HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
January 7, 2011

Dear HFS Families,

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down and eat lunch with students of various grade levels and discuss a variety of topics. One of the issues that came up were the upcoming portfolio presentations scheduled for next Thursday, January 13th. In quintessential Friends school fashion, the questions were many and indicated puzzlement over why we would spend time reviewing and rehashing work done weeks if not months ago. (As anyone who knows a Friends school graduate, who is wedded to one, or who tries to lead a group of Friends school students and teachers can attest to, I assure you that this questioning “habit of mind” that we teach can sometimes be a real nuisance of enlightenment!) So, in pure Quaker pedagogical response, I replied with a question. “Why do you think we spend time reviewing and reflecting upon progress in older pieces of work?” (At this point, I knew I had committed myself to the full lunch period. There’s no way to engage the Friends school questioner in a topic of great personal relevance and end with a rhetorical question. I would be challenged on this, but was ready to engage the repartee!) “Well, I don’t know,” came the reply. (Ah ha, another indicator of a Friends education – a willingness to admit uncertainty and to seek truth! I was inspired.) “I guess it’s because you [teachers] want us to do busy work at the end of the semester and not have to do too much ‘new’ stuff.” (Again, emboldened to speak “truth to power,” this child’s adoption of a Friends school’s philosophy was really beginning to irk me.) I could have overreacted, but as any participant in our recent middle school parent conversations knows well, emotional overreaction plays into the hand of the nimble-minded middle school student. So, continuing my philosophically oriented approach, I replied, “What evidence would you use to prove that you had achieved course objectives and to support your promotion to the next grade level?” (Here, the student thought I’d made a fatal error in my reasoning and jumped on it.) “My grades! The reports that teachers write about me and my work. That proves it.” “Good point,” I said and countered with this. “That is someone’s assessment of you and is the official school record of progress, but what does the teacher use to make his or her assessment?” (I knew the discussion was coming to an end, but I did not expect the great leap forward that occurred next.) In reply, this young man made a better case for the use of portfolios than I could have. “It’s like we have to prove that we know something or can do something, like if we wanted a job and needed certain skills to do it. It’s probably not enough just to have someone else say that we can do it.” I rested my case. He had proven himself a Friends school product.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES FROM COMMUNITY MEMBERS…

[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.]

Dear Parents,

The Lower School Committee has decided to host a book fair, which is done through Scholastic Book, but we need your help.   We are asking for 3 – 4 parents to volunteer during 2—3 hour shifts each day of the fair.  If parents can volunteer for more that would be wonderful.  The book fair will be held Monday, February 14-Thursday, February 17.  Monday-Wednesday the times of the book fair will be from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, and on Thursday from 1:00 pm—6:00 pm (in advance of our annual Judy’s Night Celebration of Reading and Storytelling event).  The book fair set-up and clean up is very easy. The books are contained in big rolling boxes and just need to be opened. The books are already set-up inside! A certain percentage of the money that we make at the book fair will benefit the school. Depending on the amount of books we sell, our supplies could range from more pencils to SmartBoards!  If you would like to volunteer please return the bottom of the handout you received, marked with your availability.  If you have any further questions about the book fair please email Marsha Grossman at mgrossman@harfordfriends.org.

Sincerely,

The Lower School Committee

2011-2012 Financial Aid Applications Due February 1st

Families wishing to apply for financial aid for the 2011-2012 school year must have submitted their completed applications to SSSFA by February 1st. The on-line link to the service is http://www.sss.nais.org/parents/

HFS Snow Policy

Harford Friends School follows the delayed openings and cancellations for schools of the Harford County Public Schools. On days when Harford Friends School is in session and the county schools are not, HFS officials will make a determination as soon as possible and announce that decision via email and the four major television news outlets in the Baltimore market, WBAL-TV, WJZ, WMAR, and WBFF. Per the Maryland State Department of Education Non-Public School rules and regulations, Harford Friends School is required to schedule a minimum of 170 school days per academic year. Harford Friends School schedules several additional days in its Master Calendar to account for inclement weather days. If the number of actual inclement weather days exceeds the number of “extra” days in the HFS Master Calendar, Harford Friends School reserves the right to make up those days by extending the school year in June. Announcements regarding the extension of the school year will be made by April 1st to provide families with ample time to plan for the lengthened school year.

