September 17 - Subway Night for Blake (4-9 p.m.)
Grade 7 PIN (7:00 p.m.)
Nature's Classroom Info Mtg for Parents (6:30 p.m.)
September 18 - Grade 6 PIN
Band/Chorus/Orchestra Info Mtg for 6th Grade Parents (6:30 p.m.)
September 19 - Student Council speeches/elections in Advisory
September 20 - Teacher Professional Day (No School for Students)
September 23 - Site Council Mtg (3:00 p.m. in Blake LMC)
September 24, 27 - Charles River/Russian Icon Museum Field Trip for Stars Cluster
September 26 - Social Media Trends #medfieldkidsonline Part 1 (see details below)
October 1 - Social Media Trends #medfieldkidsonline Part 2 (see details below)
October 1, 3 - Charles River/Russian Icon Museum Field Trip for Eagles Cluster
October 8-11 - 7th Grade to Nature's Classroom
October 8-9 - Charles River/Russian Icon Museum Field Trip for Stripes Cluster
October 10, 11, 15 - Charles River/Russian Icon Museum Field Trip Rain Dates
October 14 - Columbus Day (No School)
Topic/Question(s) for the Dinner Table
To help bring the topic of ideas of growth mindsets into the conversations this week, our Topic/Question for the Dinner Table this week is: Would you rather try the easy thing and say "I know I can do this" or try the challenging thing and say "I want to know if I can do this"?
As you know, this year we are continuing with recess as part of our Advisory structure. There has been a great deal of research and evidence that shows students are more productive and intellectually engaged when a physical and or mental 'break' is provided in the middle of the day. We are looking for donations from families to provide options for students during this time: frisbees, wiffle balls/bats, kickballs, tennis balls, single and double jump ropes, volleyballs, foam footballs, soccer balls, and hula hoops. If you have done some 'fall cleaning' and have extra items that could be donated, have students drop them off in the main office. Thank you in advance for your help.
Summer Reading Wonder Week – by Jon Haycock
As you’ve probably noticed, all of our Blake students read the book, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio over the summer. This past week we took aspects of the book and integrated them into many of our content areas. Eileen Hurley (6th), Elise Malone (7th) and Ian Gagne (8th) designed lessons for English classes. Christina Delaney and Jen Dondero took care of art and guidance classes respectively. John Sullivan (social studies), Sean Bowles (science) and Matt Millard (math) each created activities that were run during our Advisory periods. The school’s technology integration teacher, Diane Horvath, created a website with links to the lessons as well as a discussion blog where students can share their ideas and comments with each other. Feel free to take a look at this great Wonder extender (http://wonderatblake.weebly.com/index.html). The week’s events culminated with a heartfelt presentation to each grade by Medfield resident Lisa Donovan. Lisa suffered facial burns as a toddler and compared her indomitably positive spirit, determination, and resilience with the book’s protagonist, Auggie Pullman. She also gave great suggestions for any student to best navigate his or her way through middle school travails. She left the students with one of her favorite quotes, “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive outcomes. It is a catalyst … a spark that creates extraordinary results.” Lisa is certainly a living example of that sentiment!
Student Council Elections at Blake will be held this week:
1) On Monday in Advisory, teachers took time to explain the importance of Student Council:
- Mandatory Thursday meetings from 2:15 – 3:15
- Leadership role in the grade – behavior, conduct, academics, etc.
- Peer role model in advisory
- Volunteer time for school and community
- Help encourage spirit days
- Keep notes, distribute, and post information to advisory students
3) Speeches will be given to homerooms and elections will be held on Thursday 9/19.
4) Election results will be announced Monday, 9/23 at school.
Seventh Grade Trip to Nature's Classroom
The seventh grade trip to Nature's Classroom is just around the corner. Yesterday students brought home a sheet describing the final details along with a packing list. The roommate selection process will be explained in science classes today (Tuesday), and the process will begin on Wednesday. If you have any questions please contact Judy Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please be sure to contact Tricia Williams regarding any medical needs, allergies, or health concerns (email@example.com or 508-242-8554). We are looking forward to the trip!
