February 25 - Subway Night for Blake
February 26 - Incoming 6th Grade Parent Night (7 p.m.)
February 27 - HS Program of Studies Night for Incoming Freshmen
March 3 - Read Across America Day (see below)
March 6 - Incoming 8th Grade Parent Night (7 p.m.)
March 13 - Incoming 7th Grade Parent Night and Nature's Classroom Info Session (7 p.m.)
March 17 - 6th Grade ELA MCAS
March 18 - 7th Grade ELA Long Composition MCAS
March 19 - 6th Grade ELA MCAS
Power of Music Event (see details below)
March 21 - 7th Grade ELA MCAS
March 24 - 7th Grade ELA MCAS
March 25 - 8th Grade ELA MCAS
MCPE Spelling Bee (see details below)
March 26 - 8th Grade ELA MCAS
March 27 - 7th Grade ELA Long Composition Make-Up MCAS
Topic/Question(s) for the Dinner Table
To help encourage conversations about returning to routines, our Topic/Question for the Dinner Table this week is: As teachers, students, and parents - do we need to worry about the challenge of getting back into the daily school routine?
Blake Site Council Survey
The Blake Site Council this year has been working on the development of a survey to be distributed to the Blake community. The survey was administered the last two years and we are committed to having parents and students take it annually as part of our continual efforts to examine our programming. Focus areas include the topics of school culture, academic workloads, stress, and habits. The results will help us to gather information and examine our current practices to better meet the needs of our students. Please complete the survey for each child you have at Blake, and base your responses on your student's experiences this year. The questionnaire is anonymous, and your identity can not and will not be discovered through the completion of this survey. We sincerely appreciate your honest responses and are hoping for 100% participation from the Blake community. If you have any questions or have difficulty accessing the survey, please do not hesitate to contact me directly (email@example.com).
Link to the survey: 2013-2014 Blake Middle School Survey
School Connectedness Update
In January, Blake students completed a very short survey responding to the question "If you had a big or small problem, please name at least one adult at Blake that you would feel comfortable talking to. Please describe what that adult does that makes you comfortable going to them for help." We have spent time compiling the results of these surveys and found that many, many Blake students listed at least one school adult but often several staff members from all three grade levels. Overwhelmingly, grade level guidance counselors were listed by students as people they know and trust with a problem. We are in the process of meeting as clusters with guidance counselors, and with related arts teachers, to ensure that those students who did not identify an adult at Blake do have an adult who is making a subtle but concerted effort to reach out and forge a connection with students at school. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teachers or guidance counselor if you have a question or concern.
Read Across America Day
As noted above in the upcoming dates, March 3 is Read Across America Day, a day sponsored by the National Education Association. The day is celebrated every year on or around March 2, in honor and recognition of Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2). I have encouraged teachers to use this opportunity during SSR this week to discuss passions for reading, share favorite children's books, and simply enjoy reading with their students. I encourage you to take some time this week to do the same.
Acceptance Month at Blake
March is Acceptance Month at Blake. This year, we'll be taking on a different aspect of Acceptance each week of the month of March. Our first week will center around, ability-based Acceptance - the theme: "Anything you can do, I can do (maybe differently, but I can do it)." To kick off the week, students will explore the concept of acceptance through the words of Dr. Seuss for Read Across America Day. On Tuesday and Wednesday, student advisories will pay particular attention to National Spread the Word to end the Word (R-word) day. Students will see videos, engage in advisory discussions, and voluntarily sign the pledge banner at lunch.
iPad and Mobile Learning Updates
As you know we held an iPad Initiative and Mobile Learning Information session on Monday, February 10 for all parents/guardians to hear and see highlights from our initiative, answer questions, and learn about the progress that has taken place. For those who were not able to attend, here is the link to our Google presentation: Mobile Learning Info Night 2-10-14. I encourage you to take a look and to also peruse our mobile learning blog: Mobile Learning in Medfield. Our intention is to hold another presentation in March in during the school day, to highlight some of our work and share our progress.
