present to make sense of the advances made and current challenges to maintaining those advancements. We will wrap up the week with an in-class debate regarding whose protest method is better; MLK and non-violence or Malcolm X and militant actions. These in-class debates help students with communication and argumentative skills while having a bunch of fun trying to prove their side is the best. For added fun, the students are randomly selected to defend one side. This means they must look at both sides first before learning who they will argue for. This is a great challenge, especially when a student has to defend the side opposite of their personal belief. Fridays are currently devoted to current events with the goal of helping students know what is going on in our world helping make those connections of history to present times. Be sure and ask them what they’ve seen or read about and share your insight into the world around us to help build their curiosity and knowledge. I’ll be back with the beginning of our next unit right after the Thanksgiving break. Happy Holidays.
Our 7th/8th grade music students were able to spend four days last week in the Design Lab building their unique instruments. I was super impressed with their creativity and diligence in the Lab. A special shout-out goes to Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen for all of their expertise in assisting us. Students are now researching the question “Does Music Increase IQ?” Many students, in their individual research, have been learning about “the Mozart effect.” Ask your son or daughter what they’ve learned!
Language Arts with Elsa Foote
It’s hard to believe that September has already come and gone. Our first month in Language Arts has flown by, and the progress students are making already is inspiring! For the past week, students have been learning how to annotate and identify literary devices in a text, while exploring classic short fiction such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe and “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. Annotation will continue to be a skill focus throughout our year together in Language Arts. The benefits of learning this vital skill include better retention, an improved ability to write about/discuss a text, a focus on active, alert reading and increased stamina.
This week in Language Arts students will present their assigned short story to the class, developing their skills as professional, public speakers – a major component of the Common Core State Standards. Upon completion of our short story unit, students will take a brief intermission to complete the NWEA test before beginning our first class novel of the year, How to Kill a Mockingbird.
October marks the first month for our “Book of the Month” program. In case your child hasn’t shared information with you about this component of 8th grade Language Arts, here is what you need to know:
- Your child should be reading daily at home. There is no time requirement, but 30 minutes or more is optimal.
- Each month students are required to read a minimum of one book outside of class.
- The book students select should also be brought to Language Arts daily.
- Students will select a genre for each month from the list of required genres (see the Canvas modules for this list).
- Selecting three books per month allows students to have a backup option, if their first selection ends up not being a good fit.
An essential part of this program is student choice: whatever your child chooses to read, make sure they are truly interested in their selection.
Design with Mr. Lenz & Mr. Seehausen
Our upper school students are lucky in that they get to come to the lab 3 days a week. We dove straight into teaching the upper school students the proper workflow in order to use our laser cutter. This involves learning Adobe Illustrator, a powerful and equally complex design program that is used to create projects the laser cutter can understand. Our 8th grade students tackled Illustrator and learned the basics by designing personal bookmarks as well as class norms posters to hang in their classroom. Each student got to have their bookmark design “printed” on the laser cutter, and the top 4 class norms posters were voted on and “printed” as well. With this basic Illustrator skill-set, students have a great foundation for digitally designing their future projects and are ready to acquaint themselves with the other tools in the lab.
Language Arts, Elsa Foote and Math, Makalani Hovey-Vicknair
Our first full week in Language Arts and Math has been all about continuing to establish a strong sense of belonging and community as a class. As the three new staff members on the 7th & 8th-grade team, our goal has been to get to know our students, while also sharing aspects of our teaching philosophies with them. A central belief we both hold is that students do best in school when they have a “growth mindset.” Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor known for her research on the mindset psychological trait, shared her research findings which revealed that, “students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement, and we found that if we changed students’ mindsets, we could boost their achievement.” To work towards establishing a growth mindset, students attempted a seemingly impossible “Paper Challenge” in Language Arts as a means of understanding the value of struggling and persevering through difficult tasks. We look forward to continuing to build each students’ capacity to change the way they think about learning and their abilities.
In mathematics, students actively participated in numerous challenges that required perseverance, collaboration, and open minds while they explored different paths to problem solving. Within this week of inspirational maths (yes, the “s” is deliberate), students explored what qualities and behaviors contribute to successful collaboration and teamwork. We will continue to work towards successful group practices where EVERYONE experiences productivity and a sense of belonging. We look forward to continuing to build each students’ capacity to change the way they think about learning and their abilities.
Next week in Language Arts students will refresh their memory on literary elements with a short story mini-unit, before we dive into our first novel: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
It will also be a big week for our mathematicians because we begin to dive into the curriculum and continue to stretch our minds and explore concepts in a deeper and more meaningful manner.
Humanities with Greg Conrad
The students took on a design challenge to build a better classroom Monday with the aid and direction of Deb Asato. The intent is for students to take ownership in their learning by working to transform our classroom space into an environment that supports student needs AND fits within the restraints of space and budget. This is a work in progress that will hopefully lead to different seating and desks in our classroom.
Our class is beginning to settle in and we have begun our first unit of study – “Freedom, Equality, and Tolerance.” The idea behind this unit is investigating human rights both past and present and will provide many options and choices for students to take their own direction.
We will be using facinghistory.org for our unit, providing lesson plans to explore past and present events in human rights. At this time I am looking to create a project that is student-centered with an end product of a video. I plan to use the design lab and the expertise of both Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen, both of whom have provided ideas and support.
Starting Friday, students will investigate current events on a weekly basis during our Friday class period. We’ll start with the basics and move toward more specific investigations as we progress with fluid discussions and debates that students have specific interest in.
With the new direction in Humanities connecting to and utilizing design thinking and the design lab, I will be “looping” the 7th and 8th grade classes. This simply means both 7th and 8th grade students will be exploring the same units at their grade level.
My first teaching period extends from Monday, September 11 through Friday, October 13.
