HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
October 10, 2008

HFS Grade 6 Weekly Collections

October 3, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

In Thursday’s Parent Coffee, parents from all three grades and I discussed portfolios, advisory unit plans, and general HFS programs and philosophies – advisory, grading, decision-making, etc. The discussion about each aspect had a common thread, the need to have students learn-by-doing, learn by succeeding and failing and taking the time and effort to reflect on the reasons for success and failure. As we discussed, teachers at HFS are highly attuned to hearing to what each child attributes his or her failures and successes. Was the cause of the success internal and unchangeable? (“I’m bad at math.”) Was the cause internal and changeable? (“I worked hard.”) Was the cause of the failure external and unchangeable? (“The teacher hates me.”) Or, was the cause external and changeable? (“The teacher was having a bad day and couldn’t help me.”) These are answers that all educators and parents should listen for carefully. They reveal critically important information about a child’s belief in himself or herself. Many people define this as “self-esteem.” However, the topic of our discussion was “Attribution Theory” made well known by researcher Bernard Weiner (1970) and others including Covington, Omelich, Kukla, Meyer, and Cook). Imagine a data table with two columns labeled “changeable” and “unchangeable” and two rows labeled “internal” and “external.” Attribution of a success or failure to a cause that was “internal and changeable” is evidence of a healthy level of self-esteem. It indicates that the person feels that he/she was successful because he/she worked hard or failed because he/she did not work hard enough. However, there are some obvious stumbling blocks within this theory. Imagine the impact to self-esteem that trying hard, but failing would generate. In such cases, it may be easier to preserve one’s sense of self by avoiding extra effort so as to be able to attribute failure to not having tried hard enough! This is where the teacher and parent, the ones who are listening carefully, can make an enormous difference. The challenge to increase achievement motivation is often not simply a matter of working harder, but working smarter by identifying smaller, achievable goals and working to attain them. The rungs of the ladder are differently spaced for each child. It is critical that each one is striving to reach for and grasp the rung just beyond their current reach. This is why we, the adults in a child’s life, are most helpful when we steady the ladder when needed, encourage movement, help to identify dangerous missteps, and celebrate success. We cannot, nor should we, climb the ladder for them. As the mountain climber’s adage goes, the lessons are not learned while standing on the summit, they are learned in the many attempts to reach it.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Sixth graders continue to be extremely busy with all matters having to do with Humanities 6.  We finished up our study of Prehistoric Cultures today with a test, and I look forward to grading them.  We next stop in Ancient Mesopotamia for a prolonged view of the earliest river civilizations along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.  In grammar, we have finished our work with nouns and will soon march on to pronouns.  Grammar Rocks!  We will delve further into the mysteries of descriptive writing and hope to improve our descriptive skills and abilities.  Book reports will be presented once again on Monday, and our students are actually eager to talk about their latest literary “finds.”  Work continues apace with spelling and vocabulary as time allows.  I hope you all have a marvelous weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Sixth grade math completed an investigation on number relations in the unit called Prime Time.  We have looked at how we define prime, composite, relatively prime, greatest common factor (gcf), least common multiple (lcm), prime factorization, and how we use prime factorization to determine lcm and gcf.  Because we completed our unit, as you might guess, there is a test on the material.  We will use Friday to review what we have learned in class.  Besides the test, I will be checking notebooks to see that they are organized and that they completely represent the work done by every student in preparation for transferring the information to the portfolio.  The portfolio will be used all year to keep track of all work so that at the end of the year students can show how they have grown using their work as examples.

Science: Sixth grade science got back both a quiz and a project this week. This is one of the first times that this class has been assessed so it gave every student an idea of where they stand and certain areas they may want to strengthen.  I look forward to this being a point of reference for the rest of the year.  We also learned about the rock cycle, and began a writing piece that will describe the journey of a rock through the rock cycle.  They will need to accurately describe the rock cycle and use appropriate vocabulary words in the process. This project is two fold in its presentation.  There is the story itself as well as a visual that represents the rock cycle and the specific journey of your rock through the cycle.  The project is due next Wednesday, Oct. 8.

