HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
November 11, 2011

Dear Friends,

Students receive the first of their formal grade reports today. The Interim Summaries that advisors (MS) and home-base (LS) teachers produce for each student is the culmination of a lengthy process of review, evaluation, communication, analysis and synthesis. Each teacher completes a mini-written report on each student he or she teaches. Each student’s form, otherwise known as a Brief Interim Comment or “BIC,” is submitted to the child’s advisor. The advisor then analyzes each of the BICs – up to eight – looking for trends and anomalies. Synthesizing the information from eight different sources is not an easy process, but one that reveals a complete picture of the student in our program at this time. The importance of comments and grades (3rd-8th) is not for inter-student comparison, but for benchmarking, identifying needs and setting goals. After reading their reports and reviewing them with their advisors and home-base teachers, students sit down to reflect upon the report and write their responses to it. Through this process students set goals for the next quarter and will return to those goals in January and see, with the help of their semester reports, how well they have worked to meet their goals. The feedback from teachers is a critical part of the learning process.

In research conducted by Bernard Weiner, John Nicholls, and Carol Dweck, a “four factor” theory was developed regarding the essential and inherent components found in highly effective classroom atmospheres for gifted and talented students. 1.) A Positive Climate. Gifted and talented classrooms set and maintain high expectations, a warm, inviting and safe environment. 2.) Input. The highly effective classroom provides appropriate and challenging input, designed to address a child’s “proximal zone of development” or simply, challenge him/her to learn a skill or develop a concept tat is just beyond his/her current capability. 3.) Output. Students in highly effective gifted and talented classrooms are provided opportunities to express and demonstrate their developing skill and knowledge mastery. Think presentations, conversations in Spanish at a Mexican restaurant, or simply a quiz or a test. 4.) Feedback. Highly effective classrooms included appropriate, accurate and informative feedback. This effectively debunked the theory that “positive reinforcement” is essential. In these gifted and talented classrooms “failure” was considered information that the student needed to use and learn from in an effort to develop the ability to persevere.

With the most recent “feedback” in hand, please take a few moments this weekend to engage your child in a conversation about the all-important written comments. The information needed to grow is found there. The grades, where used, are simply measures or snapshots representative only of past performance. How the information from the grades is applied to the future will make all the difference.



[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.]


As part of this process, each student has been asked to earn a minimum of $5 towards their contribution to the pool of money for the adopted family’s gifts. All donated funds will be collected and divided equitably for the purchase of gifts for the six children.

A marked bin has been placed in the HFS office for the non-perishable food drive. Non-perishable donations may be placed in the bin at any time beginning Monday, November 7. There are no food allergies to consider. Non-food items that have been requested include dish detergent, Lysol, and floor cleaner.

Performance of Oklahoma! at North Harford High School…

Oklahoma! Will be performed at North Harford High School on Friday, November 18th at 7:00PM and on Saturday, November 19th at 2:00PM and 7:00PM. At least one HFS graduate will be a part of the cast. Tickets are priced at $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for students and seniors. Online ticket sales will open Oct. 21 at https://tix4.seatyourself.biz/webstore/webstore.html?domain=northharford&date=2011-11-18 and run through Nov. 17th. If you are purchasing online, it is imperative that you PRINT YOUR RECIEPT WITH SEAT NUMBERS AND BRING IT TO THE SHOW.  Due to the nature of our ticket sales, it will not be possible to tell you your seat number at the show.  Your seat numbers will be on your receipt and the receipt will serve as your ticket! Tickets will be available for sale 45 minutes prior to each performance in the lobby of the NHHS auditorium.

The Whyhouse–local artists’ weekend show: Hosted by Remsberg Inc.

Date: Saturday November 12th- Sunday November 13th

Time: Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-6

Where: The Warehouse located at 1115 Main St., Fallston, MD 21047

Join us in a CELEBRATION of local ART and ARTISTS in our 19th century restored warehouse. Art will be available for admiration and for purchase! It will be a perfect opportunity for some holiday gift shopping!

  • Photography by our very own Edwin Remsberg and photographer Graham Snodgrass
  • Navigate to Edwin Remsberg’s site here: www.remsberg.com
  • Navigate to Graham Snodgrass’ site here: www.grahamsnodgrass.com
  • Hand-forged metal creations by Chris Gavin of Mandala Creations
  • Navigate to Chris Gavin’s site here: http://mandalacreations.com/
  • Literary art by Baltimore natives available for purchase! Authors include Rafael Alvarez, D. R. Belz, Cindy Kelly, Lucie Snodgrass and more!

RSVP and invite your friends and family!

