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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fusion Communication: September 14

Waterbury Center State Park Field Trip
Hi all,
A lot of fun was had by all on the field trip - thank you to our parent volunteers, bus drivers and lifeguards.  See the above picture for a view of the beautiful day. As for academics, the team is now in full swing - expect to see a bit more homework next week.  Laptops should be coming home soon - this weekend might be a good time to establish those ground rules for their use in your environments. Lastly, this communication is long - many apologies but some things have changed with volunteering and these changes affect the team’s future field trips.

Important Message about Volunteer/Chaperone Fingerprinting
The team now has clear guidelines around volunteer background checks and fingerprinting.  There is a letter linked here that better explains these distinctions.

Basically, there are two “levels” to volunteering within the district:
  • Non-fingerprinting (can volunteer for field trips and are directly supervised by school staff; cannot be alone with students)
  • Fingerprinting (can volunteer for field trips and can take student groups without direct staff supervision)

Traditionally, the Montreal field trip has included significant time periods where small student groups with volunteers  have explored the city without direct staff supervision. The team would like to keep this format but now those volunteers are required to be fingerprinted.  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.
The team would like to know how many parents are willing to go through the fingerprinting for the Montreal field trip.  If parent works for a Vermont school, their background check will be accepted; other fingerprinting background checks run by companies and government institutions are not acceptable, and those parents will have to get the fingerprinting through the district process. Please contact Mr. Pless if you are planning to participate in this new fingerprinting procedure.

Montreal Field Trip Update
The team is planning to take the students to Montreal for a long day on Thursday, October 25.  This date is tentative until confirmations from the bus company and archeology museum are finished.  A permission form and information letter should go home next week. In the mean time, might be a good weekend to locate the birth certificate and/or passport.

Computer Contracts
Almost all the computer contracts have been submitted  Mr. Pless will be contacting families this weekend about the last few.

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 (picture forms were sent home this week)
October 10: Delayed Start
October 19: Non-student day
October 25: Montreal Field Trip (tentative)
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.

Language Arts
We took a little more time this week to do a reading survey, wrap up pre assessment and practice reading and jotting. Next week we will officially launch our first readers workshop unit: A Deep Study of Character. 7th grade will focus on character traits and setting, while 8th graders will dig into themes.

Homework is to read 30 minutes each night and jot in notebooks (90% reading 10% jotting). Notebook expectations can be found on schoology in the reading toolkit and are linked here as well: Notebook Expectations.

Math:  
7: We started our first unit this week, Shapes and Designs.  We explored common properties of polygons, properties that we use to group and define different types of polygons, and benchmark angles used for estimating angle measures.  Next week we will begin using measuring tools to draw polygons given specific measures.
8: We explored proportional and nonproportional linear relationships this week and how the pieces of a linear relationship show up in a table, graph, and an equation.  Next week we will continue this work while also looking a the basic of a system of equations.

Science
7 - The results of our investigation of 5 different materials in 3 liquid environments determined that each living organism needs different “suitable environments” to thrive.  Brine shrimp need salt water, yeast need sugar water, and radish seeds need fresh water. Currently, students are learning how to use the compound microscope to make close observations of materials.  We will use microscopes several times over the next few weeks to examine tiny organisms and to gather more evidence of life!

8 - Students are regularly discussing, creating, and critiquing models showing the spatial relationships between the moon, earth, and sun, while building explanations for how and why different locations on earth experience different temperatures and seasons.  They also practiced their data analysis skills by graphing temperature and the number of day light hours for several locations on earth. We have our first assessment next Thursday asking students to explain the reasons for seasons on earth.

Social Studies
7 - Students spent the week exploring the effects of geography on one country, and then trying out a multiple-step assignment that tested their ability to manage information, tech skills and executive functioning skills.  Students continue to learn procedures and expectations in a 1-to-1 laptop classroom.
8 - The major focus was on developing an argument defending whether a painting was fair and accurate to the time in which it was created.  Students finished the unit with a Thinglink! representation of their argument-to-date”, expressing how the painting is or isn’t accurate, and how they would change it to amend history.

Thanks and enjoy the blast of extra summer this weekend,
The Fusion Team

Friday, August 31, 2018

Fusion Communication: August 31

Hi all,
What a whiplash-like three days - Team Fusion hopes your children are coming home tired, but positive.  For those of you receiving this communication for the first time, Team Fusion sends home a weekly communication email.  Generally, the email contains a description of the week’s academics and any important dates and events coming up in the next few weeks. Given school just started, academic summaries will be very short this week.

