In our continued efforts to keep families informed and updated about the curriculum at Blake, each month we will be 'highlighting' 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 the updates for the month of October.
6th Grade: How can we use line to create the illusion of depth in a drawing? Students are creating architectural renderings of haunted houses. Using pen and ink, they are practicing mark-making techniques to create value and texture. They are using line quality and point of view to create a dramatic effect.
7th Grade: Why do artists create self-portraits? How can I capture a likeness? Seventh grade students are exploring self-portraits. They are creating a series of self-portraits through observation with mirrors, working from photographs, and using a grid structure to measure accurate proportions. They are looking at and discussing different ways artists use the portrait for illustration and expression.
8th Grade: How do artists show movement in a work of art? Students are learning figure drawing. They are drawing from the skeleton to understand skeletal proportions and drawing from models to capture the figure in motion in gesture drawings.
Grade 6: Students are in the final stages of instruction on Harris and Me, students’ first novel, where they learned about the elements of fiction including figurative language. In addition to knowing more about key components of fiction, students recently completed instruction on pronouns, and they will integrate these skills into their writing as they begin crafting personal narrative stories. Learning about the ET graphic organizer, students have also started recognizing how this tool can help them create more developed open response paragraphs.
Grade 7: Students in the seventh grade are wrapping up their fall short story unit focusing on how an author develops believable characters. Students have also focused on identifying round and flat characters and determining how each type can affect a story. Upon the completion of this unit, students will prepare and write their first multi-paragraph essay of the year on an influential person.
Grade 8: Students are finishing up their critical reading and class discussions on Arthur Miller's drama, The Crucible. Using these class discussions of theme and their growing understanding of character development, students will begin working on their Geometric Symbol Project for the play. For the project, students create a symbol for their character representing specific ways their character connects with other major characters in the drama. After the project concludes, students will begin instruction on writing an analytical essay based on the play.
Library Media Center
The Blake LMC is almost finished emerging from its major overhaul. All of our new, movable furniture is being regularly utilized by students and staff. Tech Integration teacher Diane Horvath has also used our revamped room for two parent presentations.
Medfield schools are in the midst of implementing a K-12 instructional sequence focusing on digital citizenship. With the explosion in use of digital technology, both in and out of school, we want our students to be equipped for lifetime use of the internet in a safe, responsible, and productive way. The project will launch next week, which has been dubbed Blake Digital Citizenry Week, with Advisory lessons on cyberbullying. From that point on, digital citizenship lessons will be incorporated into regular classroom instruction. The Library Media department’s grade 6 and 7 related rotation periods will also contribute by teaching website evaluation, improved search techniques, proper citation, digital footprint, safe ergonomics, and how to avoid multitasking. Please contact Jon Haycock with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Not too late for magazine orders – our annual magazine drive fundraiser has been extended through this Friday, October 31. Please get your orders in to help raise money for Blake - not to mention your sons and daughters earning awesome prizes. And don’t forget, if just half of an Advisory sells at least one order, they earn a mechanical pig to enter in the Thanksgiving Assembly’s culminating Pig Race – an unsurpassed Blake tradition for the past 16 years! Thanks for your support.
The 6th grade math students at Blake are settling into their MARS classes nicely. Last week, students experienced the math popcorn with extra butter while they practiced their skills in a statistics unit. Students are busy learning when to look to measures of center and when to look to measures of spread when analyzing data. Be careful asking your child the question, “What do you mean?” You may end up with a quick lesson on calculating the average!
A full study of integers and other real numbers is underway in 7th grade math at Blake. Our teachers are relying on your children’s artistic skills to help cement this knowledge. Around our school, students were seen creating beautiful works of art to express what an integer is. So if you would like to know, sharpen your colored pencils, graph a sketchbook and hand them to your 7th graders. The answer will impress you!
A foundational skill is being taught in 8th grade math classes. All students are working to solve linear equations. This skills is the single most important skill in algebra and students will work with these equations all year long. Often students are solving for x, but the variable may change depending upon the application. Want to solve for time? You will see t. Interested in calculating profit? P will appear. Curious about the height of an object? Use h. This list goes on and on. Blake students will apply their algebraic skills to these problems and more!
The 6th grade Science Team continues to collaborate closely with our new content partner Kristin Buley. She has brought a creative approach to learning in the science classroom. 6th grade students are currently diving into the Scientific Method. Students worked with their peers to design their own experiment and shared their work by creating an Explain Everything project. Students are now beginning to learn about controlled experiments and soon they will also begin brainstorming ideas about an independent investigation they would like to conduct.
The 7th grade is exploring the world of cells! After finishing our recent unit on microscopes, students are in prime shape to use those new skills to closely observe animal and plant cells. We will be looking at onion, aloe, frog blood, and students’ cheek cells over the next few weeks. Students will also investigate the functions of an assortment of animal and plant cell parts. They will use what they have learned by incorporating these functions into a form of integrative technology. Students will use text, images, and videos to help explain how all of the parts of the animal and plant cells function and how those parts depend on each other for the whole cell to function correctly. It will be a great few weeks!
