18 May

Grade Level Updates

Grade 6:  While the school year may be starting to wind down, we have been quite busy in sixth grade this month! There are a lot of exciting things happening on the hallway as students participate in work associated with final units.

In Math 6, students started work on an algebra unit. They learned to use letters to represent unknown variables and to write an algebraic expression in one variable. They also worked on evaluating algebraic expressions in one variable using substitution as well as simplifying algebraic expressions in one variable by adding or subtracting like terms. The classes will now move on 4-sided shapes and triangles, while continuing to work on algebra. In advanced math, students completed a unit on the area of circles, while at the same time continuing to work on solving equations. They learned to find the area and perimeter of compound figures made up of rectangles, triangles, semicircles and/or quarter circles. The classes will now move on 4-sided shapes and triangles, while continuing to work on algebra. In hyper math 6, students are working on graphing quadratic functions, also known as parabolas.

In science, students are working diligently on their Experimental Design Projects. Students are researching multiple brands of a consumer product, and then concluding which brand is more reliable based on their testing and price. Students will be presenting their findings May 23 from 12:15-2:00 PM in Hajjar Auditorium. We hope you can join us!

In English, after finishing reading the novel, Lions of Little Rock, students embarked on their second analytical essay. Students have been tracking two themes throughout the story, and they have been using these annotations to guide their essay planning. The students have been workshopping the essays over the next two weeks, focusing especially on how to best analyze the text in support of our ideas. Their final essay is due next week. Then, the students will work on a cumulative project to wrap up the year.

In social studies, students have been writing their first essay on the Minoans and Mycenaeans. The class also spent some time at the MET’s renowned Greek and Roman wing last week, where we explored how Greek art changed over time. Upon our return we have continued our exploration of ancient Greece, specifically the development of Polei – Greek City-States – and the governments of Athens and Sparta. Onward towards Greek Day!

Grade 7: With the warm weather finally arriving, the 7th grade is finishing out the year strong with their last full month of classes.  In science classes, 7th graders have been hard at work in the green house.  Small groups have designed experiments to test different variables on plants.  This activity will culminate with a final lab report.  In English classes, 7th graders have finished reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have begun learning their parts to act out scenes from the play. Last week, actors from the company, Shakespeare Live!, visited our classrooms to lead workshops with the students.  In Social Studies, students are working on the storyboarding and text for their Refugee Children’s Book Project. This an important step, as students develop stories that will capture the experience of refugees in a way that can communicate their hardships to 3rd grade students.  In 7th grade CP math, students are planning an outdoor festival fundraiser to raise money for refugee children as a connection to what they are learning in Social Studies. All the proceeds will go to UNICEF. During the planning process, students will be learning about ratios, proportions, percents, and applying equations. The date of the festival is still to be determined.  Please check for updates in your emails or school announcements.  In advanced math classes, students are beginning their final chapter of algebra.  They will focus on writing and graphing equations. Lastly, students in Hyper 7 math will finish their programming strand by coding a simple game. During that time, they will be finishing up our work with Quadratics and Parabolas as well.

Grade 8: The 8th grade is heading into the end of the year with productive purpose. Currently in science, lab partners are working on their SciTube projects which focus on the message that “the world we depend on depends on us.” In math class, the concepts of quadratic equations, factoring, and graphing are being explored by both college prep and advanced classes. The Shakespeare tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is being read aloud during English, and students are working on their final Portfolio project outside of class. Lastly, driven by the essential question, “what can we learn about human behavior from studying the Holocaust?”, Our 8th graders continue to explore the causes and effects of the Nazis’ rise to power.

16 Apr

Grade Level Happenings

The sixth grade picked up right where we left off after a relaxing March break. April has been busy, and the pace will continue to pick up throughout the spring.

