Friday, December 22, 2017

Fusion Communication: December 22

Hi all,
Well, we made it to another one.  Students are ready for the break - and it looks like a snow in the forecast.  Or lots of sitting by heating sources.

Career Panel - want to participate?
As part of the annual career / PLP unit, Team Fusion holds a Career Panel for the 8th graders - usually the panel is during the last week before February Break. We are looking for a wide range of careers, and more importantly, paths to those careers. Please contact Mr. Pless if you are interested.

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.

December Break - December 25-29, January 1, 2018!
January 10 - Delayed Start
January 15 - Martin Luther King Day; No school for students
January 18 - MMU guidance counselors visit 8th graders at BRMS (yep - it’s really here… high school transition!)
February 14 - Delayed Start
February 24-March 6: Winter Break (no school)
April 11 - Delayed Start
May 9 - Last Delayed Start

Curriculum Updates
*** I have invited our long term substitute, Virginia Bobbitt to visit following the December break. The hope is that she will be able to spend a few days shadowing, meeting students and observing our daily routines. If all goes according to plan, she will be subbing from mid-January to late April. Once she is settled, you will be able to contact her via email. ***

When we return from break students in both grades will take a nonfiction reading pre-assessment. This assessment is intended to see how students tackle and respond to nonfiction text. It will be placed on the report card for the purpose of demonstrating growth but it is important to note that students are being assessed on their pre-existing skills before any lessons have been taught. Pre assessments are used by teachers to inform unit and lesson planning. They are also used to discuss student growth at the end of the trimester as students will repeat the assessment at the end of the unit.

7 - The first week after break will be spent on a Tuck Everlasting poster project. There will be several topics to choose from and completed posters will be presented during a gallery walk in class. Next, we will move on to a study of nonfiction text. Students will have access to bins of nonfiction books in class. Mini  lessons will focus on determining and tracking central ideas. Students will apply these skills to the books they are reading independently.

8 - Students will be reading nonfiction chapter books during the first few weeks after the break. Mini lessons will focus on summarizing and synthesising information in their books. They will complete independent and group tasks related to these skills and strategies.

7 - Student completed the unit “From Cells to Systems” by examining the interdependence of human body systems in life-threatening situations.  When we return from vacation, we will focus on reproductive strategies among organisms, which will lay the foundation for our unit on genetics and heredity.  We will also receive our Brook Trout Eggs on January 4th!! Stay tuned for regular updates as we observe these babies grow and develop!

8 - Students used butane stoves and digital temperature probes to investigate what happens to ice as it’s heated to boiling.  They completed a mini-lab report, discussing trends in the data as well as comparisons to the ideal phase change graph.  They should be able to explain to you what happens to energy when matter is changing phase.  When we return, we will explore a wide variety of chemical reactions!

7 - Students had a great experience with the Foodarama activity, which sets up further exploration of how food / cuisine is affected by geography and cultural attitudes.  The week ended with a final mini-project focused on religion in daily life, and students adding some of their learning to their Sovereign States, which are student-created countries; ask your child in which latitude their country will be located.

8 - The American Revolution film Unit concluded with the movie The Crossing, starring Jeff Daniels. Part of the study of that film was to compare the famous Emanuel Leutze painting “Washington crossing the Delaware River” to the real events leading to the Battle of Trenton.  After the break, 8th graders will start with a deeper dive into the Declaration of Independence, and then it's off to the Constitution for the next seven weeks.

7 - Students started the next unit, Accentuate the Negative this week by exploring distances on a number line that includes negative numbers. We will continue more exploration of the number line and begin work with addition and subtraction of negative numbers when we return from break.
8 - We had a great reminder of the importance of math within Science on our field trip last week. While one of the professors said this explicitly during his demonstrations, we did not get into any of the math behind the concepts we were exploring. However, there were plenty of leftover formulas on the board behind him from UVM students working through physics problems. Students may have noticed Trigonometry equations that had a strong resemblance to the Pythagorean Theorem.  Thank you again to our chaperones that helped out on this trip!
This week, we wrapped up the unit, Looking for Pythagoras, with a unit test on Wednesday/Thursday.  When we return from break, we start the unit Growing, Growing, Growing.  This unit explores exponential growth and exponent rules.

Have a great break and a happy new year.

The Fusion Team