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 May 2018.
Grade 6: Students have constructed paper hats and now they are working on self-portraits of themselves wearing these constructions. This is a good wrap-up to the year, combining hands-on experimentation with observational drawing.
Grade 7: In grade 7, students are learning about one and two-point perspective. This is a formal way of drawing in perspective, useful in architectural rendering. Students are understanding how create a realistic illusion of space in a 2-D work.
Grade 8: Artists are finishing up their linoleum print series. They have experimented with stamps which informed them about the process so they could work larger. They understand how to work in a series with prints and the endless color combinations that are possible. Some classes have collaborated with Ms. Horvath, our technology integration specialist when she visited our class to guide the students in making stamps in tinkercad. These will be printed with the makerbot and used to authenticate their work by stamping it with a trademark of their own design. This mimics the practice of professional printmakers, who use stamps to sign their work.
Grade 6: Grade six ELA thanks you for a year of appositives, antecedents, adjectives, adverbs and asking great questions; Books, books, books and becoming better writers; Commas, conjunctions, capitalization and creativity; Drawing on personal experience and dancing in the halls; Elements of fiction; Fever 1793 and figurative language; Great attitudes toward learning; Harris and Me; INTERJECTIONS and inferences; Just being you - Koalas, Otters, Sea Turtles; Kahoot;Learning together; Midsummer Night's Dream ; Narrative writing, nouns and nonfiction; Open responses and onomatopoeia; Parts of speech such as pronouns and prepositions plus poetry; Quizlet; Reading strategies ; Storytelling; Tom Sawyer; Understanding perspectives; Visual vocabulary and verbs; riting and more writing- yea!; being eXactly where we want you to be academically; a Year of laughter; Zzzzzing into summer!
Grade 7: Seventh Grade English is exploring dystopian themes in literature through the novel The Giver. Students are wrapping up this unit with some Socratic Circle discussions, a comparative essay, and a chance to write their own dystopian narrative. We are also preparing for our field trip to the elementary schools on June 13. Students will be sharing stories they have written in writing lab about the geometric creatures they have built in Math class. It is sure to be a wonderful day of cross-grade learning and fun.
Grade 8: As a capstone activity designed to combine analytical and creative skills, Grade 8 students completed a project targeting their ability to understand characterization in To Kill a Mockingbird. In addition, students were required to complete a final claim paragraph on this important novel. As an enrichment activity, students watched an in-school professional performance of To Kill a Mockingbird that included a cast-led discussion after the play’s conclusion. Last week’s Washington D.C. trip was a great success, and we look forward to a productive and enjoyable end-of-the-year.
The students in the 6th Grade Group Guidance class this rotation are just finishing up discussions regarding the differences between friends and acquaintances and we are moving this week into discussing the difference between joking, teasing, mean behavior and bullying. In class next week, Mr. Becker, our School Adjustment Counselor, will be talking with this class about anxiety recognition and tips to manage anxiety. The students in 7th Grade Group Guidance are talking about what transitions to expect moving on to 8th grade and also discussing the concept of "Intrinsic Motivation", specifically how to discover and nurture it. In 8th Grade Group Guidance, the students are finishing up their career readiness lessons. Many students are using information they learned during Career Day in May for their projects. The students in Embracing Diversity just wrapped up a unit on discrimination by completing the viewing and discussion of the PBS Frontline special "The Eye of the Storm: A Class Divided". The class will next look at "Hate Crimes" and societal trends that can be related to them.
Lots of changes in the LMC this year but one thing always remains constant: our desire to inspire and instruct students to find, evaluate the quality of and use information and to read for pleasure with the side benefit of increased literacy. Close to 5,000 old and underused books were discarded but we purchased close to 1,000 new titles, which have been flying off of the shelves. In fact, more physical books were checked out this past year than in the past several. Our Commonwealth ebooks were also downloaded in record numbers as well. Cutting the number of books has enabled our Makerspace to expand and also created additional class and small group meeting spaces.
