HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
December 16, 2011

Dear Friends,

This is a time of year that, as a child, I dreaded. My parents never had the resources to do as they wished at Christmas. Employment was always a fluid state for my folks with no real long-term income certainty. Yet, they did everything they could to make Christmas special. We went on extended drives to see the most outlandish light displays on homes. We baked cranberry and lemon breads to distribute to neighbors and friends. We made ornaments for the artificial tree that stood on a short bureau so that it would nearly reach the 7’ ceiling. We mulled cider with spice balls, oranges, and cinnamon sticks. The aroma filled every inch of our four-room home. We even made a ritual of going to see the Nutcracker each year (a matinee the week after Christmas, of course). My brother and I also received gifts. The gifts were never expected and not always affordable. The guilt I carried for receiving such treasures that I felt I had not done anything to earn weighed heavily on me. That, along with the stresses of a consumer-oriented holiday on a family that probably shouldn’t have been consuming, made this a season of dread. Yet, I recall every Christmas day with extended family as some of the most treasured time in my childhood – the hurried rush done, the inevitable arguments about money forgotten, at least temporarily, and the blessings and joys of simply being together realized.

This week I saw much of the same joys and stresses alive and present in our school community as students accepted the role of Su Mee gift-givers, a joyous challenge to brighten someone else’s day with a thoughtful gesture or small gift. We also experienced more of a rushed and frenetic period of time with a discombobulated schedule, a trip to Philadelphia, caroling at the Mason-Dixon holiday luncheon. We experienced the soaking up of experience, the giving, the receiving, the worry, the hope, the energy. However, I continually return to the meaning and purpose of the season each time I take a moment to look, listen, and appreciate the many lessons I have to learn or be reminded of each day. I need to remember to ask myself, “What do we have to learn from our children? And will we be listening when they tell us?”

A visitor noted this week after a tour and a panel presentation by our students that our school was made manifest in our students – that they “spoke for themselves.” An experienced educator herself, she observed the subtle interactions of students in the classrooms, hallways, and on the panel. She saw that students spoke confidently and without the immediate need to check with an adult for affirmation or approval. She appreciated the fact that when asked a question, students would look to each other to make sure that a respondent 1.) stepped forward and 2.) did not tread upon someone else’s desire to participate with an answer or insight. She felt the respect students expressed for one another was palpable. In the midst of the material giving and getting, the willingness to succumb to marketers’ ploys to develop within us desires for “things” we did not know we wanted or needed, I was reminded of one of the most important lessons of the season – the lessons of a child. In this case, the child is each and every student in our care who seeks acceptance, to be identified as having worth, to be recognized for his or her gifts of talent and care, to be challenged to be the best ­ (fill in the blank) he or she can be. The other half of the lesson was to remind myself of the things that I most appreciated about the season in my own childhood – gratitude for what I had and was given each and every day. Love.

May you share and receive yours in abundance this holiday season. And, please take time to listen and learn from the children in your life about what really matters to them. After all, wasn’t it the gifts of a child that gave rise to the season?

In peace,



[Please Note: HFS welcomes general announcements from community members to be included in this section of the Weekly Collections, particularly if the announcements involve the extra-curricular activities of our students, families, faculty, and staff. Please be aware that not all requests can be accommodated each week and that the school reserves the right to publish information at its discretion.]


HFS will host its 6th annual flag football game on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 12:30-3:00PM. We are looking for HFS students, families, alumni, and faculty to participate! Do you want to play in the big game? We’d love to include you on our roster! The number of participants will dictate the number of teams and games that we play in the double-elimination tournament. Are you more comfortable on the sidelines? We’re looking for scorekeepers, timekeepers, referees, photographers, cheerleaders, etc. In order to make team rosters (and give everyone appropriate football nicknames) and ensure enough team officials, we must have a final list of participants by 4PM on Monday, December 19. Please email Jonathan (headofschool@harfordfriends.org) if you would like to participate/attend!


I would like to thank the HFS community for their contribution in the adopt a family this year.  The students did a wonderful – job earning money, purchasing gifts, wrapping them, and writing cards for their adopted family member.

–Miss Grossman

HFS Student Portraits Ready to Order!!!

Please log into Edwin Remsberg’s photo gallery at http://remsberg.zenfolio.com/p661433689 to order pictures of your child(ren).

Community Survey…

1. HFS mailed its first annual fund solicitation mailing on November 1st. We’ve recently learned that not all intended recipients received this mailing. If you have not yet received the 5”x7” mailing with the graduates profile card inside, please let us know.

