In our continued efforts to keep families informed and updated about the curriculum at Blake, each month we 'highlight' updates from the different departments. We hope this will help facilitate conversations at home and maintain a bridge between home and school. Below please find the updates for the month of June, 2015. As this is the 'end of year' message, you will find some 'summer messages' from the respective content specialists.
The Blake MS Art department wishes all students and families a fun and restful summer. There are many visual arts opportunities for students and their families to grow as artists. Stay local or fit in some creative time while on a beach vacation:
Take a creative vacation at Massart in Boston--- or check out Saturday studios (a 75 year old tradition!) for all grades-- you tube video about Saturday Studios some of the classes include parents too!
Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham—they offer classes in all media for all ages and intern opportunities for HS students. Take a field trip to the MFA and have an Artful Adventure!
If you are going away, you might want to check out the following places on the Cape and the Islands that offer art classes and workshops to break up the monotony of sun and sand…. Truro Center for the Arts and The Cape Conservatory offers many classes in fine and performing arts with campuses in Barnstable and Falmouth. The Artists’ Association of Nantucket and the Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs are worth checking out as well.
Remember- summertime is for relaxing. Unplug and go outside. Socialize, exercise, laugh, create, and above all--get some fresh air everyday!
It's been a year of growth, learning, and fun in Grade 6 for 2014-15. Transitioning from their elementary school selves, students grew as thinkers and writers. In this final month of classes, Grade 6 students used their understanding of the elements of fiction, creativity, and technology skills to craft videos, storyboards, and journals from the first person perspective of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer characters. Students also completed their year-long study of the parts of speech.
Fresh off their coming-of-age unit on Johnny Tremain, students in Grade 7 English classes put combined their creativity with their writing and thinking skills to write short stories that they presented to younger students at the elementary schools. Like the Grade 6 students, they also completed their year-long study of grammar.
Using Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird as their final Grade 8 piece of literature, students used their classroom discussions to craft a final essay on the important themes found in the novel. These essays, produced and stored digitally, have been shared with the high school and will provide a wonderful way for Grade 9 English teachers to know each student as a writer and thinker before September. Grade 8 students, like students in Grade 6 and 7 English classes also closed out their year-long grammar study.
Blake English Department Tips for a Summer o’ Fun!!
Summer beckons. With its sunny days, breezy nights, it’s the perfect season to gather with friends and family. Whether you walk in to Medfield’s town center or take the train in Boston, the biggest challenge can be not what to do in the summer but how to find the time to fit in all the fun! Use the clickable links to find out more about:
- a summer concert series in right in Medfield.
- Medfield Public Library museum passes.
- Medfield Public Library Summer Program boasts a Hero’s Club, chess club, paper making, reading Maggie the dog, storytime, Yoga Club, and Legos for kids
- Guide to area summer camps
- Never ridden a horse? Want to try? Click here! ride a horse
- Volunteer opportunities at the Medfield Animal Hospital
- Volunteer opportunities within 20 miles of Medfield
- Boston fun includes 4th of July activities, Tall Ships, and even free Shakespeare! This year’s play, King Lear is sure to dazzle and inspire. Click here to learn more about all fun activities at your Boston doorstep!
Best of luck to our 8th graders as you enter the high school in the fall! We wish all students and families a safe and relaxing summer!
The Blake mIddle School Math Department would like all its students to enjoy the summer months. Rest and relaxation are an integral part of student learning. We find it is often beneficial to spend, save and count real money, measure and make things, cook and bake with recipes and play lots of board games (chess, Mastermind, Pay Day, etc.) Often, families like to strengthen their child’s math skills over the summer months. For the past few years, we have used a series of workbooks published by a company called Summer Skills (www.summerskills.com). We have found these books to be successful in helping students practice and sharpen their math skills and are once again recommending the books listed below. Please be aware that some questions contained in the workbooks may cover topics that have been introduced but not yet mastered. As a team of teachers, we feel that summer work is beneficial; however, this book is entirely OPTIONAL.