NOTES from Explorations…

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

Choir: For information on Choir, please contact Andrew Lewis at drewan74@aol.com.

Computer Technology: We are working on Ultrakey, our typing tutorial, and will begin using Microsoft Word.

Music: For information on music, please contact Andrew Lewis at drewan74@aol.com.

Physical Education: The students are working on speed and our timed run. We continue playing games that require skill and strategy to get us ready for our football unit.

Spanish: Another great week! We will continue to work on greetings this week. We are going to start working on numbers and time. This will add conversational skills and help us with the greetings. The following week, we will review common commands.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Please respond to the Credit Card Survey that was emailed to all parents this week. We value your opinion.
  • Wednesday, October 1 – Payment (1) is due on all outstanding Student Activity Fees. Please send in your first installment payment to avoid any late fees.
  • HFS Spirit Gear: Show off your school spirit! Autumn is approaching quickly. Come get your HFS sweatshirts while supplies last! We have HFS t-shirts and sweatshirts in the Business Office for sale. Only a few tie-dye shirts left!!

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. PLEASE! Please exercise great caution when driving on or near school grounds. We share the parking lot and roads with many other organizations, their clientele, employees, and our neighbors. Please be sure you are within posted speed limits and are obeying all traffic signs. Thank you!
  2. Do you have any news magazines you would like to recycle? Please forward them to Mr. Pickard for use in Humanities classes.
  3. Saturday, October 4: Darlington Apple Festival (9:00AM-5:00PM). Please contact Sarah Buchanan-Wollaston for more information.
  4. Wednesday, October 8: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM)
  5. Thursday, October 9: HFS Back to School Night (7:00-9:00PM)
  6. Monday, October 13: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM). Students must provide permission from home to include all future D.I. practices.
  7. Thursday, October 16: Harford Day School High School Night (6:30-8:00PM) www.harfordday.org
  8. Friday, October 17: 6th, 7th, 8th grade trip to Eden Mill Nature Center.
  9. Friday, October 17: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  10. Sunday, October 19: HFS Open House (2-4 PM) Volunteers needed!
  11. Monday, October 20: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  12. Wednesday, October 22: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM)
  13. Thursday, October 23: 8th Grade trip to Jamestown/Williamsburg departs
  14. Friday, October 24: 6th Grade trip to Holloway Brothers Farm; 7th Grade trip to The Arena Club
  15. Saturday, October 25: 8th Grade trip returns from Jamestown/Williamsburg
  16. Monday, October 27: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  17. Wednesday, October 29: End of Interim 1
  18. Thursday, October 30: Introduction to Quakerism and Quaker Education Parent Workshop (7:00PM)
  19. Sunday, November 9 (2:00-4:30 PM) at The Bel Air Armory.  A Taste of Excellence: Wine-Tasting to benefit Harford Friends School. Tickets available through HFS and BottleWorks of Hickory.

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

October 3, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

In Thursday’s Parent Coffee, parents from all three grades and I discussed portfolios, advisory unit plans, and general HFS programs and philosophies – advisory, grading, decision-making, etc. The discussion about each aspect had a common thread, the need to have students learn-by-doing, learn by succeeding and failing and taking the time and effort to reflect on the reasons for success and failure. As we discussed, teachers at HFS are highly attuned to hearing to what each child attributes his or her failures and successes. Was the cause of the success internal and unchangeable? (“I’m bad at math.”) Was the cause internal and changeable? (“I worked hard.”) Was the cause of the failure external and unchangeable? (“The teacher hates me.”) Or, was the cause external and changeable? (“The teacher was having a bad day and couldn’t help me.”) These are answers that all educators and parents should listen for carefully. They reveal critically important information about a child’s belief in himself or herself. Many people define this as “self-esteem.” However, the topic of our discussion was “Attribution Theory” made well known by researcher Bernard Weiner (1970) and others including Covington, Omelich, Kukla, Meyer, and Cook). Imagine a data table with two columns labeled “changeable” and “unchangeable” and two rows labeled “internal” and “external.” Attribution of a success or failure to a cause that was “internal and changeable” is evidence of a healthy level of self-esteem. It indicates that the person feels that he/she was successful because he/she worked hard or failed because he/she did not work hard enough. However, there are some obvious stumbling blocks within this theory. Imagine the impact to self-esteem that trying hard, but failing would generate. In such cases, it may be easier to preserve one’s sense of self by avoiding extra effort so as to be able to attribute failure to not having tried hard enough! This is where the teacher and parent, the ones who are listening carefully, can make an enormous difference. The challenge to increase achievement motivation is often not simply a matter of working harder, but working smarter by identifying smaller, achievable goals and working to attain them. The rungs of the ladder are differently spaced for each child. It is critical that each one is striving to reach for and grasp the rung just beyond their current reach. This is why we, the adults in a child’s life, are most helpful when we steady the ladder when needed, encourage movement, help to identify dangerous missteps, and celebrate success. We cannot, nor should we, climb the ladder for them. As the mountain climber’s adage goes, the lessons are not learned while standing on the summit, they are learned in the many attempts to reach it.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