In Math 6, students have been working on circles, relating the circumference of a circle to its diameter and finding the circumference of a circle when given the diameter and radius. They have also been finding the perimeter of a semicircle and quarter circle and related shapes, as well as finding the perimeter of a compound shape made up of rectangles, triangles, semicircles and/or quarter circles. In Math 6 Advanced, students reviewed circumference and how to find the perimeter of a semicircle and quarter circle and related shapes, as well as finding the perimeter of a compound shape made up of rectangles, triangles, semicircles and/or quarter circles. They are now working on how to solve the area of a circle. While the class has been working on circles, they have also been working on solving basic equation and equivalent equations. The Hyper 6 class is currently working on factoring expressions to allow them to find important points on a parabola like the x-intercepts and the vertex more easily. The current unit, on quadratic expressions and equations, will include two projects on parabolas.

In English class, students started reading our last novel, Kristen Levine’s Lions of Little Rock. The book takes place in 1958, the year after the Little Rock Nine attended Central High School. The students are enjoying reading the book so far. Starting this Wednesday, students will be asked to select two themes that they see emerging in the story. They will track these themes in their annotations, and eventually they will use these themes to help them write an analytical essay. In the meantime, students are going to continue practicing the TEA and ICE structure in other writing assignments.

In social studies, students have finished a timeline project on Greek History. Mr. Fleisher will be meeting with each group to evaluate both the timeline and the group’s teamwork. Afterwards, they turn their attention to the Minoans and Mycenaeans – early Greek cultures – and prepare for their first essay. To connect to the unit on the ancient Greeks, the students will go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4th. They will be sketching Greek pottery to show how Greek art has changed over time.

Finally, in science, students are learning about the periodic table, atoms, and the pH scale. Student have also been working on their Adopt-n-Element presentation. Each student was assigned one of the 118 elements, and he or she is asked to create an iMovie and a poster explaining it to their classmates. The poster will be used to create a living periodic table in the back of the room. After the chemistry unit, students will be learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion and flight. On April 26, students will be going to the USS Intrepid Museum for tour and a flight workshop that will tie into what they are learning in class.

After returning from spring break, the 7th grade kicked off their new English unit based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream by watching the 1999 movie. Students will soon begin reading and performing scenes from the play during class this week. Meanwhile, seventh graders are continuing to work on their collections of original poetry at home.  In Social Studies, students are learning about some world religions, and are working on creative review videos to help their peers understand more about these different religions. Students will soon begin a unit on the refugee crisis as well. The advanced math students continue their study of ratios. They have been using dimensional analysis to solve complex conversion problems.  Lastly, in science students are studying the human impact on bees as well as the role bees play in the pollination of our food sources. A beekeeper will be coming in to speak with the grade about bees and their role in the environment later this week. This unit will eventually lead into our study of plant reproduction.

The 8th graders recently visited the Takasago Corporation in Teterboro, NJ. Takasago is one the world’s largest flavor and fragrance companies, and the students enjoyed hands on activities and witnessed “science” in the real world. Back on campus in English class, students recently finished a unit on Advertising rhetoric and are beginning a unit on Poetry. The culmination of the Poetry unit will be to present and recite a poem to their classmates in celebration of April as National Poetry month.  Using the terminology explored during their rhetoric classes, history classes will begin to research and examine Nazi propaganda during the Holocaust. In an effort to continue to create more connections between the disciplines, students in math class used the program Tynker to explore block programming before starting a unit on polynomials. This investigative work in programming will help the 8th grade during the Robotics Unit in science class. All in all, the 8th grade is certainly busy heading into Spring.

16 Mar

Grade Level Updates

In the weeks leading up to the spring break, the sixth graders have been busy on lots of new and exciting curriculum. In Social Studies, students are working in teams of four to plan and create a poster depicting 1400 years of Greek History. First the students choose one of four topics to study – a General Timeline; the Persian Wars; Literature; and Maths, Science, and Philosophy. Then, each of those students will take turns teaching their group about their topic. Finally, the students will plan out how to show all the things they have learned on one, giant poster-sized timeline. In English, students finished reading Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry this week. After tracking the themes of power and coming of age, the students are working on their first analytical essay. Class instruction is focused on teaching the format and foundation for longer analytical pieces. Students are focusing on crafting a clear thesis statement, finding solid evidence to support their main ideas, and then developing their analysis to support their opinions. The students will be drafting, revising, and peer editing their essays before spring break.

