In our continued efforts to keep families informed and updated about the curriculum at Blake, each 1month 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 November 2017.
Grade 6: How can I alter an observational drawing to show a unique point of view? Students have examined the work of American master, Georgia O’Keeffe to begin an exploration of abstraction. Georgia was concerned with the frenzied pace of life in the Industrial Age of the United States, and wanted people to slow down and be mindful of their surroundings. She is well known for creating enormous paintings of flowers, hoping that the observer could ‘feel like a bumblebee’ when looking at them. Her alteration of the floral form changed our perspective of the flower form. Sixth grade artists are examining natural forms, changing color and scale to approach working in the abstract.
Grade 7: How can we get a full range of value with one color? Students are looking at the work of contemporary artist Mark Tansey to understand monochromatic painting. An experiential approach to color theory is an effective way to understand color mixing. Students are creating their own still life set ups and rendering them in tempera. They choose one color and add only black or white to create a full range of value.
Grade 8: How can we create the illusion of depth on a flat surface? Students are looking at abstract works of OP Art, that fool the eye with optical illusion. This leads to an experimentation with color mixing and pattern to create illusions of their own.
After School : Blake Open Studio---We are open for making every Thursday until 3pm. Join us for student-directed creating!
Grade 6: Sixth grade ELA finished our first elements of fiction unit using the book Harris and Me as a teaching tool. We also introduced the CEA writing format - for partial open response answers - in order to continue to practice writing about claims, reasons, evidence and analysis while interpreting the elements of fiction within a text. Our next writing unit is a narrative writing unit which will continue until the end of the first term.
Grade 7: Seventh graders are being their work with A Christmas Carol. Students will be analyzing mood in the text and looking at how figurative language and imagery help to create it. A highlight of the unit is our annual trip to the North Shore Music Theatre to see the novel brought to life on stage. Our unit culminates in the final week before vacation with a new project. Students will have the opportunity to compare the play production with various film versions to determine which take on Dickens' classic best captures the author's vision for the text. Most importantly, our work with this heartwarming classic challenges us to live up to Dickens' words, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another."
Grade 8: Currently, students are moving away from the courtrooms and heat of Twelve Angry Men into a new kind of heat, the flames of Fahrenheit 451. Having just finished writing claim paragraphs for Twelve Angry Men, we are now onto discussions about Ray Bradbury, science fiction, and dystopias. As we start the reading, we will of course analyze the figurative language and style of Bradbury, along with his predictions for the future in comparison to our world today.
The Group Guidance classes are all just starting the second rotation. In 6th Grade Group Guidance, we started by playing some get to know you games. We also started the folders they will be working on for 8 weeks and then I will hold onto until they are in 8th grade. The students in 7th Grade Group Guidance will initially focus on the concept of "resilience" and embracing failure, i.e. learning from our mistakes. We will also attempt to view stress in a positive light, embracing it as means to stimulate growth. In 8th grade guidance, we just started the second rotation with a new group. Before jumping into interest inventories, as a step in career readiness, students try to put together a list of their strengths and interests (e.g. a-athletics, b-baking, c-coding). Ask your students about the list he/she created.
As the first rotation of Embracing Diversity winds down, we are examining the Hate Crime statistics from 2016 which were released by the FBI earlier this month. Students are being asked to analyze why such crimes have increased about 5% from 2015. We will end the rotation with a lesson on proverbs and look at how they might reflect any cultural values.
The first round of eight week rotation classes has ended. Sixth grade Library Media students completed their research projects on a South American country. Seventh grade Inv/Tech students produced slide shows focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of computer screen technology. The final slide in their presentations displayed students’ “philosophy’s of technology” – ways to maximize the good things about computers in their lives and ways to minimize the not so good aspects.
A giant order of new books has just arrived, many of which were requested by students and teachers. After processing, the books will be displayed “Barnes and Nobles” style with the covers facing out in a new area formerly housing reference books. The new arrangement should encourage greater student browsing, checkout and reading! Jon Haycock
6th Grade Coding. The 8 weeks goes by so quickly that I wish I could work with the same group all year! During these 8 weeks, students were introduced to basic concepts in coding their own version of Crossy Roads with the Hopscotch App. The best part is when they get to play each other’s games and give feedback. Check out the Padlet. Hoping this sparks an interest in coding and they all continue in some way!
