Friday, January 4, 2019

Fusion Communication: January 4, 2019!

Hi all,

The New Year has started and the first three days were a breeze. It will be a busy few weeks until the next break.

Ugly Mug Contest (and donation)
The winner is…. Santa Mug.

Thanks to the Gautsch family for adding FOUR of these unique mugs to the collection. Donations are welcome any time.

All laptops should remain at school over the weekend.
Calendar:
January 9: Delayed Start
January 18: MMU Counselors meet with 8th graders 1:40-2:40 pm (and so it begins… transition!)
January 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (Inservice - no school for students)
January 24: 8th Grade parent/Family Night at MMU for rising 9th graders (MMU Class of 2023!) - 7pm
February 13: Delayed Start
February 18-22: *tentative* week for the annual bowling and Chinese/Pizza buffett
February 22: Student-Faculty Basketball Game (1:20ish to 2:20ish)
                     *Only 8th Grade basketball players can play*
                      Last Day before Break
February 23-March 5: Winter Break (no school)
April 10: Delayed Start
April 20-28: Spring Break (no school)
May 8: Last Delayed Start

Curriculum Updates
LA
Both grades are at the tail end of reading units (dystopian - 8 and historical fiction - 7). Both grades will complete a Reading POST assessment next Wednesday. Students can have more time if one class period isn’t enough. We will be preparing in class on Monday and Tuesday. Students should be reviewing unit skills practiced in their notebooks -- they do not need to be jotting at this time.
Up next:
7 - Companion Books (information writing)
8 - Literary Essay (argument writing)

Math
7: We are close to wrapping up our current unit, Stretching & Shrinking. We will finish the last couple of investigations at the beginning of next week and start reviewing for a unit assessment at the beginning of the following week.

8: We have begun our next unit, Looking for Pythagoras. In the unit, students will discover and prove the Pythagorean Theorem, learn to write fractions as repeating or terminating decimals, learn to recognize rational and irrational numbers, learn to locate irrational numbers on a number line, learn to relate the area of a square as well as the volume of a cube to their side lengths, and learn to estimate square roots and cube roots. 

Science
7 - Students did excellent work writing a 5-paragraph essay about body systems before break! We continue to make connections among body systems at all levels of organization. We will be sure all students know the basics of the circulatory, respiratory, muscular, and nervous systems in the next couple of weeks, as we wrap up this unit.

8 - We are continuing our unit on the properties of matter and will relate energy transfer rates to different properties of materials. Students will complete an engineering project later this month, designing a system that keeps an object warm. Some may be asking to bring in materials from home!

SS
7 - Foodarama ended well! What a great experience and we had just the right amount of food. Otherwise, students are beginning a unit about government systems that leads off with an experiential activity in Feudalism. It’s always one of the favorite activities of 7th grade.

8 - While students enjoyed the American Revolution Film Unit (and the excessive amounts of popcorn). It’s time to move on to the creation of the nation - the Constitution era! Students are beginning with a dive into the language within the Declaration of Independence, then will quickly move into an assessment for the first form of government, The Articles of Confederation.

Enjoy the return of snow (or at least easy to remove snow) and have a restful weekend.

The Fusion Team

Friday, December 21, 2018



Hi all,

Whew! We made it - again; wild weather end to the five week stretch. The calendar has been updated, especially with information for 8th grade families about high school transition. (Whaaaat?!)

Ugly Mug Contest (and donation)
Mr. Pless needs some mugs for his classroom - he has a water filter that sees much use and many a student do not have water bottles. If your family has some “ugly” mugs you wish to donation - defined as not glass, school appropriate, with small chips, and lives at the back of the cupboard because of its “unique” design - please send them in with your child. The contest will take place Friday after break.

Foodarama
Thank you! Event was very successful, feeding over 250+ students from grades 5-8. See a short video below for a glimpse into the event:
                                                       Foodarama 2018
*There are some 8th grade “cameo” appearances!

All laptops were collected before break. Your family will be notified if a laptop is not accounted for at school:)

Calendar:
December 24-28, 31 and January 1: No School - break
January 2, 2019(!): School resumes
January 9: Delayed Start
January 18: MMU Counselors meet with 8th graders 1:40-2:40 pm (and so it begins… transition!)

