Friday, November 9, 2018

Fusion Communication: November 9



Hi all,

It’s definitely starting to feel like the week before Thanksgiving:) We’re still rolling on Team Fusion, with assessments and final projects before the end of the first trimester. The weather will be much colder next week - students should be prepared to spend 25 minutes in mid-20s next week.

Movember Madness - for the BRMS Food Shelf
BRMS will engage in Movember frenzy this coming week. The BRMS Movember campaign attempts to raise awareness of the needs for wellness during the winter months, but also seeks to raise food items for the BRMS food shelf. During the holiday months, the BRMS school community supports several families with food and personal hygiene items; these families are unable to meet their needs through the area food shelves (or cannot access them because of work schedule, transportation issues).

The basics:
- Any staff member (or 8th grader who checks in with Mr. Pless)can be a participant

- They adopt a "persona" about wellness and make campaign posters to place around the school. For example, Mr. Pless will be "The Man" Mr. Pless (see The Killers "The Man" official music video)

- The more food and personal hygiene items the participants raise, the more "votes" they get in the competition

- Families can donate non-perishable food or personal hygiene items by placing them in boxes by the office. Gift cards to area grocery stores and pharmacies can also be donated (please leave those in Mr. Pless's mailbox).

- There will be the annual Movember parade through the school Friday, November 16 from 8-8:20am.

Laptops should be at school over the weekend:)

Calendar:

November 14: Delayed Start

November 16: Grades Close - 1st trimester

Normal day of school (no fun day but academics will be “low key”)

November 19-23: School Break (teacher inservice Nov. 19-20)

November 30: First ⅞ Dance of the year! Woot!

November 30 (tentative): 7th Grade field trip to International Festival

December 3-7: 1st Trimester Report Cards released

December 12: Delayed Start

December 24-28: No School - break

January 2, 2019(!): School resumes

January 9: Delayed Start


Curriculum Updates
LA

Students should be reading 30 mins a day outside of class (study hall is fine). Reading notebook jotting work will resume after the break.

7 -- Narrative Assessment on Monday and Tuesday -- Students are encouraged to revise and resubmit their pre assessment.

8 -- Information Writing Assessment on Monday and Tuesday -- Students are encouraged to revise their pre assessment and resubmit.

Math

7- This week we finished up the last investigations of our current unit. These involved order of operation, distributive property, and the application of the skills from this unit to word problems. Next week we will be reviewing a unit assessment planned for Thursday.

8- This week we explored modeling by creating lines of best fit for different data plots, developed different strategies for finding the equation of a line between two given points, and in a technology based activity, applied our understanding of linear models to predict the amount of time it takes to charge a phone battery. Next week we will be doing to some small group work to extend individuals understanding of linear relationships and modeling and problem solving.

Science

7 - Students switched formats a bit this week - interpreting interactive digital models of photosynthesis and cellular respiration to help them visualize these microscopic processes. They also conducted an experiment to look for evidence of photosynthesis using a chemical indicator that changes color in the presence of carbon dioxide! They will complete a final assessment for this unit next week.

8 - Students completed a mini-research project on a mineral of their choosing. They focused on the physical and chemical properties of this mineral, as well as how it is used by society. They constructed “mineral cubes”, which are hanging from the classroom ceiling and display the results of their research! Next week will include one final assessment on molecular structures before the end of the trimester.

SS

7 - Students finished up their assessment for the culture unit; these projects will be available mid-week for families to see what is the “culture” of our students. We will take a break this coming week to work on the first phase of the Sovereign State Activity, which will involve a deeper dive into geography and natural resources.

8 - Students have been practicing A LOT of inquiry over the last few weeks; all has been in preparation for the district assessment next week and to be more critical, thoughtful citizens:). The district assessment will have the students apply their analysis of historical documents, maps and discussions to create an argument about the American Revolution’s roots. Please be checking with your child about their level of preparation and focus for this final assessment.

Looks like we’ll be embracing winter again next week. If you have not received an emergency test (phone call or email) from the district, please contact Central Office: 434-2128.

The Fusion Team

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fusion Communication: November 2



Hi all,

It has been a couple of weeks since the last communication - and what a busy two weeks it’s been. A field trip to Canada, end of fall sports, rain never ending, and many assessments. The next two weeks represent the end of the trimester… which means assessments galore and grades closing. Good time to check in about assignments, have a Schoology sit down. Most students will need a look at school supplies - one thing most are missing: earbuds/headphones.

