June 24 - Transition Day
8th Grade Picnic
8th Grade Graduation
June 25 - Last Day of School
Half Day for Students
Report Cards go home
August 25-26 - Teacher Days
August 27 - First Day of School
August 29 - No School
September 4 - Grades 7/8 PIN
September 11 - Grade 6 PIN
Topic/Question(s) for the Dinner Table
To encourage conversations about reflection and summer, our Topic/Question for the Dinner Table this week is: During the summer when we have some quiet moments, recall the good feelings of the previous school year; our fuel for the future may come from those moments.
8th Grade Closing Ceremony
Our 8th grade closing ceremony and goodbye evening will be on Tuesday, June 24 at 7 p.m. This evening will be our opportunity to thank and recognize our 8th graders for their years at Blake and wish them well as they head off to high school. Families are welcome, and there will be a reception with refreshments, including allergen-free treats, in the cafeteria following the ceremony. We are hoping for a 'cool weather' evening.
Theme of Acceptance for 2014-2015
Our theme for the next academic year at Blake is one of Acceptance. We believe that this theme will extend the work we have done over the last few years with our themes of Community, Perseverance, and Creativity. As a staff we have begun brainstorming ideas and I encourage all families to join us in the brainstorming process as well. As ideas and thoughts come to mind, do not hesitate to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kelly C. (email@example.com).
7th Grade Field Trip Recap
7th graders boarded busses last Tuesday with their mathematical creatures, scale drawings and fiction stories and headed to the Medfield elementary schools. Kindergartners, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth graders got to enjoy our 7th graders spending time in their classrooms, with their siblings in many cases, reading their stories and sharing their creatures. It was a great day for everyone!
On Friday 7th graders spent the beautiful spring day "Walking through Courage." In conjunction with the 7th grade theme of courage and many of their academic lessons this year, they visited the Public Gardens, the Boston Common, the Holocaust Memorial and made many other stops along the Freedom Trail. They had questions to answer in their student guides and made many connections to material they had covered during this school year. Check out the hashtag #blakeinboston for some pictures!
6th Grade Cup
On the afternoon of Tuesday 6/24, the 6th grade will enter into the 6th Grade Cup: a friendly competition of many facets, pitting homeroom against homeroom to win the prestigious title of "6th Grade Cup Champion." It is a wonderful way to celebrate the team atmosphere we have developed throughout the year in advisory!
Lost and Found Items
The number of items in our Lost and Found has certainly increased! We will be clearing out the Lost and Found after school gets out, so I encourage all students and parents/guardians to come take a look.
iPad Planning and Mobile Learning Initiative
With our expansion of this year's 8th grade iPad Initiative and implementation of a 1:1 iPad program for the entire 6th-8th grade for the 2014-2015 academic year, I encourage everyone to peruse our mobile learning blog (Mobile Learning in Medfield) to gain a greater understanding of the work that has taken place. 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. One of our ongoing goals with the iPad Initiative is to share resources for parents/guardians as well as students. With this in mind I have listed links below to resources that I hope will help you to better support our collective work and monitor your students at home...
This is a link to the Google presentation from our iPad Information sessions in April...
iPad Info Sessions April 2014
This resource will allow you to access your student's work in their Google drive account...
How to Share a Google Doc or Folder
This resource provides directions from Apple for enabling parent restrictions. Options include, but are not limited to, turning off installing and deleting apps and restricting access to the iTunes Store...
Understanding Restrictions (Parental Controls) for iOS
These links are references about our initiative...
iPad Planning Inventory Letter to Blake Families 4-2-14
Mobile Learning Update from Blake 3-26-14
iPad FAQs 3-31-14
iPad Initiative Estimated Lease-to-Own Program 3-31-14
As we get closer to the start of the school year, more information will be sent to families. If you have any questions regarding the iPads or the initiative, do not hesitate to contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our help e-mail address (email@example.com).
As we approach the summer months and take a formal 'break' from the routines of school and academics, I have asked our content specialists to provide updates from their respective departments...
Art (Jim Cousens)
Over the last few weeks I have had a few students and several parents asking about Art opportunities over the summer, so I've tried to provide some ideas. Medfield is located in a pretty good place for those willing to venture out of town for art classes. The Danforth has offered Art classes for many summers now, and some of our K-12 Art Staff have even taught them. They are a great place to start. Medfield is not too far from other programs offered by local Art Schools like RISD, Mass Art, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, or places like the Worcester Art Museum, the Hunakai Studio of Fine Arts on Foxboro, or even Medfield's very own Zullo Gallery. Needless to say there are many other programs in our area. A quick "Google Search" will turn up tons of options.