In science, students have started the robotics unit. Students are using Lego EV3 blocks and Legos to engineer and program a robot to achieve certain objectives in teams of 2 or 3 students. Students are creating their own design to accomplish tasks, such as: getting the robots to move, robots to move a block, and navigate a road course. In Math 6, students continue to work on fractions, solving problems with mixed operations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, while following the rules for order of operations. In the Advanced Math 6 classes, students finished a fraction unit on solving problems with mixed operations while following the rules for order of operations. At the same time, the students have been continuing to work on variables, terms and expressions in algebra. Finally, the Hyper Math class has been working on three things: linear functions, data analysis and parabolas. In data analysis, students are combining their knowledge of linear functions with their spreadsheeting skills to determine how accurate their approximations are. Percent error is a very important tool for us in this endeavor.

Grade 7 is finishing up with their cross-curricular UN Sustainable Development Goals PBL unit as spring break approaches.  In Social Studies, students are working on their TED Talks which will explore the issue students researched related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students have been viewing TED Talk examples and will deliver their own similar Talk on the issue that interested them.  In English, students are writing a feature article based on their research related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Articles will be published on a class website. The ADV Math class has completed their unit on graphs, which were incorporated into their feature articles in English.  Now students are moving into the study of proportions including dimensional analysis and percent. Students are also completing an activity called “Capture/ Recapture” to experience real world examples. Lastly in Science, students have wrapped up the UN Sustainable Goals unit with a presentation on their STEM challenges in class.  They are working on a cell unit. Students just finished a lab where they explored the difference between onion and elodea plant cells under the microscope.

Our African Drummers in Grades 7 and 8 were the featured musicians at the annual Lower School West African Drumming Assembly. It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their newly acquired skills and for both the lower school youngsters and our middle school youngsters  to experience the bonding that energized listening and synchronized heartbeats create.

Have a few minutes? If so, check out the videos from the Domino Rally event on the “BLIMP” (library blog).

28 Feb


In the World Language classes, our Grade 6 Spanish students continue to describe their family with appropriate adjectives. Now, they are adding a few more verbs such as “ir a” “venir” and expressions with the verb “tener.” Grade 7 is learning possessive adjectives, comparative and superlative. Grade 8 Continuing students are learning about their daily routine by using reflexive verbs. They are practicing about how to shop in a supermarket and in a clothing store. Others in the advanced level are learning the future tense. They are creating or inventing something original that can help the environment and presenting to their classmates.

Our Grade 7 French students are continuing are in the last stages of their PBL to publicize a French speaking country.  We are also studying command forms, possessive adjectives, and conjugation patterns.  Students aim to use French exclusively. Our Grade 7 students are watching a video about the rise of the Roman Empire as they continue to add Latin and English vocabulary and study the third declension.

Grade 8 Latin students are beginning to explore infinitives and a few irregular verbs commonly used with infinitives. They are making connections between the irregular patterns of these new verbs and the patterns of verbs we have previously learned. The Grade 8 Latin Advance students are learning how to break down and translate multi-clause sentences, specifically sentences that make use of relative (adjective) clauses. They recently spent a little time translating and discussing an authentic Latin love poem from Catullus.

14 Feb

Grade Level Updates

Grade 6: We really enjoyed seeing so many parents and teachers at our Food and Identity Unit Celebration this past Thursday. It was a great way to culminate the unit, and students enjoyed sharing their work with adults in our community. In addition to sharing their work, students enjoyed a fabulous feast, comprised of foods that represented our diverse community. A big thank you to everyone who made it possible! The students all have the full class “book” on their iPads, and each student will be bringing home their individual pages next week. Please ask your son or daughter to share it with you!

In social studies, students have begun to study Greek mythology. Their goal is to try to figure out what they can learn about the ancient Greeks based on their religious stories and the behavior of their gods. To help them, they are listening to “The Planets” Suite by Gustav Holst, which shows the students how enduring these stories and characters are.