Montreal Field Trip - Thanks and it went very smoothlyThanks to the following for chaperoning: Elizabeth and Larry Lamphere, Heidi Little, Jennifer and Luke Roberge, Stephanie Sleeper, Allison Surks, Lee Rosen, Katherine and Paul Strek, Lisa Lavoie, Mat Zimmerman, Gina Howard, Suzanne Harvey, Laura Hill, Tamra Yandow and our wonderful support staff of Kim Bouffard, and Penny Kellner.

Trip went exceedingly well - your children were a delight, the border crossings were (almost) boring, and there were many stories of students learning a little more about life beyond our walls.

Laptops should be at school over the weekend:)
Calendar:
November 14: Delayed Start

November 19-23: School Break (teacher inservice Nov. 19-20)

November 30: First ⅞ Dance of the year! Woot!

November 30 (tentative): 7th Grade field trip to International Festival

December 3-7: 1st Trimester Report Cards released

December 12: Delayed Start

December 24-28: No School - break

January 2, 2019(!): School resumes

January 9: Delayed Start

Curriculum Updates
LA
Students should be reading 30 mins a day outside of class (study hall is fine).
7-  Realistic Fiction stories are due NEXT Friday!
8-  Position Papers are due NEXT Friday! Revised research notes are due by the end of class on Monday.

Math
7- We are well into our unit on operations with rational numbers. This past week we transitioned from addition and subtraction to developing rules for multiplication and division. Next week we put all of our learning from this unit together when evaluating more complex expressions using order of operations. We will be finishing up the investigations for this unit next week, and will plan to have an end of unit assessment the week before Thanksgiving break.

8- We started a new unit this week, Thinking with Mathematical Models. This unit builds on their understanding of linear relationships from the previous unit and has them apply it to creating models for real world data. It also introduces a new type of function, inverse variation. This week we performed two experiments with paper bridges, one looking at the relationship between the thickness and the strength (linear relationship) and one looking at the relationship between bridge length and strength (inverse variation). Next week, students will explore how they can models to demonstrate how they visuals patterns of growth as well . Also, students will be receiving feedback next week on their assessment from the previous unit.

Science
7 - During the last 2 weeks, students focused on the importance of water to plants. They learned how water: enters plant root cells through osmosis; travels up the plant through xylem tissue; is used in leaf chloroplasts to make glucose during photosynthesis; and exits the leaf through the stoma under the leaves! They used microscopes to search for stoma and guard cells on the house plant on my desk! As you know, they also created models of a plant leaf cell, highlighting key cell structures and focusing in on the cell membrane. This week, they used their models to explain how cell organelles work together as a system to help the leaf cell perform its main job: photosynthesis.

8 - Students began the Properties of Matter unit with a multi-day mystery mixture investigation. Students looked closely at 9 different substances, and mixed combinations of these, trying to determine which combination matched a mystery mixture. Students submitted their final claim and evidence chart last week. This week, students focused on describing different examples of matter using physical properties. They spent two days examining the color, luster, hardness, and streak color of different mineral samples. They are now learning about the elements that make up these minerals. Next week, students will research one particular mineral, while also practicing making models of different molecules and compounds.

SS
7 - Students are in the thick of the final assessment for the Culture Unit: My Culture or the going beyond level, Humans of Vermont. The focus has been on supporting student needs - further understandings about the role of government in our lives, how belief systems/religion shape our day to day decisions.
The lead up to the Montreal trip demanded the students do planning for the Tour Guide presentation for the city walk, as well as develop maps and plans for the Small Group Excursion through the city.

8 - Students are practicing A LOT of inquiry skills right now - here is an example of some of the work they are doing. The class swings back and forth from the current events of national debt, racial, ethnic and religious tensions of today, which are compared to the time of rising tensions in the American colonies before the Revolution. The lead up to the Montreal trip demanded the students do planning for the Tour Guide presentation for the city walk, as well as develop maps and plans for the Small Group Excursion through the city.

Sloppy, cold, wet days on the playground - thanks for making sure students are ready to be outside.