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. Nov. 4 – Dec. 8 – Adopt-A-Family – Students earn a minimum of $5 through doing some work around the house. Parents are asked to identify a job or chore outside of the ordinary for which their child(ren) might earn towards their contribution to the pool of money for the adopted family.
  2. Sunday, Nov. 13 – Open House (2-4PM)
  3. Monday, Nov. 14 – DI Practices (3:00-4:30PM)
  4. Thursday, Nov. 17 – Parents of students in Grade 8 are invited to attend an informal Conversation with the Head of School (7:00-8:30PM). Please RSVP to jbutton@harfordfriends.org by Monday, November 14.
  5. Friday, Nov. 18 – Field trips for all grades. Kindergarten on-site; Grade 1/2 to Downtown Bel Air (Depart 8:45AM, Return 3PM); Grade 3-6 to MD Science Center (Depart 8:30AM, Return 2:30PM); Grade 7 to Harford County Emergency Operations and Computer Marketplace (Depart 8:30AM, Return 3PM); Grade 8 to Philadelphia (Depart 8:05AM, Return 5PM)
  6. Saturday, Nov. 19 – Admissions Assessment Day for prospective Kindergarten students applying to the 2012-2013 school year. CANCELLED
  7. Monday, Nov. 21 – DI practices (3:00-4:30PM)
  8. Wednesday, Nov. 23 – Grandparents & Special Friends Day (8AM-12PM) sponsored by the HFS Beautification & Hospitality Committee. Students will invite their grandparents or special friends to spend the day participating in intergenerational activities in classes. Information has been sent home with students and sent via email.
  9. Wednesday, Nov. 23 – Noon dismissal for all students, with pickup to occur by 12:30PM. There will be no extended care this date.
  10. Thursday, Nov. 24-Friday, Nov. 25 – School Closed for Thanksgiving Break
  11. Monday, Nov. 28 – DI practices (3:00-4:30PM)
  12. Wednesday, Nov. 30 – Home & School Association Meeting (7-8PM) [Reminder: This is an adult-only function.]

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

English: The English 8 class is immersed in researching debate topics based on the issues raised about medical ethics in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  They have begun to identify sources and facts that will help them to support their position in the debate.  Additionally, since most of the class has not participated in a formal debate in the past, we are learning about procedures, formats, methods of rebuttal, and writing opening and closing arguments.  The internet provides models to help solidify their understanding of debating. It is our hope to complete the preparation this week and present the debates next week.  Book lists and book reports ideas will be given out on Friday to help students selects a classic for the second quarter outside reading, due toward the end of the quarter.

Social Studies: Students in the 8th grade will learn about how Ben Franklin helped to establish many of the political, economical, and educational themes and ideas that made our country unique.  The students will record key biographical information and specific examples of how he influenced American life.  The students will take a test on chapters 25-28 in their “Making Thirteen Colonies” book.  On Friday the 8th graders will be headed to Philadelphia on a class trip!

NOTES from Technology…

Algebra I: In class this week, we began developing and solving systems of linear equations in two variables.  In developing systems of linear equations, we have been focusing on the significance of slope and the y-intercept for each equation in the system.  We have begun solving systems of linear equations graphically, with the TI-graphing calculator.  Because learning to navigate the menus and submenus of a particular graphing calculator can be a daunting task, students in Algebra I are encouraged to bring the manual to class as a reference.  Just as with all computer technology, the graphing calculator is unforgiving to typographical and usage errors, and students will be asked to maintain a log of error messages that they encounter, so that we may develop trouble-shooting strategies.

Despite the fact that we have been spending much time on using the graphing calculator, it is important to remember that the calculator in only a tool to be used in the problem solving process.  Next week, we will be concentrating on solving systems of linear equations algebraically, using the techniques of substitution and elimination.

Science: I am so impressed with the 8th grade this week.  We have been learning some truly complicated chemistry concepts and they are getting it!!!  With a little help from egg cartons, beans, periodic tables and other resources, they have figured out how to configure the electrons of most of the elements.  I am proud of their persistence and willingness to tackle complicated material!  Along the way we’ve sung another fun science song (“Oh, it’s 1s2, 2s2, then comes 2p6.  The electron configuration game is really slick . .. “) and continue to practice our element toss.

NOTES from Explorations…

Computer Technology: This class will prepare a mini-research project on a 21st century technology giant. Students were assigned their topic from the following selections: YouTube, Google, Social Networking, Nintendo, Wikipedia, EBay, and Pixar. We discussed creating super-strong passwords. Strong passwords have many characteristics: use eight or more characters, cannot be found in the dictionary, and use numbers, letters and capitalization. Highly creative approaches to a lifelong skill. Homework: Read the Technology Pioneers book on your special topic distributed in class. Be prepared to discuss how you would like to teach your classmates about this topic.

