6th grade artists are finishing up their reduction block prints. They are learning the printmaking technique and understanding a bit about color theory in the process. They are also all set to glaze their architectural masterpieces in their clay unit.
7th grade artists are working on zentangle patterns in scratchboard. This is in preparation for a chasing and repousse relief that they will create.
8th grade artists are finishing up their collaborative paintings. These large scale pop-art inspired works will soon be on display in our art hallway.
After school: Next time you are in the LMC, take a look at stars in the sky. Students from all grades are working on a mural inspired by the constellations. Each student has chosen a constellation, created a line drawing of it, and are in the process of sketching it on the ceiling. These chalk outlines will eventually be finished in paint. If any student is interested in contributing their own constellation drawing, please see one of the art teachers. Your collaboration and creativity are welcome!
Grade 6 students fever “epidemic” has almost passed, but the final assignment for the novel, Fever 1793 will take place on March 4. In this assessment, students will demonstrate their understanding of the elements of fiction. Next “on deck” for Grade 6 students is a guided study of inferences in open response writing. Students should practice their singing and dancing skills as they prepare to perform the “ET song.”
Grade 7 students are currently reading short, nonfiction passages and using their understanding about these passages to write essays. With class workshops designed to sharpen interpretive skills, students will demonstrate their ability to identify the author’s purpose and which strategies like diction choices, literary devices, and writing style helped to shape each author’s message.
Grade 8 students continue their figurative language, theme, and modern connections work in Fahrenheit 451. In Grade 8 Writing Lab, students are in the process of finalizing their creative writing projects and transitioning to the Holocaust unit where students will read one of four novels, investigate background and timelines surrounding this important time, and shape lessons about our modern world from this tragic time in history.
The Grade 7 Group Guidance class just finished discussing failures and resiliency. The class is now beginning to talk about retakes/redos and if they are fair or not. The 8th Grade Group Guidance is discussing the transition to high school.
Scratch (scratch.mit.edu) is a free coding program developed by MIT that allows students to program animated stories, games, and lessons,etc. Makey Makey (makeymakey.com) is a circuit kit (also developed at MIT) that affords students experiments in conductivity, which leads to building computer controllers. Spanish is a Romance Language spoken daily by 400 million people. It’s also the official language of 20 countries. What do you get when you combine all three? The Blake Middle School Spatchy Spakey unit, a super combo activity blending the best of Scratch, Makey Makey and Maura Batts’ and Susie Boulas’ 7th grade Spanish classes. Many people would not immediately associate 7th grade Spanish vocabulary lessons with computer programming but fortunately, our Tech Integration Specialist/Makerspace Master, Diane Horvath did.
The students, with help from the three aforementioned teachers and Technology Aide, Tania Manual, developed a setting (shown on a laptop screen) where characters speak various words and phrases in Spanish. Scratch is then used to code movements and recorded words. Makey Makey is employed to develop a handmade controller, where conductive materials like aluminum foil, play dough and copper wire, direct (through completed circuits) hand touch activated actions on the screen.
When all put together, the Spatchy Spakey magic begins - Sarah Churchill, Sammy Falvey, and Grace O’Donnell devised a scenario where students greet each other on the first day of school. Lorenzo Gatti’s and Michael Vachon’s action voices a guided bedroom tour. Nolan Franks and Aiden Perachi put together a geographical tour of Spain’s major cities and Gabbi Christo, Nicole Mulready, and Maddie Hogardt devised a weather forecast. Next week, all of the groups will present their projects to each other whereupon the Spatchy Spakey circuit of knowledge will be complete.
Math teachers at Blake will soon start the process of course placement for the 2016-2017 school year. The goal of the process is to see that every student is placed in a class that allows for them to learn math well while feeling good about their efforts.
- For current 6th and 7th grade students, decisions on student placement are made by considering current class grades, placement test grades, MCAS scores and teacher recommendations.
- For current 8th grade students, placement is determined by success in their current class level and teacher recommendation.