The seventh graders are working hard in Humanities 7. In grammar, we are finishing up pronouns. We will have our pronoun quiz October 9th. We completed Unit 3 in our spelling-vocabulary book. We will review Units 1-3 and move on to Unit 4 next week. The projects are complete and I am ready to be wowed tomorrow by all the performances for The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm project. Don’t forget ~the individual book reports are to be completed on October 6th.  In social studies, we are traveling through South America. The student will be starting an in-class project on a map of South America, details to follow soon.

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Seventh grade math just completed the first unit on Thursday.  The final part of the unit dealt with using calculators to help you in your investigation of equations, tables, and graphs.  Because I do not expect every child to have a graphing calculator, all of the work was done in class, in groups on the school’s, and my, graphing calculators. Now that the unit is complete, as you might expect, there is a unit test.  This will be on all of the topics that we have covered during the unit: necessary components of tables, necessary components of a graph (titles, scales, independent and dependent variables), and how you determine an equation from a graph, table, or descriptive statement.  The test is on Tuesday, October 7.  In addition to the test, I will be checking notebooks to see that they are organized and that they completely represent the work done by every student in preparation for transferring the information to the portfolio.  The portfolio will be used all year to keep track of all work so that at the end of the year students can show how they have grown using their own work as examples.

Science: Seventh grade science finally reached the end of that great journey that was the Defend Your Kingdom project.  The day in court, on Thursday, did not go as planned for some students.  There were some rather large technical difficulties for one group that prevented them from showing their PowerPoint presentation.  We had some very colorful costumes for our witnesses.  We had a slime mold take the stand, a honey bee enter evidence, yeast explain its importance to humans, and a venus flytrap try to argue that plants aren’t in food and get persuaded otherwise.  In the end, all kingdoms were found not guilty of the charges brought by bacteria.  We then started solidifying some of the information we had just learned independently by delving into our packets on the classification of living things.  First we touched on viruses, which we now know are only similar to organisms.  Then we dove head first into solidifying our knowledge of each kingdom in the domain Eukarya.  For the next couple of weeks, class will be more traditional with readings and nightly homework, in stark contrast to class the last couple of weeks.

NOTES from Explorations…

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

Choir: For information on Choir, please contact Andrew Lewis at drewan74@aol.com.

Computer Technology: We continue to work on using Microsoft Excel and will keep practicing with spreadsheets. We have begun advancing our typing skills too.

Music: For information on music, please contact Andrew Lewis at drewan74@aol.com.

Physical Education: The students are working on speed and our timed run. We continue playing games that require skill and strategy to get us ready for our football unit.

Spanish: We will begin our first concept week. It will consist of learning to talk about things we like and things we do not and describing yourself and others. This concept will cover the next two weeks of class.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Please respond to the Credit Card Survey that was emailed to all parents this week. We value your opinion.
  • Wednesday, October 1 – Payment (1) is due on all outstanding Student Activity Fees. Please send in your first installment payment to avoid any late fees.
  • HFS Spirit Gear: Show off your school spirit! Autumn is approaching quickly. Come get your HFS sweatshirts while supplies last! We have HFS t-shirts and sweatshirts in the Business Office for sale. Only a few tie-dye shirts left!!

