In our continued efforts to keep families informed and updated about the curriculum at Blake, each month we 'highlight' 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 updates for the month of April 2018.
Grade 6: How can we create form from paper? Sixth grade artists are exploring paper construction by creating wearable art in the form of hats. Folding, crimping, curling, cutting, and crinkling are some ways to make a unique form. Grade 6 +: Grade 6 students are exploring the idea of form and construction further by creating sculptures out of paper straws and model magic. When designing with limited materials and constraints, students must focus purely on form and its endless variations.
Grade 7: In grade 7, students are working on creating a virtual public art piece in Ms. Delaney’s class. This combines design thinking and technology. What does the piece communicate to the public? Why is public art important? What will this artwork look like in situ? These are the questions that students are exploring in this unit.
Grade 8: How do artists create a graphic image in in black and white. Students are beginning their printmaking unit with linoleum block printing. They start working with stamps, in a small format to understand the process, then design a larger size print.
Grade 8+: Students are putting on the finishing touches on their signage for the cafe in Mr. K’s 8+ class. Other mural projects are starting to take form around the school. Stay tuned!
All sixth grade ELA students will end the year with a look into the life of Tom Sawyer. For the last few months of school, students will read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer while discussing additional literary elements within the book such as satire and dialect. While reading the book, the students will complete a final book project in order to showcase understanding of the elements of fiction.
Seventh graders just finished the ELA MCAS and are wrapping up their work with the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The final novel of the year is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Grade 7 teachers/students will pilot standards based reporting during this unit. Students will look at dystopian themes in this novel while also showing their mastery of the skills we have worked on throughout the year.
Now that students have completed their critical reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, students will use class discussions to sponsor good analysis and good writing. Students will be working on enrichment creative writing projects that will focus on their takeaways from this important American novel. Students will be required to incorporate textual evidence into their creative choices. After these enrichment activities conclude, students will begin writing their claim paragraphs on the novel.
Teachers are pleased to announce that an outside theater group will be coming to Blake to perform To Kill a Mockingbird for all Grade 8 students.
The 6th grade students just rotated into the final guidance section. The class spent the first class establishing classroom norms, rules and expectations. Next week we will be addressing assertive, passive, and aggressive communication and its impact on the receiver of the communication. In 7th Grade Group Guidance, the class discussed some effective strategies to transitioning to and from a school break both the week prior to vacation and then again last week. The MCAS sessions have kept us from meeting since, but we plan to discuss efforts we can make to implement a "Growth Mindset" and not a "Fixed Mindset". As 8th Grade Group Guidance students head into the last rotation, the students are working on career readiness. This work is timed nicely to coincide with our annual Career Day. Opening class writing prompts include having students write either a strength or an interest for the letters a-z. In Embracing Diversity, students are currently examining the PBS Frontline special "A Class Divided" to better understand the concept and consequences of discrimination. Further to this, we look at how developing empathy is key to wiping out all forms of discrimination.
The Medfield Public Schools Counselors have a departmental blog! Please check it out: http://medfieldguidance.blogspot.com. We use the blog to promote the department, stay active and knowledgeable in our field, and stay connected with our school community. Please subscribe to our blog to receive email updates.
Blake Summer Reading will soon be upon us. A committee of dedicated teachers has compiled a great and varied list of books for summer student enjoyment! We’d like every Blake student to read at least two books over the summer. Students from each grade will each choose one book from a list of four required books. Each of the books is similarly themed and will be discussed in English classes at the beginning of the new school year. We also offer several “choice” books for each grade on our lists. Students have the option to read one choice book from our lists or to choose another book, not on the list, to read (as long as they haven’t already read it!). The selected books will be announced soon and the Summer Reading Book Sale will commence shortly thereafter – stay tuned!
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Grade 6 students are focused on beginning their work with the Cartesian plane...thank you, Rene DesCartes! Up until this point, we ask students to work in one dimension...find x, solve for y, What is A’s value...Now, we ask students to consider two dimensions: x and y, length and height, time and distance, interest rate and dollar value,...the opportunities are endless as we ask students to compare two values that are simultaneously changing. After a strong unit in ratios, this is a nice, visual extension of change!
Grade 7 students have entered a unit on solving equations. This traditional Algebra topic is an important step students take in their mathematics career. Now that students understand the rules behind algebra, they are able to use them to determine the the value of variables in linear equations. Tried and true methods will be learned. At the end of this unit, students will have a strong foundation in equation solving.
