With summer now in full swing and a formal 'break' from the routines of school and academics in place, I have asked our content specialists to provide end-of-year updates and summer messages from their respective departments.
Summer is the time to relax, unplug, and pursue your own interests. Here are a few ways to feed your creative needs:
Staying very local - Zullo Gallery Summer Art classes with Kurt Jackson. The gallery and Kurt are two local treasures! Offerings include cartooning, watercolor, and mixed media.
Danforth Museum has moved to a new and improved space in Framingham and they still offer art classes for all ages. Go to Art camp with your children! They offer all-day classes that are in sync with the adult class offerings.
Mass MOCA in North Adams is now an international cultural destination. They have just opened up another sprawling building that has made it the largest fine arts space on Earth! They showcase the best of contemporary art--dance, performance, installation, and music.
Good luck to all of our 8th Graders! Get out there and make your mark!
Think of summer as an opportunity! Time for you to learn a new skills, have some fun, and just relax and chill. Whether you stick close to Medfield or you hop in your car, your summer is sure to be filled with fun.
Here are some ideas near you and a car ride away!
- Medfield Public Library has a great summer reading program, and Boston museum passes are a great way to enjoy Boston!
- Have a hankering to ride a horse and gallop away your summer?
- Feeling stressed? Here are some GREAT resources on mindfulness.
- Feeling the need for speed?
- Pay it forward! Volunteer at the Medfield Food Cupboard!
- Take a ride on a Boston Swan Boat - a must-do tradition!
The fourth rotation of 6th Grade Group Guidance is finishing off this school year by previewing the "Intra"transition to 7th grade, and reflecting on how the "Inter"transition to middle school went for them. The last activity of the class was to write a letter to their 8th grade selves. The students will revisit these letter when they take 8th Grade Group Guidance. The 7th Grade Group Guidance students are wrapping up the mindfulness class. Hopefully, they will have tools that will help them combat stress as they move forward. 8th Grade Group Guidance ended the year practicing resume building using Google Forms. We got creative filling in sections on what our experience and skills could look like for our future jobs and activities. We shared some of our ideas with the class. This, including our work on identifying and researching careers, wrapped up our unit on career exploration. The fourth rotation of 8th Grade Embracing Diversity examined Racism and Hate Crimes, using the current events of the incidents at both the African American Smithsonian and LeBron James' house. Further to Hate Crimes, we looked at and discussed annual statistics provided by the FBI. Mr. Marenghi encourages all 8th graders to keep social consciousness on high alert. You will be our future leaders and we'll need you to maintain efforts toward equality and social justice. The last rotation of 8th graders in Ted Talks are finishing up their presentations. Students picked wonderful topics like communication with pets, looking at gender pay differences in sports, and whether visually impaired people dream.
To all students, we wish you an enjoyable and wonderful summer!
8th Graders: We will miss you next year! Best of luck at MHS!
Rising 7th and 8th grade students (and parents thereof) who have any Summer Reading Questions can check our link, which contains grade level lists and book descriptions. Students are supposed to read a minimum of one book from the required list and one from the optional list. (http://blakelmcproject.wixsite.com/blakelmc/summerreading).
The LMC made some major additions to our digital reading options over the 2016-2017 school year. Students now have to option to download books from the statewide eCommonwealth Library as well as our own Blake e-Book link on the LMC website. Read about some of our latest exciting additions (http://blakelmcproject.wixsite.com/blakelmc/single-post/2017/06/09/HORRORABLE-SUMMER-E-BOOKS).
The Library Media Center’s big improvement this year was the replacement our fixed desktop computers with Chromebooks and a complementary set of rolling tables and chairs with seating for 24.. The area now has the capacity to handle up to two classes simultaneously for both traditional instruction and thanks to the mobile tables, small group collaboration. Faculty meetings are also now held in the area – special thanks to the Blake PTO for supporting the project.
The 7th graders just finished their Creature Feature geometry unit where students design and build a “creature”. In past years static statuette creatures constructed but now, thanks to our Makerspace Little Bits circuit kits, the students are able to animate them as well – an exciting addition. Keep that reading and creating going over the summer!