As we will be digging into academics more next week -  please be sure students have all of their needed supplies. The summer letter (which has the supply list) has been attached to this blog.

Computer Contracts
The computer contracts will go home for students early next week.  A student must return their contract before they will be allowed to take home their laptop home. Starting next week, laptops will be issued for in school use only.

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.

Revised Requirements to Field Trip Chaperone
The district has revised the requirements for parent/non-district persons to chaperone field trips.
All persons who want to chaperone and be alone with a student group MUST be fingerprinted. This requirement is causing the team to put a pause on our Burlington and Montreal field trip planning until the process for this additional level of security is clarified.  Please contact Mr. Hamilton with questions or for more information.

Calendar (field trips will be entered after Labor Day):
September 3: Labor Day - No School
September 12: Delayed Start (school start time is 10am on these days)
September 25: BRMS Open House
October 10: Delayed Start
October 19: Non-student day
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.

Language Arts
This first week of LA was all about establishing expectations and coming together as a community of readers and writers. We spent some time talking about books we have loved -- students really enjoyed giving and receiving recommendations. Ask students about ‘The Book of Awesome and the writing that went along with it -- this was a great opportunity to pause and focus on the positive things in our lives while having some fun with writing. Finally, all classes had the opportunity to spend some time in the library browsing for Realistic Fiction books to support our first reading unit: A Deep Study of Character. Next week we will dig into some content.

Math
In both grades, we have started out by identifying traits and actions to be successful this year in Math focusing on Growth Mindset principles as we begin to build expectations and norms for the year.  Next week we will be doing some more expectation and team building activities while also beginning the regular curriculum for the year.  For Tuesday, students should have their binder, paper, and dividers as we will be putting together and organizing our binders and setting organization expectations for the year. 

Science
All science classes focused on a few basics of how we practice science in the classroom.  Seventh graders participated in several observation and inference activities.  Eighth graders worked in collaborative groups developing and critiquing scientific arguments related to items needed for survival on the moon.  All students will need their science binders, paper, dividers, and writing utensils for class on Tuesday!

Social Studies
7 - Students explored the various map projections and how they all distort, in some way, the way we view the world.  We also spent some time creating (or really trying) a map projection on an orange - there were some very creative interpretations of the continents.
8 - The first unit uses examples of American painting to illustrate the difference between the common narratives about American history and what might be missing or misinterpreted about those narratives.  Students tried to classify several works art through the words “conscious” and “conscience” - very heady stuff for the first few days:)

Thanks and have a great Labor Day Weekend,
The Fusion Team


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Team Fusion Communication: August 25, 2018

Hi to all,

Greetings from Team Fusion and welcome to the 2018-19 school year.  We are looking forward to a great year: field trips to Montreal, Burlington and a state park in the first six weeks of school, transitions for our 8th graders to MMU (wow - you are really there:), and new students (5 new students in the 8th grade!).  Hopefully you have received a copy of the summer letter and supplies list in the mail but another is attached to this email.

To our new 7th grade families - you will receive a weekly email structured much this one most Fridays.  It's our way to communicate what is going on in Team Fusion classrooms and increase transparency about the goings ons within the school.  We also post the weekly communication through this team blog.

In addition, please remember we have a team breakfast for you on Friday morning, August 31 - more information in the attached summer letter.

To our 8th grade families - wow, this grade just keeps getting bigger! We added 5 students over the summer, all of whom moved to our community.  Also, there will be a greater emphasis on transition to MMU (or other educational opportunities) as the year progresses.  Most of the heavy transition work will take place mid-November to February with Move-up Day to MMU in early June!

Much more is in the attached "Welcome" letter sent over the summer. The team looks forward to seeing your children on Wednesday - enjoy the last few days of "academic" summer.

Calendar (field trips will be entered after Labor Day):
August 29: first day of school
August 31: 7th grade family breakfast in team area (7:30-8am in team area)
September 3: Labor Day - No School
September 12: Delayed Start (school start time is 10am on these days)
September 25: BRMS Open House
October 10: Delayed Start
October 19: Non-student day
November 19-23: School Break

Curriculum updates will start September 7!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Fusion Communication: June 1 (Whaaaat?!)