For those just looking for something to do on the occasional rainy summer afternoon (after you are done jumping around in the puddles), I've created a page on our website with 149 Sketchbook Ideas (a quick search found these ideas listed by a school District in NY, and there are so many more out there if you want) http://www.medfieldk12finearts.net/summer-sketchbook-ideas.html Take some time to recharge your artistic batteries too. It is a great way to spend your time while on a long "bridge" wait going to the cape, or just relaxing by the fire pit in the backyard.
Lastly, Mrs. Delaney will be working with other Blake teachers this summer discussing curriculum ideas for our Summer Reading, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Mrs. Delaney will be developing creative ways for us to apply our Blake Art Lessons with this highly imaginative & visual summer reading book. I know it is going to be a great way to start the next school year! Have a "Wonderful" summer, everyone!
English (Gail Duffy)
Summer invites us to all sorts of adventures! Here are a few resources to help you put some extra F-U-N in summer:
1. Enjoy reading The Wizard of Oz!
2. Did you know that you can see Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night for free this summer from July 29-August 10? Thou will enjoy it immensely!! Check out the details on this web site: http://commshakes.org/performances/performance/57
3. Did you know you can stay right in Medfield and see 9 concerts over the summer? Find out what’s playing at the town’s gazebo using this web site: http://medfieldmemo.org/wordpress/?page_id=185
4. There’s fun to be had through the many camps, field trips, and activities planned through the Medfield Parks and Recreation Department. Look through their latest summer brochure to find out more information: http://www.medfieldrec.com/documents/finalmpr2014summerguideallpages.pdf
5. Interested in learning to cook? Do you think this might be a fun activity to do with your friends? Check out what’s available just down the street in Newton: http://www.createacook.com/cooking/kids-cooking/kids-teens-cooking-classes-.aspx
6. The Medfield Public Library has a summer calendar of events that’s full of great ways to make summer fun!: http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=MEDFIELD
Mathematics (Susan Bycoff)
The Math Department wishes the entire Blake community a happy and healthy summer. While it is always a good idea to keep up your math skills, we do hope our students get a break from "doing the math." Blake students spent the year immersed in Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry at a variety of levels. Our hope is they get a chance to apply these skills to their summer life. Often, using math is about asking good questions: "How long will it take for the popsicle to melt in heat?"..."When will the sun set on July 4th?"..."How many lawns do I need to mow to save $75?" The list goes on and on and the answers will vary. Enjoy the summer. See you in the fall!
Music (Doug Olsen)
The Blake Chorus concert was a success with lots of talented accompanists and soloists. Thank you for your support! It isn't too late to sign up for Chorus for next fall. Please email Ms. Nothnagel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to sign up.
Our 6th grade General Music classes recently finished up their Form projects and other students presented their Musician Biography projects using their iPads and the Explain Everything program. We hope you have a restful and fulfilling summer and we'll see you in the fall.
Science (Orla Berry)
Sixth Grade Science has been a smorgasbord of Scientific Thinking, Physical Science, Biology, and especially Geology. With the most time spent on Geology this year, Rising 7th Graders, should take the opportunity this summer to explore the world around you. Summertime is a great opportunity to see the geologic wonders of the world both near and far: be it Crystal Cave in Medfield, Purgatory Chasm in Uxbridge, Howe's Cavern in New York, or more exotic landscapes such as the Grand Canyon or Volcanoes of Hawaii. These all have connections to the 6th Grade Science curriculum. We hope you H.A.G.S.!! (Have a Geologic Summer!!!)
Our departing 7th grade students spent this year exploring living organisms from the size of a unicellular organism to those that interact in an ecosystem. This summer students should take some time to be scientists and observe the natural world around them. Try to find examples from the six kingdoms when you go for a hike. Take a trip to the Charles River to visit the trout you raised. If you go swimming in a pond, remember the protozoans are in there too!!
For those of you enjoying your last summer as a middle school student summer take a little time to ponder some everyday topics that you encountered in 8th grade science such as: Why do heavy things like boats float in water but light things like pebbles sink? If you mix two types of substances together how can you tell if they make a totally new substance? When does this happen in everyday life? How many stars are there in our galaxy, in the universe?
The Science Department would like to wish everyone a wonderful summer and we hope that you all take some time to observe science in action!