8th Grade Innovation Lab Class is coming to the end of the 12 week rotation. Each team of students has been working through the design thinking process to solve a problem for one of their fellow team members. Most teams are trying to solve problems that involve trouble waking up in the morning, feeding the dog, and losing items. At this point, they are in the building their gadget prototype stage where they construct using recycled materials, 3D designed and printed objects and Little Bits circuits. We are pushing to pitch their prototypes during the final class! Look for a blog post with some final prototypes and student reflections on the LMC website soon.
6th grade mathematicians are using a wide variety of modalities to understand fractions. Students are working with traditional algorithms to add, subtract, multiply, divide and compare fractional expressions. They are supporting this work, however, with fraction pictures, number lines, clay models, story sentences and other visual models. Throughout all of this unit, our mathematicians take the time to explain the why behind each operation. Although the topic is fractions, our students are looking for a whole understanding:-)
7th grade mathematicians have all the angles when it comes to comparing figures in space. They are in the middle of a geometry unit and are learning terms such as supplementary and complementary when classifying angle pairs. For now, students will stick with angles whose measures are up to and including 180 degrees. This will lay the foundation for their work in years to come as they realize angles can have any measurement...even 1000 degrees!
8th grade mathematicians are taking the notion of relationships to a new level. They are in the process of studying how algebraic equations define relations between two sets of numbers. Additionally, they work at understanding when these relations may be classified as functions. Algebraic functions are of particular interest to mathematicians as they have convenient qualities and allow us to model the patterns we see in science, economics, sociology, etc.. The first category of functions that students will study is linear functions. When they graduate from MHS, they will have studied over 10 types of functions!
The Blake 6, 7&8 Orchestra's are busy preparing for their first concert of the year on Thursday, December 14th. The Concert starts at 7:00 PM in the MHS Auditorium. Come hear the annual performance of Dragon Hunter, a Viennese Waltz and a couple Winter favorites sprinkled in! Blake Chamber Strings will also be performing. All are welcome! Students should arrive at 6:15 PM in Concert Dress for tuning/warm up. Concert Dress is Black Dress Pants/Skirt with tights and a nice white top. No t-shirts please.
Grade 6 General Music with Mrs. Stover
We have begun a new unit on World Music with a particular focus on rhythm. Students are exploring Gahu - a particular drumming style from Ghana in West Africa. We are discussing the role of music in culture and making cross-curricular connections with social studies.
Grade 7 and 8 General Music with Mrs. Stover
Earlier this month a new related arts rotation commenced. Students are learning some beginning strumming techniques and chords as well as playing simple melodies on a single string. We have been listening to some great ukulele performers like Jake Shimabukuro and Tamaine Gardner.
The Blake Jazz Choir is performing at Brothers this Friday, Dec. 1 at 5:30-6:30pm. There will be festive holiday music and other popular tunes to enjoy!
Come on out and support our choral students and kick off the Holiday Stroll 2017. Also, on the horizon is the Blake Chorus Concert on Monday, Dec. 11th at 7pm in the auditorium. The students are looking forward to sharing their work with family, faculty, and friends.
The BMS Winter Bands Concert is Monday, December 4. The concert is in the Medfield High School auditorium and starts at 7:00 PM. Students need to report to the high school band room no later than 6:30 PM. The program will feature the Sixth Grade Band, Seventh and Eighth Grade Band and Jazz Ensemble.
Grade 6 wrapped up their investigations into the properties of matter. We spent time identifying the mixtures and learned how to separate them into their individual components. Our 6th grade students loved the hands on experience of separating various mixtures! Next, students will take a deeper view of matter through observations of the physical and chemical changes by which matter may/may not be changed. We are excited for the students to view some of the signs of physical and chemical reactions in labs and apply their understanding to examples in our lives.