If you would like to purchase a book for your son or daughter please visit the website listed below or call 1.800.411.8186. Select the book based on your child’s grade and level. Do not hesitate to email your child’s current teacher if you have any questions. Additionally, you may email Susan Bycoff, Math Content Specialist, at email@example.com for assistance in structuring summer work.
Entering grade 6: Summer Math Skills Sharpener 5th Grade
Entering grade 7: Summer Math Skills Sharpener 6th Grade (for both levels)
Entering grade 8: Summer Math Skills Sharpener 7th Grade (for Regular Alg. or Alg.Part 1)
Summer Math Skills Sharpener Pre-Algebra (for Accelerated Alg.)
Entering grade 9: Summer Math Skills Sharpener Algebra I (for Geo. C1 or Geo. Honors)
Summer Math Skills Sharpener Pre-Algebra (for Alg.I C2)
For parents of incoming 7th grade students: 7th grade teachers are piloting more targeted online summer work. Students entering 7th grade will be given optional on-line summer work from their teachers on move-up day. You may wish to use this work in place of this summer skills book.
Please visit the website http://www.summerskills.com/books to order your child’s Summer Math Skills Sharpener book.
Congratulations to all orchestra students for their successful Spring Concerts! Each orchestra learned many new pieces this year that expanded our playing skills including new notes, rhythms, styles, shifting and improvising with the Moxie Strings. Students should practice over the summer. Hint- friends practicing together is more fun. :) Also, contact Mrs Evans if you would like to find a summer lesson teacher to help keep your child's skills sharp for the Fall. Thank you parents for all of your support!
Grade 6 General Music
Students have spent the final weeks of the school year learning about how music is organized, musical structures and form. Students shared songs of their choosing and analyzed how they were constructed. This work served to tie in the students' own experiences in creating their own songs and musical pieces throughout the school year.
Grade 7 General Music
Students prepared, researched and presented on a variety of research projects related to the program of study: The Evolution of Rock and Roll. Students presented interviews with Paul McCartney, timelines of rock and roll from the fifties to the present or compared and contrasted a contemporary musician with a musician we studied in class.
Grade 8 General Music
Students presented their final projects related to the unit of study: The American Musical. In this project students created an idea for a musical complete with themes, character descriptions and setting; wrote a scene for the musical complete with stage directions and musical cues; and wrote lyrics for a song to tie in with the scene. Students also had to specify instrumentation and style for their song selection and justify why they made those creative decisions. We had some fabulous creative ideas from a musical that explored online identity and relationships in the digital world to a musical that was set in the Middle Ages.
Students in 6th grade science have been engaging in explorations of topics in Earth science. They have been utilizing textbook and Internet resources, and the Explain everything app as a platform to collect, examine, and create evidence of their understanding of layers of Earth and the concepts of continental drift, sea floor spreading, and plate tectonics. This project allows for students to ensure that they have a basic understanding of concepts, while allowing for creative demonstration of understanding. Our final journey this year will be a journey through Geologic time, exploring the Earth's timeline. Students will work with a scaled version of the Earth's timeline that spans the length of the entire hallway of the school. They will focus on the major biological and geological events throughout Earth's 4.6 billion years of existence, scanning to watch videos of what the environment would have been like along the hallway walk.
Students in seventh grade science finished the year presenting their projects about endangered, threatened, or special concern species found in Massachusetts. Sometime will be spent learning about the evidence for evolution, along with human evolution. With their new found knowledge of Life Science, we encourage students to spend time enjoying the natural world. Students should look for signs of primary and secondary succession, take note of any endangered species, and always remember to ask questions about anything they see, hear, touch, or smell.
As the year has come to an end students have been engaged in multiple STEM activities and projects. Given a problem, students have to work towards a solution. First, our students have been tasked to create a working Solar car. Students had to create a theme, design and test the car in order to complete a 10 meter course. The second project was to create a water powered bottle rocket where students launch an egg into the air and have a parachute safely land the egg on the ground. Students learned that through their initial failures that creative problem solving and redesign ultimately leads to success.
