Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fusion Communication: January 7

Hi all,

Well, we're baaaack. Students have, again,  re-engaged with school, and we are all learning to cope with the colder temps.  Please do all you can to make sure your child is prepared for the cold, as students will be outside for brief periods of time while at school.

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 (thank you to those who have volunteered already - Mr. Pless will be in touch this week.

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.

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
Students were able to meet our long term sub, Ms. Bobbitt this week. Once she is settled, families will be able to contact her via email as she will be subbing from mid-January to late April.

7 - This week we finished our class novel, Tuck Everlasting. Students have been working on an informal poster project to summarize their thinking about this book. We also took some time to watch the film in class at the end of the week.

Next week students will take a reading pre assessment prior to the beginning of a unit studying nonfiction text. *** Please see the explanation below in 8th grade overview to better understand how this assessment is used and reported. *** Mini lessons during the 3-4 week nonfiction unit will focus on skills for tackling and interpreting informational text. Students will read from book bins in the classroom on a variety of topics and perform tasks in their journals to apply and practice strategies presented in mini lessons.

8 - This week students took a reading pre assessment. Please know that this assessment will go on the report card. It is used primarily by teachers to inform unit and lesson planning. Students should not be alarmed if their scores on the pre assessment are low as this assessment measures students’ abilities before any lessons have been taught. It is strictly informative and meant to help assess growth over the course of the trimester.

This week students also had the opportunity to browse reading choices for a nonfiction club unit. Students were placed in small groups of 3-5, taking their reading preferences into consideration. Over the next few weeks they will set goals for reading together and discuss what they have been reading. Mini lessons will focus on skills for tackling nonfiction text. Students will complete group and individual tasks in their journals during class. Tasks not completed during class should be done for homework.  

7 - The big news this week is that our Brook Trout eggs arrived!  This image shows our ~100 eggs after they were poured into the breeding basket in out tank.  Look closely to see the dark circles - which are the fish eyes!  Students have been engaged in learning about the “suitable environment” for brook trout and about how we can replicate those conditions in our tank.  They are also examining life cycle diagrams to better anticipate the changes in growth and development we’ll observe over the next few months!  At the same time, students dissected bean seeds in order to identify the structures and functions of plant seeds.  We set up an experiment to explore the effects of the environment (i.e., salt) and genetics (within 4 common crop species) on germination and growth of plants. Lastly, we discussed comparisons between our trout eggs and plant seeds.

8 - Students conducted research this week on one element of the periodic table.  They are producing an informational brochure, as well as a 3-D model of one atom of their element.  They may ask you for materials to help build their model.  We critiqued many examples of models, and discussed ideas for what materials they could use to represent the parts of an atom.  Please email me if you have any questions as your child works on this at home.  We also completed some of our final investigations of physical processes of matter by testing different methods for separating substances from mixtures and solutions.  Next week, we explore saturation and concentration of mixtures before launching our chemistry unit the following wek.

7 - The 7th grade started the government and institutions unit with a look at rules for sports and how those show values of the participants.  In addition, there is a deeper dive into the role of geography, with additional quizzes for world features, major rivers and peninsulas.  This coming week will be a multi-day simulation of feudalism which is usually a student favorite every year.

8 - The 8th grade took a deeper dive into the Declaration of Independence, which will culminate in a look at the successes (and failures) of the goals of the American Revolution. In addition, 8th graders are beginning a deeper look at American geography, which starts with a 50 states quiz.  This coming week will feature a role play of the “first” form of American national governance, the Articles of Confederation, and a quiz about the Declaration of Independence.

Math - will return next week

Stay warm and sane this weekend.

The Fusion Team