In English, the majority of January was spent on a food poetry unit. Using various types of poetry as an inspiration, students wrote a collection of food poetry. They picked two pieces to edit and polish. Students wrote about their favorite foods, eating various dishes, and cooking experiences. Highlights also included a food idiom lesson and concrete poetry (shape poetry), also inspired by food. Then, last week, students started reading Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This book takes place in 1930’s Mississippi during the Great Depression. Students are tracking two themes in this book: coming of age and power. Close annotations will guide discussions and writing.

In science, students have been finishing up their work with understanding GMO’s and organic foods. Students analyzed the pros and cons of both in their daily diets. Students also learned a basic understanding and DNA, which will be capped off with the Strawberry DNA extraction lab. Then, students will be researching an African-American scientist in recognition of their work and the month of February being Black History Month.

In Math 6, students have been hard at work on their corn PBL. They started the unit by doing research on corn farming in the USA. Students then explored real corn that was grown in the DE garden. Students estimated the length of the classroom before measuring it. They used the measurement of the classroom to inform the estimate of the hallway before they measured it. The students then estimated the length and width of Umpleby parking lot, and then they measured it in groups. The students used the measurements to get a better understanding of how big a square acre is. This was significant for their understanding of farms that have as many as 600 acres of corn fields. Students also completed computations, using calculators to figure how many kernels per ear, per bushel, per acre as well as, how many rows per acre, bushels per acre etc. Advanced Math students did all of the same work but completed more pages of cornfield math calculations. The Hyper Math class spent time estimating and measuring linear quantities like the 3rd floor Umpleby corridor, and the length and width of the Big (Sherman) Gym and Small (Silberfein) Gym. They also learned how to write algebraic expressions for lengths and widths increased by percentages and determining how those changes would affect any resulting change in area. They brought our work back to the PBL Food unit by determining how much food (corn, in particular) could be grown in one acre, and how much a farmer could earn from the corn in one acre and did research to determine the origin of the number of square feet in one acre.

Finally, to celebrate a month of hard work, the sixth graders spent Friday afternoon ice skating, bowling, and playing games at the Englewood Field Club. Everyone had a wonderful time!

Grade 7: The seventh grade started off our February visiting the United Nations.  This jumpstarts our team-wide cross-curricular UN PBL.  The main question students will be focusing on throughout the unit in each class is “Are we moving towards a better world”?  The project has started off in both social studies and science.  Students are researching issues related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in social studies and are completing STEM challenges based on some of these issues in science.  Meanwhile, students are finishing up a mini unit on Slope in Advance Math 7.  Lastly, in English students recently met with the author An Na, the author of the novel A Step From Heaven. They have now moved on to writing an analytical essay in response to the text.

Students in Dean Aitken’s Grade 7 grade Movie Innovation Discovery Class recently completed a 3-week creative build PBL project in the Taub Center.  The project challenged students to create and build their own movie making equipment, focusing specifically on camera stabilization.  With some build models as a guide, students worked in groups of 2 to create both Steadicams and Gimbal camera stabilization devices.  Along the way they ran into several obstacles such as poor hardware, screw or bolts that did not fit, and other construction issues, and they were asked to creatively solve all of these problems.  Each day saw students hammering, sawing, gluing, tapping and wrenching all with mixed materials of metal, PVC and wood.  As the groups finished, they underwent field testing focused on evaluating the effectiveness of their devices through six test moving camera shots (4MPH +).  Adjustments were made as needed and then students wrote final reflections on their devices and on usage techniques.  Finally, the class analyzed the test shots and looked at the most effective shots discussing what made them work so well.  The next project the groups will undertake will be the creation of a live action “dialogue less” short film, with several moving camera scenes of course, utilizing their newly created camera stabilizers.

