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Upper School Update from Dave Samson: October 15

Dear Upper School Parents and Guardians,

What a beautiful four-day week! In addition to several great weeks of interrupted learning in our classrooms, we are excited to start the buddies program and Heron House next week and a 7th and 8th-grade dance around the corner on October 29. We look forward to seeing you next week for parent-teacher conferences. Below are three tips for parents regarding conferences:

1) Come prepared for a 2-way conversation - The best use of parent and faculty time is when parents come with questions or noticings from home. Are you wondering about a theme you picked up on from what your child says about school? Do you have something to share about a study habit you see at home? Are you curious about a social/emotional change you've noticed in your son or daughter?

2) Get feedback from your child first - Did anything surprise you this fall? If a student is in 6-8 grade, how are they doing with their subjects and with different teachers? What are they proud of? What do they think they can do to improve? Are there any messages that your child wants you to share with their teachers during the conference?

3) Relax - And keep in mind three important things: 1) we love working with your children, 2) while the faculty are experts in adolescent life and learning, you know your children best and have important things to share with us, and 3) we are all on the same team - a team invested in your child's academic, social, and emotional growth.

If you have not already signed up for a conference time, please refer to the email from Doug Fodeman sent on Tuesday morning (October 12th) with directions and links.

Please ask your students about…

5th Grade (Non homerooms)

Music: It is hard work learning how to read notes, AND how fun it is playing our new steel drum song.

Art: The painting that I did using warm and cool colors, and how I mixed each of those using primary colors, plus neutrals.

6th Grade

French: Adding phrases and words to sentences to make them longer and more detailed.

Geography and World Cultures: Learning about latitude and longitude and what state I am writing my research paper about.

Music: Playing G and Em chords on the guitar and learning why a certain musical interval is called the “devil's chord.”

English: The memory I’ll use for my personal narrative

Art : How I created a self-portrait using my fabulous drawing skills and watercolor

Spanish: Looking at someone’s datebook and being able to say so many things about them - where they are from, their telephone number, what day it is today/tomorrow

Math: My classmates’ average driving time to school and how I did on my mean, median, and mode quiz.

Tech: Basically, how does a computer work? Or the Internet? Or an application?

Science: The similarities and differences between Mt. Kilauea and Mt. St. Helen’s.

7th Grade

French: What I normally do and what I will do in the future.

Internet Literacy: Ask me how to make full sets of strong passwords that are easy to remember! And ask me about the most common password choices that parents make and why they are terrible choices! Ask me to show you how to check if any of your passwords have ever been hacked, stolen, and made available on the “dark web.” Finally, ask me to show you some amazingly powerful tips and tricks for conducting Google searches and using web browsers!

Math (Carver): ...about some ‘work smarter not harder’ ways to handle fraction operations

Math ( Carbo): How I finished all the learning on working with multiple-step equations and inequalities

History: Why Great Britain taxed the colonists following the French and Indian War

English: how many character changes throughout my short story

Art: Autumn collages using construction paper

Science: What organisms live in the intertidal zone?

Spanish: The two pages of a fashion magazine that I created and how I described the seasonal fashion

8th Grade

French: How to say things that I normally do, did, just did, and will do.

Math: How to solve percent and percent change problems

Art: Who I chose as a subject for my large value drawing, and about different weight

pencils 3H through 6B

Spanish: The poster about myself

Mandarin: China Major Cities. We explore big and small cities in China and use the words we have learned to describe them.

Science: What is density, and how do you calculate it?

History: How and why do we cite sources in a research paper? What are the essential elements of a good research paper?

English: What is a paratext?

Slideshow - Please click here to see 5th-grade science, 6th-grade art, and more.

Article / Resources

If you are looking for Coming of Age Films to watch with your middle school students, please check out this article from Edutopia.

Enjoy the weekend,


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