The Fusion Team

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fusion Communication: October 21



Hi all,

Ahhhh - three day weekend for the students. They need it:) This communication is going to be A LOT about the Montreal

Montreal Field Trip Update - Details for a Great Experience

Below are some hints for having a great trip to Montreal:

1) It will be cold - Please make sure your child is prepared with warm, layered clothing. They will be outside for hours in 30 degree weather.

Montreal Weather Forecast

2) Students should have a lot of snacks - necessary as they will be on the go all day


Fresh fruit and vegetables should be avoided - issues from time to time at the border
Better option - fruit cups and commercially pre-packaged veggies
No soda or energy drinks (please limit the candy)
There are many affordable options for lunch but no student should feel they have to purchase lunch

3) Canadian Money is not necessary but few store owners will convert American to Canadian at the official exchange rate… or at all if the purchase is small.

Better to have Canadian before going (call your local bank to see if they issue Canadian) - students can stop to convert near Place d’Armes and most tourist locations have an exchange-like business.

Chip enabled debit cards (yes, some students do have them) are the best way to save:) Make sure the student knows their PIN and you have contacted the issuing bank to alert them of travel to Canada on Friday, October 26

Most students will be quite satisfied with $15. Groups will be planning their small group excursions this week - your child should be able to show you a menu of a place in which they will eat.

4) Cell service/Data charges (please check your plan details - the team is giving general information about the dominant cell plans)

Verizon has switched to an all inclusive system - students should be able to use voice/text/data as they would in the states

AT&T and Sprint - additional charges will be assessed if the student uses cell service without a special plan. Please check your carrier to see the options.

5) If your family has an emergency and you feel your child should know, please contact the school first. The school will have Mr. Pless’ number and will contact him.

Expected Montreal Itinerary (there are ALWAYS complications – please be flexible):
6:45 AM - Students should be at BRMS

7:00 AM – Latest departure from BRMS for Montreal

9:30 AM - Expected Arrival time in Montreal (We are always delayed at the border for at least 30 minutes)

9:45: Meet and greet and headcount of small groups

10:00-11:30 Tour with Student Tour Guides

11:30ish -1:50 Lunch and small group excursion

1:50 Meet at Archeological Museum

2:00 – 3:30: We will go in the Archeological Museum as a team.

3:45 - 4:00 Meet outside the Museum.

4:00 – Latest departure time for BRMS

6:30-7:00- Hopefully return to BRMS (all depends if we get caught behind a Greyhound Bus:)

Calendar:
October 4 - 25: Parent Conferences Tuesdays and Thursdays (see sign-up link above)

**TEAM WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ATTEND CONFERENCES!

October 26: Montreal Field Trip

November 19-23: School Break

November 30: First ⅞ Dance of the year! Woot!


Curriculum Updates return next week
Weather is turning decidedly cooler - some students are continually demonstrating they arte not ready to be outside for 25 minutes of recess. Please check to make sure they have a warm layer for these increasingly chilly and windy days.




The Fusion Team

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fusion Communication: October 14

Hi all,
Sorry for a later communication - please see information about the Montreal field trip and parent
conferences.

Parent Conference
The parent conference slots are for the most part filled.  If you wish to have a parent conference and
have not had one, see if any of the available times will work before contacting the team -  we will work
to build in a time if the available slots will not work.


Montreal Field Trip Update - Forms and Fees Due Tomorrow
Field trip forms and fee are due tomorrow. Please notify team if your child is not attending or Mr. Pless
will contact you directly.


Laptops should NOT be home over the weekend
If a laptop makes its way home, please store it in a secure, undisclosed location until Monday morning.
In the past, a great deal of damage is inadvertently done to the laptops over the weekend - and the
team does not give homework on the weekends:)


Calendar:
October 4 - 25: Parent Conferences Tuesdays and Thursdays (see sign-up link above)
                        **TEAM WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ATTEND CONFERENCES!
October 15: Montreal Permission form and Fee due ($47) **IDs due no later than the week of
10/22-25
October 19: Non-student day
October 26: Montreal Field Trip
November 19-23: School Break
November 30: First ⅞ Dance of the year! Woot!


Curriculum Updates


LA 7+8
Students in BOTH grades completed reading assessments this week. Those who still need more time
due to absences, etc. know they should check with Mrs. Bessette on Monday.