31 Jan

Grade Level Updates

In the World Language classes… Our 6th graders in Spanish are learning about how to describe their family with appropriate adjectives. Students created songs using the verb “SER” and wrote their first mini-paragraph of 15 sentences describing their favorite television show. Our 7th grade students created videos of their daily student life at D-E. Some of our 8th graders have described two of their favorite clothing outfits in the target language. Others are learning about Global Warming, and how to best help our mother nature. They are using the imperative forms to talk about this important issue. In Latin, our 7th graders are learning and singing the second declension and neuter noun forms. They are also using interrogative terms and will soon begin their study of the imperfect and perfect tenses.  They continue to build vocabulary, interpret case endings, and translate and construct increasingly more complex sentences and passages. In Latin 8, they have been studying Roman politics and are using what we have learned as a chance to discuss, “Would a Roman rather have wealth or fame?” and “Would you rather have wealth or fame?” In Latin 8 Advanced, students have been discussing the morality of the Roman invasion of Britain with questions like, “Who benefited from the invasion of Britain?” and “If you were emperor, would you have invaded Britain?”. Soon they are going to begin studying adjectives as they continue to delve further into Latin Grammar. Our French 7th grade students (W) are completing their PBL on their adopted French-speaking country.  They are also studying emphatic pronouns, prepositional contractions, and the immediate future tense.  Our goal is to use French exclusively, build vocabulary, and practice writing skills.

In the arts, a new semester means a new group of Drama classes in both 7th and 8th grade. Our 7th grade students are learning stress-reduction techniques. And our 8’s are diving right into their “Crush” video projects!

Our vocal/choral ensembles are diving into preparation for our next concert in May. This semester we will be exploring New York City through the lens as a city of revolution. Studying music that tracks the city from earliest days to the modern city it has become, we will see how music was at the forefront of the major time periods in the city’s development. Along with the Visual Arts Department, students will create costumes, props and other visual elements to enhance the performance.

Studio Art 6 will be kicking off the three-dimensional art-making semester with our new “Protect Our Planet: Earthships to the Rescue” PBL unit. For the project students will be reflecting on the concept of sustainability and how their everyday use of natural resources has a direct impact on the planet. At the start of the project we will have a guest speaker join our classes to discuss successful environmental sustainability projects that she has been involved with. The physical artwork for the unit will challenge students to design and construct their own Earthships, which are self-sustaining houses. After carefully drawing and elevation and floor plan for their Earthship, each student will make a 3-D model using a combination of recyclables, art materials, and other unique supplies. To learn more about Earthships go to https://www.earthshipglobal.com/

Studio Art 7 students are beginning their semester of studio art with drawings about themselves to share out. Then, in the first unit, we will engage in the three main ways of drawing: contour, blind contour, and gesture drawing. Through practice with these techniques, students will be able to improve their drawing skills.  In the upcoming weeks, students will choose a shoe to bring in and draw it realistically using what they have learned for the first project

Studio Art 8 students this semester will focus on three-dimensional art-making.  Students have been assigned to two groups, each with a Project Manager and Assistant Project Manager. The young designers are being asked to focus on the question “How can we as artists create headdresses that are durable, wearable, exciting and in-the round to be worn during Lion King Jr.?”

17 Jan

Grade Level Updates

Grade 6: In sixth grade, the first highlight of 2018 was a fabulous trip to MoMath last Wednesday, January 3. Students participated in a workshop about probability, and then they had an opportunity to explore the museum. In math 6 classes, students are analyzing data with pie charts, and in advanced math 6, students are adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers. In hyper Math, students are finishing up their Stairs Project with a foray into right triangle trigonometry. They will use what they learn to determine the angle that a set of stairs makes as it rises. In science, students are preparing for a frog dissection on Wednesday, January 10. This experience is part of a unit on genetics. In social studies, students are studying the geography of Greece. In English, students are working on a final project about The Giver, and they will present their work to each other on Thursday. At the same time, students will be conferencing with Mrs. Macone about their analytical paragraphs. Earlier this week the sixth grade also kicked-off their Food and Identity Unit. Information about this unit can be found in the letter that was sent home earlier this week (or viewable by clicking here).