Hi all,
Move-up Day, Vivasion-ville… it must be getting to the end of school.  Team teachers are putting together the final assessments. Lots going on - check out below.

Vivasion-ville: June 13 from 12:40-2:20
Vivasionville, the economics and personal finance simulation, returns to BRMS on Wednesday, June 13 from 12:40-2:20. Fusion and Vivace students will create a town with activities, entertainment and food for the whole school to enjoy - for a price! More information is coming, but here are some advance details:

- Vivasionville will exist in the hallway stretching from the top of the stairs by the library to Robyn Bessette's room.  Teams will enter Vivasionville at the top the stairs and exit down the stairwell by Robyn's room. Much like Foodarama, there is one way traffic.

- There will be a sign-up for teams to visit.  Each team will have roughly 25 minutes to visit.

- There is a banking system, which uses Vivasion-ville Bucks (or now being called “V-bucks” by the students). All students start with $2,000 which can be used to offset business expenses.

- There is a elected town government and police force (use of force protocols are strictly limited:)

- Students will have the option to invest in companies (stocks) (that must be done BEFORE June 13)

- Students will also be able to "pre-order" some items from Vivasionville vendors (that must also be done BEFORE June 8)

7th Grade Families:
Grade 7 students will have a field trip on June 14 to Sandbar State park.  Attached to the email is the permission form. Chaperones are requested, as well as portable games to take with us.

8th Grade Families Only - Option to purchase Chromebook
District is offering for families to purchase used Chromebooks.  If interested, please see attached letter. Any questions should be referred to Cherie Fabiani, Tech Support at BRMS.

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
June 13 - Vivasionville returns, 12:40-2:20 pm in upstairs hallway (more information coming)
June 14 -  7th Grade Field Trip to Sandbar State Park ($10)
June 14 -  8th Grade Field Trip to the Great Escape ($65) - Field Trip Permission form attached
June 19 - Looking Good Right Now: last day for 8th graders (MMU Class of 2022) and Recognition Night
June 20 - Looking Good Right Now: last student day of school (grades 5-7)

Curriculum Updates
LA

*** Students who would like to raise their reading journal score should leave journals on my desk to be graded. I need to see evidence of jotting regularly 3x/week in order to raise scores. ***

7 Students in 7th grade completed their last on-demand writing assessment of the year today! Realistic Fiction short stories were due on Wednesday. Next week we will begin a Fractured Fairy Tales “mini unit” to wrap up the year with some fun, creative writing.

8 Yesterday, students had planning time to prepare for the last on demand writing assessment of the year! This argument writing assessment will be completed in class on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Students are able to use tools and checklists provided throughout the unit as well as their own notes. All writing must be completed in class next week. On Wednesday we will begin a Picture Book “mini unit” to wrap up the year.

Math
7: We wrapped up our proportional reasoning unit, Comparing and Scaling, last week with an end of unit assessment.  We will be finishing up the year with a compact unit on probability. We launched the unit yesterday and today with two different probability experiments.  We discussed the idea that the more trials we have, the more accurate our estimated probability seems to be. The culmination of this unit will be students creating a probability game of their own to share with their class.  

8: We are continuing with our systems of equations unit.  We did some small group instruction and work this week to practice skills needed for different portions of this unit.  We also focused on graphing to find solutions for a system of equations. Next week we will be looking at the different algebraic methods for solving a system.  

Science
7 - We continue to study ecosystems and practice scientific modeling skills.  This week, students developed energy pyramid models, and used their models to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy within and through ecosystems.  In other news, while the 8th grade students headed to the high school for Move-Up Day, the 7th grade headed to the river to release our baby brook trout! We released 55 healthy-looking fish!

8 -  Although we are not requiring students to participate in the BRMS Science Fair, all 8th grade students are developing an investigation as part of science class!  By Friday (today), they should have identified an investigative question, stated their hypothesis, and outlined their procedure. Next week, they will conduct the investigation and analyze the results.  They will submit a final report for class by next Friday, although it’s only a few more steps to turn their project into a Science Fair Poster and compete for a prize on June 12th!!

SS
7 - Students are knee deep in writing resumes and business plans for Vivasion-ville.  Please check in with them about what they might need - no “business” owner is allowed to spend more than $20 on supplies (keep receipts - they need them for their business plans). There are some fantastic ideas developing: VR experiences, powerstrip businesses (students are “charged” to use electrical outlets), car and bike dealerships, art and bakery combinations, casinos… it’s a wild, wild world of entrepreneurship.