Now that we are switching over to writing, students should continue to read 30 minutes each night or in
study hall, but they no longer need to jot and submit weekly notebook work :)  


Math
7-  We are almost through the first investigation in our new unit, Accentuate the Negative.  We have
been introducing and exploring number lines and “chip models” to help us model different operations
with integers.  Next week, we will be expanding these models to formalize addition and subtraction
rules with rational numbers. Students also have a weekly homework assignment due Tuesday of next
week.  


8 -   We wrapped up the graphing, table, and equation writing portion of the unit this week with a
partial unit assessment.  We have begun exploring solving linear equations by using models and writing
and solving algebraic equations in parallel.  Next week we will be shifting to solving equations only in
their algebraic form.


Science
7- As students observed the exponential growth of bacteria colonies on their petri dishes, they also
experienced the positive results of using bacteria in foods;  we had a food sampling day of plain yogurt,
sauerkraut, and swiss cheese. The next day we focused on fungi in foods, and sampled blue cheese!
Next week, we begin learning more details of the structure and function of specific types of cells and
their organelles.


8-  We finished the last assessment for our Universe unit this week, which focused on the skills of
modeling the organization of the universe and data analysis of scale models of the solar system.  Next
week, we plan to watch the PG-13 movie, The Martian, a highly-rated movie with plenty of good
science about space travel and survival. There are two significant swear words and one partial nudity
scene, which I will edit out.  You can read the Common Sense Media review by following this link.  
Please send me an email over the weekend if you have any concerns about this showing.


SS
7 - Students began to do preparation for the Montreal field trip and continued to explore the Universals
through the lens of Jericho/Underhill residents, Vermonters and Americans.


8 - Students finished up a quick lesson on the confirmation process for the Supreme Court, continued
to build their characters for the Profile 1763 project (due Tuesday, October 16). They began a deeper
dive into the Seven Years War, George Washington’s early leadership and why representation in
decision making is important in a democracy.


Weather is turning decidedly cooler next week - students will want a warm something as the
building can be chilly some mornings:) PE is still outside and recess is always outside when the sun is
out.


The Fusion Team

Friday, September 28, 2018

Fusion Communication: September 28

Hi all,
The closing of the first month - always difficult to believe it’s October (and then November, December…). October promises to be busy for Team Fusion: Parent Conferences, Montreal field trip, a (small) break on October 19. The learning is in full swing at this point - be sure to sit with your child, from time to time, to check in about work completion and academics through Schoology.  Otherwise, much to consider in the weekly communication.

Team blog link:

Parent Conference
We are providing the link below to sign up for fall conferences.  As we have done in past years, we are prioritizing fall conferences for meeting with 7th grade families in order to support their students' transition to our team.  However, we want to make sure that we make time for all the families, both 7th and 8th, that feel the need to meet. We will also be emailing some 8th grade families directly to request a conference if we feel it would be best to meet at this time.  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.  

Montreal Field Trip Update - Date Change and Permission
The team is planning to take the students to Montreal for a long day on Friday, October 26.  This date is confirmed with the museum and bus company. A permission form and information letter should go home on Monday.  Please locate the birth certificate, enhanced ID or passport.
**The permission and medical forms are attached - please try and get that information to Mr. Pless as soon as possible.

Laptops should NOT be home over the weekend
If a laptop makes its way home, please store it in a secure, undisclosed location until Monday morning. In the past, a great deal of damage is inadvertently done to the laptops over the weekend - and the team does not give homework on the weekends:)

Calendar:
October 10: Delayed Start
October 15: Montreal Permission form and Fee due ($47) **IDs due no later than the week of 10/22-25
October 19: Non-student day
October 26: Montreal Field Trip (NEW DATE!)
November 19-23: School Break
November 30: First ⅞ Dance of the year! Woot!

Curriculum Updates
LA Students in both grades should be submitting their notebook work on schoology today. Time was given in class to scan / take photos of notebook pages and submit this work. Students in both grades participated in a gallery walk to get ideas from each other. We talked about accountability as well as taking pride in this work.

7 -- We are going to be wrapping up our unit, “A Deep Study of Character” in a week or so. This week, students have been examining how some character traits are more important than others because they impact the story.

8 -- You will be able to see a daily score for “use of class time.” Students have shown that they need this extra check in / layer of accountability for the time being. Off-task behavior has been impacting students’ ability to achieve a reasonable level of productivity recently.

We are going to be wrapping up our unit A Deep Study of Character in a week or so. Students have been examining how the setting impacts the characters and how authors make deliberate word choices.

