Friday, April 6, 2018

Fusion Communication: April 6

Hi all,
So the personal hygiene and Fortnite sleep deprivation have been significantly improved - thank you.  The team is really busy right now - all teachers are approaching major assessments. See below for more about the doings on Team Fusion.

PLP Check In
7th Grade: Students are working on their “This I Believe” projects. This is a long-established and worldwide project encouraging people everywhere to wax philosophical about what their core beliefs are and how they affect their lives. We studied many mentors (via NPR) such as Muhammad Ali and author Amy Tan. Students are working to articulate their own core values and beliefs through either a poster, essay, or slideshow presentation. We’ll be working on these projects through April 13th and will present the final week before break (16th-20th).

8th Grade: Students should be starting their Career Posters and Presentations - these will be due April 16. Students have had several PLP sessions focused on budgeting and cost of living choices - ask to see their budgets! Are they accurate:)? You will be contacted if your child is not making adequate progress on their project - but students are expected to use out of school / study hall time to produce the majority of the project.
Trifold poster boards are available at Dollar General, Staples, some grocery stores and from Mr. Warren.

PLPs until April Break
PLP groups are meeting every Monday and Friday mornings until break (generally runs from 8-8:20am).  The process is designed to be a steady progression - unless your child misses a session. Please look ahead at doctor’s appointments and other scheduled absences as that will affect what your child will need to make up from the PLP session.

Yearbook Orders due no later than April 13
See the attachment for more information

All Laptops are at school over the Weekend
There should be no school laptops / electronic devices at home over the weekend.  If one does make its way home, please secure it in a spot where it will remain unused for the break.

Calendar
April 6 - Last ⅞ Dance of the year; 7-9pm, $5 door charge with food available for purchase
April 11 - Delayed Start
April 13 - Last day to order Yearbooks (see attachment)
Week of April 16 - 8th Grade Career Unit Presentations
April 19 - Career Fair from 5:30-6:30pm
April 23-27 - April Break (no school)
May 9 - Last Delayed Start
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU
June 14 - Tentative 7th Grade Field Trip to Sandbar State Park ($15)
June 14 - Tentative 8th Grade Field Trip to the Great Escape ($ TBD)
June 19 - Tentative last day for 8th graders (MMU Class of 2022) and Recognition Night
June 20 - Tentative last student day of school (grades 5-7)

Curriculum Updates
LA
7 - Our 7th grade readers have really dug in to the historical fiction reading unit we're in the midst of! We're learning to separately analyze what is going on historically from what's going on in the plot of the story, and we're working on teasing out what we can learn about/from both. They are expected to be reading and jotting at home every night, so support in this is much appreciated by me and by their book club group!

8 - 8th grade readers are in the thick of our dystopian reading unit! This is a fun unit for all involved because of the recent mainstream influx of dystopian stories marketed towards young adult audiences in both text and film-- our readers are stepping into this unit of learning with a ton of background knowledge of the genre. Some stories can be a bit disturbing, but a lot of the work we're doing is to comprehend what these stories are saying about systemic problems in their worlds and in ours. They are expected to be reading and jotting at home every night, so support in this is much appreciated by me and by their book club group!

Math:
7 - This week we began our new unit, Comparing and Scaling.  We have been exploring the idea of comparing ratios by scaling up or down.  We watched a great 1980s Pepsi vs. Coke taste test to talk about ways companies present data to try to sway consumer opinion and buying habits.  

8 - This week we worked on solving more complex linear equations involving distribution within the context of expenses, revenue, and profit.  We while continue to work on solving multi-step equations while some students will have the opportunity to explore modeling with quadratic expressions and solving quadratic equations.  

Science
7 - We continue to explore factors that cause a gene pool in populations to change over time.  Students were introduced to environmental factors which caused changes in different species, such as giraffes and the peppered moth.  The last two days, students analyzed data about lizard populations in the Greater Antilles. They identified patterns of their distribution, made a hypotheses about their ancestry, and used a phylogenetic tree to analyze DNA evidence of ancestry.  Next week, we will consider how scientists use fossils to infer relationships among species.

8 - Continuing our unit on force and motion, students conducted an investigation relating the shape of ski slopes to skier speeds, using pipe insulation and marbles as models.  From this investigation, they wrote a mini-lab report, to provide continued practice with analyzing and interpreting data. Meanwhile, we continue to practice with interpreting and quantifying motion events;  this week’s new concept was displacement - a measure of a change in position in a given direction.  Next week, we’ll explore acceleration.

SS
7 - Students continue to explore markets and economic activities - they are developing goods and services they can sell to each other through the Sovereign State Game.  Students also spent time investigating another financial literacy game, called The Uber Game.

