March 6 - Incoming 8th Grade Parent Night (7 p.m.)
March 7 - CSA Meeting in Blake LMC (9 a.m.)
March 11 - Harmony Day (see details below)
Royal Pizza Night for Blake
Faculty-Student Basketball Game (see details below)
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
Subway Night for Blake
March 19 - 6th Grade ELA MCAS
Power of Music Event (see details below)
March 21 - 7th Grade ELA MCAS
March 22 - Destination Imagination Tournament
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
March 31 - Band-O-Rama
April 1 - Application Deadline for Robert C. Maguire Global Perspectives in Education Award (see below)
April 7 - Blake Site Council Meeting (3:15 p.m. in Blake LMC)
April 8 - Royal Pizza Night for Blake
May 2 - MCPE Spring Fling
Topic/Question(s) for the Dinner Table
To help encourage conversations about technology integration, our Topic/Question for the Dinner Table this week is: Do you support this doctrine? 'It bolsters a person to test their own self-awareness while responsibly utilizing challenging technology for communication purposes.'
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...
3/6 - Incoming 8th Grade Parent Night at 7 p.m.
This night is for all parents/guardians of incoming eighth grade (current seventh grade) students. We will be presenting information about the 8th grade program of studies and curriculum, previewing the students' experience that they will have next year. A more detailed presentation about the logistics of the 2014-2015 academic year's iPad Initiative will take place during this evening as well.
3/13 - Incoming 7th Grade Parent Night at 7 p.m.
This night is for all parents/guardians of incoming seventh grade (current sixth grade) students. We will be sharing information about the 7th grade program of studies and curriculum, previewing the students' experience that they will have next year. We will also be presenting information about the 7th grade's field trip to Nature's Classroom. A more detailed presentation about the logistics of the 2014-2015 academic year's iPad Initiative will take place during this evening as well.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Link to the survey: 2013-2014 Blake Middle School Survey
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, watch this video (Mya and Noah Ban the R-Word!), engage in discussions, and sign the pledge banner at lunch. We encourage you to follow up with your students at home as a way to continue these important conversations. We look forward to this work with our students throughout the month and beyond.
Next Tuesday, March 11, the Harmony Club at Medfield High School is sponsoring its annual Harmony Day, where the club encourages any MHS community member who has a friend, family member, etc. in their life who is LGBT to wear a green shirt. The idea was started by Clinton Oxford, a 2008 graduate of Medfield High School, who thought if everyone could see just how many have a GLBT person in their lives, it might reduce the name-calling/anti-gay remarks heard in the hallways. Some of our students and staff may be wearing green in support of this day, and I wanted parents/guardians to be aware of this initiative as well, as the 'invite/gesture' is intended for both students and adults, on a voluntary basis.
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 (email@example.com) with any questions, concerns, or thoughts that you may have.
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.
Curriculum Highlights - Music, Social Studies, and World Language
This week's curriculum updates come from the music (Doug Olsen, Content Specialist), social studies (Kathleen Emerson, Content Specialist), and world language (Ellen Toubman, Content Specialist) departments...
Grade 6 have finished a Unit on Jazz and have begun a unit on Classical music.
Grade 7 are digging deep into The Beatles these days.
Grade 8 are finishing up a unit on opera and getting ready to do research projects on an artist/musician of their choice.
8th grade Music Plus students at Blake are working on learning how to write and create music using GarageBand on their iPads! This is a very exciting process and we are also creating a band resume and writing lyrics to our own songs.
String News - The orchestras are getting ready for their String Fling Concert to be held March 11th in the Blake Gym. The concert will feature performances and educational strategies from string groups from grades 4-12.
Chorus students at Blake are preparing for our upcoming concerts with the 8th grade and High School Concert Choir on April 3, and all grades Chorus concert on June 3.
Grade 6 Band:
The group is working on their program for the Band-O-Rama which takes place March 31. The program includes Colliding Visions by Brian Balmages and Sugar Creek Saga by James Curnow.
Grade 7/8 Band:
Students are preparing for the Band-O-Rama on March 31 and MICCA Concert Festival on April 5. The program includes A March on the King's Highway by Pierre LaPlante, I'll Be Home A'fore Ye by Julie Giroux and Black Wolf Run by John Higgins.
The BMS Jazz Ensemble is preparing their program for Medfield Jazz Night on Wednesday, April 9. The program includes Second Line (traditional), April in Paris and Hey Benny.
6th grade World Geography
After learning the locations of all the African countries as well as their physical features, 6th graders are looking at the problems facing Africans today. The students drew free-hand maps and attached graphics representing areas of armed conflict, famine, desertification, lack of clean drinking water and mosquitoes. They will do a “free write” emphasizing higher order thinking skills. Next, 6th graders will research Heifer International in Senegal and create murals, narratives and country maps.
