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.

08 Jun

Grade Level Updates: A Last Look This Year!

May has been a busy month for our sixth graders. In science, students worked diligently to complete their experiments and lab reports in anticipation for their Experimental Design Fair (see photos both above and below – scroll down!). The Fair itself was a wonderful success. Students shared their findings about a range of consumer products including toothpaste, backpacks, ice cream, popcorn, and paper towels.

In social studies, the students worked hard preparing for another sixth grade capstone experience: Greek Day. This celebration took place yesterday on Graham Field. The students are split into four teams — Delphi, Sparta, Thebes, and Athens — and they compete in the Sisyphus Relay, the Archimedes Building Competition, a discus throw, a pottery competition, and a trivia competition. This day is a wonderful celebration of their study of Ancient Greece this past semester. Enjoy hearing from our Grecians here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V0XV76skpE&feature=youtu.be

In English, the students wrote their second literary essay about the novel The Lions of Little Rock. The students showed tremendous progress in their second essay. Additionally, they had the opportunity to Skype with the author of the book, Kristin Levine; the experience was extremely interesting and special. The students then selected a cumulative project to share with their class. Projects included pretend social media accounts for the characters we met this year, soundtracks for the books we read, rap songs, and comic strips.

In Math 6, students recently finished an algebra unit. Students were introduced to using letters to represent unknown numbers (variables), writing algebraic expressions in one variable, evaluating expressions in one variable using substitution, and simplifying algebraic expressions in one variable by adding or subtracting like terms. Students then moved on to solving one and two step equations. In advanced math 6, students revisited solving multi-step equations, and investigated the connection between algebra and geometry. Students also worked in groups of 3, to solve a particular type of math challenge, called a “Fermi” problem. Enrico Fermi was a famous Physicist who liked to pose open-ended problems (which often didn’t have a single answer) to his students. These problems are not only fun math, but they give one practice estimating, thinking about assumptions and justifying your thoughts about a problem.

Advanced Math 6 students solved this question: “How many hours do the students of D-E spend on Instagram each month? Each group came up with assumptions, agreed on a way to come up with an answer, did the math, and wrote their solution on the board and shared with their classmates. It was interesting to see how close these answers were to one another!

In Hyper Math 6, the students have done a lot of work connecting equations to graphs, using Absolute Value equations and Quadratic equations. This work leads to the all-important notion of Transformation of functions which the students will learn a lot about in ensuing math courses. We have had a wonderful year, and we wish the Class of 2023 the best of luck in seventh grade!

And finally a shout-out to Mete Ehliz ’23, a member of our Hyper 6 Math class, who just decided he wanted to solve the Geometry problem that was sent around to the Math faculty. He presented his solution, had it all down and was able to explain it to his classmates. Mete needed a couple of hints, but he really pulled it all together and explained it well – and learned some math in the process. A great example of the kinds of risk-taking we love to see!


MIdssummerOur 7th graders continued investigating green technologies.  In science, students researched the impacts that these technologies will make on our planet. In tandem with Science, students will be calculated in their Mathematics classes how much energy is reduced, the cost efficiency and, comparing the new versus the old life time costs.  The 7th grade Advanced Math students learned what a linear function looks like. They will apply this knowledge to future projects in Science.  Our 7th grade Hyper Math students continued to learn about quadratic functions and how to apply them in real world situations.  Math 7 has just finished the Algebra Unit with equations and the slope intercept form. They have also started working on ratios, proportions and rates.  These topics will be quite handy for the green technology PBL.

In English, our 7’s read Shakespeare’s beloved classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They rehearsed for the final project in which they performed scenes from the play.