The feedback we have gained from our initiatives and pilots has been a critical factor for both the school and district's future implementation and direction we will take with technology. Through classroom observations, professional development, informal and formal feedback from parents and students, and staff input, we have been pleased with the efficacy of the iPad initiative and have determined that it is worth continuing and expanding our collective work with iPads for the 2014-2015 academic year for our incoming 7th and 8th grade students, with students purchasing their own iPads or taking part in a 'Lease to Own' program through the school. While our work with the Nexus tablets has been positive, at this point in the educational landscape for schools, it is our belief is that the iPad is the preferred device to maximize the benefits of learning, creativity, and curricular integration for our students and staff. As part of our program, we will have a system in place for families with demonstrated financial need.
More details for these initiatives will be shared at our Incoming 7th grade (Thursday, 3/13 at 7 p.m.) and 8th Grade (Thursday, 3/6 at 7 p.m.) Parent Information Nights. We are excited about the prospects that lie ahead as we work to provide your students with the opportunity to learn with the new technology and are hopeful that we can foster and promote a positive learning experience. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions, concerns, or thoughts that you may have.
Postural Screening for 7th Grade
Postural screening is scheduled for the week following February vacation for all students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. BMI screenings (height/weight) will be done simultaneously for 7th graders only. If you would like your child excused from these state mandated screenings, then we must have a written request from you accompanied by a medical note or recent physical from your child's health care provider documenting the date(s) these screenings were done. Please contact our school nurse, Tricia Williams, if you have any questions or concerns (email@example.com).
Twitter Account (@nat_vaughn) and Blake Hashtags (#bmsed and #bmstech)
We have established the hashtag (#bmsed) for education-related tweets of interest and Blake events and (#bmstech) for technology tweets of interest at Blake, so be sure to check them out! My account is @nat_vaughn, and I will continue to tweet up-to-date information, Blake happenings, links to sites, and articles of interest on a daily or more frequent basis.
There are two ways to get my tweets...
1. To get the 'real feel' for Twitter- you should sign up for your own twitter account and follow me (@nat_vaughn). This works well when you use the twitter app to get the live feed.
2. Go to this link: https://twitter.com/nat_vaughn where you will be able to see all my tweets without a twitter account.
Parent Information Nights - Mark Your Calendars!
The planning for the 2014-2015 school year has already begun, and our parent information nights have been scheduled. The nights are scheduled as follows...
2/26 - Incoming 6th Grade Parent Night at 7 p.m.
3/6 - Incoming 8th Grade Parent Night at 7 p.m.
3/13 - Incoming 7th Grade Parent Night at 7 p.m.
More details will be shared in the coming weeks.
Curriculum Highlights - English
This week's curriculum updates come from the English (Gail Duffy, Content Specialist) department...
Currently reading the historical fiction book, Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson and merging our studies of fiction and nonfiction within the unit, Grade 6 students continue to practice open response writing in MARS reading classes.
In seventh grade English, students are currently reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. Students are working on close reading skills and identifying and explaining the importance of specific passages in a text. The novel is also providing opportunities for class discussions on prejudice and racial strife in the 1930's. With a deeper understanding of our country's past, we hope that students will gain a greater understanding of the sacrifices that make our world what it is today, and that we all need to continue to do our part to foster an open and accepting society.
Students in Grade 8 English continue their focus on figurative language and the genre of science fiction using Ray Bradbury's classic, Fahrenheit 451. In the Grade 8 Writing Lab, students will complete their creative writing projects launched at the beginning of the year.
'Power of Music' Event
Seats can now be reserved for the MMA's “Power of Music” event from 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, March 19 in the MHS auditorium featuring jazz pianist Matt Savage, who overcame challenges associated with autism and launched a musical career at the age of 8. He will share his story and perform. Savage will be joined by music education/autism expert Rhoda Bernard, Ed.D, from The Boston Conservatory who will talk about the power of music on children and adults with autism and other special needs. The event will also feature performances by musicians from The Conservatory's Program for Students on the Autism Spectrum, and our own Medfield Marimba and MHS Jazz Combo. Superintendent Jeff Marsden will also speak. The event is sponsored by MEMO, and partners are SEPAC, Medfield HS PTO, Medfield CSA, and the Medfield Coalition for Public Education. The event is free, but a suggested $5 donation at the door is welcome to help fund a new MMA music scholarship for children with special needs. Seats for the event should be reserved in advance to ensure adequate space. To reserve seats, go to www.medfieldmusicassociatink you.