Grade 8 students are working a variety of topics in math lab. They are solidifying geometry units while extending their work in algebra. Topics are spiraled to allow for our mathematicians to see the broad picture of their work in 8th grade math. These include: equation solving, graphing of lines, working with radicals, the Pythagorean Theorem, determining area and volume, interpreting data, working with exponents,...the list is rich and numerous! It is nice for students to get a view of all their hard work
The Band Program had its 10th annual Band-O-Rama concert on April 9. The concert featured all of the grades 4-12 bands in the BMS gym. Each band performed two pieces and the combined bands played Band-O-Rama Blues Parade as a finale. The piece was composed by Rick Hirsch and commissioned by the Medfield Music Association last year.
The seventh and eighth grade band is preparing its program for two upcoming performances - the seventh and eighth grade spring concert on May 30 as well as the trip to the Great East Festival & Six Flags New England on June 1.
The BMS Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band will perform at Medfield Jazz Night this Friday, May 4 with guest artist, Grace Kelly. Ms. Kelly is a nationally known jazz saxophonist and vocalist. The Jazz Ensemble will participate in the Central District MAJE Festival on May 10.
Grade 6 General Music with Mrs. Stover
We are beginning our final unit in grade six general music with lots of movement activities that get us up and responding to beat, tempo and pitch in the music room. We’ll be learning some new pieces on our pitched percussion instruments and hope we can share them here in next month’s update…
Grade 7 and 8 General Music with Mrs. Stover
Our final rotation in ukulele has begun. Most students have successfully completed their first skills in this rotation - play Ode to Joy (chords and melody) and are beginning to work on individual songs. Students know how to read and interpret a chord diagram and how to read ukulele TAB - a notation system.
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Grade 6 science students wrapped up their biology units with an exploration of organ systems in the body and how they work together to carry out the essential functions of human life. Students became experts in one organ system and then interviewed other organ systems to choose another system with which they would best team up to maintain homeostasis. Performing skits provided students an opportunity to demonstrate the functions of each of the organ systems and interactions between systems. Students wrote scripts, created props and performed in a variety of formats: some skits were comical, some were game-show themed, and some were even musical! Our next adventure in 6th grade science is to dig into the past with rock layers and fossils!
Our trout release in science exploration was a huge success! On Friday, April 13, we released more than 200 trout into the Charles River. It was a great experience to raise the trout from eggs, study their life cycle, habitat, anatomy and water quality requirements and then release them!
April has brought the Earth and Space Science Unit with a focus on Sun, Earth, Moon Systems to 8th grade. Students learned about the lunar phase cycle, lunar and solar eclipses, tides, and seasons. They spent time watching videos and creating models to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between the sun, Earth, and moon. For Genius Hour, students are at the brainstorming, researching, and creating phases while Engineering classes are building bridges and learning how to code Mindstorm robots!
Sixth grade World Geography students are starting their yearly unit on global poverty. In conjunction with the new unit, they will be partnering with World Connect for a fundraiser. This initiative will help students understand the role agriculture plays in the lives of millions of people who depend on it for their livelihood. With help from Blake's Community Service Club, students will vote on a project to donate to.
Seventh grade Ancient Civilizations classes have been working hard to improve their writing skills and analytical thinking over the past few weeks. Before April break, students were asked to analyze and think critically about Alexander the Great. What makes a person great? Does Alexander deserve this title? Students were given these questions and asked to determine for themselves whether or not Alexander was truly great or not. May will feature two exciting experiences for the students. There will be a visitor, a former Latin teacher, who will speak about the history of the Roman army. Doug Ryan will provide students with a great experience as they try on Roman style armor and learn about how their army expanded into Europe to dominate the continent. Students will also travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to wonder about the incredible collection of ancient artifacts throughout the museum. With an impressive collection of Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian artwork there will not be a lack of objects to observe. It is a jam packed schedule full of exciting historical discoveries!
World History I 8th graders will be continuing to make connections between the Early Middle Ages and the High Middle Ages in Western Europe. Using comprehensive project-based learning, students are studying about the rise of nations including England, France, and Spain during the latter half of the medieval period, and discovering how the end of feudalism set the stage for the Renaissance and the rise of cities throughout Europe.