Wishing all our science students a wonderful summer full of questions about the world in which we live. For those who would like to practice some science here is a free program to keep those skills in good shape!
CK-12 Brainflex - A summer Program for Math and Science Practice
Sixth grade World Geography has come to end this year. It was an experimental year with some changes made to the curriculum including more theme-based teaching with an emphasis on project-based learning. With the aide of the iPad, project-based learning allowed students to generate creative presentations using Explain Everything, iMovie, green screen technology, and many more apps. We hope that students had a wonderful school year and wish your family a beautiful summer. If you or your child is looking for some summer enrichment activites, PBS offers some amazing resources including videos from many of their engaging and dynamic shows. Check out their video collection online by clicking the link below. Have a great summer and best wishes to all of you.
As it does every year, Rome fell in 7th grade Ancient Civilizations. Our unit on the Roman Empire focused on the change in government, the challenges of running an empire, and the changes that the Empire made as it worked to control the diverse peoples that lived within its borders. The Busconi Family gifted the 7th grade with a grant that allowed us to have a visit from the Museum of Fine Arts to help us tie together several of the civilizations that we studied this year. We were able to learn about and discuss several of their works of art from their Ancient World collection. Students compared artistic styles and actual art pieces from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Rising 7th graders will again be "Experiencing History" this summer. We ask students to do one of three things over the course of their summer: visit a historical site, interview a person age 70 or older about their childhood, or read a book on a historical topic of their choosing. All rising 7th graders will receive a sheet entitled "Experiencing History" at Transition Day or can go to Deb Manning's website at http://manningsocialstudies.weebly.com/ and click on the summer assignment link to learn more about the details and expectations.
In 8th grade, World History II students learned about the medieval world, which extends from the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 CE until approximately the 16th century. Highlights included an exploration of Eastern and Western Europe, the Muslim world and the greater Middle East, and East Asia. In addition to the class curriculum, we were fortunate enough to visit the Museum of Russian Icons last fall. Students completed a variety of assessments, including projects, comprehensive exams, and various written works that challenged their mastery of the material in many ways. We were able to integrate technology into our student learning opportunities. Recommended book for summer enrichment: The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin.
The Wellness staff would like to wish all of you the very best for a safe, relaxing summer! It’s a great time to unwind, play ultimate frisbee, badminton, volleyball or basketball and spend quality time together with your family and friends. There are many opportunities to unplug from your phones and iPads and improve your fitness. We hope you will make time to run, swim, bike, and practice yoga!
Stay safe outdoors by regularly applying sunscreen, and remember to check for ticks when you come in from grassy areas or the woods. Enjoy all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are grown in gardens and farms this time of year and make most of your plate fruits and veggies! Have fun cooking together with your family, let them see all the wonderful skills you have developed through your wellness courses!
Grade six French students just completed a unit on the family, and created some photo albums on iPads of real and fictitious families, where they describe various family members. They are finishing the year learning body parts and ailments. Look for some “monstres horribles” in the hallways of Blake!
Over the summer, revisit our Weebly class website to play games and activities with Quizlet and Quia to keep all of the French you learned fresh for next year.
Grade 6 Spanish students ended the year with a speaking assessment on the vocabulary of “La casa”! They are able to put together much more complex sentences now and should be proud! We ended the year by pulling together all of the vocabulary/grammar lists of the year and completing a small group project to review all that we have learned. Each group picked 20-24 ideas/words that we have learned and then chose a format for showing this to the class. Some made games on Google Slides, some made flashcards on Study Blue or Quizlet, others made Imovies and the list of all the formats goes on! It is great to see students choosing the method for presentation that they think will work best (and then sometimes changing course if it doesn’t work out!)
We strongly urge ALL students entering 7th grade Spanish to spend time over the summer reviewing all that we have learned. You have packets of vocabulary both in Notability and in paper. The Quizlet reviews will be available all summer from our website and we encourage 10 minutes two or three times a week. Pick a different unit each time!
Any contact you have over the summer with Spanish will benefit you as you enter the 7th grade! ¡Felices vacaciones!