The 8th grade ended the school year with four different adventures. Celebrating the end of major assignments like the Portfolio project in English and SciTube in Science, students headed out into to the world to “SEEK” lessons that they had not learned in the classroom.  In this inaugural year of the SEEK trips, students had a choice of four different destinations: Newport, RI; the Berkshires; Washington, D.C.; or Lake Placid, NY.  What follows are some highlights of the different trips:

  • In Newport, students explored mansions, war tunnels under Civil War forts, a classic car museum, and the mysterious Newport Tower.
  • Students who went to the Berkshires toured modern art museums as well as the Norman Rockwell Museum. In addition, they attended Barrington Stage Company’s performance of “Kunstler.”
  • Those who ventured to go to Lake Placid did a ropes course, met Olympians, and visited Ausable Chasm where they hiked the Upper Chasm and rafted down the Lower Chasm.
  • Finally, the 8th graders who traveled to our Nation’s Capital went to the Holocaust Museum, honored the fallen at Arlington Cemetery and did a bike tour of the major monuments.

In all, it was a wonderful way to close out an exciting year of learning.

From the Language Arts Department

During our annual MS Language Festival all our students showcased their skits, poems, PBL research, dances, etc. It was beautifully done. Our 6th graders studied their favorite animals from a variety of habitats, and prepared a presentation in Spanish describing characteristics, food preferences, locations, and more.  Our 7th graders researched Spanish landmarks such as “Las Ramblas” in Barcelona or “La Plaza Mayor” in Salamanca, and described their information in a story format in the present tense.  Some of our 8th graders researched Spanish celebrations such as “La Quinceañera”, “La Corrida de Toros”, “La Tomatina”, etc. and described their experience at the event in the past tense. Others learned how to navigate in “El Metro” of Mexico City. They used the imperative tense to give directions to get from point A to point B. Our 8th grade French students just finished reading a book in French called Pauvre Anne. The goal was to learn more vocabulary through seeing it in the target language as well as to learn more irregular verbs and to review the ones they already knew. Finally, they created an evaluation for this book. Our Latin 7th grade students finished up a unit that featured a “novella” about a freed slave and a discussion of the institution of slavery.

From our Performing and Visual Arts Department:

What a wonderfully, fantastic MS Spring Arts Festival, featuring our singers, and artists! The tee-shirts we made came out fantastic (special thanks to Friends of The Arts (FOTA) for organizing parent volunteers to do the ironing.)

7th grade drama students have spent time learning their lines and then connecting to the characters and the circumstances of the scenes in an effort to make them as authentic as possible.

8th grade drama just finished reading and watching Tennessee William’s, The Glass Menagerie and created original group or individual projects based on the play or the playwright. The finished products were shared with each other.

Studio Art 6 students constructed their buildings and surrounding areas for the City Design Remix models.  They have been working in teams and learning about and using various tools such as X Acto knives, hot glue guns, acrylic paints and applying faux finishes with different materials.

Studio Art 7 students were busy learning and utilizing linear and atmospheric perspective in their drawings, then finishing these works in watercolors.  In this project seventh grade students demonstrate knowledge of Color Theory principles and various painting techniques.

Art Explorations students just completed the handmade paper poster project.  They designed and constructed a functional duct-tape item for the final project this year.

See below for some additional photos from the 6th Grade Experimental Design Fair!

09 May

Grade Level Happenings

6th Grade:  With May’s arrival, our 6th graders are working on their last curricular units. In Science, students have started to work on their Experimental Design projects. They will be testing consumer products and seeing what brand is the most reliable based on their research and cost. They will present their findings at the Experimental Design Fair on May 24th in Hajjar Auditorium in the Klein Campus Center, from 12:30 – 2:00 PM. We hope to see you there!

In Math, students are studying pie charts and graphs and their relationships with percentages, and they have just started a unit on volume. In Advanced Math, students investigated the relationship between circumference and pi, and how that connects to the area of a circle. In Hyper Math, the students finished their PBL about pendulums. They measured the periods of three pendulums of unknown lengths, and having already developed an algebraic equation relating the period of a pendulum and the length of a pendulum, they will use that equation to determine the unknown lengths. The final idea in this PBL is that of relative error, the use of which tell them how accurate their measuring has been.