The theater schedule is on the theater webpage - http://padlet.com/wall/611ejx2h8v . There is also some costume ideas on that page. Please look through your closets and see what you have that might work and that you'd be willing to let the kids use. Those items should be in by Friday, Feb 28. We are still looking for empty plastic gallon jugs so whatever you have, we'd appreciate by this Friday as well. (If anyone knows a Starbucks barrista, he/she might be able to get us tons of gallon jugs.) Please make sure your students are at rehearsals. If they will not be at rehearsal, please have them let Mrs. Caprio or Ms. Allen know and make sure they have a blocking buddy. The kids know what that is. Ticket information will be coming out in a few weeks.
Second Annual Boxtops for education drive! Tuesday, January 21- Wednesday, February 26th
Please have your child hand in boxtops to his/her advisor or label with advisor's name and put in the collection box located in the main office. The top advisory will be eligible for a special advisory activity such as open gym or extra outdoor recess!
Sign up on the Boxtops 4 Education Link and you can get printable coupons on certain box top products.
You can earn box tops at over 400 online stores by choosing a store, clicking on its logo and ordering as you usually would but box tops will be credited to the school account with every qualified purchase. Please see Forms and Documents tab for participating providers.
Music at Blake - Guess the Blake Pandora Jockey!
We have a new Blake DJ this week. The direct link to the form is: Blake Pandora Jockey Form Encourage your students to participate!
Second Annual Boxtops for education drive! Tuesday, January 21- Wednesday, February 26th.
Please have your child hand in boxtops to his/her advisor or label with advisor's name and put in the collection box located in the main office. The top advisory will be eligible for a special advisory activity such as open gym or extra outdoor recess! (when the snow melts, of course!!)
Sign up on the www.boxtops4education.com and you can get printable coupons on certain box top products.
You can earn box tops at over 400 online stores by choosing a store, clicking on its logo and ordering as you usually would but box tops will be credited to the school account with every qualified purchase.
The CSA sponsored 7th grade cookie dough fundraiser begins on Monday, February 24th. All 7th graders have the opportunity to participate in this fundraiser to help defray the cost of next year’s 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. All profits -45% of sales- will be applied directly to your child’s personal trip account. Information packets along with order forms will be handed out on Monday, February 24th and due back on Monday, March 10th. Additional trip credit will be awarded to the top three sellers along with a two wild card drawings for any student who sells five or more items. Please contact Joellyn Ripp at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Reminder: Subway Night has been moved this month. Subway night will take place Tues Feb 25th for Blake middle school. Get your meal at Subway and satisfy your hunger and your fundraising requirements at the same time!
MCPE Spelling Bee Registration is Open NOW!
The MCPE Annual Spelling Bee will be held on Tuesday, March 25th at the High School Auditorium. Grades 6-8 will participate from 2:45-4:00 PM, and grades 3-5 will participate from 4:00-6:00 PM. Form your teams, choose a name and costume, and register TODAY at www.MedfieldCoalition.org. The cost is $30 per team of three. All Spelling Bee participants will receive one free raffle ticket to win an iPad Mini, generously donated by Prudential Page Realty. Each team that registers by March 7th will receive a second raffle ticket for each of its members! (Additional raffle tickets may be purchased for $5 at the Spelling Bee.)
Order Your Spring Fling Tickets NOW!
At long last! Registration is open and you can order your Spring Fling and Raffle tickets! The MCPE Spring Fling fundraising gala will be held on Friday, May 2nd from 7:00-11:30 PM at Spring Valley Country Club, Sharon. All Medfield residents are invited to participate in an exciting auction and enjoy an evening of friendship, dancing and refreshments while supporting our schools. Event and raffle tickets are on sale now and are limited. Don't miss out - be sure to buy your tickets today at www.MedfieldCoalition.org.