2. We know that not everyone is receiving our regular Constant Contact email blasts that publicize upcoming HFS events such as the wine-tasting and open houses. If you are not a recipient of these informative emails, please let us know and we will be sure to add your email address to our distribution list.


If anyone’s child would be interested in participating in a club basketball program at HFS after-school twice a week from January to spring break, please contact Jonathan (headofschool@harfordfriends.org). In the past this has been a middle school-only experience. However, if sufficient interest exists at both the middle school and elementary level, we could possibly expand the activity to include Lower School students. Please let Jonathan know of your child’s interest by the end of the day on Dec. 21st. Note, practices usually run from 3 to 4:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Student Booster Seats

When sending in a booster seat with your child for use on field trips and/or dismissal purposes, please do not leave the booster at the main entrance. Please plan to have your child bring their booster seat with them to their home-base classroom in order to ensure the booster seat is not misplaced.

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

NOTE: Items new to this week’s Collections are identified with bold type.

Items changed after an earlier posting are identified in italicized and bold type.

  1. Monday, Dec. 19 – DI practices (3:00-4:30PM)
  2. December 19-21 – Adopt-A-Family – Gifts and groceries delivered to adopted family during school hours. Date TBD by family. Please contact Marsha Grossman to volunteer. No more than two volunteers will be confirmed to deliver items to the adopted family.
  3. Tuesday, Dec. 20 – Organization 101 – Session #6 (3:00-5:00PM in Deer Creek Classroom); Pre-registration is required in order for students to attend.
  4. Wednesday, Dec. 21 – Holiday Bowl VI (12:30-3:00PM); Students, faculty, and family members participate in our annual flag football game. Please contact Jennifer Button or Jonathan Huxtable to volunteer. You can choose to be a player or volunteer on the sidelines!
  5. Thursday, Dec. 22 – Monday, Jan. 2 – School Closed for Winter Break.
  6. Tuesday, Jan. 3 – School resumes; Organization 101 – Session #7 (3:00-5:00PM in Deer Creek Classroom); Pre-registration is required in order for students to attend.
  7. Thursday, Jan. 5 – Organization 101 – Session #8 (3:00-5:00PM in Deer Creek Classroom); Pre-registration is required in order for students to attend.
  8. Thursday, Jan. 5 – Intermediate Grades Parent Conversation (7-8:30 PM); please RSVP.
  9. January 9 – Friday, Jan. 13 – Mid-Year Parent-Teacher Conferences to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time for parents and home-base teacher/advisor.
  10. Tuesday, Jan. 10 – Parent Coffee (8-9 AM)
  11. Thursday, Jan. 12 – Open House (9-11:30AM)
  12. Friday, Jan. 13 – Noon dismissal; end of 1st semester

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities-8…

English: In English, the eighth graders are working hard to plan and organize a Comparison/Contrast five paragraph essay.  Their topics can be chosen from history or from the American literature we have been studying.  We brought our vocabulary study of Unit 6 to completion with a quiz.  Time permitting prior to the holiday, we will take a grammar diagnostic test to determine strengths and needs in areas of language, usage, and mechanics, as well as sentence structure. Book reports will be due in mid-January, prior to the end of the second quarter. Have a great holiday!

Social Studies: In History, the eighth graders are busy preparing for a cumulative test on Book 2 with a major review of 41 chapters.  In order to maximize their time and refresh our memories, students are using their CRF’s and other assignments to outline significant ideas from their study of the colonies.  By creating questions in Jeopardy format, they have managed to synthesize a large body of information into manageable notes for study purposes.  After the holiday, we will begin to tackle the American Revolution as we begin Book 3.

NOTES from Technology-8…

Algebra I: Our unit “The Shapes of Algebra” (aka “Linear Models and Systems”) wrapped up this week with a calculator application of the “least squares line of regression,” in which a linear equation is applied to bivariate data, in order to serve as the “line of best fit” to model the data. We defined the term “least squares regression line,” and applied it to several sets of data.  The class then completed a unit test on Wednesday and Friday.  This test will be graded, and returned to students early next week.

Our next unit of study will take us into the topic of functions and relations, entitled “Home on the Domain and Range.” The study of functions and relations will provide a foundation to be used in the study of quadratic models and exponential models for data.  Students will be applying concepts learned in this unit throughout algebra-based courses in high school and college, including Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus.  We will begin this unit next week, and pick up on it when we return after our holiday break.  To remind you, there will be a cumulative semester exam on January 11.

Science: 8th graders have spent the week learning about chemical reactions.  This week’s primary focus was decomposition reactions.  Using chicken livers as a source of a biological catalyst, we broke down hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water.  We then discovered the factors that helped or hindered the speed of the reaction. We ended the week with a look at acids and bases.  Students should be completing a pH scale chart for homework.