Special thanks to Diana Mileszko and Jim James and the staff of Park Street Books for another successful Blake Summer Reading Sale. All profits are used to purchase new Blake LMC books. For complete information on all of the 6th , 7th, and 8th grade books, please click the below link. Have a great summer!
Blake Summer Reading 2018
Students in grades 6, 7 and 8 have all completed the Spring 2018 Mathematics MCAS. This year, all students in grades 3-8 took the NextGen MCAS Computer Based Tests. Please know, while important, MCAS is a test on grade level standards given in two session once per year. At Blake, we value all learners are proud of all the work they do during MCAS and throughout the year.
6th Grade science students have been learning how to study the organisms of the past using information provided by rock layers and index fossils. Students also compared the anatomical structures of ancient whales to present day whales, identifying similarities and differences. Using a variety of cladograms students were able to identify that all species on earth share a common ancestor. On completion of this unit students began to examine the different phases of the moon and how they occur. Students demonstrated the spatial relationship between the sun, earth, and moon using models. The year will end with a study of waves and their impact on our lives.
The seventh grade classrooms are very quiet now that the trout are gone. To fill the silence, the rooms have been abuzz with students working on their Ecology Projects. Working in teams, students researched an endangered species and created a presentation of their own design to present to the class.
Content knowledge is learned as teams visit learning stations scattered around the room. It is exciting to watch students collaborate as they learn!
In science exploration, students finished up their study of trout anatomy by completing a dissection of a bony fish in their science classes. Students did a great job and were amazed by how much the swim bladder looked like the swim bladder in our new Bony Fish Anatomy models, generously funded by MCPE.
In 6th grade World Geography classes, students are learning about primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary industries and how they connect in an economy. Additionally, students are learning how supply and demand affects prices of goods. Along the same lines, students are uncovering the differences between four types of economies including capitalism, communism, mixed, and traditional. With all this in mind, students will learn the differences between developed and developing countries. Lastly, students are growing tomato plants in connection with their studies about poverty and developing countries and will help to raise money for World Connect
Ancient Civilizations 7th graders are finishing the year with a study of Ancient Rome. Students learned about how the Roman government was established as a republic, which is the same form of government the US has today. Students looked at the different elements of a republic (rule by law, representative democracy, civic duty, separation of powers, and individual liberty) and made comparisons between ancient Rome and the modern USA on these different components. They took a field trip to the MFA during the week after Memorial Day. Students had the opportunity to see genuine artifacts (including Egyptian mummies!) from each of the ancient civilizations studied this year. This was a great way to reflect on what was learned this year and also get together on a cluster basis before the year winds down. The 7th grade Social Studies team wishes all our students the best as they seek to build upon the skills they acquired this year during 8th grade as the leaders of Blake!
The end of the year is approaching rapidly. 8th grade World History I students will finish by exploring the Renaissance and Reformation. In addition students will continue to have extra curricular enrichment adventures including the bike trip and the Blake Marathon.
In 6th grade, we have started our unit on advocacy. Students are learning that in order to be an advocate, they must identify an issue or cause that they care about deeply. They must create a message that supports their cause. Then, they must act passionately and with conviction, relaying their message to a target audience. Lastly, they will evaluate the success of their campaign to determine if it is being effective. We looked at the NFL Play 60 program as an example of a campaign that advocates for a health enhancing program for kids. Over the next few weeks, students will be creating a campaign to promote healthy life choices for middle school students. Our classes have been split into large groups that will be creating a pamphlet, a poster with a slogan on it, or a commercial to promote their campaign. Each group has a project manager who will organize and plan out the completion of the project, while the rest of the group has been divided into research and design teams to create the finished product. Classes are working very hard to try to create a campaign that we can share with the school. Our focus for these campaigns are nutrition, fitness, hygiene, sleep, screen time, and stress. Advocating for student health is a great way to summarize many of the topics we have covered this year!