Grade 6 Mandarin students ended the year with one assessment; they used Ipad to create a short video to show what we have learned. After that, students made groups with their friends to work on the subjects they like to teach their classmates in Mandarin and presented them in the class. Some of them worked on the sports, food, or cookie, some of them worked on the nature and Universe. It was such a fun experience for them. I encourage students to review all of the vocabulary and sentences we have learned before the start of the next school year. Happy vacation!
Grade 7 Spanish students ended the year with their most comprehensive speaking assessment yet, and have shown tremendous improvement in all areas of their presentational use of Spanish. We are so proud of them! In the last few weeks of school, we watched a movie from Mexico called “Atlético San Pancho” - a “Bad News Bears” of Mexican soccer! The students had the support of English subtitles, but we challenged them at certain moments to engage fully in listening and not relying solely on subtitles - they were amazed at what they could do! Finally, we summarized the year with small group presentations using Google Slides, Forms and Socrative Space Races - it gave everyone a chance to see how much they have learned, what they remember, and to reflect on what they might review over the summer.
Each student is walking away from class with a stapled packet of their colorful vocab lists from the year (which they also have in Notability). Our website with all of the Quizlet review games will be available all summer. Ideally, every student would do two 10 minute sessions a week to review what we’ve learned this year. Any contact they make with Spanish over the summer will benefit them in 8th grade! ¡Qué tengan un verano muy feliz!
Grade 7 Mandarin students ended the year with two assessments. One was listen to the teacher ask 10-15 questions and answer them in Chinese. The other was to use all we have learned to introduce themselves, their families, and their friends, including: last name, English name, Chinese name (if they have), grade, name of the school they attend, favorite color, birthday info, pets, hobby.We also played some fun sports game such as Jianzi. I encourage students to review all of the vocabulary and sentences we have learned before the start of the next school year. Happy vacation!
To finish up a great year, the grade 8 French students will be planning a perfect vacation! After a blind drawing of the name of a famous French city, students will research that destination using the French version of Trip Advisor. They may then choose hotels, things to do, fabulous restaurants and report back to their copains! Which part of France will be your favorite?
If you’re looking for that extra French summer enrichment: see the Alliance Francaise, they offer summer French classes for children and adults of all ages
Ms. Gonzalez’ eighth grade Spanish students created an Adobe Voice presentation of important events that happened in their families. They learned the app quickly and did a great job of using voiceovers to talk about family photos that they uploaded and shared with me. They are currently creating a report from a virtual trip to a Spanish speaking city, using a wide variety of interesting formats to show what they’ve learned both culturally and in using the language.
Señora Manning’s 8th grade students ended the year with their “Soy Experto” iMovie projects. It was thrilling to see them bring together both their technology and their presentational use of Spanish in these final assessments. If you have not had a chance to see your child’s project, ask them about it. They taught us how to: make pancakes, draw Mickey Mouse, braid hair, paint their nails, play the piano, just to name a few...and they did it all in Spanish! I wish them the best of luck next year in the language careers and a relaxing summer!
For the summer, students should look for Spanish everywhere! Check out the women’s World Cup on a Spanish TV station, look online for news on Spanish sites (listed on teachers’ web sites), and listen to some music in Spanish. Don’t throw out those old vocab lists, reviewing your vocabulary before the start of high school. can never hurt. We wish them the best of luck next year in the language careers and a relaxing summer!
Grade 8 Mandarin students ended the year with two assessments. One was listening to the asking t 10-15 questions and answer them in Chinese. The other was to use all we have learned to introduce themselves, their families, and their friends, including: last name, English name, Chinese name (if they have one), grade, name of the school they attend, favorite color, birthday info, pets, hobby. We also learned how to order Chinese food and had a very nice field trip to Chinatown and Kam Man in Quincy with students from Lexington to practice their Chinese. In the field trip, students did scavenger hunt. They also used Mandarin to order the food in Chinese resturant. I wish them the best and hope they can carry some of their language experience to their future.