NOTES from Explorations-8…

Computer Technology: This week the class began creating a website on their Technology Pioneer topic. Project due date moved to January 11th.

Music: This week the composition students continued to improve their instrumental ensemble skills while practicing their chordal accompaniment on handbells for ‘Silent Night.’  The eighth graders will be accompanying the rest of the student body this Friday while caroling.   On Wednesday, three guest musicians came to class and shared their musical talents while also providing an in-depth look into their lives as performing musicians.  A big thanks to guitarist Jeremy Hicks and his Hushdown band members for visiting HFS!

Spanish:  We learned holiday Spanish vocabulary and did some puzzles with them. Next week we’ll listen to a holiday story and make a craft.

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities-7…

English: English 7 students are working on a paragraph to analyze the investigative methods of Mma Ramotswe, the detective in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  Vocabulary study continues with a quiz on Unit 7.  Students presented the second phase of their book reports by creating a cereal box or a children’s story based on their chosen book.  They also created a commercial for their product which was presented in class. The class showed a great deal of creativity in this project as well as a thorough understanding of the books they read for the second quarter.  After the holiday, we will read and analyze several short stories by some of the great mystery writers.  We will prepare for a project which requires each student to research one of the great detectives in fiction, dress up as the detective, and present researched information about the detective’s methods of solving mysteries.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Social Studies: In the past week, 7th grade students have been learning all about the slave trade: how it was started, who was involved, what life was like for slaves, how it eventually came to an end, and what the lasting effects were. They watched a brief video and read an article about the Middle Passage, the section of the slave trade in which African people were transported to the Americas, so they could gain a good idea of what the conditions were like. We will continue with this section of the chapter next week by drawing conclusions from the text and then finish up by taking a quiz.

NOTES from Technology-7…

Math: We continue using ratios to determine the similarity of polygons.  We’ve been given the measurements of the sides to figure out the ratios, now we will use ratios to help us figure out the missing length.  Expect a very, very short quiz before we leave for winter break.

Science: The 7th graders have spent the week learning about two of the best-loved species of the bay:  Blue crab and oyster.  We’ve explored both the internal and external anatomy of the animals, learned about their habitats and life cycles and discussed the plight of both creatures.  It’s been an incredibly hands-on week.  Thanks goes out to Mr. Huxtable for teaching the kids about how to shuck oysters. Students should be writing a one-page journal entry about our oyster explorations.  This is due on Monday.

NOTES from Explorations-7…

Computer Technology: We continued the Internet Scavenger Hunt. Detailed questions targeted specific sites and required skimming, reading, and comprehension skill.

Music: This week the music history students took their Middle Ages test to finish up our unit on the Middle Ages.  They had a brief introduction to the Renaissance time period that we’ll be studying next.  On Wednesday, three guest musicians came to class and shared their musical talents while also providing an in-depth look into their lives as performing musicians.  A big thanks to guitarist Jeremy Hicks and his Hushdown band members for visiting HFS!

Spanish:  We learned holiday Spanish vocabulary and did some puzzles with them. Next week we’ll listen to a holiday story and make a craft.

HFS Grade 5/6 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities-5/6…

Humanities 5/6 students have been practicing their summarizing skills with “Inside the Walls of Troy.” They came to the conclusion that it is easier to compose an accurate and concise summary when they first identify the key points of the text. The students also read a nonfiction article about the Black Death. We plan to read a poem about the disease and then read an adapted version of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death.” In Social Studies, the students have been practicing using latitude and longitude to follow directions and pinpoint specific places in the world. They are becoming very familiar with atlases! They used latitude and longitude to identify cities and countries throughout the world. Next week, they will be tested on the geography skills they have been practicing. Flash cards on cities, countries, and continents would be a great study tool! This means they will be ready to start their next big unit, the Roman Empire, when we come back in the New Year.

NOTES from Technology-5/6…

Math: Math-A students started the week by working on individual projects in which they analyzed data that they collected about favorite colors at HFS. They used fractions, decimals, and percents to organize and compare the numbers that they collected. They have now completed their second math unit of the year. They received their new “Shapes and Designs” workbook and were introduced to the new unit on Friday. Like their first unit, “Prime Time,” the students will be working on a project throughout the entire unit in which they will need to gather facts about geometry. We will jump right into solving problems in the coming week when we look at sorting figures by their unique characteristics and identifying lines of symmetry.

Science: The 5/6th graders presented fabulous hurricane projects on Monday of this week.  We then began researching and learning about the biomes of North America.  After a quick skip through tundras, grasslands and forests, we forged into the world of experimental design.  Students should begin thinking about their science fair project ideas.

