Friday, October 7, 2016

Team Fusion Communication: October 7

Hi all,

We are in full swing on Team Fusion, and while the weather is still acting a little like summer, we are full on late fall... in terms of academics! Keep reading about all the goings on with Team Fusion.

High Interest Reading Material
The team has a couple of study halls on Friday afternoons - dominated by young males - who usually do not have a lot of schoolwork to complete.  We are asking for donations of past issues of high interest reading material - sports, outdoor, music - that these groups could use in a structured reading setting.  Materials would have to be donation only - they will not be returned.  Please send in ASAP.  

Laptops Over the Weekend and School Breaks
As a general rule, 7th graders should not have their laptops home over the weekend.  If a 7th grader brings a laptop home for the weekend, please check in with Mr. Pless as to why:) Team Fusion 8th graders are permitted to take laptops home, and they should be used for schoolwork.

Over the coming long weekend (October 21-23), no laptops should be home. The team will be conducting an “audit” for the tech department Thursday, October 20.

Parent Conferences
As was stated at Open House, the team will focus on 7th grade families; an email was sent last night with the links to sign up for conferences. That said, if 8th grade families wish to schedule a conference, they should contact Ms. Windhausen or Mr. Pless to check on availability.

Montreal Field Trip Date Change from Friday October 14 to Wednesday October 19
The team has made the decision to switch the date of the Montreal Trip; we understand this change will represent a scheduling challenge for some of you and the team did not make this decision lightly.  We are sorry to have to change the date at this point.

October 12 - Two Hour Delay
October 19 (date change!)- Montreal Day Trip ($45)
October 21 - Team Fusion Conference Day; no classes
October 21-23: Laptop-free Weekend!
November 9 - Two Hour Delay
December 2 - 7th Grade to Vermont International Festival (Tentative)

Upcoming Field Trips
  • October October 19 - Invade Montreal!
    • Grade 7: Act as tour guides to the rich culture of the city
    • Grade 8: Act as tour guides of the historical connections between Montreal and the United States
    • Both Grades: Archeology Museum and over two hours free time with chaperones to investigate the city

Academic Area Update

Students were pleased to hear that we are now ready to begin the 1, 2, 3, skip incentive plan for reading logs. Going forward, students who complete three reading logs in a row can skip a week before continuing the cycle. ***A complete reading log = on time, chart filled in, 150 minutes read, 6-10 sentence response to one comprehension question using a quote from the text. ***
Students are responsible for keeping track of their own skips and still need to read during a skip week. Students are not allowed to ‘bank’ their skip time. One ‘skip’ every 4 weeks is the limit.

Also starting next week, in lieu of reading log comments I will be conducting rotating reading conferences. On the first graded reading log, students will receive written ‘baseline’ comments on schoology to work from. After that, one student in each class period will meet with me for 5 minutes during independent work time to talk about reading. I will post the schedule so students know when their individual reading conferences will be. Once we get going, students will receive a reading conference roughly once a month. Students are of course, welcome to ask clarifying questions about reading any time in person or via email.

  • 7th: Students submitted drafts of their realistic fiction stories last week. This week we have worked on making revisions to these drafts. Students have added detail, tried out strategies for increasing tension within the plot and embedded transition words and phrases designed to guide the reader through time and place.

  • 8th: We have moved away from print journalism and have been listening to a podcast about middle school life. With each segment, of the podcast there has been a different focus. First we paid close attention to the reporter’s methods for gathering information and interviewing credible sources. With later segments, we examined the issues themselves.Students had an opportunity to respond to the various stories and angles that were presented.

  • 7th: This week we discovered rules to find the measures of the interior angles of regular and irregular polygons. We used these rules to discover how to find the exterior angles of polygons. We also created tessellations using regular polygons. Next week we will focus on rules for constructing triangles and quadrilaterals and well as understanding parallel lines and transversals.
  • 8th CMP: We did some great work building our understanding of linear relationships and becoming fluid moving between graphs, stories, equations, and tables. We will have a quiz on this work on Tuesday of next week. After that, we will use linear relationships to make predictions about real world situations.
  • 8th Algebra: This week, we introduced multiplying exponential expressions and discovering the different exponent rules. Next week we will focus dividing exponential expressions.

7th - Students spent lots of time this week using microscopes to observe brine shrimp and elodea (plant) cells, with some students finding a surprise organism - a paramecium!  We will look more closely at these protists next week, as we dive into the details of the structure and function of cell organelles.

8th - We are nearing the end of our universe unit, with the focus on how differential heating of the earth surface results in seasons. We modeled Earth’s revolution around the sun to demonstrate how the axis tilt creates different temperatures and hours of daylight around the globe, and conducted an investigation to measure temperatures at different sun angles.  The last part of the district assessment will take place next Thursday.

Social Studies
7th - This grade continues to delve deeply into the Universals of Culture, discussing select stories from the Humans of New York website, investigating the Universals through the picture book Weslandia, and finishing the week with a project using the Universals to describe the culture of Burlington using a photo and the web application Thinglink!.

8th - Current events took center stage again, with the students preparing for a discussion by reading multiple articles from Newsela to answer the question: What should I expect an education to provide me? In addition, students continued to explore the American Colonies of 1763, using their research to refine a character they will “live” through for the American Revolution project.

**7th and 8th Grades will spend time next week preparing for the Montreal Tour Guide project.

Team Fusion