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. PLEASE! Please exercise great caution when driving on or near school grounds. We share the parking lot and roads with many other organizations, their clientele, employees, and our neighbors. Please be sure you are within posted speed limits and are obeying all traffic signs. Thank you!
  2. Do you have any news magazines you would like to recycle? Please forward them to Mr. Pickard for use in Humanities classes.
  3. Saturday, October 4: Darlington Apple Festival (9:00AM-5:00PM). Please contact Sarah Buchanan-Wollaston for more information.
  4. Wednesday, October 8: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM)
  5. Thursday, October 9: HFS Back to School Night (7:00-9:00PM)
  6. Monday, October 13: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM). Students must provide permission from home to include all future D.I. practices.
  7. Thursday, October 16: Harford Day School High School Night (6:30-8:00PM) www.harfordday.org
  8. Friday, October 17: 6th, 7th, 8th grade trip to Eden Mill Nature Center.
  9. Friday, October 17: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  10. Sunday, October 19: HFS Open House (2-4 PM) Volunteers needed!
  11. Monday, October 20: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  12. Wednesday, October 22: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM)
  13. Thursday, October 23: 8th Grade trip to Jamestown/Williamsburg departs
  14. Friday, October 24: 6th Grade trip to Holloway Brothers Farm; 7th Grade trip to The Arena Club
  15. Saturday, October 25: 8th Grade trip returns from Jamestown/Williamsburg
  16. Monday, October 27: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  17. Wednesday, October 29: End of Interim 1
  18. Thursday, October 30: Introduction to Quakerism and Quaker Education Parent Workshop (7:00PM)
  19. Sunday, November 9 (2:00-4:30 PM) at The Bel Air Armory.  A Taste of Excellence: Wine-Tasting to benefit Harford Friends School. Tickets available through HFS and BottleWorks of Hickory.

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

October 3, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

In Thursday’s Parent Coffee, parents from all three grades and I discussed portfolios, advisory unit plans, and general HFS programs and philosophies – advisory, grading, decision-making, etc. The discussion about each aspect had a common thread, the need to have students learn-by-doing, learn by succeeding and failing and taking the time and effort to reflect on the reasons for success and failure. As we discussed, teachers at HFS are highly attuned to hearing to what each child attributes his or her failures and successes. Was the cause of the success internal and unchangeable? (“I’m bad at math.”) Was the cause internal and changeable? (“I worked hard.”) Was the cause of the failure external and unchangeable? (“The teacher hates me.”) Or, was the cause external and changeable? (“The teacher was having a bad day and couldn’t help me.”) These are answers that all educators and parents should listen for carefully. They reveal critically important information about a child’s belief in himself or herself. Many people define this as “self-esteem.” However, the topic of our discussion was “Attribution Theory” made well known by researcher Bernard Weiner (1970) and others including Covington, Omelich, Kukla, Meyer, and Cook). Imagine a data table with two columns labeled “changeable” and “unchangeable” and two rows labeled “internal” and “external.” Attribution of a success or failure to a cause that was “internal and changeable” is evidence of a healthy level of self-esteem. It indicates that the person feels that he/she was successful because he/she worked hard or failed because he/she did not work hard enough. However, there are some obvious stumbling blocks within this theory. Imagine the impact to self-esteem that trying hard, but failing would generate. In such cases, it may be easier to preserve one’s sense of self by avoiding extra effort so as to be able to attribute failure to not having tried hard enough! This is where the teacher and parent, the ones who are listening carefully, can make an enormous difference. The challenge to increase achievement motivation is often not simply a matter of working harder, but working smarter by identifying smaller, achievable goals and working to attain them. The rungs of the ladder are differently spaced for each child. It is critical that each one is striving to reach for and grasp the rung just beyond their current reach. This is why we, the adults in a child’s life, are most helpful when we steady the ladder when needed, encourage movement, help to identify dangerous missteps, and celebrate success. We cannot, nor should we, climb the ladder for them. As the mountain climber’s adage goes, the lessons are not learned while standing on the summit, they are learned in the many attempts to reach it.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Eighth graders continue to be extremely busy with all matters having to do with Humanities 8.  We are finishing up our study of Native American History and Literature as well as the first period of European exploration.  We next stop in the Colonial period and will spend some extended time in Jamestown and Plymouth colonies.  We continue to work with various methods of sentence combining and the several kinds of sentences. We will delve further into the mysteries of expository and persuasive writing and hope to improve our abilities to write excellent responses to essay questions.  Book reports will be presented once again on Monday, and our students are actually eager to talk about their latest literary “finds.”  Work continues apace with spelling and vocabulary as time allows.  I hope you all have a marvelous weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: We have now completed our first unit, Working With Mathematical Models, and have begun our unit entitled, Growing, Growing, Growing, in which we will study properties of exponents and exponential functions, as we study models of exponential growth and decay.  On our first day, we began looking at exponential growth by constructing, interestingly enough, election ballots.  To gain some insight into the rapid nature of exponential growth, we also folded a piece of looseleaf paper in half, repeatedly.  In upcoming day and weeks, we will apply exponential growth to biological cultures and populations, as well as studying compound interest, another timely topic.  In addition to exponential growth, we will also study exponential decay and half-lives.  This is one of my favorite units, as it provides insight into a model of growth which is applicable in almost every area of life.  We will even infuse a little math and science into Humanities in an upcoming project connected with the Williamsburg/Jamestown field trip, as we study spread of disease in the early colonies.  This will be quite an exciting unit of study.