Things are heating up in seventh grade science. At the beginning of the month students visited stations to explore thermal energy, methods of heat transfer, and the properties of conductors and insulators. Students then learned about the need for alternatives to wood for cooking in third world countries. Using the design process, students applied their knowledge to the design and testing of a solar cooker. Learning checks kept tabs on student understanding of the concepts as they built and tested their designs. Engineering teams will present their cookers to the class explaining how they maximized the principles of heat transfer in their solar cooker.
Grade 8 Science students began their chemistry unit this month and are currently learning about elements, compounds, and mixtures. As the Leonid meteor shower ramped up in the middle of the month, students used atom simulations, created art projects (and put them in virtual museums), and honed in on their molecule drawing skills. As the moon entered first quarter at the end of the month, students got to manipulate 3D atoms and molecules using Happy Atoms! Many thanks to MCPE for funding this manipulative.
In sixth grade World Geography classes, students are researching about mountains and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites some of them fall under. During this unit, students research a problem affecting the mountain's habitat, plant and animal life, or the people that live near or on the mountain. Then, students propose and research a viable solution to the problem. Afterwards, students write their first open response of the school year.
7th grade Ancient Civilizations students have just completed their study of ancient Egypt, a truly fascinating civilization. During this unit, students researched an Egyptian pharaoh with the goal of finding on why their pharaoh was important. Students presented their findings in the format of ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life. On one side, they presented their findings about the pharaoh. On the other side, they compared the pharaoh to an Egyptian god of their choice. During this unit students also spent time looking into the role of religion in Egyptian society. In truth, religion played a critical role. In fact, the pyramids can be described as the world’s largest grave markers. It was very important to the Egyptians that their pharaohs be preserved forever. For this reason, bodies were mummified. Mummification was an expensive and time consuming (up to 70 days!) process. The belief was that the body must be preserved so that the soul would have a home to come back to. This is why pharaohs were buried in the remote and mysterious “Valley of the Kings.” Although over the past few millenia most tombs have been robbed, the British archaeologist Howard Carter made a fantastic discovery in the 1920s of King Tut’s tomb. Tutankhamun, although not a very powerful pharaoh during his life, and someone who died at a relatively young age (around 18), is today probably the best-known pharaoh other than Cleopatra. After the Thanksgiving break, we will move upwards from Egypt into the land of Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon).
In December World History I students will be focusing on the Islamic Empire. This unit explores how Bedouin culture interacted and influenced the development of Islam. The 8th graders will also study how the Islamic empire changed and influenced both the Eastern and Western worlds. This unit really supports writing, exploration and analytical skills, especially as students relate the history being studied to current events.
Grade 7 Learning Center - Strategies are key this month!
--Integrated the use of an editing checklist after students complete their daily journal writing.
--Implemented time management techniques to complete several small social studies projects and studying for the Egypt unit test
-Reviewed vocabulary study strategies as students prepared for their first vocabulary unit test in English
Grade 8 Learning Center
This month students will be analyzing progress and setting goals for second term. :)
Speech and Language:
- Using The Mindful30 Challenge (Find Calm, Get Focused, and Make an Impact) with students across the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade
- Social Thinking - Social Behavior Maps "working as an Advisory Team" with thoughtful class discussion across the 6th and 7th grade advisory classes
- Using Google Classroom to promote the Social Thinking Curriculum across Blake with webinars and classroom lessons
- Using the Project Happiness Curriculum across the 6th and 7th grade classes to promotes social emotional learning
Grade 6 students are finishing their unit on the skill of Accessing Information. Students are learning ways to access Accurate, Credible, Easy to Use and Supported websites. We are researching information on the 6 essential nutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats, Protein, Vitamins, Minerals and Water) and the 4 types of exercise (Endurance, Strength Training, Balance and Flexibility). Through their research, students are looking for different sources for the 6 essential nutrients (foods where they can get these nutrients) and examples of the 4 different types of exercise which would be appropriate for middle school students. As our culminating activity, students will be making an information pamphlet that will serve as a guideline for students.
Grade 7 students have completed their Accessing Information unit, building upon the skill set of accessing valid, reliable health information. Students learned how to utilize Google Advanced Searches to filter their results for desired domains, dates, and specific terms while searching a variety of topics. As a part of a final assignment, each student evaluated three online sources to determine their validity as they gathered information on topics such as mononucleosis, sun protection, burns, conjunctivitis and first aid. After creating and sharing Google Slides presentations with their classes, students played a 'Kahoot!' review game as a fun recap of the information each group presented.