Speech-Language students used the Growth Mindset Statements and Affirmations as they learned strategies to improve their communication skills across the school day.
Blake staff donated plant clippings that each student rooted as a symbol of the growth to occur as we continue the school year.
-In April, we'll be working on setting academic goals for the remainder of the year. Students will also reflect on the goals that they set earlier in the year.
7th Grade Learning Center:
-Term 2 report card reflections
-Using Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry for reading fluency and comprehension practice as well as writing practice for character perspective taking
In preparation for the annual "Blake Mini Marathon," all students will be participating in a cross-country running unit. The emphasis will be on pacing and improving cardiovascular endurance for the longer race held in June. The course will be held behind Blake staying along the perimeters of the baseball, softball and practice football fields. We encourage students to wear comfortable clothes and sneakers during this time. We look forward to the sunshine and warm spring weather!
Sixth graders are learning and practicing how to communicate effectively about health-related topics. As part of this unit, we are looking at one’s character and character development. Students are learning the art of being a good listener, and are discussing the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. They have been working in stations looking at and completing activities based upon these pillars. Next, students will apply what they have learned about the pillars of character and effective communication skills to help process situations around bullying. By the end of the unit, we expect students to be able to demonstrate the positive traits of their character through the way the communicate with others.
Seventh graders have recently completed their unit on Interpersonal Communication, focusing on effectively refusing tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Students learned about the causes and science behind addiction, various classifications of substances as well as the dangers associated with each. After obtaining this information students practiced the 'ISAYNO' method of refusal where students provided an “I” statement, Stated a reason, were Assertive, showed You (they) were in control, made sure sure the No statement was is very clear and provided other Options (you can leave, get help, etc). We will soon begin our final unit focusing on the skill of Advocacy and the topic of respecting ourselves and others in the Blake and Medfield communities.
As we enter the home stretch of the school year, eighth graders have begun their final unit called "Advocating for a Safe School Community." During this unit, students will view advocacy campaigns that are current in the news. We will spend time evaluating their effectiveness to see if their message was clear and if there was a passion and conviction behind the message. Additionally, students will observe whether or not it was thought-provoking and if it inspired change. Class discussion will be centered around the importance of self-advocacy in terms of their personal health as well as being able to speak out about how we can create a safe and inclusive school community. Students will choose a health enhancing message that they want to promote and create a final project to present their message to the class and school community.
This marks the start of the last rotation of the year, and the energy is high in the foods lab! Students have just completed their second class, and have reviewed basic measuring and food safety techniques. Next, students will be utilizing a variety of kitchen appliances, including the stove top and the oven, in order to prepare a wide range of dishes. Please encourage your children to help you plan, cook, and clean up at home!
In sixth grade Mandarin, students are learning Unit 3 lesson 2. By the end of this lesson, students can ask people’s name based on their social status.
In French, students are beginning a new unit on animals, where they will be able to identify and describe various animals and their habitats. They will be performing a puppet show, where they create a puppet of their favorite animal and have a conversation with others about themselves.
Students in 6th grade Spanish are beginning their study of breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Students are personalizing their own lists of likes and dislikes and learning important phrases like, “Me too” and “Me neither”. In addition, they will have a chance to research breakfast, lunch, and dinner options from other countries.
In seventh grade Mandarin, students going to finish Unit 7 lesson . By the end of this lesson, students can Identify animals,express personal preferences for animals, and Learn about the Chinese panda and the Chinese golden monkey. Students also got their pen pal letter from China!
Students in 7th grade Spanish students have become proficient in utilizing a variety of Question words and can describe WHEN, WHERE, WITH WHOM, WHY and HOW often they do things with others.
Students in seventh grade French are finishing up the café unit. They presented some creative and fun skits, and can now order food and drink in a French setting. They can also discuss what they like to eat and drink for each daily meal.
Students in eighth grade French are learning how to shop for clothes. Students will be able to identify and describe their clothing based on color, style, and fit, and they will wrap up the unit with a live fashion show!
In eighth grade Mandarin, students just start learning Unit 11 Lesson 2. By the end of those lessons, students can Identify special fruits in China.
8th grade Spanish students are looking forward to continuing the celebrations unit and learning more about how certain holidays are celebrated differently in the U.S. and Latin America. We are excited about increasing our proficiency in speaking in the past tense!