Math
7- We are close to wrapping up our first unit, Shapes and Designs.  We have one more investigation to do early next week and then we will begin reviewing and preparing for the end of unit assessment at the end of the week.  This week we looked at rules for side length combinations for triangles as well as constructing triangles using tools. Next week we will explore transversals and the rules for angles created by transversals before we begin reviewing for the unit assessment.  

8- This week we introduced slope-intercept form for linear equations and began laying the groundwork for formally defining slope by examining the rise and run of different staircases.  Next week we will continue to work with slope intercept form and becoming fluid moving between tables, graphs, equations, and stories. We will also begin reviewing for a partial unit assessment early the following week.  

Science
7- Students continue to make close observations of tiny organisms using microscopes, while learning to identify cells and some of the organelles within cells.  They are beginning to make comparisons among protist, plant, and animal cells. They will have an assessment next week to gauge their ability to gather sufficient evidence to determine which mystery materials are living.

8- We progressed from sun-earth relationships, to the solar system and beyond.  Students had many experiences creating scale models and visualizing the vast distances and sizes of various celestial bodies.  Next week, they will complete a mini-research project on one celestial body, while gaining an understanding of how the universe is organized.

SS
7 - Other than Montreal field trip information, students continued to explore the geography of the world, Universals (categories) of Culture through videos (Culture Shock: Ho Chi Minh City) and 36 Hours: Burlington (a NY Times travel series). The focus for culture this week was social norms: acceptable vs unacceptable behaviors from around the world.
8 - Other than Montreal field trip information, students continued to develop and an “American” colonist from 1763, with an emphasis on occupation and the effect of trade. Students started the week with a deeper dive into the role and meaning of tariffs through an article, writing prompt and quiz in Newsela. Ask your child what their colonist name is and what is their occupation.

Thanks - enjoy this beautiful, Harvest Market Weekend,
The Fusion Team

Friday, September 21, 2018

Special Fusion Communication: Need Chaperones for Montreal

Hi all,

Team Fusion needs at least four more chaperones for the October 26 field trip to Montreal; these chaperones would need to be fingerprinted.  The process for doing so is explained in the September 21 and 14 blog posts.

Please consider joining us for the trip - we could really use the help.  Contact Mr. Pless if you can join us.

Fusion Communication: September 21

Hi all,
First full, five-day week - we are in the thick of it now! Please note there has been a change of date for the Montreal field trip to October 26 - more on that trip below.  Otherwise, the students are in to the routine - this is the best teaching time of the year!

Team blog link:

Important Message about Volunteer/Chaperone Fingerprinting
The fingerprinting process takes time and money - below is the basic process:
  • A visit to Central Office in Richmond to fill out three forms, pay a fee of $12, then take a form...
  • To the Chittenden County Sheriff’s office (must be done here), which requires a reservation, $25 CASH fee.  After fingerprinting, sheriff’s office will give a receipt which must be …
  • Dropped back off at Central office. At this point, a parent will be considered cleared to take students out of direct school staff supervision on a field trip and sponsored school activity.

Montreal Field Trip Update - Date Change
The team is planning to take the students to Montreal for a long day on Friday, October 26.  This date is confirmed with the museum and bus company. A permission form and information letter should go home on Monday.  Please locate the birth certificate, enhanced ID or passport.

Laptops should NOT be home over the weekend
If a laptop makes its way home, please store it in a secure, undisclosed location until Monday morning. In the past, a great deal of damage is inadvertently done to the laptops over the weekend - and the team does not give homework on the weekends:)

Students Leaving Early for Medical Reason
If your child calls to ask you to pick them up, please make sure they are calling from the nurse’s office.  Students may not request for a pick-up without first checking in the the nurse. Please contact the nurse’s office with questions.

Calendar:
September 25: BRMS Open House
6:30-7 - ⅞ families visit EXPs/PE/Foreign Language rooms
7-7:30 - ⅞ families visit Team Fusion rooms
September 27: ⅞ Picture Day
October 10: Delayed Start
October 19: Non-student day
October 26: Montreal Field Trip (NEW DATE!)
November 19-23: School Break

Reading
All students were asked to get a book this week (from the library or brought in from home). Books should be brought to all study halls and LA class each day.

Curriculum Updates return next week!

Thanks - starting to feel more like fall out there,
The Fusion Team