NOTES from Explorations-5/6…

Computer Technology: We continued the Internet Scavenger Hunt. Detailed questions targeted specific sites and required skimming, reading, and comprehension skill.

Music: The 5th and 6th grade band students continue to do a great job of retaining note fingerings, recognizing different notes on the staff and playing recognizably different pitches! Overall, the students did a great job on their ‘Jingle Bells’ playing quiz, and I was quite impressed when we played the piece all together as an ensemble.

Spanish: We learned holiday Spanish vocabulary and did some puzzles with them. Next week we’ll listen to a holiday story and make a craft.

HFS Lower School Weekly Collections

NOTES from the 3/4 Grade Classroom…

In this final full school week of 2011, the Intermediate class is working toward the completion of several projects and units.  In Reading, we continue to read Tuck Everlasting, and we will continue this novel after vacation.  In Writing Workshop, the class epic poem is nearly completed, so we will be ready for something new in January.  In Social Studies, the students are preparing for a debate on the merits of different modes of transportation on Tuesday.  Please join us at 10:00, if you can.  Guidelines for the individual transportation project were sent home today.  Some of this may be done over the holiday, but it is not required.  In addition, the next state poster will be due on Wednesday, December 21.  In Science, the students are working on their final inventions for our Ideas and Inventions unit, to be presented after vacation.  After the break, we will summarize our learning and then move on to a new unit.  In Math, the Intermediate group has completed the unit on statistics and probability.  Revisions on these tests are due Tuesday.  The new unit on measurement was introduced today. Please remember that school supplies make great stocking stuffers!  Have a super week.

3/4 Computer Technology: The class finalized their animal presentations. Students that finished early elected to practice keyboarding. We are looking forward to presentations next week.

3/4 Music: This week the third and fourth graders continued to practice their first three notes.  Students realized that each musical instrument comes with its own set of challenges, but with consistent patience and practice the challenges can slowly start to be conquered.  Keep up the hard work Mrs. De Mey’s class; you can do it!

3/4 Spanish: We learned some holiday related Spanish vocabulary, did some puzzles and played Bingo.  Next week we’ll listen to a holiday story and make a traditional Mexican ornament.

NOTES from the 1/2 Grade Classroom…

This week in language arts the Primary class read about The Dippy Dinner Drippers, a family that is a messy group of eaters.  We learned about alliterations and wrote our own alliterations.  Also, we discussed symmetry in math and made symmetrical shirts with paint representing different kinds of food. For example, brown could be chocolate, black bean soup, or meat to name a few.  The Primary class discussed genre and different types of genres.  They began talking more about biographies and picked two people that they would want to learn more about by reading different biographies.  In theme, their home, community building, and three reasons why the building is important to our community was due on Wednesday.  We will be presenting the students’ buildings next week and will place them on our community map on the floor.  We also discussed how some important buildings had not yet been included based on what students picked (toy store but no grocery store!). We came to a decision to make those additional buildings in class.  In science, the students made kites and went outside to fly them and discussed what they discovered about air when flying their kites.  They also discussed how an anemometer and wind vane would be helpful when flying a kite.

1/2 Computer Technology: The class finished the year by selecting one activity from the following assortment: keyboarding practice, holiday hangman, holiday word search or more NG Kids animal videos.

1/2 Music: This week the first and second grade students discovered their singing voices while preparing songs for caroling at the Mason Dixon Center on Friday.  The students demonstrated great enthusiasm while singing  and are very excited to accompany ‘Feliz Navidad’ with rhythm sticks and egg shakers.

1/2 Spanish: We learned some holiday related Spanish words and played holiday Bingo.  Next week we’ll hear a holiday story and make a fun craft.

NOTES from the Kindergarten Classroom…

Kindergarten is continuing reading, spelling and writing our high frequency words.  We continue to work hard blending sounds together, and dissecting words to hear beginning, middle and end sounds.  We listened to expository text to follow a recipe and were able to follow the steps to make strawberry salad.

During Math, we re-visited the appearing and disappearing train, were introduced to the + (plus) symbol and learned to include the vocabulary “plus” into describing what what happening while we played the game.  We also learned to play Top It, a card game where the greater card wins.  We have made pictures using pattern templates and practiced naming the more uncommon shapes such as hexagon, trapezoid, parallelogram and rhombus.

We listened to Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter, and Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah by Michael Rosen, discussed and learned about the menorah and the meaning of the candles.

Kindergarten Spanish: We learned a few holiday words this week. Next weekwe’l make a traditional Mexican holiday craft.