Social Studies (Kathleen Emerson)
World Geography students participated in Socratic Circle discussions on events related to the curriculum as well as current events from CNN Student news. This activity included research and persuasive discussion. Students benefited from viewing the news each day as they became aware of the reality of life across the globe in the regions they studied. The Heifer International project included research into organizations that helped to alleviate famine and poverty in Africa and culminated in group projects where students worked on murals, maps, and wrote realistic fiction from the point of view of families who had risen out of poverty because of Heifer. Every student learned the location of nearly every country in the world and they are quite proud of themselves! Other highlights include the building of Tokyo apartments in an effort to better understand the effects of living in an urban region with high population density. Students then attached their mock apartments to a pole and created an earthquake to simulate the one on March of 2011. Building the Andes Mountains in groups using any materials they chose reinforced cultural differences among the people in different altitudinal zones. Students are also proud of their understanding of economics and used this knowledge throughout the year as they studied different continents and cultures.
One of the highlights of the school year for 7th grade Social Studies students was a visit from Paulette Morin of “Fun with Science” who presented a fast paced, interesting and hands on assembly about life in Ancient Egypt. Students were able to tie together classroom lessons with the artifacts and stories presented. Another favorite was the always popular Greek Week. The competition was truly fierce during between the various city-states, and students made some amazing creative projects during this unit, such a shrine representing their city-state. Incoming 7th graders are invited to “experience history” this summer. We ask that students visit a historical site, talk to someone over the age of 70 about their childhood or read a historical book/novel.
8th grade World History I students began the year with a field trip to the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton. Students piloted an interactive Ipad activity. In February, the 8th grade welcomed the Higgins Armory Museum to Blake for an exciting outreach visit. Students handled medieval weapons and armor and learned about the incredible skill and strength needed by the knights of the time. A good book for summer reading is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.
Wellness (Susan Cowell)
6th and 7th grade Health classes finished up the year with their units on Puberty and Adolescence. 8th grade ended their unit on Healthy Relationships. We wish everyone a happy and HEALTHY summer. Good luck to the 8th graders as they leave for the high school, and we look forward to seeing our new 7th and 8th graders next Fall!
We've had a great year in consumer science class! Students have learned to become increasingly more independent reading recipes, preparing food, and cleaning up after themselves. This summer, be sure to check out the Farmer's Market uptown every Thursday afternoon. Fresh, local fruits and vegetables are where it's at! Keep on Cookin'!!
Physical Education classes are wrapping up the year with Badminton, Softball and Archery. While the 6th and 8th grade students are making diving plays and hitting line drives playing softball, the 7th grade students are demonstrating Robin Hood like accuracy on the archery range. Additionally, all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are "serving up" some outstanding Badminton skills on the courts. The Blake PE department wishes everyone a happy and healthy Summer. Judging from the last week's weather, it should be a great Summer to hike, bike, run, walk, swim and just enjoy the outdoors. See you next year!
World Languages and Cultures (Ellen Toubman)
It’s been a great year in World Languages and Cultures. I asked the Blake World Language teachers to describe their best moments of 2013/14. Their answers are as different as their personalities, but clearly it’s been an amazing year:
The kindness and happiness from my Mandarin students encouraged me to overcome every difficulty and start to enjoy this work more than any work before. 7th grade students tried to discipline their own behaviors, the 8th grade students started to talk Mandarin in paragraphs. I want to say thank you to each of my students. You made me see the meaning to be a Mandarin teacher, you made me want to try my best to teach, you made me find the joy at this position.
My favorite moment(s) this year in grade six French were watching the students perform short skits of a scene in a café and pretending to be animals with puppets. It is so rewarding to hear them produce the language and hear (some) great pronunciation, after such a short period of learning the material. I am amazed at what some can do within a few class periods of learning and practicing.
In sixth grade Spanish, they learned about the animals... students wrote skits/puppet shows using any and all vocabulary for the year. The skits were AWESOME! and the puppets looked amazing because the kids made them on their own from scratch!
In seventh grade Spanish, students used current vocabulary to make short dialogs and used goanimate to put characters, images, voices to the dialog. AWESOME!
It was a very memorable year… in my 6th grade Spanish classes, the sheer excitement they had when starting a new unit. The second I would walk into class the day after they took a quiz, I was immediately greeted with screams of "ARE WE GETTING NEW VOCAB!? WHAT'S OUR NEW VOCAB ON? One time I asked the class "Tell me how to say 'The cow is black and white.'" not realizing they didn't know the word for cow, and the student I called on said "La hamburguesa es blanca y negra." Hmmm (the hamburger is black and white?!)