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. Sunday, Jan. 9 – HFS Open House (2-4PM) Grade 8 Coordinating volunteers for event.
  2. Monday, Jan. 10 – Destination Imagination Grades 3-5 Practice (3:15-4:30PM) in Little Falls Classroom
  3. Monday, Jan. 10 – Destination Imagination Grades 6-8 Practice (3:15-5:00PM) in Fawn Grove Classroom
  4. Tuesday, Jan. 11 – Basketball Practice with Coach Huxtable CANCELLED
  5. Wednesday, Jan. 12 – REQUIRED student work session for any student owing work for the 2nd Quarter (3:00-5:00PM)
  6. Wednesday, Jan. 12 – Blueberry Festival 2011 Coordinators meeting (6-7PM)
  7. Thursday, Jan. 13 – End of 1st Semester; All student work must be submitted by 3PM.
  8. Thursday, Jan. 13 – Student Portfolio Presentations; Schedule to be determined.
  9. Thursday, Jan. 13 – Basketball Practice with Coach Huxtable CANCELLED
  10. Friday, Jan. 14 – HFS Closed for Professional Development
  11. Monday, Jan. 17 – HFS Closed in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  12. Tuesday, Jan. 18 – Basketball Practice with Coach Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM) in gym.
  13. Thursday, Jan. 20 – Informal parent discussion coffee at Geneva Farm (9:00AM). Please contact H&SA Clerk Dawn Tridone for additional information.
  14. Thursday, Jan. 20 – Basketball Practice with Coach Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM) in gym.
  15. Friday, Jan. 21 – Field trips for all grades – Grade 8: Whiteford Library (Departure & Return times to be announced); Grade 7: Arena Club (Departure & Return times to be announced); Grade 5/6: Walters Art Museum (Depart 8:45AM, Return 12:00PM); Grade 3/4: Hampton Mansion (Departure & Return times to be announced); Grade 1/2: Eden Mill Nature Center (Depart 9:10AM, Return 12:00PM)
  16. Friday, Jan. 21 – Destination Imagination Grades 3-5 Practice (3:15-4:30PM) in Little Falls Classroom
  17. Friday, Jan. 21 – Destination Imagination Grades 6-8 Practice (3:15-5:00PM) in Fawn Grove Classroom
  18. Saturday, Jan. 22 – Admissions Assessments (9-11AM) RSVP required
  19. Monday, Jan. 24 – Destination Imagination Grades 3-5 Practice (3:15-4:30PM) in Little Falls Classroom
  20. Monday, Jan. 24 – Destination Imagination Grades 6-8 Practice (3:15-5:00PM) in Fawn Grove Classroom
  21. Tuesday, Jan. 25 – Basketball Practice with Coach Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM) in gym.
  22. Tuesday, Jan. 25 – Home & School Association Meeting (7-9PM)
  23. Thursday, Jan. 27 – Basketball Practice with Coach Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM) in gym.
  24. Friday, Jan. 28 – Student and Advisor/Homebase Teacher Report Meetings (1:25-2:55PM)
  25. Friday, Jan. 28 – NO After-School Activities (Destination Imagination CANCELLED)
  26. Monday, Jan. 31 – Destination Imagination Grades 3-5 Practice (3:15-4:30PM) in Little Falls Classroom
  27. Monday, Jan. 31 – Destination Imagination Grades 6-8 Practice (3:15-5:00PM) in Fawn Grove Classroom

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

This week we put the finishing touches on the “From Colonies to Country” portion of History. We reviewed for Thursday’s test and rekindled some interesting discussions. We began reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and compared this version of the short story form to “Sleepy Hollow.” We also did another peer review of our modern versions of “Sleepy Hollow” – the final draft will be due next Wednesday. Portfolio presentations are next Thursday, January 13th – we will spend some time over the final days of the semester preparing our materials for Humanities.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: We began a unit on sound and light.  Initial demonstrations of wave behavior included student-body compression wave and transverse wave, slinky, resonance tube, and ripple tank.  Students will do additional activities, including experimental determination of the speed of sound.  The relationship between wavelength and frequency was briefly illustrated in the form of sound pitch.  Reflection and refraction were considered, the latter illustrated by a lineup of students (holding a rope in a straight line) marching briskly on flat ground before encountering a steep hill at an angle:  the wave changes its direction.  During the week, students were assigned three sections of text on these topics, and will have a science-vocabulary quiz on Tuesday.