8 - Students continued exploring the Industrial Revolution, and began taking notes from primary and secondary sources for the district assessment.  Some students began to explore another great financial literacy game called Spent, which helped students understand the struggles of budgeting when earning low wages.

Happy weekend to all.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Fusion Communication: March 30

Hi all,
Weather is getting warmer, the mud is getting deeper. One student remarked that it smelled like spring in the classrooms - not sure if that was a compliment.  Here’s hoping this season passes quickly:) Much is going on - check out below for all the latest on Team Fusion.

Fortnite is causing issues!
There is an online game taking the internet by storm - Fortnite! Luckily for us at BRMS, this game rarely appears at school (does not work on Chromebooks and smartphones are not allowed without teacher permission). But the game’s effects are causing disruptions in the classroom - tired, irritable students who are seriously unable to learn because of long nights in front of the screen.  Some students are literally falling asleep in class; Fortnite is a problem. Please have conversations with your children about balance with regards to this game. This too shall pass.
Link below is to a news story about the game - it’s a good place to start for understanding:

Personal Hygiene Checks
Every now and then we at Team Fusion need a little help with the “spring-like” aromas wafting through our rooms (it’s a 7th AND 8th grade issue). It’s not unusual for students - especially those who enter puberty during the winter months - to need some support with personal hygiene habits. A couple extra minutes in the mornings with these three things would make a world of difference in Team Fusion classrooms:
  • Teeth brushing
  • Deodorant
  • Baking soda in the constantly wet sneakers and boots (works every time)
Thanks for support in this matter!

PLPs until April Break
PLP groups are meeting every Monday and Friday mornings until break (generally runs from 8-8:20am).  The process is designed to be a steady progression - unless your child misses a session. Please look ahead at doctor’s appointments and other scheduled absences as that will affect what your child will need to make up from the PLP session.

All Laptops are at school over the Weekend
There should be no school laptops / electronic devices at home over the weekend.  If one does make its way home, please secure it in a spot where it will remain unused for the break.

Calendar
April 11 - Delayed Start
Week of April 16 - 8th Grade Career Unit Presentations
April 6 - Last ⅞ Dance of the year; 7-9pm, $5 door charge with food available for purchase
April 19 - Career Fair from 5:30-6:30pm
April 23-27 - April Break (no school)
May 9 - Last Delayed Start
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU
June 14 - Tentative 7th Grade Field Trip to Sandbar State Park ($15)
June 14 - Tentative 8th Grade Field Trip to the Great Escape ($ TBD)
June 19 - Tentative last day for 8th graders (MMU Class of 2022) and Recognition Night
June 20 - Tentative last student day of school (grades 5-7)

Curriculum Updates
LA
7 - Our 7th grade readers have really dug in to the historical fiction reading unit we're in the midst of! We're learning to separately analyze what is going on historically from what's going on in the plot of the story, and we're working on teasing out what we can learn about/from both. They are expected to be reading and jotting at home every night, so support in this is much appreciated by me and by their book club group!

8 - 8th grade readers are in the thick of our dystopian reading unit! This is a fun unit for all involved because of the recent mainstream influx of dystopian stories marketed towards young adult audiences in both text and film-- our readers are stepping into this unit of learning with a ton of background knowledge of the genre. Some stories can be a bit disturbing, but a lot of the work we're doing is to comprehend what these stories are saying about systemic problems in their worlds and in ours. They are expected to be reading and jotting at home every night, so support in this is much appreciated by me and by their book club group!

Math
7 - This week we wrapped up the Stretching and Shrinking unit with the end of unit assessment.  Next week, we will begin the next unit, Comparing and Scaling. This unit builds on the proportional reasoning in Stretching and Shrinking while applying it to other concepts as well as going more in depth into ratios.  

8 - This week, we have been working to model complex situations that require multiple expressions by combining expressions by either addition, subtraction, factoring, and/or substitution in order to create expressions that are more efficient to use.  Through this unit, we will continue to work with combining and breaking down expressions to solve more complex problems. There will also be opportunities to explore systems of equations for students who are mastering the other content.

Science
7 - Students continue to build on their understanding of genetic variation in populations by considering that natural selection results in traits that do not contribute to “fitness” can be removed from populations.  Today, we began to consider how environmental changes contribute to changes in genotypes. Next week, we examine changes to populations following isolation.

8 - This week, we focused on how energy is transformed from potential to kinetic and back to potential energy in pendulums, bouncing balls, and flexible rulers.  Students completed a check-up quiz on Thursday on their understanding of energy and on their ability to calculate speed and energy. Next week, we explore acceleration!

