In our continued efforts to keep families informed and updated about the curriculum at Blake, each month we will be 'highlighting' 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 January, 2017.
6th Grade artists are working with collage to create abstract landscapes. They have created source material by experimentation with various watercolor techniques--wet into wet, drybrush, salt, textures, splatter, and others. Now, they are cutting and tearing up these watercolor sheets to create new works in the genre of landscape.
7th Grade artists are working in the surrealists’ style. Students discussed surreal art and the idea of juxtaposition to create a new context for a found image. They are combining zentangle drawing and patterning techniques with photographic portraiture to create fantastical drawings.
8th Grade artists are discovering the techniques of optical illusion in art-making. They have looked at Op Art, which was a movement in the mid-20th century that altered the brain’s perception of reality. The technique of creating form on a flat surface is being demystified by these artists once they learn to use color, shape, and line to create spatial depth on paper.
Art Opportunities after school:
Set Design with Mrs. Deveno---Get involved in the Drama program by working on the set design crew. This group meets after school. See Mrs. Deveno for details.
Blake Open Studios---- The Blake Art room will be open after school on Thursdays, until 3pm. All students are welcome to participate in studio activities of their own choice. Ms. Deveno and Ms. Jones will be on hand to provide materials and informal instruction.
There will be no formal registration, it is on a first come, first served basis and limited to 15 students. We are looking forward to seeing you in the Art studio, room 208 !
The sixth grade is in the beginning stages of an epidemic. Not a real epidemic but the study of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 as we read the historical fiction book, Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson. We will continue to work through study strategies with vocabulary and will work with the elements of fiction as we progress through the unit. We may even have time to study prepositions as our next part of speech!
The seventh grade students are currently working on identifying and analyzing author's tone and purpose in the nonfiction book The Race to Save the Lord God Bird. Students are learning not only about this amazing bird and the tragedy of its extinction, but also about the roots of all modern conservation efforts. Our project at the end of the unit will give students the opportunity to look at current environmental issues and offer solutions to them by creating public service announcements.
Grade 8 students continue to use Fahrenheit 451 as a teaching platform to practice and refine their critical thinking and analytical writing skills. During this month’s study student lessons centered around author’s purpose, character development, and allusions.
The 8th grade guidance classes just completed the Mass CIS career inventory and did a small presentation on potential future careers. In the next few weeks we will be looking at study skills and have tools for success. The 7th grade guidance classes will be working on different mindfulness techniques.
The Blake Library Media center’s website has been updated. Students are now able to more easily maneuver around the site while searching for specific books in our card catalogue, for new book ideas in our blog, or for research information in our online encyclopedia and databases. They can access our growing e-book collection as well. Our Makerspace also has a page as does our Summer Reading program, which will start heating up later this spring.
One of our most popular links though, is the Fun Page. Since arriving two- and-one-half years ago, our Assistant Librarian, Donna Knott, has designed many LMC puzzles, searches, and other challenges. Now, thanks to the marvels of technology, students will be able to enjoy Mrs. Knott’s fun activities anytime at their convenience.
6th grade mathematicians are taking their fraction knowledge and using it to think proportionally. Have you ever seen a recipe and tried to cut it by one-fourth...or wondered what would happen if you increased your savings by 50%...or decreased the width of a garden by two-thirds? Blake students in grade 6 are exploring the math behind answering these questions.
7th grade math is currently continuing their participation in Blake Geometry Boot Camp. In an effort to spread out the 7th grade geometry content standards throughout the year, students experience approximately 7 different week-long geometry boot camps at the end of each unit. This allows students to study concentrated bursts of geometry. The topic this week is triangles. Dust your camo pants off and join us if you are so inclined:)
This week marks the first time Blake Mathematicians will take a mid year math exam. Students in 8th grade have spent time reviewing for this cumulative exam in their class and as part of their HW. Classes have been spending time working on some aspect of linear equations...you may have hear a lot of ‘y=mx+b’ during HW time. These exams will not only allow students to practice taking an assessment on a lot of material, they will serve as an opportunity to make sure this foundational math skill is cemented before moving on.
6th graders investigated digital signals upon our return from December break. The students learned about the sequence of how a digital sequence travel using cell phone technology to illustrate the concept. Students used the Little Bits again to send messages through the three science classrooms to model the transmission/reception of digital signals. After the activity, students reflected upon the idea that the time it took and the numbers of errors we encountered along the way, was actually more similar to analog signals. We even did this activity one more time to send fun facts about our new unit on Geologic Time!
Subsequent to this students created paper models of DNA. They modeled the process of DNA replication using Lego pieces to build DNA, twist it into a double helix, and replicate a molecule. After learning how mutations can occur during DNA replication, students worked on a jigsaw activity focused on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which illustrated the role of lead as a mutagen.
Sixth graders in World Geography classes are learning about rivers this month. During this unit, students will investigate various rivers around the world as well as research a topic related to rivers. These topics include hydroelectricity, agriculture, commerce, and city development. The objective of the research assignment is to create a presentation that identifies the importance of the subject but highlight the negative effects each have on the health of rivers. Students will offer solutions that focus on solving particular problems such as algal blooms, over irrigation, blocked fish migration, pollution, sewage treatment, etc. Additionally, students are continuing to learn the countries of the world. The next continent under study will be Asia.
Ancient Civilizations classes are in the middle of an exciting project based unit on the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Students are engaged with several group projects focused on the sequencing of events leading up to the Greeks. Soon their focus will shift to the excitement of Greek Week. During this time students will be placed in different city-states and compete in a variety of events for the title of champion state! Athens vs. Sparta, Corinth vs. Thebes, the excitement knows no bounds!