January 24: 8th Grade parent/Family Night at MMU for rising 9th graders (MMU Class of 2023!) - 7pm

February 13: Delayed Start
February 18-22: *tentative* week for the annual bowling and Chinese/Pizza buffett
February 22: Student-Faculty Basketball Game (1:20ish to 2:20ish)
*Only 8th Grade basketball players can play*
                     Last Day before Break
April 10: Delayed Start
May 8: Last Delayed Start

Curriculum Updates return in 2019!

Happy holiday break - the team wishes all a restful, energetic, low-key, bodacious 11 days… and a happy new year!

The Fusion Team

Friday, December 14, 2018

Fusion Communication: December 14, 2018



Hi all,

We are starting to see much more illness at school - just that time of the year. Please review basic “sickness” protocols with your children - coughing into “wings”, washing hands frequently, not sharing water bottles. Otherwise, it has been a typical “week-before-the-week-before”.

Ugly Mug Contest (and donation)
Mr. Pless needs some mugs for his classroom - he has a water filter that sees much use and many students do not have water bottle. If your family has some “ugly” mugs you wish to donation - defined as not glass, school appropriate, with small chips, and lives at the back of the cupboard because of its “unique” design - please send them in with your child. The contest will take place Thursday and Friday next week.

Foodarama - 7th Grade Families Only
**Please check with your child about preparations for Foodarama… do they have a plan? Have they adjusted the recipe to reflect 20-40 portions? We have been working on portion sizes in class.

On the afternoon of Thursday, December 20 (12:40ish to 2:15), Fusion students will be providing the BRMS community with the annual Foodarama experience. Students will work in pairs or alone to produce a recipe from the world, at least 20 servings (better if there are more), and the will share the food with school members during the afternoon. There will be plenty of time to warm and store the food in the health and wellness room. All students were to get a permission form signed by families, or were to have a family member send an email confirming they know about the project and are willing to help with the process.

8th Grade - Laptops should be at school over the weekend:)

7th Grade - some students have taken laptops home for the family tree project.


Calendar:
December 20: Foodarama (7th Grade - afternoon 12:40-2:15)
                       Laptops collected and audited (NO LAPTOPS home over the break)
December 21: Not an official “fun” day but not really a heavy academic day… we’ll call it Hybrid                              Day!
December 24-28, 31 and January 1: No School - break
January 2, 2019(!): School resumes
January 9: Delayed Start
February 13: Delayed Start
February 18-22: *tentative* week for the annual bowling and Chinese/Pizza buffett
February 22: Student-Faculty Basketball Game (1:20ish to 2:20ish)
                      *Only 8th Grade basketball players can play
                      Last Day before Break
April 10: Delayed Start
May 8: Last Delayed Start

Curriculum Updates
Math
7- This week we used tesselating shapes to create larger similar figures of the original shape. We used these shapes to find patterns between scale factor, the factor for the change in perimeter, and the factor for the change in area. Next week, we will use our understanding of scale factor and similar figures to solve for missing side lengths and angles in a variety of situations.

8- This week we finished up the last investigations of the unit with comparing and analyzing categorical data in two-way tables. On Monday of next week, George Ashline, a professor from St. Michael’s, will be visiting our 8th grade classrooms to lead us through a correlation activity. This should be an engaging and relevant look at a concept we explored in this unit. We will plan to do some unit review on Tuesday and Wednesday and have the unit assessment on Thursday.

Science
7 - Please Read: Coming soon, 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 next week to give students time over the break to gather photos, images, and information. The project will not be due until January 11, so there will be time after the break to work on this. Thank you!

8 - Students continue to hone their modeling skills while explaining the characteristics and behaviors of gasses. They will have an assessment next week on their ability to create and use a model to describe the relationship between particles in matter and temperature changes.

SS
7 - Students engaged in a potpourri of activities related to food and cuisine (see Foodarama update), survey activities of the major world religions, a fun personal finance game and geography. Next week will focus on preparing for the Foodarama activity and creating a geography that supports a cuisine in student’s Sovereign State country.

8 - The American Revolution film unit continues, with students viewing the 1988 remake of author Howard Fast’s novel April Morning (starring Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn and Rob Lowe’s brother, Chad). Students are using these films to evaluate how the American Revolution is portrayed in film, versus what actually happened, and then rewriting one scene to reflect the actual events or to have the film reflect what students feel are the values of Americans in 2018.

Five more days - team wishes all students a good weekend and to be ready for a positive week before break:)

The Fusion Team

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