In an expositional writing exercise, students were asked to describe an object (football or long-sleeved shirt) and an action (throwing a football, or folding a shirt) to “an anthropologist from mars.”  Mainly, what students learned in the first round is that this kind of writing is moderately difficult, and will take practice and discipline to achieve the kind of competence expected in their science writing.

We broached the general topic of this year’s science project, for which the poster presentation at the March 10 Science Fair is the culminating activity but not the singular goal nor the only thing to be graded.  Stay tuned for details and timelines.

Math: The start of the new year also marks the closing of the first semester at HFS.  To conclude the first semester in Math 8, we are evaluating our progress in algebra in a number of ways:            first, each student selected two examples of math work that he/she felt represented his/her best work during the first semester, to be presented to his/her advisor and parents during a scheduled conference; additionally, he/she will complete a two part semester examination, a free response “take home” format given to students on Friday that is due on Monday of next week, and an in-class multiple choice format to be given in class on Monday, which was described in the Math 8 Course Overview at the beginning of the year.  Students have make great progress this semester in developing algebra skills, and the intent of the semester examination is to assess this progress in algebra.  Topics to be covered on the exam include:            solving linear equations in one variable, solving and graphing linear equations in two variables, graphing linear equations and inequalities in two variables, solving systems of linear equations and inequalities, the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications, properties of exponents, and properties of exponential growth models.

During class this week, we have continued our analysis of exponential growth models by studying compound growth, including financial applications and the number e (approximately 2.71828).  We will be examining two more aspects of exponential behavior before we conclude this unit:  limited resource exponential growth (“S” curves) and exponential decay.  Students are reminded that they are to be working on their sci-fi story, based on out-of-control exponential growth.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology: This week the class finished the word processor project on Harpers Ferry. Next week will start the spreadsheet unit.

Music: For information on Music, please contact Bill Jenkins at wjenkins@loyola.edu

Physical Education: Grades 5 through 8 have a quiz on their muscle unit on Monday and Tuesday. Students were given 2 handouts: a muscle chart and definitions. All material on the handouts will be on the quiz. All classes will be improving on agility, reaction time and teamwork. Grades 5 – 8 will be doing basketball.

Spanish: For information on Spanish, please contact Liz Fernandez at liz.fernandez2009@gmail.com

NOTES from Middle School ADVISORY…

Happy New Year!  I hope your holiday was fun and restorative.  The first weeks of the new year are also the final weeks of the first semester, and the students are hard at work preparing their portfolios.  The students are selecting pieces of work from different classes that show growth and progress in the first semester, reflecting in writing about those pieces, and preparing to present these products of their efforts to you next week.  Advisors and parents will attend the individual presentations as audience members as the student takes center stage to display, explain, and analyze his or her work.  If you have not yet scheduled a time to meet with your child’s advisor on Thursday, January 13th, please contact him or her as soon as possible.  As the semester ends, it is also imperative that all work be completed and submitted by Thursday, January 13th, also.  At the end of January, a shift will take place as the students work in grade level groups instead of advisory groups for approximately eight weeks, focusing on topics of relevance to each grade.  The fifth grade will study methods of conflict resolution with Mr. Baillie, the sixth grade will study Life Education with Mr. Huxtable, the seventh grade will delve into groups and stereotypes with Mrs. Derengowski, and the eighth grade will tackle choices and responsible decision-making with Mrs. De Mey.   Have a great week, and we look forward to seeing you next week!

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

This week we put the finishing touches on our Africa unit. We prepared for our test during the early part of the week and completed the test Wednesday afternoon. We also peer reviewed our rough drafts and will continue that process through the end of the week and finish the essay by the end of the semester. Starting Monday, January 10th, the 7th Grade will have Mr. Huxtable for the Rwanda Negotiations mini-unit. This unit will still cover skills normally covered in our classes. Portfolio presentations are next Thursday, January 13th – we will spend some time over the final days of the semester preparing our materials for Humanities.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: 7th graders have been studying water currents and density this week.  They created models that demonstrated currents flowing into and out of the Mediterranean Sea to help answer an ancient puzzle and then learned how to measure mass and volume and calculate density.   We’ve picked up writing in our lab journals again.  They will be used much in our next few units.