7th grade Ancient Civilizations
7th grade social studies students have been working on a living timeline on display in each classroom. They researched individual events from various eras starting in prehistoric times and continuing to circa. 1000 CE. Each student created an illustrated and informative card for one or two events; these were laminated and hung on the timeline. They have been examining and studying these event cards to learn how civilizations overlapped and interacted with each other. Students then had to choose a 500 year period and write a detailed paragraph citing events of importance in their era. Students are about to begin their study of the Ancient Greeks and look forward to Greek Week in early April.
8th grade World History I
8th graders are finishing their study of the Middle Ages in Western Europe and will soon begin to look at the Renaissance and Reformation. They will examine the beginnings of Humanism and how this movement impacted the economy, arts, sciences etc. Students will look at the growth of city-states and the development of a modern banking system. On March 11th all 8th graders will take the 2nd cumulative exam. A study guide has been posted.
The previous unit in eighth grade Spanish created puppet shows. Grade 8 Puppet. There were scenes in restaurants with characters like Don Jamón, Srta. Zanahoria. Sr. Zumo de Frutas, las hermanas fresas ñ it was very cute to see what they did with them! Also in eighth grade Spanish, we have been describing and comparing clothing and starting to learn about celebrations in the Spanish speaking world. In addition, we are looking forward this month to the concert by Grupo Fantasia and the workshops led by Latino students visiting from Boston.
In sixth grade French, students finished a unit on the seasons and weather by presenting a forecast of various cities around the United States. We will next be learning all about Mardi Gras, its origins, and how it is celebrated in New Orleans. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
This week the Mandarin students are going to learn how to cook some Chinese food.
Annual Big Blue vs Faculty SMA Charity Basketball Game - Tuesday, March 11 (6:30 p.m.)
After bringing back a long standing tradition last year, this year’s Big Blue captains, Bobby O’Reilly and Matt Cahill, are at it again getting ready for the 2nd Annual Big Blue vs Medfield Faculty SMA Charity Basketball Game. Bobby and Matt wanted to continue to honor their team statistician, 8th grader William Johnson, with this exciting family evening at the gym by raising money toward William’s disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Come cheer as Mr. Grace and other favorite Medfield teachers suit up against Big Blue’s Boys’ Varsity Basketball team for a fast paced and always entertaining game. All the action will take place Tuesday, March 11th at 6:30 p.m. in the high school gym. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and seating is on a first come first serve basis. Last year almost every seat filled and nearly $3,000 was raised for the cause, so let’s do it again.
All proceeds from the night’s fun will be donated to Families of SMA, the organization funding research for a cure for William (for more information on FSMA go to www.curesma.org). All ticket purchases and other donations can be made at the door. $3 Student/$5 Adult. Please save the date and plan to bring your entire family out for this evening of basketball fun and tradition. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
'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.
This week's rehearsal schedule is different. There is no rehearsal on Monday or Wednesday. Students were given costume ideas last week and should bring available costume pieces from family members' closets (Hounds bring them in on Tuesday, Aladdin on Thursday). By next weekend, we will inform any performers that need to purchase items like leotards, etc. Stage crew will meet on Thursday and Friday this week. If students could stay on Friday until 4pm, it would be helpful.
Music at Blake - Guess the Blake Pandora Jockey!
We have a new Blake DJ this week. Last week's DJ was Sara Callahan and there was no student winner. The direct link to the form is: Blake Pandora Jockey Form. Encourage your students to participate!
MCPE Spelling Bee Registration is Open
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 team, 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.) Registration closes March 14th.
Order Your Spring Fling Tickets Today - They are Going Fast!
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 the 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.
Nominations Wanted: The Robert C. Maguire Global Perspectives in Education Award
Bob Maguire dedicated 22 years of his educational career to the Medfield public schools. He served as principal of Medfield High School for eight years and then as Superintendent for 14 years. In recognition of Bob's commitment to our students, the MCPE has created this award to honor an educator in the Medfield school community who embodies Bob's legacy of exposing our students to the world beyond Medfield.
This award will be given to a staff member whose effort embodies Bob's vision for further developing students' global understanding and readiness to engage in the expanding global economy. Similar to Bob, the award recipient will be someone who inspires students to look beyond the town of Medfield and learn more about the global community through innovative programs and technologies. Parents, administrators, school staff and community members are encouraged to nominate a recipient for this award.
Award application, award criteria and deadline information can be found on the MCPE website: http://www.medfieldcoalition.org/news-photos/bob-maguire-award/.