7th graders have been working hard to complete their final skills-based unit focusing on 'Advocacy'. The unit began with an important conversation about respect, including what respect looks and sounds like. Each class took part in a rich conversation about eye-contact, etiquette, the absence of noise and showing thanks as ways we show respect. Each class had a unique spin on this conversation and it was exciting to see the level of engagement and body language change throughout the discussion as we touched upon these behaviors. Following this conversation students choose a topic they felt deserved an increased level of respect in our community and are working to effectively demonstrate advocacy for it. Some topics have included anti bullying/ cyber bullying, self-care, recycling and other relevant health enhancing behaviors.
Grade 8 students are wrapping up the year with their final project on Advocacy. Students are given the liberty to choose their final topic based on interest and passion. Topics that have been selected so far have been: Mental Illness, Bullying/Cyberbullying, Texting & Driving, Drinking & Driving, Environmental issues and Gun Control. In order for students to demonstrate the skill of advocacy, they are asked to create a health-enhancing message, relay that message to the class, act with passion and conviction and evaluate its effectiveness. Students are utilizing the last few weeks to complete their videos, commercials, poems, PSA's or billboards and then presentations will begin. We look forward to seeing their final projects and wish the 8th grade class all the best as they enter high school!
After taking time to complete some cross-country training in preparation of the Blake Mini Marathon, all students have been enjoying our final unit of Badminton. Badminton skills we have focused on include: creating space, underhand serving, overhead clear, drop shot, smash, and strategies and tactics of singles and doubles games. We are looking forward to the great community event of the Mini Marathon and hope that students have fun putting their badminton skills to use at cookouts over the summer!
As we wrap up the last rotation of the year, it is gratifying to know that nearly every Blake Middle School student has improved their proficiency in planning, preparing, and cleaning up for a variety of meals. Being able to cook for oneself is an important step toward independence, and we hope you will continue to encourage more supervised skill building over the summer.
From all of us in the Wellness Department, we wish you a safe, healthy, and physically active summer!
In sixth grade French, students have just finished a unit on animals, and are learning how to talk about school subjects and supplies. They will be able to identify and describe their classes and what they need for each class, and tell who their teachers are. They are also looking at a typical schedule of a French student and making comparisons to their schedules.
In sixth grade Mandarin, students are learning Unit 3 lesson 3. By the end of this lesson, students can look for a person by asking “ Who is…?” and make an apology.
In sixth grade Spanish, we have completed our “3 meals a day” unit and we are on to “los animales”. Students are adding on to previously studied vocabulary and learning how to explain where certain animals live and what they say. Watching Madagascar en español is a highlight as the animals move from the zoológico to the jungla!
7th grade French students have been learning how to make and discuss weekend plans, including planning to meet in a specific place, time, and day. They also performed skits about what they want to do over the summer.
In seventh grade Mandarin, students going to finish Unit 7 lesson 2 and lesson 3. By the end of this lesson, students can tell the qualities of an animal, identify what different animals can do, provide reasons for those personal preferences and express agreement with someone.
Seventh grade Spanish students are enjoying talking about the different places in their town and where they are located. We have enjoyed using maps in class to describe the relative location of one place to another and talking about why we visit certain places and what we can do there.
Students in eighth grade French are wrapping up May and June with a project discussing what they did and saw on the trip to Washington, D.C. This project will help students to showcase what they are able to express in the past, present, and future. Students will finish up the year with an authentic French animated film, Une vie de chat.
In eighth grade Mandarin, students just start learning Unit 11 Lesson 3. By the end of those lessons, students can express how they feel. They are also going to Chinatown and Chinese supermarket at the Kam Man Marketplace in Quincy for the field Trip.
Spanish students in eighth grade described how they celebrated holidays this past year and compared coming-of-age traditions. They investigated holidays in the Spanish-speaking world and saw the movie “Ferdinand,” which gave them the opportunity to learn about and debate the cultural value of bullfighting. Increasingly, they are able to discuss what they did last weekend and during the week of the DC trip.