SS
7 - This week has featured a more in depth focus on markets, and how the big “three” economic systems direct access to markets.  Students also spent time exploring the role of Lebron James’s impact on local businesses in the cities in which he plays; in addition, students learned a lot from a fun “market” based financial literacy game called “Lemonade Stand”.

8 - As the Industrial Revolution Unit unfolds, students are exploring more themes within the curriculum.  Students researched an invention and attached themes to those inventions, and watched a video about the textile industry of Bangladesh.

Happy weekend to all.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fusion Communication: February24

Hi all,
Great day - and team Red won the student / faculty basketball game… or was it White? Never can remember - guess that’s the point:) Hope everyone enjoys the break as much as your children will.

Spring Parent Conference Sign-up
We are providing the link below to sign up for spring conferences.  Due to the shorter allotted time-frame for spring conferences, offering times to to meet with all Fusion families within the conference window is not possible.  We have often focused this time of the year on meeting with 8th grade families to support the transition to high school, however we want to make sure that we make time for all the families both 8th and 7th that feel the need to meet.  When deciding whether to sign up for a conference, please keep in mind whether you have met with us recently or have a meeting scheduled with us in the near future in order to be fair to other families.  Also, if you do not feel the need for a conference, but would like an email update about your student please feel free to email us and we would be happy to accommodate this.  

Use the link below to schedule a conference:

8th Grade Career Panel and Career Unit Update
The 8th grade participated in a career panel on Thursday morning - many thanks to the following community members who took time out of their busy day to help with the event:
  • Sgt. Brian Welch - Chittenden County Sheriff’s Department
  • Marie Sawyer - Vermont Department of Health
  • Colleen and Paul Palmer - Palmer Maple
  • Paul Gale - National Life

In Schoology (and the orange packet you should have received from your child:) are the deadlines of the project, as well as helpful materials for interviewing. Students and families should be making plans for these job shadows in the next couple of weeks.

All Laptops are at school over the Break
There should be no school laptops / electronic devices at home over the break.  If one does make its way home, please secure it in a spot where it will remain unused for the break.

Calendar
February 24-March 6: Winter Break (no school)
March 26 - 8th Grade: Job Shadow and Interview should be complete
April 11 - Delayed Start
Week of April 16 - 8th Grade Career Unit Presentations
April 19 - Career Fair from 5:30-6:30pm
April 23-27 - April Break (no school)
May 9 - Last Delayed Start
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU

Curriculum Updates Return After the Break

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fusion Communication: February 16

Hi all,
One week and counting - whew! While the weather is topsy turvy, Team Fusion is continuing to grind along.  Please note - there are assessments in most classes next week, right up to Wednesday. Please check in with the teaching team if your child will be leaving any sooner than Wednesday.

Spring Parent Conference Sign-up
We are providing the link below to sign up for spring conferences.  Due to the shorter allotted time-frame for spring conferences, offering times to to meet with all Fusion families within the conference window is not possible.  We have often focused this time of the year on meeting with 8th grade families to support the transition to high school, however we want to make sure that we make time for all the families both 8th and 7th that feel the need to meet.  When deciding whether to sign up for a conference, please keep in mind whether you have met with us recently or have a meeting scheduled with us in the near future in order to be fair to other families.  Also, if you do not feel the need for a conference, but would like an email update about your student please feel free to email us and we would be happy to accommodate this.  

Use the link below to schedule a conference:

PLPs Started this Week
7th Grade: Personalized Learning Plans were explained and the goals for the next two months were laid out for the students.  They will be spending time completing and reflecting on interest surveys.  Students will be expected to complete a goal setting experience at the end of the two months.

8th Grade: The career unit was explained and students have seen what an interview and job shadow should look like. Students completed a career finder survey - ask your 8th grader about their results.

All Laptops are at school over the Weekend
There should be no school laptops / electronic devices at home over the break.  If one does make its way home, please secure it in a spot where it will remain unused for the break.

Calendar
February 23 - Student Faculty Basketball Game (8th graders and staff compete on Red and White teams). Time is end of the day - 1:40ish.
February 24-March 6: Winter Break (no school)
March 26 - 8th Grade: Job Shadow and Interview should be complete
April 11 - Delayed Start
Week of April 16 - 8th Grade Career Unit Presentations
April 19 - Career Fair from 5:30-6:30pm
April 23-27 - April Break (no school)
May 9 - Last Delayed Start
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU

Curriculum Updates
LA
7: Our writers have been busy with their argument paper regarding whether or not kids should play competitive sports. They’ve researched by reading and annotating articles advocating for and arguing against our issue. We’ve been working on trying out note taking systems to compile and use such research in academic argument essays. Each student has been able to conference with me and reflect on a specific (and evolving) writing goal for themselves to focus on. We’ll continue this process piece through the end of the trimester.