Music: The composition students continued composing for their non-traditional instrument ensembles.  Each group of instrumentalists composed a piece of music following specific guidelines.  After much composing, practicing, erasing notes, and more composing, each ensemble performed their composition for their classmates.  Along with composing, students also discovered how to execute proper stage presence, proper audience behavior, and how to complete a peer music review by properly presenting their thoughts and opinions of the ensembles that performed.

Spanish:  We’re finishing up the activities we like to do.  Expect a small quiz on that next week.  Next we’ll talk about descriptions and question words.

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

In 7th grade social studies the students are now focusing on Africa.  Last week we focused on the physical landforms of Africa and how natural resources are not evenly distributed among the African nations.  This week the students will focus on early civilizations in Africa.  They will learn about the Egyptian civilization and the Kingdom of Kush.  Students will take a quiz on Wednesday about the physical landforms and natural resources of Africa.  There will be assignments collected on the early civilizations of Africa later on in the week.   In English for 7th grade the students will work on using adjectives as modifiers and the three common adjectives.  The students will read chapters 13-16 in their book, “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.”  The students will take a quiz on Thursday on chapters 9-12 in the book.  Your child should be working on their book reports at home on a nightly basis as well.

NOTES from Technology…

Math: The students this upcoming week will focus on understanding the role multiplication plays in similarity relationships.  Throughout the week the emphasis of math class will be on ideas that two figures are similar if the measure of their corresponding angles are equal and the lengths of their corresponding sides increase by the same factor, called the scale factor.  The students will have a quiz on Tuesday involving using algebraic rules to produce similar figures on a coordinate grid.  Later in the week the students will work on developing more formal ideas of the meaning of similarity and the use of the vocabulary word “scale factor.”

Science: The Chesapeake Bay!!!  We have begun our in-depth study of our beloved bay by first looking at the geography of the region.  Using satellite maps of the bay watershed and a handful of road maps, students are learning how to identify the 6 states, multitude of rivers, 2 bridges, 13 cities, canals, mountains and other features that are all part of the watershed.  Please give your children plenty of opportunities to look at maps!  Together we can help build their awareness and understanding of where they live.

NOTES from Explorations…

Computer Technology: This week the class shared their offline book website and made comments on each other’s work ‘blog-style.’  We discussed creating super-strong passwords. Strong passwords have many characteristics: use eight or more characters, cannot be found in the dictionary, and use numbers, letters and capitalization. Highly creative approaches to a lifelong skill.

Music: This week the music history students dove into the middle ages musical time period. They had an inside look into polyphony, troubadours, sacred music, secular music, plain song, and Guido d’Arezzo.  Students were also able to identify why many monastery composers remained anonymous.  Students also assembled and created their music listening logs and are designing the front cover page.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of the creative cover pages in class on Monday!

Spanish:  We’re finishing up the activities we like to do.  Expect a small quiz on that next week.  Next we’ll talk about descriptions and question words.

HFS Grade 5/6 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

In Language Arts, the students have successfully completed their point of view quiz. We continue to make our way through “Inside the Walls of Troy.” Next week, we plan to examine another essential reading skill: making inferences. In Social Studies, the students have taken an in-depth look at the ancient city-state of Sparta and how very different it was from Athens. They demonstrated their knowledge by writing a BCR about the differences between the two. We also started discussing how to make an outline (this is a Social Studies and Language Arts skill!). The students practiced by making outlines with subjects that are familiar to them and we plan to use outlines to take notes on the wars that occurred in Ancient Greece.

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Math 6 students have been making their way through the second Investigation of “Bits and Pieces.” They have studied all about equivalent fractions using a giant number line and many of their own drawings.  The students have learned to find distances between fractions even when the denominators are different by creating equivalent fractions. They have used benchmarks to compare fractions and have used strategies to find fractions “in between” others. In the coming week, we will finish up Investigation 2 with a quiz and jump into Investigation 3 in which we switch over from fractions to decimals.

Science: This week has been all about air masses – their origin, composition, method of traveling and accompanying weather.  We finished the week studying what happens when two (or more) air masses meet. Students are busy researching different types of fronts, creating posters and writing interviews of expert meteorologists.