Curriculum Highlights - Art and Science
In our continued efforts to keep families informed and updated about the curriculum at Blake, each week we will be 'highlighting' curriculum updates from two different departments. This week's updates come from the Art (Jim Cousens, Content Specialist) and Science (Orla Berry, Content Specialist) departments...
The Blake Art Department is very excited to be back-to-school this year. One of the main reasons for this excitement is our Blake Middle School theme, “Creativity”! We are truly looking forward to a fantastic school year with creativity coming from all areas of our Blake Community. We are also excited to welcome Mr. Joe Knaus to our Blake Art Department. Mr. Knaus will be joining Mrs. Delaney, Ms. Deveno, and Mr. Cousens to teach a few of our 6th & 7th Grade Art classes. Many of our 6th graders will recognize Mr. Knaus from the Dale Street MAP program, as he has been on staff with MAP for a while. What they might not know is that Mr. Knaus is also one of our Kindergarten & 1st Grade Art teachers at The Memorial School as well. Mr. Knaus is looking forward to all the great art-making he has planned for his classes. Over the summer Mrs. Delaney worked with her colleagues from Blake to design lessons to accompany the Summer Reading book, Wonder. She has developed lessons that complement our grade level curriculum, and will be a “Wonderful” way to kick off the year.
- 6th Graders will be using their observation skills as they create artwork based on a dynamic “school-themed” still-life.
- 7th Graders will be learning to use the Grid technique for creating a self-portrait with a “twist”.
- And 8th Graders will begin the year with a block printing lesson designed to be dynamic and based on the Precepts from the book.
6th grade students are being introduced to safety protocols in a lab setting and learning what it is to be a scientist. They are also learning a little genetics to help them understand the summer reading book "Wonder". "Is it living or non-living?" is the question of the week in 7th grade life science. To work this out some students participated in an imaginary trip for a lifetime to Europa where they had to determine if some microscopic forms were in fact living. Physical science classes in 8th grade investigated what a controlled experiment means and learned to identify both the dependent and independent variable. They also began to prepare for their upcoming Charles river canoe trip as they were introduced to watersheds, waste water treatment and the importance of testing water quality along with the parts of a canoe.
As with our teaching positions, from time to time our nurse, Tricia Williams, will be out of the building and we need a substitute nurse for these days. We are fortunate that we have several substitute nurses in the district who are able to work on those days. If you are a registered nurse and have an interest in potentially serving as a substitute throughout the year, please let us know. You can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tricia Williams (email@example.com). By the same token, if you have friends in the area who would have an interest in serving as a substitute, please let them know that they can contact us as well. The safety and well-being of our students is always our top priority, and we would appreciate your interest in one of these roles.
Arts in Education Month
The month of September is 'Arts in Education' month (Arts in Education). With Blake's theme of Creativity for 2013-2014, we are looking forward to highlighting the arts throughout this month (and the year). Please keep this in mind when talking to your students about cultural events, music, and the arts with your children this month.
Twitter Account (@nat_vaughn)
As many of you know, I encourage parents/guardians to explore the world of Twitter. For the past year I have used this technology as a communication and resource tool for both the Blake community and my own learning network. If you are interested in exploring with me, my account is @nat_vaughn. In addition to the weekly blog to our community, I plan on continuing tweeting up-to-date information, Blake happenings, links to sites, and articles of interest on a daily or more frequent basis. We have established the hashtag (#bmsed) for education-related tweets of interest and Blake events, so be sure to check it out! Admittedly I had some reservations at first, but Diane Horvath (one of our Technology Integration Specialists) encouraged me to get out of my 'comfort zone' - thanks, Diane! This is by no means an expectation for anyone, but I thought you may find it of interest - I have found the 'dialogue and network' via Twitter to be relevant, engaging, tangible, and simply put - useful.
