Monday, January 15, 2018

Fusion Communication: January 12

Hi all,
Another crazy weather week - does break the monotony of winter; who doesn’t like negative temps to start the week, rain and slush to big winter storm at the end? The team is seeing an increase to winter clothing during recess; thank you fighting those battles.  There are some largish things going on in the coming weeks, so keep on reading.

“So Longs” to Fusion Staff (NOT “goodbye”)
Team Fusion will be saying “so long” to two staff members this Friday: Missy Barnier and Robyn Bessette.  Missy is moving over to CHMS for the remainder of the year.  She is already missed, and we look forward to having her back at BRMS (and on Team Fusion!) next year.

Robyn will begin her maternity leave this Friday, expecting to be back in late April.  We wish her well and look forward to seeing some baby pics soon.  Virginia Bobbitt will officially start on Monday - Welcome Ms. Bobbitt!

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 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 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!)
January 25 - 8th Grade families: MMU Transition Meeting at high school starting at 6:30pm (students are welcome to attend - see attached letter)
February 2 -  Tentative field trip to Spare Time Bowling
February 14 - Delayed Start
February 24-March 6: Winter Break (no school)
April 11 - Delayed Start
May 9 - Last Delayed Start
June 1 - 8th Grade: Move up Day at MMU

Curriculum Updates
Starting on Tuesday, our long term sub, Ms. Bobbitt will be taking over LA classes.
See you at the end of April! :)

7 - This week we began our nonfiction unit “Tapping the Power of Nonfiction.” Students have had access to bins of high-interest, nonfiction books in class. Mini lessons have focused on how to approach nonfiction text (looking at the cover, table of contents and introduction to determine what the text aims to teach). We have been using a class mentor text, Fast Food Nation during mini lessons and students have been practicing new skills with their choice books. We have also begun to talk about what skills and strategies go into quality club conversation. Next week students will begin identifying central ideas in nonfiction text. Students will continue to work in their reading/writing notebooks to build up a collection of reading work to be assessed as “reading process” on the next report card.

8 -  This week we also began the nonfiction reading unit Tapping the Power of Nonfiction. In 8th grade, students have been placed in book clubs. Together with 1 or more peers, students are reading and discussing nonfiction chapter books. Mini lessons thus far have focused on how to approach nonfiction text and how best to prepare for book club discussion. Fast Food Nation has been our anchor/mentor text for mini lessons, and students have applied skills from lessons to their own club books. Next week students will start tracking central ideas across the text. Students will continue to work in their reading/writing notebooks to build up a collection of reading work to be assessed as “reading process” on the next report card.

7 - We began our week with formal observations of the brook trout eggs.  We determined their starting population size (99), measured their growth (~3 mm), and made detailed drawings of the structures we could see under the microscope.  We continued our investigation of the effects of salinity on 4 common crop seeds.  Lastly, we explored the process of sexual reproduction in flowering plants and ended the week beginning to match flower structures with specific pollinators.

8 - We continued our exploration of solutions, exploring the difference in saturation levels for two common solutes, sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate.  Students reviewed main concepts of solutions before taking a short quiz on Friday.  Students also turned in their element brochures and their atom models.  The classroom is looking very festive with all the creative ways they chose to represent atoms!  Next week, we look briefly at how atoms bond together in various ways to form molecules and experiment with a few chemical reactions.

7 - It was all feudal this week in social studies; students should have some great stories about their experiences being serfs, knights, lords and queens.  They tried valiantly to avoid the plague; alas, it struck with a vengeance.  Students will use their learning from that activity to compare our current form of government - representative democracy - to monarchy during the first part of next week.  By the end of the week, it’s on to an indepth look at North Korea and authoritarian regimes.

8 - The week began with a final look at the Declaration of Independence; then on to Articles of Confederation! Ask about the simulation at the end of the week - lots of food for thought!

Math -
7 - This week, we focussed on developing rules for adding and subtracting for negative numbers.  Next week we will be exploring multiplying and dividing with negative numbers as well as order of operations. Also, today I began meeting with students about their progress so far this year and checking in to see how I can better support them through the next half of the year.  I will continue this into next week. If you have any helpful feedback for me base on your own conversations about math class with your child, please feel free to share it with me.
8 - This week, we continued our exploration of exponential growth by looking at variations in the initial quantity as well as growth factor and examining the impact this has the on relationship.  We also compared these relationships to linear relationships, determining that linear relationships increase through repeated addition and exponential relationships increase through repeated multiplication.  Next week, we will continue to analyze the parts of an exponential equation and also begin to explore exponential decay.  

Again, stay warm and sane this weekend.

The Fusion Team