Math: Welcome back! In math 7 this week, we got the cobwebs out of our heads that were left over from the break and continued working on finding unit rates and understanding their meanings and using unit rates to determine best buys. We also are preparing for our portfolio presentation. Next week we will work on solving problems using proportions and ratios. We will be finishing up our unit on Comparing and Scaling and have our unit test towards the end of next week.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology: The class finished the word processor project on Assateague Island. Next week will start the spreadsheet unit.

Music: For information on Music, please contact Bill Jenkins at wjenkins@loyola.edu

Physical Education: Grades 5 through 8 have a quiz on their muscle unit on Monday and Tuesday. Students were given 2 handouts: a muscle chart and definitions. All material on the handouts will be on the quiz. All classes will be improving on agility, reaction time and teamwork. Grades 5 – 8 will be doing basketball.

Spanish: For information on Spanish, please contact Liz Fernandez at liz.fernandez2009@gmail.com

NOTES from Middle School ADVISORY…

Happy New Year!  I hope your holiday was fun and restorative.  The first weeks of the new year are also the final weeks of the first semester, and the students are hard at work preparing their portfolios.  The students are selecting pieces of work from different classes that show growth and progress in the first semester, reflecting in writing about those pieces, and preparing to present these products of their efforts to you next week.  Advisors and parents will attend the individual presentations as audience members as the student takes center stage to display, explain, and analyze his or her work.  If you have not yet scheduled a time to meet with your child’s advisor on Thursday, January 13th, please contact him or her as soon as possible.  As the semester ends, it is also imperative that all work be completed and submitted by Thursday, January 13th, also.  At the end of January, a shift will take place as the students work in grade level groups instead of advisory groups for approximately eight weeks, focusing on topics of relevance to each grade.  The fifth grade will study methods of conflict resolution with Mr. Baillie, the sixth grade will study Life Education with Mr. Huxtable, the seventh grade will delve into groups and stereotypes with Mrs. Derengowski, and the eighth grade will tackle choices and responsible decision-making with Mrs. De Mey.   Have a great week, and we look forward to seeing you next week!

HFS Grade 5/6 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

Students are busy exploring the geography, government and religion of ancient Egypt! Ask your child about the hat they made in class and its significance. We spent time on an imaginary cruise north on the Nile into the Mediterranean Sea, a 4000-mile journey. We decided it might be hard to find enough chaperones for that field trip!

We are about to enter into the pyramids, mummification and the rise and fall of the three kingdoms.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: The 5/6 grade class is heavily into our unit on experimental design. This week our focus has been working backwards:  here’s the experimental scenario, tell me what the various components are.  We’ve also learned how to construct data tables and spent some time looking introspectively at our work during the semester as we prepared for portfolio presentations.

Math: Our geometry unit titled, Shapes and Designs, has grabbed your children’s attention. They are fully engaged in finding the ways to classify triangles and other polygons. Ask your child to tell you the two ways that triangles are classified. Most students have their protractors, if they do not, be sure they have one by Monday, January 10th.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology: The class continued the word processing project on Ancient Man.

Music: For information on Music, please contact Bill Jenkins at wjenkins@loyola.edu

Physical Education: Grades 5 through 8 have a quiz on their muscle unit on Monday and Tuesday. Students were given 2 handouts: a muscle chart and definitions. All material on the handouts will be on the quiz. All classes will be improving on agility, reaction time and teamwork. Grades 5 – 8 will be doing basketball.

Spanish: For information on Spanish, please contact Liz Fernandez at liz.fernandez2009@gmail.com

NOTES from Middle School ADVISORY…

Happy New Year!  I hope your holiday was fun and restorative.  The first weeks of the new year are also the final weeks of the first semester, and the students are hard at work preparing their portfolios.  The students are selecting pieces of work from different classes that show growth and progress in the first semester, reflecting in writing about those pieces, and preparing to present these products of their efforts to you next week.  Advisors and parents will attend the individual presentations as audience members as the student takes center stage to display, explain, and analyze his or her work.  If you have not yet scheduled a time to meet with your child’s advisor on Thursday, January 13th, please contact him or her as soon as possible.  As the semester ends, it is also imperative that all work be completed and submitted by Thursday, January 13th, also.  At the end of January, a shift will take place as the students work in grade level groups instead of advisory groups for approximately eight weeks, focusing on topics of relevance to each grade.  The fifth grade will study methods of conflict resolution with Mr. Baillie, the sixth grade will study Life Education with Mr. Huxtable, the seventh grade will delve into groups and stereotypes with Mrs. Derengowski, and the eighth grade will tackle choices and responsible decision-making with Mrs. De Mey.   Have a great week, and we look forward to seeing you next week!