The Blake Middle School math department has found it beneficial for students to work on strengthening their math skills over the summer months. We recognize this may take on many different forms from visiting math websites (www.ixl.com) to completing summer skills workbooks. In addition, we encourage families to connect over board games such as Pay Day, Mastermind and chess. A tried and true recommendation for math summer work can be summed up using M3- Money, Measurement and Maps. Spending cash, using rulers and tape measures and reading maps are the best ways to work on your math skills. 7th grade students may get a summer work optional challenge. Students will receive this information on Transition Day.
Some Blake teachers will be participating in the Brilliant.org 100 Day Challenge. It has already started but it is not too late to participate. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, through the app or using your web browser, you can access 100 logic based, challenging math problems on a wide variety of topics. Other resources are available so check it out!
For the past few years, we have used a series of workbooks published by a company called Summer Skills (www.summerskills.com). We have found these books to be successful in helping students practice and sharpen their math skills. This book is entirely OPTIONAL. Please click on the link for further information. The Blake Middle School Math Department wishes you a happy and healthy summer!
The Blake bands gave outstanding performances at their spring concert on May 31. The 7th & 8th grade band and jazz ensemble performed at the Great East Festival at Springfield Central High School on June 2. The band earned a high Gold medal and the jazz ensemble was awarded a Platinum. Wesley Lawson played a terrific solo with the band on Kentucky 1800. Nolan Franks, Michael Downing, Tristan Marble, Thomas Shurtleff, and Chris Page all played fantastic improvised solos with the jazz ensemble.
On Thursday, June 8th we had a phenomenal Blake Choral Concert featuring our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade vocalists. Students performed a wide variety of choral literature that they have been studying throughout the year—folk songs, musical theatre, gospel, pop and jazz! In fact, the Blake Jazz Choir made their debut on the MHS auditorium stage. Many soloists were featured as they improvised, or scatted, during each selection. 7th Grader, Sam Reddy, performed the accompaniment for her chorus on the ukulele which was a special moment of the night. Sixth grader, Ryan Wirtz, offered a vocal percussion back-up for his ensemble. Additionally sixth-grader Sadie Rothstein was called to the stage to be awarded a summer music camp scholarship. Sadie applied and auditioned for the Medfield Music Association (MMA) scholarship this May. Soloists and choral ensembles brought a fantastic energy to the stage! Mrs. Tremblay and Mrs. Oxholm wish their students a well-deserved summer!
Congratulations to the Blake 7th and 8th Grade Chorus for an outstanding performance at the Great East Festival in Springfield on Friday, June 2. Students received a Gold medal, an informative clinic, and fun at Six Flags afterward to celebrate their efforts and a job well done this year!
The Blake science department wishes our science students a wonderful summer full of questions about the world in which we live. For those who would like to practice some science here is a free program to keep those skills in good shape.
CK-12 Brainflex - A summer Program for Math and Science Practice
Grade 6 wrapped up the space unit ending with moon phases at the beginning on June. Students were able to show what they know using models to demonstrate the relationship between the Earth, Moon, and Sun, that create each phase of the moon we see from Earth.
We have now moved into our last unit of the year in which we learn about cells and body systems. We learned what a cell looks like (plant and animal), what a cell is made of (organelles) and the respective jobs of each inside the cell. We have utilized Quizlet, Nearpod, and Socrative to explore this content and collect formal data to assess their learning. As we move into the final full week of school we will be learning about how systems in our body all work together to keep us alive.. Students will be researching specific body systems in groups and then collaborating with other groups who specialized in a different system to explore how they maintain homeostasis in our bodies.
Students took over the teaching in the seventh grade science classrooms while they presented their projects about an endangered, threatened, or species of special concern in Massachusetts. It was wonderful to see the variety of creative elements in the presentations.There were game shows, a video where the endangered species itself took the stage (sadly, it didn’t end well), a “Big” book for younger students, pamphlets, habitats and Instagram posts to name a few wonderful presentations. The last week of school students will spend some time learning about the evidence for evolution and Darwin’s trip around the world.