SEL with Amy Parks
Upper School started their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons on Fridays. SEL is the process of developing the fundamental life skills needed to effectively and ethically handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, in other words, developing the whole child. Our first lessons focused on the science behind SEL and the connection between our breath and our brains. We watched Dr. Dan Seigel show us his hand model representation of our brain/body connection and the need to be able to calm ourselves. You can see it here: Dan Seigel Hand
Students practiced communication, trust, and patience with many movement activities such as untangling themselves from a group knot, supporting each other in partner activities and learning to power through a challenging activity as they drew a star while looking at it only through a mirror. The focus is caring for ourselves and caring for others.
Benefits mentioned by students at the end of class were feeling more calm and connected! We will continue to build community, compassion for ourselves and others, and learn ways to stay focused as emotional or difficult things come up in their lives.
Welcome back from what I hope was an eventful summer full of fun and, of course, reading! My name is Mrs. Foote and this marks my first year teaching at Seven Peaks. I moved to Bend this summer with my husband, Collin, and our French Bulldog, Wellington. I am looking forward to learning with you as your Language Arts teacher for the year. As a student in my classroom, I am confident you are going to accomplish a lot, while also growing as a reader, writer, and empathetic citizen. Since I am new to Seven Peaks, we will begin our year by getting to know each other and building a classroom culture that makes each of you feel welcomed, seen and valued. I can’t wait to meet you all next week!
As we begin the 2017-18 year there are so many new faces and new directions I’m excited to see and be part of. Many of our students attend Upper School Orientation last Thursday and for the new students it was a great way to meet fellow students, the teachers and become comfortable with the campus. I want to restate my offer, if any of you need help please ask me, I’m happy to answer all questions and provide assistance. For those returning, it was great to see many of you as well. I love seeing the smiles and hearing fun memories of last year. It does my heart good to have students laugh as they share what was most entertaining and why. Our school has many new teaching faces; all of whom bring great talents and expertise to our school. Many teachers, including myself, have moved to different classrooms creating a little shake up – kinda like when you go to the grocery store to find they moved everything so you can’t find it – a treasure hunt no doubt. One of the most exciting addition is the new Design Lab. Ryan Lenz, the new Design Tech teacher and others have transformed the old library into an incredible space to invent and create – yup, it’s gonna be a blast. Last, I will be sharing teaching duties throughout the year with Ms. Brannon. I will be teaching 7th and 8th graders Humanities “half” the year and Ms. Brannon will be teaching Science the other half of the year. Can’t wait to see everyone, parents, be sure to stop and say hi and share your summer stories with me. See y’all Wednesday! — Mr. Conrad
I hope you all had a wonderful and refreshing summer. I spent most of mine outside backpacking, paddle boarding, and camping with my dog and occasionally other human companions. While summer was incredible, I am very much looking forward to seeing all of the SPS students and starting off another fun year in Science! We have many new and exciting changes this year, including a state-of-the-art Design Lab that I can’t wait to use during class. Science and Humanities have a bit of a difference schedule this year, which I’m excited about because this new schedule allows us to engage in more in-depth labs and investigations without feeling constrained by short, 50 minute class periods! Feel free to stop by my room with any questions you may have or just to say hello – my door is always open! — Ms. Brannon
Welcome back to a new year here at Seven Peaks, and I’d like to send a special “welcome” to our new 7th grade student, Joe Woll, joining us from Colorado Springs! I hope everyone is excited to be back to school as we anticipate a very exciting year full of new challenges and opportunities. There have been quite a few changes since last year; the addition of myself, Mrs. Vicknair, as your 7th grade math teacher being one of them. The math team will be introducing new and innovative curriculum that will have you on your feet (literally) so I hope you are ready for some fun and challenging thinking! Welcome back and I look forward to learning and growing with you all.
Bienvenidos! I am looking forward to seeing you all following a super busy and fun-filled summer. I’m excited to start off this year with you and look forward to sharing our new Spanish classroom, which I designed with each one of you in mind! We have a great year planned with a lot of new vocabulary to learn, conversations to share and cultures to experience! Hasta luego, amigos! See you next week. — Sra. Jylan Maloy
The Design Lab is welcoming all upper school students starting on day one. Their classroom teacher will join the students in a lab tour and some get-to-know Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen activities. We will model design thinking as we discuss ways to make sure that the design lab is a safe, comfortable and inspiring place for them. A common question regarding design thinking is about curriculum: It is important to emphasize that design thinking is intentionally not a stand-alone curriculum. The goal is to integrate these concepts and skills into existing units of study. My role as lead design thinking teacher is to help classroom teachers find meaningful and relevant ways to incorporate design. Upper school students will be in the design lab three times per week during the afternoon, with additional time available in the morning if the lower school is not using the lab.
Welcome back to school, 7th grade students and families! I am Mrs. Sara Miller and I am so thrilled to be your music teacher this year. This year in music, we will be exploring some new options in music that are more “project” focused – lots of fun for you to use your own creativity – all while having tons of fun in our well-appointed music room. I teach Pre-K through 8th grade music at Seven Peaks as well as enjoy cooking, reading and walking in my spare time. I have a fun family of 7 that also keeps me hopping, with kids ages 16-14-10-8-5. I look forward to getting to know each one of your families – feel free to stop by the music room any time and introduce yourself!
Welcome back to art. Looking forward to a year full of fun and creativity. I am so excited to have the 5th grade as part of our upper school this year! My name is Hope Macauley, and for those of you who have had me in the past, my new last name will take some getting use to for all of us, me included! This year in art we will be creating with a wide range of materials and will be working through a number of art movements, looking at the masters within each. We have lots of new and exciting things going on this year from exploring and learning about our new glass kiln to utilizing the design lab as an extension of the art room! See you soon.