8: Eighth grade writers have been working on their position paper. Their topic was either self-chosen, involves our mentor text regarding amnesty for child soldiers, or relates to their social studies unit regarding U.S. constitutional amendments. We have been unpacking the different parts of an essay and working to improve the strength of our argument through both strong and relevant evidence, as well as through thorough and explicit analysis of such. This work will continue through the end of the trimester.

Math:  
For both grades, weekly homework has been moved to being assigned on Wednesdays and collected the following Wednesday in order to accommodate the different schedules and needs of students/families.
7- This week we have been exploring similarity with work on a coordinate grid seeing what types of coordinate “rules” (addition/subtraction & multiplication) when applied to the original figure’s coordinates will create similar figures.  Next week we will continue this work, but will apply it to shapes not on a coordinate grid and introducing the idea of scale factor.
8- This week we have been applying our knowledge of reflections, rotations, and translations to coordinate grids and developing rules for these “moves” given the original coordinates.  Next week we will wrap up this work and move on to dilations on a coordinate plane.

Science
7- Please read:  As part of our unit on heredity, students will create a family tree poster that traces genetic traits and/or traits that are acquired, or learned, over 3 generations.  Students have the choice of researching their own family tree, the family of another species, such as a pet, or a famous person's family.  The goal is for students to gain experience tracing the lineage of specific traits within a family and to relate this experience to our studies of genetics and inheritance.  I know that there can be sensitivity around this type of project for some students and families; my hope is that the options provided allow for every student to have a positive experience with this assignment.  Please let me know if you have any particular concerns or suggestions.  I plan to introduce the project on Monday to give students time over the break to gather photos, images, and information. Thank you!

8- Students did fabulous work researching and presenting their chemical reaction demonstrations to the class over the last 2 weeks.  Nearly all presentations are completed.  We continue to experience a variety of reactions in class to explore concepts such as: catalysts, exothermic and endothermic reactions, and pH.  We continue to focus on evidence to suggest a chemical reaction is taking place as well as the difference between physical and chemical changes.  We will hold our final assessment for this unit next Wednesday.  After the vacation, we move into Forces, Motion, and Waves!

SS
7- There was a more focused approach to geography this week, with students revising maps of their countries for the Sovereign State game. Next week, students will be working on the district assessment for government - please let Mr. Pless know if your child will be leaving school early for vacation.

8- Students focused more attention on the first Amendment, and the five freedoms guaranteed in it (as well as the limitations on those freedoms).  Next week, students will participate in an appeals court proceeding about the death penalty (8th Amendment), as well as continue to refine and revise their VT Bill project (due March 16). On Thursday, students will participate in a career panel from 8-9am.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fusion Communication: February 9

Hi all,
We had a fabulous field trip day on Thursday - what could be better (for student)? Snow day followed by a field trip day! It may seem like Fusion is winding down, but there is a lot of school left before the break.

PLPs Starting Monday
Students in 7th and 8th Grades will begin the PLP (personalized learning plan) process on Monday.  During the CPR time (Monday and Friday mornings), students will meet with advisors who will guide them in creating and/or furthering their PLP:
  • 7th Graders - this year will be an introduction to the PLP process.  Students will take interest surveys and develop goals for the coming year(s) based off the results.  Students will not make formal presentations, but are encouraged to attend the Career Unit Fair on Thursday, April 19.
  • 8th Graders - this year will revolve around the career unit.  The career unit is designed to start students from their interest surveys and career finder activity taken last year, and to give students the support to interview and shadow a person in a career the student is interested in learning more. A packet of information should be coming home early next week, or your student can show you the Schoology folder for the unit (live on Monday).

Time to Check Supplies!
It’s the halfway point in the year - and some student supplies are running low.  Please check in with your child to make sure they have pencils, pens, paper, etc; teaching team is getting asked for A LOT of pencils right now.

All Laptops are at school over the Weekend
There should be no school laptops / electronic devices at home over the break.  If one does make its way home, please secure it in a spot where it will remain unused for the break.

Calendar
February 14 - Delayed Start
February 16 (8th Grade only) - MMU Recommendation forms due to Ms. Wisniowski (see attached letter)
February 23 - Student Faculty Basketball Game (8th graders and staff compete on Red and White teams). Time is end of the day - 1:40ish.
February 24-March 6: Winter Break (no school)
April 11 - Delayed Start
Week of April 16 - 8th Grade Career Unit Presentations
April 19 - Career Fair from 5:30-6:30pm
April 23-27 - April Break (no school)
May 9 - Last Delayed Start
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU

Curriculum Updates will return next week.