Next year students in seventh grade will be learning more than just life science. Ecology, earth science, heat, magnetism, electricity, potential and kinetic energy are all topics to be considered in seventh grade science under the umbrella of “systems and cycles”. The seventh grade teachers will be busy this summer creating exciting lessons to share with their students. We will continue to provide feedback to both students and parents via Standards Based Reporting next year.
The seventh grade students are now fully equipped with their new found knowledge of Life Science. We encourage students to spend time this summer enjoying the natural world (turn off the phone). Students should look for signs of primary and secondary succession, search for endangered species, look for Brook trout in Mill Brook and the Charles River, and always remember to ask questions about anything they see, hear, touch, or smell.
He said - - - "I haven't failed. I've found 10,000 ways that don't work."
In addition to Solar Cars, students piloted the Genius Hour concept, planetary colonization and worked on the Scale Model of the Solar System. Click here for a student example.
Have a great summer!!!
6th grade World Geography students just completed a global trade unit with a concentration on trade with Asia. The unit of study culminated in a field trip to the Peabody Essex Museum to visit the global trade exhibit and the Yin Yun Tang house. Third term also focused on different kinds of governments and economies all over the world with a focus on how government and economy affect different cultures. The 6th grade curriculum helps bring awareness of issues facing the world and how they are often impacted by geography. This summer take a look at different aspects of geography in our own area - Cape Cod, the lakes of New Hampshire, your own backyard!
The Roman Empire rose up during early May in 7th grade Ancient Civilizations under the powerful leadership of Augustus. Students examined the transition from republic to empire and had a chance to learn about some of Rome’s most (and least) successful rulers. They saw the growth of Rome across all parts of society during the "Golden Age" of the Pax Romana. Main topics of study were the inventions of the Romans, the military strategy, the birth of Christianity, the entertainment and daily life, and finally the struggle to rule an Empire of such vast proportions. Students end the year with the fall of western Rome and leave in great shape to start 8th grade in the eastern Roman city of Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire. Here is the 7th grade “Summer Assignment” - “Experience History.”
In 8th grade World History I, students have learned about the Renaissance and Reformation. Students completed projects and assessments which highlighted important historical figures from the Renaissance and Reformation including: Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Johannes Gutenberg, Martin Luther, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Students learned about a variety of concepts and events which originated during the Renaissance and Reformation period which continue to impact the modern world. Over the summer while traveling, check out the history around you. How does history leave its imprint on the world? You can do this traveling abroad, or in the next town.
Sixth graders are finishing off the school year learning to Advocate for their health and the health of others. Students have used the acronym I CARE to Identify and research a relevant and meaningful health issue, Create a health enhancing position or message that is supported by their research, Act passionately and with conviction, Relay their health enhancing message to their audience and then Evaluate the effectiveness of their advocacy campaign. This is a great opportunity for students to raise awareness on a health issue that is of significance to them. We hope that all students have a happy and health summer and that they take time to enjoy family time and outside activities.
Seventh graders have completed their final assignments for our Advocacy unit. A wide variety of topics were chosen, ranging from anti bullying & cyberbullying, physical activity, nutrition, extra school recess, drinking and driving, recycling, and other relevant health and community enhancing behaviors. Students were asked to follow the I CARE acronym, where they effectively Identified a cause worthy of advocacy, Created a health enhancing message, Acted in a passionate and respectful manner towards their topic, ensured that their topic was Relevant, and finally Evaluated the effectiveness of their message. As with each of our previous skills, students should feel proud of their work completed in this important unit.
Eighth graders wrapped up their Advocacy unit by creating a 30-60 second public service announcement or commercial based on a topic they felt passionate about this year. Some topics included bullying or harassment, drinking and driving, texting and driving, LGBTQ rights, and environmental issues. The objective was to learn how to create a health enhancing message, show passion and conviction and relay the message to an audience in order to create a positive school environment. Please ask your 8th grader to tell you about the issue they advocated for and why they felt passionate about it. Best of luck to the 8th graders as they enter high school! Enjoy the summer!
