Friday, September 15, 2017

Week of September 11, 2017

Purple Curriculum Updates
Pre-Algebra I with Seema:
This week we continued to study mean, median, mode, range, line plots, frequency tables, line and bar graphs and stem and leaf plots-whew! Lots of math vocabulary for the students to keep straight. They have demonstrated good comprehension of Chapter 2 topics and our chapter 2 test will be on Thursday, September  21st after two in class review days. I handed out an optional review packet today. I highly recommend that students work on sections that challenge them. The review packet has the answer key attached so this is a good tool for independent study. My thoughts on Chapter 1 test: I recognize a need to periodically revisit key concepts such as multiplication and division with decimals. Therefore, the chapter 2 test will contain some basic questions from chapter 1. Also a couple of students assumed that test corrections are optional. They are not-I assign them as homework and also give the students to get back up to 50% credit for missed problems. I have asked all students to come to class with their gmail login/password information on Monday so we can practice making spreadsheets.

Pre-Algebra II with Jared:
This week we worked on wrapping up Chapter 1, focusing on finding mean/median/mode of various sets of data, and then on starting to review and look over the unit as a whole. On Wednesday we played a Jeopardy review game. We then took our Chapter 1 test, and began discussing variables and evaluating expressions.

Pre-Algebra III with Ann:
This week we have been working hard to solve multi-step equations with single variables. Students took a quiz on the first half of Chapter 2 on Wednesday.  To help them get into the habit of always checking their work, this quiz included questions which asked them to go through all of the steps of checking each problem for credit.  Though there were many groans over having to go through the extra steps, I am happy to report that students were able to find their own mistakes before turning in their quizzes!

Next week, we will shift our focus to solving inequalities.  Students began practicing with them by trying to solve an inequality shape puzzle. Many students took the puzzle home to continue working- this class LOVES a good challenge!

The Chapter 2 test will be next Friday (9/22).

Algebra I with Molly:
This week in Algebra, students received their chapter 1 test back for revisions. They were all given the opportunity (while learning the first two chapters of the book) to earn half points back for their quizzes and tests. After the first two chapters, they may still be asked to revise, but their assessment scores will not be changed. They were asked to complete the practice sheet problems associated with each chapter by either the day of the test (for 1% bonus on a quiz grade) or by the day after the test for full credit. We continued chapter 2 two-step and multi-step equations. We then reviewed distribution and combining “like-terms.” Students learned a couple of handy methods to clear an equation of fractions or decimals before solving for the variable. Students also learned that some equations have no solution, while others have infinitely many solutions, called identity.

Language Arts with Jared:
We began a new vocabulary unit this week, and continued working on our grammar unit on prepositions. We finished up our unit on Longfellow by reading an excerpt from "The Song of Hiawatha." We then turned to the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and read "At Port Royal" and "Barbara Frietchie." Students continued working on their own creative poems, with most sections spending time writing ballades. On Friday we spent time making progress in our outside reading books, a fun novel students choose to read on their own each trimester.

World Studies & U.S. History with Ann:
This week, we continued to focus on the condition of the South after the Civil War.  The 7th and 8th graders completed a Structured Academic Controversy focusing on the question "Were African Americans free during Reconstruction?"  Through this activity, the students were asked to consider how sharecropping was similar to and different from slavery.

The 6th graders had the opportunity to practice their historical thinking skills by comparing and contrasting primary and secondary sources about the lives of sharecroppers. They are getting used to reading what they consider "old timey" texts.

The 7th graders also learned about carpetbaggers and scalawags today with a small bit of map work and through analyzing a song written in 1868 (8th and 6th will complete similar activities on Monday). The lyrics of this song lead to another discussion of the importance of putting primary sources into the context of the time. Unfortunately, my one year of piano lessons did not provide me with the skills needed to play the song for the class however, two students asked to take the sheet music home to give it a shot!

All classes received review sheets for the Reconstruction test which will be Wednesday (9/20).  We will review for the test on Tuesday.

I have also begun to meet with students individually about their National History Day projects.  These discussions are meant to help students decide their next steps- some need to narrow their topics while others are beginning their research.  These conferences will become regular as students work through this largely self-paced project.

Earth Science with Molly:

Spanish with Corinne:
Sunshine Spanish
Sunshine A
This week students continued to work with Chapter 1A, talking about likes and dislikes. They learned about the three types of infinitive verbs in Spanish, and also learned new vocabulary to express agreement, disagreement, or to make a sentence negative.

Sunshine B
This week students reviewed for and took a test on Chapter 5A. After the test we watched the first episode in the video mystery series “Eres tú, María?” and did several follow up comprehension activities.

HS Spanish I, part II

This week students reviewed for and took a test on Chapter 5A, fiestas and familia. After the test students enjoyed a day using DuoLingo to practice new and old vocabulary and grammar.

HS Spanish II, part I

This week students reviewed for and took a test on Chapter 1A, school related vocabulary. After the test students enjoyed a day using DuoLingo to practice old and new vocabulary and grammar.

HS Spanish II, part II

This week students reviewed for and took a test on Chapter 4A, talking about childhood. After the test students enjoyed a day using DuoLingo to practice old and new vocabulary and grammar. On Friday we reviewed the new video mystery series “En busca de la verdad” and watched the next episode.

Art with Patti:

Sixth grade artists finished working on their page designing the word “Art” and “What is the meaning of art?” as well as explored using tempera and acrylic paint in their art journals. Some were also working on altering the cover of their journal. They were introduced to their first self guided project, which is to create a non-representational artwork.

Seventh grade artists finished working on, and shared with the class their “Art” page design including “Why do artist create works of art?”, as well as worked on altering the cover of their art journal. They also started preparing for their first project by creating a grid and searching for an image to use.

Eighth grade artists shared their journal page designed with “Art” and “What is the purpose and meaning of art?” as well as altering their journal covers. In addition to this, students experimented with various types of charcoal and how to use them.

Google classrooms have been set up for all of the middle school art classes. I will use this to post what we are doing in art class, as well as give reminders about upcoming events.

Check out the art blog at

Computer Lab with Lorraine:

P.E. and Health with Matt: 
Life Skills / Sex Ed with Molly:
All classes took a more complex learning styles inventory, which will be followed up by a discussion of how to apply their learning style to learning and studying. Following that 6th grade students will begin studying hormones and how they affect their bodies. 7th grade students did not have class this week due to a speaker, but during their upcoming life skills classes, 7th grade girls will watch the female version of a video reviewing changes that occur during puberty. 8th grade students will focus on reproductive organs.

Thank you from, 
The Purple Team