My best memories include sharing with my eighth grade French and Spanish videos that I had made for them, seeing the kids respond to discovering that the actress in the Spanish videos is starring in a play in Madrid, and responding to their innocent question, can we see her play?
My favorite moments were watching my students interact with our visitors. They danced and laughed with Latino kids from Boston, and explained American holidays to our visitors from Chile, in Spanish, naturally.
Let’s keep the excitement going. Take some time this summer to read something in the language you are studying: a menu, a comic, an article on the internet. Perhaps you’d like to watch a video in Spanish? Or listen to music. With our global world growing more connected each day, think of a way that you can stay inspired to keep on learning. Have a great summer!
Navigating Social Media with Your Tweens/Teens - Save the Date!
Monday, November 3rd at 6:30 p.m. in the Blake auditorium
Please join us for an evening with Dr. Elizabeth Englander from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridegwater State University. Dr. Englander was part of our two-part series on technology use last fall and received very positive feedback about her practical and engaging strategies for parents children in the age of social media.
Parents of children of all ages are welcome to attend!
Incoming 8th Graders
Ms. Allen is once again hoping to stay connected with the Class of 2019 this summer via her padlet wall http://padlet.com/wall/lcc64reb5f or twitter (@Mstlalala). The kids are encouraged to post or tweet pictures from their vacations, reviews or pictures of the new favorite book they're reading or anything else they want to share with their classmates over the course of the summer. Please email her if you have any questions.
Summer Math Workbooks
The Blake Middle School math department has found it beneficial for students to work on strengthening their 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. Students who complete the entire book will receive recognition in the fall.
If you have not already done so, you may order the book at www.summerskills.com. Please order the book for the year your child just completed. Please feel free to email Susan Bycoff at email@example.com if you have any questions. Thank you!
Summer Supply Lists
All students should refer to the School Supply Lists located on the Guidance webpage (Blake Supply Lists).
Eighth Grade Canoe and Swim Test Information
As part of the eighth grade Charles River Community Awareness Unit offered in the fall, each eighth grade student is required to pass a swimming test during the summer. Each student is required to tread water for five minutes and swim a distance of seventy-five yards. A qualified swim instructor is required to administer the test and sign the form: Swim Test Form
Completed swim tests may be dropped off at the main office of the Middle School Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00AM and 1:00PM throughout the summer. All swim tests must be completed and returned to the student’s new advisory teacher by the first day of school. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. The Charles River Community Awareness Unit is an exciting way for students to begin their eighth grade experience!
(FYI: In the past, students have been certified at Hinkley Pond, YMCA and local swim clubs.)
As with last year, all Blake students will be required to bring in a combination lock with which to lock their hallway lockers. They will give their combination to their advisory teacher for safekeeping in the event that they forget it. In order to give students time to practice using their lock and become comfortable with it, we recommend that families consider purchasing it in June so that students may practice using it throughout the summer. A photo of locks that fit on Blake lockers can be found on the school supply list page.
Blake Summer Reading
Please refer to the Blake Middle School Summer Reading Lists for copies of the 6th-8th grade reading lists for this summer. If you have any questions, please contact Jon Haycock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Summer Reading Bonding Opportunity for Parents and Students
Have you thought about reading The Wizard of Oz with your son or daughter this summer? You could have a great time comparing your childhood memories of the movie with the very different book. Our summer reading guest speaker, Michael Patrick Hearn, the world's leading Oz scholar, will be appearing at Blake to speak with parents on Thursday night, September 11th and with students on the 12th. He’s written The Annotated Wizard of Oz, which not only reacquaints readers with the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion, but also illuminates the colorful background of this treasured American classic. The book explores numerous contemporary references, provides character sources, and explains the actual meaning of the word "Oz." More importantly, Michael will once and for all clarify whether or not listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon matches visually with The Wizard of Oz movie. Please consider reading this great keepsake (available for purchase from the summer reading sale but you don’t have to buy it to see Michael though!). Please contact Jon Haycock with any questions (email@example.com).
Box Tops - Please keep collecting Box Tops over the Summer.
Thank you for supporting the Medfield Coalition for Public Education this year! We hope you have a great summer. Be sure to watch for exciting MCPE news starting in the fall.