Blake singers enjoyed a wonderful celebration of song at the second annual "Sing-Off" competition on Thursday, February 4. Contestants had auditioned for spots to sing and compete and all received private voice lessons and a special award. Congratulations to Blake overall winner Emily Rosecrans for her performance of an original song!
Ms. Nothnagel and Mrs. Stover's general music classes have been working with the music composition and arranging app called Garageband to create original music. This is a very exciting process, and students are enjoying expressing their creativity in this project.
The Blake Choruses are working on new repertoire this month and sharing their ideas for choice songs via Google classroom. We are looking forward to our annual trip to Six Flags New England in June and our spring concerts- more information will be sent home to families later this month.
8th grade saxophonist, Ethan Ni, successfully auditioned for the Eastern District Junior Jazz Ensemble. Ethan will join other outstanding music students selected from more than 30 Massachusetts school districts at the Eastern District Junior Festival on March 4th & 5th.
Other 7th, 8th and 9th grade Medfield students that auditioned for the junior district honors ensembles include Jack Shurtleff, Katharine Lapham, Peter Moiseyev, Davin Zehme, Anita Bushnell, Madelyn Holm, Emma Nightingale and Anna Passas.
The Medfield Band-O-Rama Concert is coming up on March 15. The concert features all of the grade 4-12 bands and gives our community a glimpse of the progression students make as part of the Medfield band program. The 6th grade band is currently preparing two pieces for their performance - Sea Song Trilogy and an arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The 7th & 8th grade band is preparing Adrenaline Engines and Rock Island Trail.
Grade 6 science has continued our exploration of matter this month. Students were provided a range of into hands-on opportunities to manipulate solids, liquids, and gases in order to discover their basic properties. Students used the blend-space platform to guide them through group activities, notes, and videos, in a collective space, about the phases of matter. We were not only able to explore the shape and volume of the different phases of matter, but used music and movement to represent the particle behavior within each phase of matter. Our next step in matter will involve the components that make up matter, all the way down to the smallest particle, an atom!
Seventh grade science students began the month of February with the cycles of nature and ecological succession. They used interactive web sites to take them through the water and carbon cycles, and played a game in class where they traveled the earth as nitrogen, changing form and function. Students will now shift their attention to a complex unit of study that includes the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Students will use marshmallows to create glucose molecules. Students will be practicing diagram interpretation through an interactive quiz based web activity where they will track the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Science exploration students are seeing significant progress with the raising of the classroom trout. The fry are now swimming all throughout the tank and developing their signature parr marks and students are very excited to experience this.
Grade 8 science is now exploring states of matter, where students investigate the molecular properties of solids, liquids, and gases. Students will learn how the behavior of molecules causes the processes of melting, boiling, condensation and freezing. The use of computer simulations and hands-on labs will facilitate student understanding of these abstract concepts. In Tech class, 8th graders are starting the West Point Bridge construction unit. Students will be creating a screencast, designing and building a bridge out of pasta, and using a computer simulator to create cost-effective bridges.
Sixth grade Geographers are studying deserts and desert life. The goal of the unit is to help students develop a larger understanding of other cultures and lifestyles, as well as the global problem of deforestation and desertification. They are studying the lives of the nomadic Tuareg and how they have adapted to successfully live in the desert. By composing a compare and contrast paragraph between with their own lives and that of the Tuareg, students will be able to see that their are many different ways to live. Sixth graders is also studying the effects of desertification and deforestation; the problem, how everyone is affected by both of these issues and what people are trying to do to combat it.
7th graders had fun participating in a trading simulation to learn about the Phoenicians, a civilization in modern-day Lebanon known for its sailing prowess and affinity for trade. Ask them about the 'murex' snail, and how the color purple became known as the color of royalty! They are now into a major unit on the Greeks, exploring the very roots of Western Civilization. 7th graders will learn why the government of ancient Athens is considered the beginning of democracy (although only a select few citizens, and not all people had the vote). They will also examine major contributions the Greeks have made to mathematics, science, philosophy, medicine, drama, and architecture. Indeed, there are many important government buildings in Washington, DC that show a major influence from the Greek style of architecture. This is because, in part, Americans admire the ancient Greeks for advancing the ideals of democracy. At the end of the unit, students will launch Blake’s famous 'Greek Week' during which students become part of a Greek city-state and compete against each other in a series of academic and 'olympic' competitions as well as a “film festival.” This is a very exciting time in Ancient Civilization classrooms!