With the canoe trips and both the Scientific Method and Metrics unit under their belts, the eighth grade science classes have moved on to learning about Mass and Volume. Students have been enhancing their precise measuring skills using multiple tools in the lab, including triple beam balances and graduated cylinders.
With October coming to a close, students will be learning how to calculate the volume of air in a sample of sand. They will also be discovering how to use water displacement to calculate the volume or mass by floating and submerging different objects. This will give them the proper foundation to begin learning about Density in our next unit of study.
6th graders are working towards memory mapping the Western Hemisphere and starting to learn about the landscape of the earth starting with mountains. In a couple of weeks thy will be making paper mâché mountains as part of the mountain research project.
Students in 7th grade have begun an in-depth unit on ancient Egypt. This unit will continue through Thanksgiving and will include a number of different types of assessments from a small map quiz to a large test as well as a mini research project and an introspective piece of writing. The unit is usually one of the favorites for the students as they will be incorporating technology regularly through pyramid building software, Google Earth visits to different locations in Egypt, and mummification discussions from world renowned experts. A highlight of the unit will happen in mid November when an Egyptologist visits Blake to discuss her experiences in Egypt and share her numerous artifacts with the students.
World History I students are currently wrapping up the study of the Byzantine and Russian Empires and beginning a unit on the development of Islamic Empires. Students recently utilized their iPads to create a product which allowed them to summarize and reflect on their experience during the Russian Icon Museum field trip. The Islamic Empires unit will focus on the rise of Islam, its expansion around the globe and the causes and effects of that expansion from both a contemporary and a historical perspective.
Health Education: In grade 6, we are finishing up a unit on Self Esteem and the students are working on a Personal Coat of Arms project where they will present their individuals talents and strengths. In the 7th grade we are talking about Independence and Expectations, and will soon begin lessons centered around Family Communication. In 8th Grade, we are wrapping up a unit on the Psychology of Learning. Students have had an opportunity to find out what type of learner they are and were provided with study tips specifically designed to help them in their academic classes.
Physical Education: 6th and 7th grade students have finished the cluster vs cluster track meet and have moved on to our next units. For the 6th grade, we are starting yoga and team handball. In 7th grade, we are starting lacrosse and yoga. We may continue to go outside for classes, so students should be prepared with sweatshirts and sweatpants! In 8th grade, we are starting to prepare our students for the upcoming Turkey Bowl. The Turkey Bowl is an annual touch football event for students with the multiple goals of raising food for the Medfield Food Cupboard, practicing collaboration skills, and experiencing enjoyment in a moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Students will play in teams of four players and will be asked to bring in one non-perishable food item per player. The Turkey Bowl will take place on Tuesday, November 25th. For more information, please visit us at http://blakemspe.weebly.com/.
Consumer Science: The first rotation of classes is ending on Tuesday, November 4th. It has been a great privilege to work with your children, teaching them how to follow recipes, and to safely use kitchen tools and appliances to prepare nutritious, delicious foods! I hope that you encourage your children to prepare the recipes they have learned in class for your family at home, and to assist you regularly in the planning, preparation and cleanup of meals. For more information about the consumer science program, please visit http://blakeconsumerscience.weebly.com/. I am looking forward to starting with a new group of consumer science students next week!
From our families to yours, we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
At the beginning of the month the World Language department met to discuss our student centered goals for the year. We have identified several tasks that we would like our students to be able to accomplish during their time in our courses. While we teach four different skills in out subject: speaking, reading, writing, listening, and writing, we all agree that many of our students will, someday, be in a situation where they will want to converse with someone who speaks a language other than English. With this in mind, our students have been working on many proficiency –based tasks.
6th grade: In Mandarin class, students are learning how to identify a few school items and describe them with color words.
In French, students recently learned how to meet and greet each other with a basic conversation, including asking names, how they are feeling, and saying goodbye. They enjoyed practicing with each other and recording their conversations in the language lab. We are currently learning to recognize and say the numbers 1-20 using songs and various games. In the sixth grade Spanish classes, students are actively engaged in learning about the countries and capitals of Spanish-speaking world. They are currently creating Explain Everything videos using vocabulary to get to know a "friend" from another part of the world.
7th grade: In Mandarin, students are working on provide more information about yourself include name, age, likes, dislikes, and be able to find this information from others. They also started working on recognizing characters. In French class, seventh grade students have just performed a greetings skit. They projected lockers and classrooms on the whiteboards using the Apple TV, and then in front of this backdrop they introduced themselves and discussed their likes and dislikes. In seventh grade Spanish, students are finishing up our unit talking about nationalities. They've created their own profile on an Explain Everything, recorded their voices, and listened and to one another's work, while making suggestions to improve pronunciation. This week, students are preparing for their first speaking quiz in the newly updated language lab.
8th grade: In eighth grade mandarin class, students are working on more greetings, likes, dislikes, and recognizing characters. Eighth grade French students just finished creating children's Halloween booklets. They told a story imagining what each person in their family would be for Halloween. After completion, they shared their projects with each other. Eighth grade Spanish students are continuing to build their knowledge and vocabulary around the theme of "making plans". They are learning to initiate conversations via phone calls and texts, invite their friends out, and either enthusiastically accept an invitation or politely decline the invitation as well.