World History I 8th graders are studying the European Middle Ages. Students are learning about concepts including feudalism, chivalry and the role that institutions such as the Catholic Church played in people's lives. They will be engaging in a number of hands-on projects and activities during this unit in order to help make connections between Medieval Europe and the Modern World. Additionally, our 8th grade students began January by participating in the annual Geo Bee. The 8th grade class winners were: Tristan Marble, Jake Grenon, Brendan Kirk, Ben Leonard, Lucas Hissong, Elizabeth Scheck, Chloe Pucci, Chad Gordon, Harris Stevens, Cole Van Meter, Aidan Fedor, and Liam Milne. The 8th grade champion, and also BMS champion, was Tristan Marble. Congratulations to all!
6th graders have started a new unit on decision making. Students are practicing the skills associated with making good decisions.
- Determine the decision
- Examine the options
- Consider the consequences of each option
- Identify values and influences that may impact their decision
- Decide and then
- Evaluate and reflect on the outcome
7th grade students have transitioned from their unit on analyzing influences to another unit with real world applications: decision making. Students will focus on the D.E.C.I.D.E. model described above. Topics within the unit will include social media use, hygiene, peer pressure, as well as discussions about how the influences discussed in the previous unit (peers, family, media) may impact their decisions.
8th grade students are currently in a combined unit where they will practice the skills of decision making and analyzing influences. Topics include building healthy relationships, dating, effective communication and boundary setting. We will discuss information about sexually transmitted infections, their modes of transmission, and the importance of abstinence. Our upcoming project will include creating a decision making short story using the Book Creator app.
Physical Education 6-8
Students are currently in an extended volleyball unit that culminates with their grade-level tournaments and a chance to play against the staff teams. The first few weeks were focused on developing skills in the forearm pass, set and serve. Students were each assigned to a team where they had the opportunity to choose their role for the season of either captain, team manager, fitness leader, statistician or camaraderie captain. They will fulfill their role for the five week season, which enables them to develop skills in teamwork, cooperation, responsibility and sportsmanship. Regular season games started this week and we look forward to seeing all teams progress as a group!
Students have just begun their third rotation class of the year. In consumer science, we are establishing routines for food handling safety, for proper recipe reading and accurate measuring. Each week students will use a different appliance as they learn to prepare a variety of foods and learn to effectively clean up. A major focus is on working collaboratively and showing kindness to all group members.
You may have seen or heard that our World Language and Cultures department now has our very own blogspot. http://wlmedfield.blogspot.com/ We have highlighted different themes and pieces of the program thoughout the year. We will continue this practice and have some exciting ideas for new additions as well. Please submit your e-mail on the top right of the page and follow our updates. You can also catch up on World Language news by following us on twitter # WLMedfield and on instagram @wlmedfield.
The most recent blog post was focussed on Blake World Language classes. Here it is copied below:
I began the morning with a visit to Madame Buckham's sixth grade French class.They were reviewing vocabulary -always important, but they were playing a game while doing so. The students were very excited and just a little competitive as they all tried to put their hands on the word that Madame called out to the group!
I then moved to seventh grade French. Monsieur Cowell started the class with the group gathered on the side of the room in a semicircle. They did a quick word scramble to get their brains starting to think in French -or as we say in the World Language arena: TL= target language. Students eased their way into the French world and recited the day, date, and year. (see a video on instagram account @wlmedfield.) Next, I walked across the hall to seventh grade Spanish. As Sra. Manning's students were finishing their TAL (trabajo al llegar or work to be done upon arrival), they reviewed some basic questions and answers about clothing: where to buy certain items and descriptions. Sra. Manning arranged the students in pairs. They then discussed and asked questions about clothing images in a prepared powerpoint on googleclassroom. Down the hall students in Sra. Batts and Sra, Boulos' class were also practicing their interpersonal speaking skills. They went shopping on line at El Corte Inglés web site. Check out tweets -a few @elcorteingles were liked (within seconds) by the large department store in Spain!
Our eighth grade classes were also busy practicing their skills. In Mandarin class, Laoshi Liu had her timer on the board and students were asking as many questions in Mandarin as they could! Sra. Manning's students worked in stations: they reviewed vocabulary, role-played a restaurant situation, and much more. Down the hall in Sra. Batts and Sra. Boulos' eighth grade class, the students were researching tipping practices. The teachers offered the "Trip Advisor" web site to the students via classroom. They researched the same Spanish speaking country that they had previously explored through a project about typical meals. Students analyzed trends and tried to guess why tipping practices were higher or lower in certain places. It was a great morning to learn a language at Blake.
For more World Language news, follow this blog, twitter #WLMedfield and instagram @wlmedfield.
In addition to this snapshot view above, several classes other classes are busy and their teachers would like you to know:
In 6th grade Spanish, students have completed their first interpersonal speaking assessments, and are well on their way to demonstrating their ability to express likes and dislikes as well as to find out about someone else's likes and dislikes. Some sections created interesting Chatterpix presentations...talking food and drinks, oh my! Upcoming work will focus on being able to ask and answer questions such as, "What do you like TO DO when it's hot out, raining out, etc.
In 6h grade French students are wrapping up their learning on the French café with a skit. Students will play the roles of servers and hungry customers as they order sandwichs au jambon, jus de pomme and more. Next, students will begin learning about the calendar, seasons, and weather.
Señora Manning's seventh grade Spanish students having conversations about authentic situations related to shopping"