8 - Students are finishing their final official assessment in social studies: Causes of the Civil War.  Students have developed projects about three of the many causes for the Civil war and how many events (examples: Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court) could be viewed a multitude of ways by the major stakeholders: Northern factory owners, Abolitionists and Southern plantation owners. Most students have moved on to developing Vivasion-ville businesses or resumes. Move-up Day has dominated most discussions in social studies:)

Might be a good weekend to check in with the calendar to see if any conflicts with the school schedule exist.

Team Fusion

Friday, May 18, 2018

fusion communication: May 18

Hi all,

Two weeks left at this point before the next break.  Students are fine and relieved SBACs are over (well… almost over for the 8th grade - see below). Lost of field trips and good things coming these last four weeks.

7th Grade Families:
Grade 7 students will have a field trip on June 14 to Sandbar State park.  Attached to the email is the permission form. Chaperones are requested, as well as portable games to take with us.

8th Grade Families:  
Please remember to turn in the Great Escape permission form!!  This trip is one of the final celebratory events for this current graduating class.  Please look over the letter, consider chaperoning, and direct any questions or comments to lisa.windhausen@cesuvt.org!

8th Grade SBACs Continue with Science!
Next week, 8th grade students will have two sessions of Science SBACs on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, from 10-11.  Please let the school know if your child will be missing those two times so makeups can be scheduled.

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
May 23 and 24 - 8th Grade ONLY: Science SBACs from 10-11am on both days.
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU
June 13 - Vivasionville returns, 12:40-2:20 pm in upstairs hallway (more information coming)
June 14 - Totally Going to Happen!  7th Grade Field Trip to Sandbar State Park ($10)
June 14 - Totally Going to Happen! 8th Grade Field Trip to the Great Escape ($65) - Field Trip Permission form attached
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
*** Both grades are in writing units right now. All students are still expected to read 30 minutes/day. ***

7 Students have had ample time in class to plan and draft their realistic fiction stories. At this point, everyone should have a page of writing completed. Those who do not have a page drafted should be spending some time in study halls or at home to get this done. We will be revising and adding to these stories in class next week.

8 Students have had ample class time to plan their comparative essays using a graphic organizer (posted on schoology) This task was due, submitted on schoology, by the end of class today.  Students who have not finished this task should take some time to complete it during study hall or at home. Next week we will begin drafting this essay in class.

Math
7:   Now that SBACs are over we are getting back into the groove of finishing up the Comparing and Scaling unit.  We will be doing some review and practice to prepare for the test for the middle of next (Wednesday or Thursday).

8:    We wrapped up the Say It With Symbols unit with a unit test this week and have moved on to our last unit, It’s In The System.  For the last weeks we will be exploring systems of equations and inequalities. We will also be doing some small group work to help shore up skills in preparation for next fall.  

Science
7 - In between SBAC testing, we went outside to study the Brown’s River!  Our goal was to determine if the river is healthy enough for our brook trout we’ve been raising in the classroom.  We’ve determined that the biological and physical components pass; we will look at the chemistry results next week to make our final determination.  Meanwhile, we enjoyed bringing back a few macroinvertebrates from the river to feed our trout! They enjoyed their first “real” meal!

8 - Students practiced explaining all the forces and properties of matter related to falling objects, such as air resistance, mass, gravity, inertia, and terminal velocity, in their models and explanations.  We’ll have an open-note quiz on Monday. Next Wednesday and Thursday, all 8th graders will complete the field test of the new standardized science test. These will take place mostly during their regular classes.  They are expected to take 1 hour on each day. Please let me know if you have any questions about this assessment.

SS
7 - Students finished Population Pyramids for their countries; ask them how their country is “demographically” organized: Slow or fast growth, Young or Ageing, major events that affect population, and the proportion of male to female.  Students are also finishing the Sovereign State Game next week and will face decisions about: a pandemic outbreak, piracy and a famine in the country of Genosha - arguable the most “hated” country in the activity.
8 - Students finished their projects for the Civil War Statue Controversy and will now head into the Civil Unit.  Please ask your child about the biographical information MMU students are requesting from them for the upcoming Move Up Day (June 1).

Get those weekend outdoor activities finished early tomorrow - lots of rain in the forecast Saturday evening. Might be a good time to watch reruns of the royal wedding with your children:)

Team Fusion