HFS Lower School Weekly Collections

NOTES from the 1/2 Grade Classroom…

I want to first welcome everyone back and hope families had a wonderful holiday and New Year.  We started off the New Year with a new student and I want to welcome Parker and say that the class welcomed him with open arms and is doing a wonderful job helping out.  This first week took some time for the class to adjust back into the routine.  The New Year we started fresh; we started a new theme unit on place and habitat.  We discussed what a habitat is and different types of habitats.  We will be learning about four different types of habitats deserts, artic, oceans/coral reefs, and rainforests.  Towards the end of this unit we will be having a large in class project with rainforests, where our classroom will turn into a rainforest habitat and we will have vegetation and different animals hanging all over the classroom.  In language arts we discussed what a genre of a book is and what are different types of genres.  This week we began discussing fairy tales and I read two different versions of The Little Red Hen and in a venn diagram the students compared the two versions.  This week we have begun the portfolio process. The students are picking out strengths and something they need to work on for the rest of the school year for each subject.  Next week I will be doing a practice presentation with each student.  Our Friday, January 21 field trip will be at Eden Mill Nature Center.  Please remember to dress appropriately and bring in your students booster seat.

NOTES from the 3/4 Grade Classroom…

Happy New Year!  I enjoyed hearing the many stories of holiday fun from your children.  As we welcome the new year, we also welcome an addition to our class, Emma.  The first weeks of the new year are also the final weeks of the first semester, and the students are hard at work preparing their portfolios.  The students are selecting pieces of work from different classes that show growth and progress in the first semester, reflecting in writing about those pieces, and preparing to present these products of their efforts to you next week.  You and I have the pleasure of acting as an audience as the student takes center stage to display, explain, and analyze his or her work.  This process should be beneficial to you as your child explains how he or she has progressed, but it is just as helpful to the student, as he or she deliberately and objectively examines the results of his or her efforts.  The end products of the presentation should include satisfaction for a job well done and a new set of goals for the second half of the school year.  In Reading, we have begun to study a short novel, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. In Writing Workshop, we are trying our hands at realistic fiction.  In Literature, we are focusing on the Quaker SPICES, which are values that we strive to embody.  SPICES stands for Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship.  We focused on simplicity in our readings this week and will explore peace next week.  The intermediate math group will have a chapter test on Tuesday covering metric and standard measurement, as well as elapsed time.  In Social Studies, the students have completed their Archaic Indian unit and will move on to Woodland Indians next week.  After this unit, we will focus on colonial Maryland.  In anticipation of this, our January field trip will take us to Hampton Mansion on January 21, for a tour of the mansion, farm, and slave quarters of this national park.  I will send a separate email with our trip itinerary.  Have a great week!

Science-3/4: Happy New Year everyone.  I am very pleased to welcome Emma to our class.  She fits right in with her enthusiasm and zest for learning.  This week’s lessons focused on Fungi, specifically yeast.  After designing and completing a class experiment on yeast, the students donned their lab jackets and eagerly created their own experiments.  They impressed me with their attention to detail:  carefully measuring water temperatures, selecting matching vessels, measuring amounts of yeast, sugar, and a variety of other substances they chose to test.  The unit concluded with a word wall story, both rough draft and peer editing.  Final drafts are due on Monday.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology 1/2: The class rotated through different stations playing games related to moon facts, spelling, addition and telling time.

Computer Technology 3/4: The class is wrapping up the word processor project on Archaic Indians.

Music 1/2: For information on Music, please contact Janis Katsu at joyful@joyfulsounds.net

Physical Education: Grades 1 through 4 have been studying muscles as well. The students have done a great job learning lots of big names and learning how to make themselves stronger! Grades 1 through 4 will be working on eye/hand coordination for the next unit along with basketball skills. All classes will be improving on agility, reaction time and teamwork.

Spanish: For information on Spanish, please contact Liz Fernandez at liz.fernandez2009@gmail.com