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. This works well when you use the twitter app to get the live feed.
2. Go to this link: http://twitter.com/nat_vaughn where you'll be able to see all my tweets without a twitter account.
Cybersafety Series for parents of students in grades 4 - 8: Social Media Trends #medfieldkidsonline
The Medfield Wellness and Technology Departments present a 2-part parent information series. Please join us for one or both evenings.
Part 1: Thursday, September 26th at 7 p.m.
Blake Middle School Auditorium
An evening for parents of 4th -8th graders, with Dr. Elizabeth Englander, a professor of psychology and the director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University. MARC is an organization founded with the purpose of understanding and reducing bullying and cyberbullying. Dr. Englander will answer your questions about supervising and guiding your children through their use of social media, as well as other concerns related to cyberbullying. Submit your questions in advance, anonymously through this link, http://socialmediatrends/medfield2013 also available on the Blake Middle School and Dale St. School websites.
Part 2: Tuesday, October 1st at 7p.m.
Blake Middle School Auditorium
Have you been on Snapchat? Twitter? AskFM? Instagram? Did you know that kids can text without a phone? Find out more! An evening for parents of 4th -8th graders, with Medfield's Director of Technology, Eoin O'Corcora and Technology Integration Specialist, Diane Horvath. Learn more about these popular social media trends, how to find and use them, and how to monitor your child's usage.
Parent Information Nights
Our Parent Information Nights (PIN's) will take place on Tuesday, September 17 for grade seven, and Wednesday, September 18 for grade six. These nights will provide you with an opportunity to visit your student's classrooms and hear about the curriculum and exciting programs that will take place throughout the year. Sixth grade chorus, band, and orchestra parents are invited to informational meetings at 6:30 p.m. on September 18, prior to PIN.
The Blake Site Council will be meeting on a monthly basis. The function of the council is to adopt educational goals for the school, identify educational needs of students attending the school, review the annual school building budget, and formulate a school improvement plan. Thank you to all of the parents who volunteered to be on the Site Council. All meetings are open to the public.
Helmets and Student Safety
We have been noticing an increasing number of students coming to school on their skateboards and bicycles without helmets. Massachusetts law states that everyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when using a bicycle or skateboard. Please make sure that your children are wearing helmets when they leave the house in the morning, and we will do the same on our end. Student safety and well-being is our chief concern and we all need to be mindful of the necessary precautions to prevent injuries.
Fall intramurals at Blake will begin in early October. Look for signup information on the intramural page of the website the week of September 23. Parents/guardians are welcome to run intramurals as well. If you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions, please contact Brian Gavaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While enjoying Medfield Day (9/21) please stop by the MCPE booth (#97) located in front of the Montrose School on North Street. We will be selling $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win a pair of tickets to our May 2nd “Spring Fling” (value $150)! Also, enter your name into a FREE drawing to win one of our five children and young adult books. Finally, don't miss the debut of MCPE’s new logo!
Mark your calendars and register a team for a fun-filled night: “MCPE Community Trivia Night” has been set for Friday, November 15th at 7 pm at The Center at Medfield on Ice House Road. Teams of up to four adult players can register NOW at www.MedfieldCoalition.org. The cost is $100 per team.
Attention 8th grade families! It is time to start planning your SCRIP purchases to save on Washington, D.C. trip tuition. Registering for the new online SCRIP purchasing system is the first step. Please go to the Washington, D.C. tab on the Blake website for easy step-by-step instructions. Registration is simple but there is a little lead time to get set up. The first orders to credit your trip will be placed on September 26th, so set your account up this week to be ready. Your participation helps your student as well as the Blake CSA Scholarship Fund.
Reminder: Blake does participate in the Box Tops for Education program. Please, don't forget to drop your box tops off at the Blake office!
Volunteer Opportunities available at Blake! Please visit the CSA volunteer form at www.medfieldcsa.org/blake/blake.shtml and click on the link to see the available volunteer opportunities. Sign up today, its easy. We need your help.