18 Jun

Grade 8 Updates

From Mr. Aitkin: Our 8th graders are wrapping up an exciting year of growth, leadership, fun and of course learning!  I think back to our SEEK trips in September and just how far this group has come.  Whether through their tremendous commitment to committees, events, PBLs, field trips or just their everyday routines, the class of 2022 has truly excelled when it comes to setting the right tone for our Middle School.  We celebrated together at field day with the entire middle school, but I really enjoyed our day together on Wednesday where we had several fun grade activities planned.  It was the last time we were together in that grouping, before they move on to the Upper School.  This year will be an especially hard one for me as I wrestle with saying goodbye to this terrific group but I am comforted knowing they will go on to do great things and they will make our entire school community stronger. I can say with confidence that the class of 2022 is ready for the Upper School and I wish them the best of luck!

The 8th grade is finishing the year in grand style and preparing to move on to the Upper School.  Math and Science classes met in the STEM building for the annual viewing of the SciTube presentations, and in addition to showcasing their experiments, students fielded questions from peers and members of the Science department. In history class students continue to work on Holocaust and Civil Rights projects. These units are meant to define the difference between a bystander and an upstander with the hope students will one day feel emboldened to participate in our democracy. Finally, in English, students are finishing Romeo Juliet by exploring who or what is really to blame for the deaths of the two young protagonists. Overall, this year’s 8th grade has been eager to learn and willing to work. Their teachers will miss them as a group and wish them the best of luck in the years ahead.

18 Jun

Grade 7 Updates

From Ms. Traub: The start of this this year was very exciting with 21 new students joining the D-E 7th grade. From Orientation week to our overnight on Shelter Island, the students made new friends and learned the stories of each other. Participating in the Water PBL, simulating Refugees spread out across campus, acting out A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and completing many other projects, the students were challenged to use their research and collaborative skills, creativity and perseverance, to solve real world problems. With their many talents in and out of the classroom, the class of 2023 is ready to be the leaders of the Middle School next year.

The seventh grade is quickly coming to a close. Students in English spent the last weeks rehearsing scenes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and successfully performed for the seventh grade Thursday. Social studies classes completed writing and illustrating their refugee books and read them to the DE 3rd graders. Next, students will create a video of themselves reading their book and reflecting on the project, and a small group of students will read and discuss their books with a local school. The science students are putting their STEM skills to the test using recently mastered experimental design skills to create paper airplanes.  Students tested paper type this week, next week they will test shape.  Advanced math played a lively round of KAHOOT to wrap up the year.  The competition in problem solving was fierce.  Mr. Jung’s CP classes held their UNICEF festival Tuesday, it was a great success.  The Hyper classes demonstrated coding during the activity.  The festival raised a good amount of money to help refugee children.

18 Jun

Grade 6 Updates

From Ms. Urbanowski: What a tremendous year of growth it has been for the class of 2024. Beginning middle school is a significant event in our children’s lives.  When they enter 6th grade, they step over the threshold of a time and place where they will develop their identities and independence, take on the social and organizational challenges of a larger world, and experience an environment of intellectual and creative opportunities arranged on a steady incline toward the high school construct.  Your children have taken all this on with a sense of possibility and purpose — from “flipping the mat” at the overnight trip to “the beast” on the penultimate day of school, they have worked to communicate and collaborate well, building teamwork and group skills.  They have wrestled successfully with the logistical and intellectual challenges of open-ended and long-term projects from Egypt Day to the Experimental Design Fair and the earthship challenge, have mastered any nervousness with their many oral presentations, have figured out systems for managing homework, materials and complex schedules, and have built academic skills across the curriculum.  In short, they have made a success of it all!  It has been such a pleasure to work alongside them, to watch them all grow this year, and to see how they have embraced the launch of their middle school years.  I can’t wait to see what they will do in 7th grade.

As your children ramp up to return to school in the fall, finish their required summer reading and math assignments (see the summer mailing for details), please remind them to prepare their Levenger and ipads for another year by cleaning them out, removing links, apps and shortcuts not related to school, and freeing up memory by erasing non-school videos and pictures.  In the meanwhile, I wish them all, and you, a happy summer of diverse experiences to complement all the work of this past wonderful academic year.

The sixth graders have been very busy wrapping up the end of the year. An important culminating experience took place on May 23, when the 6th Graders presented their Experimental Design Projects to a public audience that included parents, students, and faculty. Students really enjoyed presenting their findings! This was one the capstone experiences for the 6th graders that encompasses what they have learned throughout the year in science.

In math 6, students been hard at work on an algebra unit about operations on integers. They have worked with prime numbers and prime factors, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing integers, and following order of operations. In advanced math 6, students have completed a geometry unit where they found unknown angles in problems which involve triangles and/or quadrilaterals. Students have also continued their algebra work focusing on polynomials. Finally, in hyper math 6, students are finishing up our work on quadratic equations and graphing quadratic functions. The class presented a project that they have “completed” at the MS STEM Extravaganza.

In English, students wrapped up the unit on Lions of Little Rock. Last Tuesday, each English class interviewed the author of the book, Kristen Levine, over Skype. Students enjoyed finding out more about her life, what inspired her to write the novel, and why she thinks historical fiction is so important. Then, students spent the last week working on a cumulative project. Projects include pretend social media accounts for the characters we’ve met this year, soundtracks for the novels we’ve read, and maps of the communities in the books. The students also conferenced with Mrs. Macone about their essay.

Finally, to culminate on our study of the ancient Greeks, students in social studies have been preparing for Greek Day! Students designed chariot armor, created krater-inspired black figure pottery, and practiced polis cheers to get ready for the Greek Day Games on June 6th! We look forward to seeing you there!

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.