In Social Studies, they students are writing and editing their first essay on bronze age Greek cultures and preparing for a trip to the MET on Friday to study and sketch Greek art over time. They will then turn their attention to Athens and Sparta by comparing different kinds of ancient Greek governments. The unit will conclude with our grade-wide celebration of Greek Day in June!

In English, in addition to wrapping up a unit on run-ons, fragments, and apostrophes, the students are finishing reading Lions of Little Rock this week, and they will be developing original thesis statements about their themes for their second analytical essay, starting next week.

We look forward to seeing parents during Experimental Design presentations and Greek Day in the coming weeks.

7th Grade: Our 7th graders have begun their journey through our latest project, investigating green technologies.  In Science, students will be researching the impacts that these technologies will make on our planet. In tandem with this work, in Math, all students will be calculating how much energy is reduced, the cost efficiency and, comparing the new versus the old life time costs. Math 7 has just finished the Algebra Unit with equations and the slope intercept form. They have also started working on ratios, proportions and rates.   In Advanced Math, students are currently learning what a linear function looks like. Our 7th grade Hyper Math students are continuing to learn about quadratic functions and how to apply them in real world situations. These topics will be quite handy for the green technology PBL.

Our 7’s also traveled over to Flat Rock Brook Nature Center last week, for their class service-learning trip.  They were put to work, pulling up the garlic mustard weed invasive species.  The grade was split up into 4 groups to conquer different areas along the trail.

8th Grade: Spring is here and the 8th graders are working diligently to finish the year strong. In Math, they are continuing their study of polynomials and beginning to learn how to factor. In History, we are transitioning from our unit on the Holocaust to our Civil Rights curriculum. Students will use their understanding of human behavior and apply those lessons on how the Civil Rights movement unfolded.  In English, students continue to explore Shakespeare’s masterpiece Romeo and Juliet and they are reflecting on the writing process in their Portfolio projects. In Science, students are working on the Sci-Tube projects and getting their videos ready for peer editing.

8th graders in D.I.G. (D-E in the Garden) made benches for the Umpleby
garden and harvest salad greens started in cold frames. The rewards of
labor and collaboration were a seated savory moment by Umpleby Garden.

And finally our 8’s who study Latin recently enjoyed a window into an ancient world: Ms. So explained to her class how archeologists discovered plants important in ancient Pompeii. Some of these plants are still in cultivation — in our own D-E garden.
Latin students will research and propagate these plants to learn more
about how they were important to Roman culture and remain relevant
today.  Many of these plants are herbs and/or flowers, inviting tasting and smelling as
well as observation.

21 Apr

Grade Level Updates

In the World Language classes, our 6th graders are learning about clothing vocabulary and creating presentations in the target language about their favorite outfits for each season.  Our 7th graders are learning about boot verbs in the present tense. They are creating family trees which will include a creative narrative describing their artwork. Some of our 8th graders are learning the irregular past tense “el pretérito” and learning how to order a variety of food items from a comprehensive menu list. Others are learning the future tense and creating an invention “Mi invento del futuro” that will help to conserve our planet. Our 7th  Latin students are finishing editing their PBLs. They are also learning the tense systems based on the infinitive and perfect stems. Also, they are learning how to use the perfect and imperfect tenses together. They are singing the third declension and studying Roman theater.

In Studio Art 7, the young artists are busy creating Disney-themed sculptures for the Spring Arts Festival. In Studio Art 6, we have launched the City Design Remix PBL. Today we welcomed Matthew Bilow, a local architect, who visited with the students to speak about and show real world examples of collaboration and design process.

In Social Studies, our 7th graders did a UNHCR-designed refugee simulation on Graham Field.  By experiencing this unique group exercise in which they took on different types of refugee personna (see photos above) , and through their work illustrating a children’s refugee book documenting one refugee‘s story, the students can share the moving stories, struggles, and challenges that refugees face today.