Grade 7: The seventh grade team returned back to school after winter break ready to take on the new year.  In Advanced Math 7, students continue their work with equation solving.  This week they are focusing on literal equations.  In Science, classes are off to a great start with the Conservation Conversation unit.  Each class is finishing up watching Racing Extinction. This documentary brings awareness to our impact as humans on the impending loss of nearly half of Earth’s species.  In Social Studies, students are beginning to write their Oppression and Resistance essays. Students will choose an essay topic surrounding the unit question of “how do people resist oppression?”. Students read When My Name Was Keoko and saw relevant scenes from the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi as the sources for this undertaking. Through this assignment, students will further develop the essay writing skills they have been working on in both English and social studies throughout the year.  Lastly, seventh grade English students have begun to read the novel A Step from Heaven and are developing their analytical reading and writing skills.  They are also in the process of creating an immigration sound recording based on an interview with an immigrant. The unit will culminate with a visit from the author of A Step from Heaven, An Na, and students writing their second literary essay of the year. Ms. Na will spend the day with our 7’s on January 29; ; She will talk about her experience as an author and do a writing workshop with our students.

Grade 8: The 8th grade is celebrating the new year with the launch of several new projects. In history class, students have finished their study of the Constitution equipped with the understanding of their civic powers. Capitalizing on this momentum, they have begun the Making a Difference Project or MaD project. Students will research a social injustice for which they feel passionate. Ultimately, they will create a website and speech that will inform the public of their cause as well as detail a plan that will help further their cause. In math and science class, students are finishing the integrated density unit. Before the break students were tasked with making a cardboard boat that could hold as much mass as possible. Once the boats were constructed, students competed against each other to see who had the strongest boat. Congratulations to Sasha, Julia, and Josh who were the clear champions! Finally, in English class, students have begun to read the Harper Lee classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel’s focus on compassion and empathy sets a hopeful and vibrant tone to 2018.

15 Dec

Grade Level Happenings

Special Note to Grade 6 Parents: Sixth Grade is going on a Trip Jan 3rd!  We are excited to be going to MoMath during the school day on Wednesday after the break.  Please see Mrs. Segar’s letter for details.  Note that we are coming back to campus before the end of the day, and students will attend TAG and their last period classes.  For this reason, we do NOT recommend parents pick up in the city after this trip.  However, if you want to make any special arrangements, please e-mail Tasha Urbanowski no later than noon on January 2nd. Thank you!

From our Studio Art Classes:

The 6th graders completed a personalized puzzle piece as part of a collaborative project with the Chorus classes for the Winter Arts Festival concert.  In class, students have studied the component of an effective still-life, and practiced watercolor painting techniques to create their own pieces.  We are finishing up this month with an introduction to portrait drawing, which will be the focus of the last project of the semester.

In 7th grade, students are creating their online digital portfolios in the Seesaw app.  Students will be able to see the work done in the other sections of studio art, as well as comment on one another’s work.  This week we are very excited to have begun the Coloring Page Project, our PBL for studio art.  There will be a coloring book printed and distributed to local hospital patients and members of the D-E Community.  Look for more information about this wonderful endeavor after the winter break.

Last month the 8th grade students were visited by the art teachers to guide students on their set designs for the Living Wax Museum.  By using the “flipped classroom” model, students were able to view a “helpful tips and examples” slideshow before the visit in order to help with the discussions during the visit.  Receiving and giving feedback to one another according to their preliminary sketches proved to be a useful tool for the design component of this multi-faceted work.

In the studio, the 8th grade artists designed a skateboard deck that reflected his/her personality.  By using an online tool for collaborative discussion called “Scatterspoke”, students were able to reflect on their own work and on the project design.

From Drama Classes/Theater:  The 8th grade will be participating in their first semester Coffee House on Thursday. The 7th grade finished their Mindfulness Unit, and Lion King Jr., our Spring Musical, has been cast!

From Chorus classes: We just finished our production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat for the Winter Arts Festival 2017.

In the World Language classes, our 6th grade students are learning how to write simple sentences with the verb SER and will create a song with the verb conjugation as well as write a short paragraph in Spanish talking about their favorite cartoon show. Our 7th graders are learning how to write sentences with AR verbs and will be creating a video describing their daily school life. Some of our 8th graders are creating conversations at a store between a store clerk and a customer, using a variety of difficult grammar such as indirect and direct object pronouns, the two “know” verbs and demonstrative adjectives. Others are learning about the importance of technology as a way of faster communication in Latin America.