8th grade students have finished their Accessing Mental Health Information and Services unit by completing a brochure project. Students chose a topic (mental illness or eating disorder) and researched websites making sure they were accurate and credible. Students learned factual information about warning signs, symptoms and where to locate help. Next, students created an informational trifold brochure to present their information. Student projects are now accessible to all Blake students in the back of Health Room for all to explore and learn.
Grade 6 students have been enjoying our competitive team handball unit. Students have been taught the "Rule of 3's" - three seconds to possess/ move the ball, three steps with the ball and three passes before taking a shot on net. Through this unit we have been focusing on demonstrating an understanding of the rules and etiquette of handball while furthering the skills of passing, receiving and dribbling. Students have made the most of their time learning this new sport which is made up of many skills from games they are already familiar with. and for which success relies on the engagement of all teammates.
Grade 7 students recently finished their unit on Ultimate Frisbee. Skills included the backhand pass, catching, the give-and-go and transitioning from offense to defense. Students enjoyed playing small-sided games and working cooperatively with teammates. We enjoyed the crisp fall weather before starting up our indoor units.
Grade 8 classes are finishing up their unit on football. Over the past several weeks, students teams have been competing against one another, in preparation for the Turkey Bowl. Students have been learning about the rules of football and working on the skills of passing, catching and running routes. We are hoping that all the work that students have been putting into PE class will make for a very exciting Turkey Bowl (the annual 8th grade touch football tournament that raises donations for the Medfield Food Cupboard.) Students have had a great time with this unit and it has been rewarding to watch them come together as teams and demonstrate a better understanding and proficiency in the sport of football.
Happy Holidays from the Wellness Staff!
In sixth grade Spanish, students are learning to say what they and others like to do in different seasons. Somehow, none of them like to clean their bedrooms or the bathroom in any season! They are going to be learning some app smashing as they demonstrate their knowledge of this new vocabulary!
In sixth grade French, students have been working on expressing their likes and dislikes of a variety of things activities, including foods and sports. They created multi-media presentations that represent their interests using a range of feelings from I love to I hate.
In sixth grade Mandarin, students have finished Unit 1 lesson 3. By the end of this lesson, students could tell their nationalities, Chinese names, English names, ages, languages they speak in both speaking and writing format.
In 7th grade Spanish, students are just finishing up the unit on what is in a school and classroom. They enjoyed their “tour” of the school en español! They had fun figuring out and coming up with their own riddles using the vocabulary and learned the always important phrases: It’s a thing that...it’s a person who...it’s a place where…
The 7th grade French students are finishing their unit on school schedules. They can discuss their classes, including which periods they meet, at what time, and also express their opinions of the classes. Next, we will begin a unit on school supplies, leading up to conversations about what they need for each class.
In seventh grade Mandarin, students have finished Unit 4 lesson 3. By the end of the unit 4 lesson 3, students could ask people how they are doing and respond to people’s compliments in a culturally appropriate way.
After learning how to talk about making plans and then “getting ready,” eighth grade Spanish students are ready to actually go somewhere...to eat! We are starting off with breakfast and snack foods and then will work our way through lunch and dinner! Learning how to express hunger, thirst and what they LOVE and HATE to eat makes for fun conversations. Soon, they will be exploring the different foods that people across the Spanish speaking world enjoy for breakfast...get ready for culture shock and appreciation!
Students in eighth grade French are thinking about where their foods fit into the Pyramide alimentaire, the French Food Pyramid. After learning many different food items from les fruits et les légumes (fruits and vegetables), les féculents (carbohydrates), and all of the other groups on the pyramid, students will prepare for the filming of their very own French recipe. We will finish this unit with a celebration of la cuisine française as we share our delicious creations with our classmates.
In eighth grade Mandarin, students have finished Unit 8 lesson 3. By the end of this lesson, students could identify and ask about someone’s house number and telephone number, students also can invite someone to come over.