NOTES from Explorations…

Computer Technology: We discussed Internet survival tips and guidelines for safe online behavior. Many students returned their handouts at the end of class. Next week we will continue our discussion and this information will come home with request for parent signature. Discuss family rules about emails, chatting, posting pictures and answering calls from unknown numbers. Class discussions were most interesting; I expect the home discussions will be as well.

Music: This week the fifth and sixth grade students continued to learn how to read and identify note names on the bass or treble clef (depending on what instrument they have chosen to play in band this year). Students participated in a relay game of running to the correct note name on a giant treble clef staff on the gym floor. Students also brought their instruments to school for the first time this week and are discovering instrument care and correct technique.

Spanish: We’re working with season and weather.  Expect a quiz on this next week.  Next we will work with colors and discuss which things are what color.  In Spanish, of course.

HFS Lower School Weekly Collections

NOTES from the 3/4 Grade Classroom…

This week we began reading Tuck Everlasting.  In addition to vocabulary, summation, and evaluation, we will focus on the beautiful writing of this book.  The students tried their hands at anthropomorphism, with wonderful results.  In Writing Workshop, the students are hard at work on their poetry notebooks, which are due on Tuesday, November 22.  Work for these should be completed in class, although students needing more time on their poems may be asked to work at home.  In addition, students are memorizing their poems for recitation on Monday, November 21.  In Social Studies, the Native American village is coming along nicely, with wigwams, a longhouse, canoes of different types, animals, and a garden.  In Science, our work on chromatography continues.  The students experimented with various types of paper and different colors of ink, and they investigated the effects of food coloring on their chromatograms.  The intermediate math group is becoming more comfortable with their division facts, and they will be ready for a test on this topic on Tuesday, November 15.  A school supplies inventory was taken by each student and sent home today.  Please check this to see if your student is in need of any supplies.  Next week, we will venture to the Maryland Science Center on Friday, November 18.  Please remember to pack a complete lunch for the trip.  Have a great week!

NOTES from the 1/2 Grade Classroom…

This week in language arts the primary class read the Boggywooga.  The first read through they didn’t get to see the illustrations and created what they believed the Boggywooga looked like.  In theme, we continued talking about family and wrote descriptive words about different family members. We will create family members using different materials like fabric, yarn, patterned paper and more.  In science, we learned about clouds: the cirrus, cumulus, and stratus and went outside to see what type of clouds we had that day.  We also made rain sticks, which we hope to use in music class.  Next week, the primary class will continue talking about weather.  On Friday, November 18 we will be going on a scavenger hunt to downtown Bel Air to learn about our community.  Please remember to bring in your child’s booster and a snack is all that is needed, because a slice of pizza and drink will be provided for lunch.

NOTES from the Kindergarten Classroom…

Kindergarten is reading Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland, and The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene.  We are practicing our handwriting formation of the frog jump capital letters, concentrating on the vocabulary used to form the letters, as well as where our letters are in relation to the lines on the paper.  We are increasing our sight words to include the color words.

The kindergarteners have been creating and describing patterns using macaroni, counting dots on die and creating a simple graph of the dice rolls, and investigating the use of a pan balance and weighing techniques, using a pan balance to compare and describe weights of various objects, and practicing writing their numbers to make a number book.

We are observing leaves, examining their shapes and silhouettes.   We planted black walnut sees in hopes that we will get seedlings.  Students identified what the seeds would need to help them grow, and completed the process of planting the seeds.

NOTES from Explorations…

3/4 Computer Technology: We continued keyboarding instruction this week. Each student passed additional skill check assessments to quantify speed and accuracy. Remind your student to practice good posture when working on the computer at home.

1/2 Computer Technology: We continued keyboarding instruction. Remind your student to practice good posture when working on the computer at home.

3/4 Music: This week the third and fourth graders continued to learned how to read and identify note names on either the bass or treble clef (depending on what instrument they have chosen to play in band this year). Students created their own treble clef bingo boards and played many rounds to practice identifying note names. Students also brought their instruments to school for the first time this week and are discovering instrument care and correct technique.

1/2 Music: This week the first and second grade students discovered that tempo means the speed of the beat!  They listened to different tempo speeds on a metronome and quickly noticed that it was similar to a heartbeat.  We read a book about a leaf hunt and marched to the tempo of the reading while ‘hunting’ for leaves inside the classroom.  We then went on a real leaf hunt outside where students collected many leaves that they displayed on their tempo posters.

3/4 Spanish: We finished our discussion of masculine and feminine and moved on to Spanish math problems.  Next we’ll work with commands.

1/2 Spanish: We learned our clothing and dressed our people.  Next we’ll learn foods.

Kindergarten Spanish:  We’re learning our foods and next we’ll learn clothes.