All students in grades 6-8 have wrapped up the year developing their badminton and archery skills. Archery skills included following safety rules and etiquette, balance, varying speed and trajectory, and shooting at a target. Badminton skills included creating space, underhand serving, the overhead clear, the drop shot, the smash, and strategies and tactics of singles and doubles games.
We have had a terrific year of wellness and look forward to summer activities. We wish all of our students a happy and healthy summer vacation!
One of the key goals of the consumer science course is for students to develop increasing independence in their ability to select and prepare nutritious foods for themselves. Too often in our very busy lives, we find ourselves relying on processed, prepared foods, some of which are minimally nutritious. Please ask your child to share some of their favorite recipes from consumer science class this year, and take them to the store or farmers market with you, or grow the ingredients in your home gardens so that they can practice and share the skills they learned this year. It’s been my privilege to teach your children these important life skills, and I wish you all a restful, joyous summer!
We can’t believe the school year is over! Our students have come so far and are putting together longer phrases and communicating more and more in context. We have been leaning toward the proficiency model all year long and hoping that this will help students see the benefits of sticking with their language learning. It’s not just an academic subject in school, but a life-long skill. We think it is working!
Here’s a quick graphic that explains what we are trying to accomplish in our classrooms:
Our classes have all been working hard to finish up the year in style.
In SIXTH GRADE, French students finished the year presenting their families to their classmates and learning to identify their body parts in French.
The Mandarin students used all the sentences we have learned to made Chinese story books for upcoming 6th graders. Fang Jia La!
In Spanish, students finished up the year writing a short story about an animal. In addition to narrating and animating the story, they were able to show off all the language that they have learned this year. We are so proud of their achievements this year!
In SEVENTH GRADE, the French students finished up the year with very creative diamond poems and a final exam which shows all that they have learned this year. We hope that they will have the opportunity to hear or speak French in their travels. Happy summer et bonnes vacances!
The Mandarin students finished their final writing and recording project which includes all they have learned in last year and this year. Fang Jia La!
Spanish students learned how to express themselves in the future and shared with one another their great plans for the future! They have had an excellent year in Spanish and we can't wait to see them all again in September!
In EIGHTH GRADE, French students recently presented slide shows of their trip to New York and Washington DC and described the highlights using the past tense. We finished our last unit on vacation and leisure time with a song called “C’est les vacances”, à propos to the beginning of summer. They have learned a great rendition of the song and accompanying dance! Bonnes vacances!
The Mandarin Students had a great trip to Chinatown and Kam Man supermarket!
Spanish students finished out their year with an introduction to Medical Spanish and the preterite! We enjoyed being able to describe our trip to Washington D.C. in Spanish in the past tense and learn lots of new songs about body parts too!
Staying in touch with the language is key to our students’ success. We have some suggestions, and hope you will try some. For French and Spanish learners, we would HIGHLY recommend Duolingo. Maybe two 15 minute sessions a week? It is a free app that you can use to learn many languages. Most of it is free, but you can pay for a subscription if you want to get more time, but what is available free is great. Many of us have tried this and it is an unbelievable free resource.
Additionally, in Spanish you can find some good interpretive listening sources on
- The BBC series Mi vida loca: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/
- On NETFLIX, there are MANY kids shows and movies in Spanish. One that some of my 6th and 7th grade girls are watching is Violetta. It is PG and is a bit like the Disney shows "Austin and Ally" or "Girls Meets World" (teenage focused).
- There are also some great Youtubers in Spanish - directed at all different ages - a quick Google Search will get you there!
In French, there are plenty of French language movies available on NETFLIX as well.
In Mandarin, reviewing all the Questions List will prepare you for the next year’s learning. You can also find many Mandarin learning apps in app store such as Memrise, ChineseSkill, HelloChinese.
We hope your summer adventures are relaxing and fun with a little room to practice your new language skills. Enjoy!