8th grade World History I students are deep into their study of the Early and High Middle Ages. Specific topics include feudalism, the development of the nation-states of England and France, the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Crusades. Most students find this time period fascinating as they often see the roots of modern western civilization.
In 6th grade, we are beginning our unit on Communicating Effectively through the study of bullying. We are discussing the importance of communicating about incidents of bullying with adults at home and at school, and students are analyzing bullying scenarios and appropriate responses to bullying.
Students are currently creating videos using iMovie to demonstrate refusal skills for drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. They are learning ways to effectively communicate how to say “no” when they are in a realistic situation when drugs and alcohol are present. They also learned about some of the negative effects of drugs and alcohol on the body.
Students are finalizing their projects using the BookCreator app to create a short story involving a decision-making scenario. Next week, students will read each other's stories and provide feedback to indicate whether or not the character effectively went through the decision-making process. I look forward to seeing the students work and creativity!
Physical Education (6-8)
On Friday, Feb 26, students competed in our annual Student vs Staff Volleyball Championship. Grade level championships took place during Friday morning related arts periods. Each championship team faced off against their teachers in a final match during their afternoon related arts period. The competition among students this week has been fierce! We are incredibly proud of the skill development and team play that has occurred during this unit.
Students in the new third rotation group are establishing the routines for safe food preparation, and are beginning to utilize appliances safely. Sixth and seventh graders are using the electric skillet to prepare pancakes and the eighth graders are learning to make waffles. Ask your eighth grader about our two special ingredients which increase the nutrition of our waffles and add to their deliciousness!
Mandarin: Students have been learning about a new sub theme called “We are Americans.” In this lesson, students will learn to identify the nationality of a group of people and obtain basic information about people from reading. For the Chinese New Year, they made "Fu" characters and learned how to make dumplings.
French: Grade 6 French students loved the Mardi Gras unit! They used sequins and feathers to decorate colorful masks! Then they chose class captains who bestowed beaded necklaces upon participants. Students decorated shoe boxes like their favorite stories and paraded to the library where their floats were on display for the week.
Spanish: 6th grade Spanish students spent some good time talking about what foods and drinks they want to eat and drink. They were able to re-enact short restaurant scenes with a waiter and a few customers as well as scenes at home discussing why they liked to eat certain foods. They are now starting to talk about themselves and describe different people and characters from their favorite shows.
Mandarin: Students have been learning about a new sub theme called “Comparing heights and ages.” In this lesson, student will learn to compare people's heights and ages. For the Chinese New Year they made "Fu" characters and learned how to make sweet rice balls.
French: The 7th grade French students have been learning sports and activities vocabulary. This unit will culminate in a puppet show which they have just begun preparing. We are looking forward to their creative presentations!
Spanish: The 7th grade Spanish students are starting to explore verb conjugations and talking about activities that they and their friends participate in on a regular basis. Some of our students are taking time in our Blake Makerspace and create Spanish games using Scratch and Makey Makeys. They are exploring and learning how to tie together their Spanish knowledge and new skill of coding.
Mandarin: The eighth grade students have been learning about a new sub theme called “A story.” In this lesson, students will learn to express anger and happiness and how to tell a short story. For the Chinese New Year, they made "Fu" characters and learned how to make spring rolls.
French: Grade 8 French just finished performing in skits where they confided and described problems to each other. Partners consoled their friends, brainstormed solutions and offered help and advice.
Spanish: Eighth grade Spanish students have begun the "shopping unit". They are looking forward to virtual shopping sprees in Spain and learning to talk about gifts and the people that they would like to give them to!