Friday, September 14, 2018

Fusion Communication: September 14

Waterbury Center State Park Field Trip
Hi all,
A lot of fun was had by all on the field trip - thank you to our parent volunteers, bus drivers and lifeguards.  See the above picture for a view of the beautiful day. As for academics, the team is now in full swing - expect to see a bit more homework next week.  Laptops should be coming home soon - this weekend might be a good time to establish those ground rules for their use in your environments. Lastly, this communication is long - many apologies but some things have changed with volunteering and these changes affect the team’s future field trips.

Important Message about Volunteer/Chaperone Fingerprinting
The team now has clear guidelines around volunteer background checks and fingerprinting.  There is a letter linked here that better explains these distinctions.

Basically, there are two “levels” to volunteering within the district:
  • Non-fingerprinting (can volunteer for field trips and are directly supervised by school staff; cannot be alone with students)
  • Fingerprinting (can volunteer for field trips and can take student groups without direct staff supervision)

Traditionally, the Montreal field trip has included significant time periods where small student groups with volunteers  have explored the city without direct staff supervision. The team would like to keep this format but now those volunteers are required to be fingerprinted.  The fingerprinting process takes time and money - below is the basic process:
  • A visit to Central Office in Richmond to fill out three forms, pay a fee of $12, then take a form...
  • To the Chittenden County Sheriff’s office (must be done here), which requires a reservation, $25 CASH fee.  After fingerprinting, sheriff’s office will give a receipt which must be …
  • Dropped back off at Central office. At this point, a parent will be considered cleared to take students out of direct school staff supervision on a field trip and sponsored school activity.
The team would like to know how many parents are willing to go through the fingerprinting for the Montreal field trip.  If parent works for a Vermont school, their background check will be accepted; other fingerprinting background checks run by companies and government institutions are not acceptable, and those parents will have to get the fingerprinting through the district process. Please contact Mr. Pless if you are planning to participate in this new fingerprinting procedure.

Montreal Field Trip Update
The team is planning to take the students to Montreal for a long day on Thursday, October 25.  This date is tentative until confirmations from the bus company and archeology museum are finished.  A permission form and information letter should go home next week. In the mean time, might be a good weekend to locate the birth certificate and/or passport.

Computer Contracts
Almost all the computer contracts have been submitted  Mr. Pless will be contacting families this weekend about the last few.

Students Leaving Early for Medical Reason
If your child calls to ask you to pick them up, please make sure they are calling from the nurse’s office.  Students may not request for a pick-up without first checking in the the nurse. Please contact the nurse’s office with questions.

September 25: BRMS Open House
6:30-7 - ⅞ families visit EXPs/PE/Foreign Language rooms
7-7:30 - ⅞ families visit Team Fusion rooms
September 27: ⅞ Picture Day (picture forms were sent home this week)
October 10: Delayed Start
October 19: Non-student day
October 25: Montreal Field Trip (tentative)
November 19-23: School Break

All students were asked to get a book this week (from the library or brought in from home). Books should be brought to all study halls and LA class each day.

Language Arts
We took a little more time this week to do a reading survey, wrap up pre assessment and practice reading and jotting. Next week we will officially launch our first readers workshop unit: A Deep Study of Character. 7th grade will focus on character traits and setting, while 8th graders will dig into themes.

Homework is to read 30 minutes each night and jot in notebooks (90% reading 10% jotting). Notebook expectations can be found on schoology in the reading toolkit and are linked here as well: Notebook Expectations.

7: We started our first unit this week, Shapes and Designs.  We explored common properties of polygons, properties that we use to group and define different types of polygons, and benchmark angles used for estimating angle measures.  Next week we will begin using measuring tools to draw polygons given specific measures.
8: We explored proportional and nonproportional linear relationships this week and how the pieces of a linear relationship show up in a table, graph, and an equation.  Next week we will continue this work while also looking a the basic of a system of equations.

7 - The results of our investigation of 5 different materials in 3 liquid environments determined that each living organism needs different “suitable environments” to thrive.  Brine shrimp need salt water, yeast need sugar water, and radish seeds need fresh water. Currently, students are learning how to use the compound microscope to make close observations of materials.  We will use microscopes several times over the next few weeks to examine tiny organisms and to gather more evidence of life!

8 - Students are regularly discussing, creating, and critiquing models showing the spatial relationships between the moon, earth, and sun, while building explanations for how and why different locations on earth experience different temperatures and seasons.  They also practiced their data analysis skills by graphing temperature and the number of day light hours for several locations on earth. We have our first assessment next Thursday asking students to explain the reasons for seasons on earth.

Social Studies
7 - Students spent the week exploring the effects of geography on one country, and then trying out a multiple-step assignment that tested their ability to manage information, tech skills and executive functioning skills.  Students continue to learn procedures and expectations in a 1-to-1 laptop classroom.
8 - The major focus was on developing an argument defending whether a painting was fair and accurate to the time in which it was created.  Students finished the unit with a Thinglink! representation of their argument-to-date”, expressing how the painting is or isn’t accurate, and how they would change it to amend history.

Thanks and enjoy the blast of extra summer this weekend,
The Fusion Team