Our 7th Latin students completed their mini PBL …based on the video, Roman City. They worked collaboratively to learn material about Roman urban planning, values, and Empire building.  They produced an assessment and designed an artistic component. Students also studied the first declension, cases, sentence analysis, and the life style of the upper classes and Roman cuisine. In Latin 8th Advanced, we recently learned about Roman politics – discussing whether the Romans (and the students) prized fame or wealth more highly and using Caesar’s famous quote “I would rather be first here [i.e. in Gaul] than second in Rome” to talk about ambition. We also wrote political speeches in the Roman style attacking Mark Antony to better understand ancient political invective.

In French, our 7th graders studied and used the “Big 4”….the most important verbs…irregular and essential. They also learned vocabulary (often through songs) about homes, cities, classroom materials, and directions.  Students are using French more assertively to communicate in oral and written expression.

04 Dec

Grade Level Updates from our Core Teams

Team 6: It has been another busy month in the sixth grade. In English, the students wrapped up the Moment PBL unit. They each wrote about a significant moment in their life, and then they shared them with their English classes. Finally, the students shared their pieces on a blog. Then, last week they started reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver. During this first full class novel, students will be following the theme of individuality and writing about it in analytical paragraphs. They are focusing on the guiding question: What makes someone a unique individual, and why is that individuality important? The grade will watch the movie adaptation of the book before winter break.

In social studies, students continued their study of Egypt, and they have finished researching their roles for Egypt Day. They have started to rehearse and develop each room collaboratively. We look forward to having the 5th grade and the parents join us for our Egypt Day performances on December 14th.

In science, students began an introduction to human anatomy. Students also created an iMovie for their “Get to know YOU” presentations. Students selected a general topic and picked specific items they found interesting to present to the class. Students will be concentrating on learning specific bones of the skeletal system and also tying human anatomy in with Egyptian mummification and doing the Apple Mummy Lab. Finally, students will compare/contrast the anatomy of frogs to that of humans.

In Math 6, students finished a unit on solids and their nets. They learned to identify nets of cubes, cuboids, prisms, and pyramids; identify the solid represented by a net; determine whether a figure can be a net of a given solid; and determine whether a solid can be formed from a given net. They have just started a percentage unit where students learned how to express part of a whole as a fraction or as a percentage, express one quantity as a percentage of another, find the whole or a percentage part when given the value of a percentage part, and solve word problems which involve percentage.

In Advanced Math, students finished a unit on percentage. They learned how to express part of a whole as a fraction or as a percentage, express one quantity as a percentage of another, find the whole or a percentage part when given the value of a percentage part, and solve word problems which involve percentage. They recently started our work on speed. Students will interpret speed as distance traveled per unit of time, read and write units of speed, find average speed, and solve word problems that involve speed, distance, and time.

In Hyper Math, students will spend several classes working on a relationship called Direct Variation. The students have seen this before in the guise of “solving proportions,” but they will learn to graph linear equations from their work on this and will incorporate the concept of slope from their “Stairs Project.” It should be challenging and possibly fun!

We look forward to seeing many parents and families at Parent-Teacher conferences and Egypt Day!

Team 7: The seventh grade recently visited the Bronx Zoo to kick off their science unit on conservation.  At the beginning of the unit, students will focus on biomes, trophic levels, and food chains.  Eventually, students will focus on and research an endangered or threatened species of their choice.  In English, students are finishing up their dystopian short stories. They will be reading them aloud to their peers this Friday. They will also publish their stories on writeabout.com for all of their classmates to read.  In social studies, students are beginning their unit on oppression and resistance. Students will begin reading the novel When My Name Was Keoko, while examining the various faces of oppression and how oppressed people seek to resist this.  Lastly, math classes are continuing to use problem strategies to attack each challenge.   More specifically, Math 7 classes are adding and subtracting integers in their current unit.  The Hyper Math class is working with their calculators to program matrixes.  Lastly, the advanced group has just completed Unit 1 with a Stretch Your Mind Assessment.