Our 8th graders enjoyed a visit today from The Seeing Eye, which was facilitated by Ms. Sims’ HomeBase as part of their service learning projects (see photos above).   The students clearly enjoyed learning about this worthwhile organization, which trains and provides service companions to people with significant vision loss. At the end of the presentation our students presented the representations with a donation check.  Happy smiles and wags all around!


13 Apr

What’s Happening in Classrooms

6th Grade:  April promises to be a busy month in sixth grade! In science, students were treated to a visit by Immunologist (and D-E parent) Dr. Julie Rubinstein. Dr. Rubenstein and one of her colleagues spoke with our students about their work at adaptive technologies, mainly with the immune system (see photos above from their class visits).  The students also will be finishing up the Human Anatomy unit with their Human “X-Ray” drawing project and a frog dissection. Then, the students will be learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion and taking a trip to the U.S.S. Intrepid for a flight lab. This trip is scheduled for April 20.

In Math 6, students will be starting a unit on circles. Students will review diameter and radius, construct circles, and relate the area of a circle to its diameter and radius. Then, students will determine the circumference or area of a circle when given its diameter or radius, and figure the perimeter and area of semicircles and quarter circles and related figures. In Advanced Math 6, students will be answering the question: “What is the steepest set of stairs on the D-E campus?” Students are working in groups, deciding how to explore, implement ideas, and represent their findings. In Hyper Math, students are working on linearity and systems of equations. They are also working on a project to find the relationship between the length of a pendulum and its period. Since they are doing multiple time measurements, they have to do some statistical analysis (calculating the mean and standard deviation of their measurements) to decide how accurate their measurements are.

In English, students started a new novel this week called Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. It takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958, the year after the Little Rock Nine. The students will be finding their own themes in this novel, and eventually they will be writing their second analytical essay about the themes they track.  In social studies, students will be finishing up their Greek Timeline Projects and then they will begin the study of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of Bronze Age Greece. This study will culminate in the first social studies essay of the year. As a grade, we will also be participating in service learning work this month. Students will learn about food issues facing the state of New Jersey through workshops, and then they will be helping to build a garden for the Center for Food Action in Englewood. This work will be a nice connection to our Identity Unit.

7th Grade: Our science classes completed their unit on experimental design. This week they wrote formal lab reports and included a graph from Excel using skills learned in math class.  In English, students performed their poems for their classmates and teachers during our Poetry Café in Hulst House and Hajjar Auditorium (see photos below). 

In math, students continue to work on equation solving and writing equations from given real world situations.  Students are also creating graphs to accompany their articles for social studies.  In social studies, students are now working on writing their Global Goals articles after spending the past couple of weeks developing ideas and researching. With these articles students are hoping to in at least some way answer the question, “are we moving towards a better world?”

8th Grade:  In celebration of April as National Poetry month, the 8th grade is preparing for Poetry Day in the library. Students will choose a poem to study and analyze and then recite for their classmates. In Math class, they are learning about linear equations and polynomials in preparation for their SciTube projects for science class. Each student is considering the statement, “Our Planet, Our Problem,” and designing experiments or models that reflect different natural problems that affect our Earth.  Finally, in history class students are studying the events leading to the Holocaust. The final project for this unit will use survivor testimony to answer the question, “If you could ask a survivor any question what would it be?”

Our 8th grade African Drumming class will be performing at the Lower School Assembly on April 12. Our drummers will be sharing the music they’ve been learning with the entire Lower School student body. The performance will feature the 8th grade West African drumming and dance ensemble performing 3 pieces, with special guest artist Mama Yaa.

Spanish 8 is studying the culture of Spanish-speaking countries and the contributions of Spanish-speaking cultures to the rest of the world.  A hands-on component of their study involves planting, harvesting and cooking vegetables brought to us by these cultures. The photos here show Sr. Bautista’s Advanced 8 class starting tomatoes in the Lagana Greenhouse, from seeds saved from last years’ harvest.

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