Team 8: On Monday, November 27, the eighth grade headed to Philadelphia to visit not only the Constitution Center, but also the Franklin Institute. At the Franklin Institute students participated in a live action science demonstration about combustion, and at the Constitution Center students explored the different freedoms which our Constitution protects. This field trip was a cumulative experience for the chemistry unit in science class as well as an entry event for history’s class Constitution unit. Meanwhile in English class, students are reading the classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, and learning how Ray Bradbury effectively used symbolism to convey his fears for society. Finally, math class is preparing for an interdisciplinary unit with science on density. The final project for this unit will be to construct a miniature boat from recycled material that can hold mass. The boat which can hold the most mass will receive a special accolade from the math and science teachers. 

06 Nov

Grade Level Happenings

Grade 6: October was a wonderful month for our sixth graders. Classes were able to gain traction, and the students have been working diligently across the curriculum.

In English, students wrapped up the short stories unit. They wrote two analytical paragraphs about these stories, which allowed them to practice the TEA and ICE structure in their writing. This past week they kicked off a PBL focused on identifying and writing about significant moments in their lives. They are working on a draft of this piece now. In a few weeks, they will share their work with their classmates and in a blog.

After a trip to the American Museum of Natural History and a successful Hominid Lab experience, social studies classes are wrapping up their study of hominids. They have been working on their hominid projects this week, and next week they will present their work to their peers. These projects allowed the students voice and choice, as they proposed their individual project plans to Mr. Fleisher. At the conclusion of these projects, Mr. Fleisher will also conference with the students about their work.

In science, students are wrapping up their evolution units. They completed Evolution Revolution presentations with a classmate, focusing on how animals have evolved over time. They also completed two labs (a thumb lab and an evolutionary bean lab), which allowed them to connect their learning with hands-on experience. During the labs, students learned how to display and analyze their data using both line and bar graphs.

In Math 6, students just wrapped up their ratio and proportions unit. They have been focused on trying to solve proportions with bar model or common factors and looking at relationship between two parts.

In Advanced Math, students just finished a unit on changing ratios. They are now studying solid figures and nets. They are also exploring the nets of cubes. This unit culminates in a study of tetrahedra, where the students are asked how many different tetrahedra they can create using Polydron (plastic shapes which click together) from the following triangles: small equilateral, isosceles, right angled isosceles, and large equilateral. The students are working in groups of 3 or 4 and will present their findings to the class in the coming days. In Hyper Math, students are writing numbers in bases other than 10 by expanding using place value notation. They are counting using binary (base 2) numbers. They are also using the distributive property to write products as sums, and to “factor out” and write sums with common factors as products. In all of the math classes, students continue to share and present their methods with their classmates.

Grade 7: As we close out October, the 7th grade year is in full swing.  Earlier this month, HomeBase participated in a kindness day where they were introduced to their “Human of D-E”.  The students will continue to meet with their “Human of D-E” throughout the year in order to learn their stories.  In English classes, students have started reading their dystopian novels for homework and are also beginning to brainstorm ideas and plan for their dystopian short stories.  In social studies, students continue to examine the question of “why do we fight?” by playing the feudal Japan simulation game. In this game, students take on the role of either a daimyo or shogun battling for land, wealth, and power in feudal Japan. Students will then write a reflection on this game as they have and will do for all classroom simulations/games.  Advanced math has begun their journey into algebra.  Students have been working on order of operations, combining like terms, exponents, and square roots.  Soon they will move onto simplifying expressions and solving equations.  In Math 7, students are converting decimals and fractions, adding and subtracting decimals, and multiplying and dividing fractions.  Lastly, in science class students are working on their water quality PBL.  Students have tested various water sites in the area and have chosen a water quality issue to focus on and try to solve within their projects.  Students are preparing presentations on their water quality issues in class to share with an expert panel in November.

Grade 8: The current course work in for eighth graders ranges from solving equations to understanding the historical impact of Columbus’s voyage to the New World. In science class, students have begun their study of chemistry. Specifically, they have discussed how energy plays a role in phase changes. In support of this understanding the Math curriculum is aimed at understanding the real-world relationship between two variables like time and temperature. Students are beginning to write their own vignettes in English class, as well as gearing up for the Living Wax Museum. Finally, in history class students are learning about how the Three Worlds of European Explorers, West Africans, and Native Americans will collide to form the early American Colonies.