We completed two assessments this past week from our unit, Working With Mathematical Models, the unit test and project presentations.  As parents/guardians, you should have seen and signed the unit test.  Project evaluation has not yet been completed.  In addition, we have organized course portfolios, which will help provide a little insight into the mathematical mind of your eighth grader.

Have a good week.  I hope to see you at Back to School Night.

Science: In Eighth Grade Science, we entered the realm of infectious diseases, immunity to disease, and other issues of health as they pertain to the students’ modern curiosities and to their deeper understandings of the American colonial period.  We began with some textbook readings on a variety of pathogens, and discussed the characteristics that differ between bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.  Balloons of different sizes and shapes were used to represent relative sizes and shapes of several viruses from the smallest of viral pathogens (poliovirus), to the filamentous (Ebola virus) to the largest viruses (smallpox and herpesviruses), appreciating (amid the balloon chaos) that bacteria by comparison would be the size of our tables, and animal cells as large as our circle of tables.  We poured some nutrient agar plates and inoculated the sterile media with samples from ourselves and from the room, waiting to see what grows.  This was complemented by a short news article on the rich bacterial harvest that can be obtained from the average automobile.

Also from the readings, students were asked to demonstrate basic understanding of immunology, along with terms including innate immunity, active immunity, immune memory, antibodies, lymphocytes, B cells, T cells, and the lymphatic system.  This is an approachable and relevant topic but one that requires integration of many kinds of understanding, and it will be revisited several times for deeper understanding and as a vehicle for exploring some larger topics of cells and systems.

After the readings, and to tie things together more firmly with visuals and stories, we viewed a PBS video entitled “The Evolutionary Arms Race.”  The DVD addresses what the writers called the “arms race” between predator and prey as a driving force in evolution, much of the overall content involving microorganisms, sometimes as predators but also as symbionts.  Students were asked to view this scientific video with paper and writing utensil handy, and are acquiring some good habits in terms of jotting down vocabulary, questions, and sometimes mere doodles.  It is not to be inferred that good study and discussion habits are acquired immediately and permanently; we do some backsliding as a class, remind ourselves how to learn and how to comport ourselves, try to remember to affirm successes, and perhaps we improve steadily.

Homework continues to revolve around reading, writing, and analysis.  It is teacher’s expectation that reading will be demonstrated in several ways:  note-taking or highlighting; full engagement in class discussions; integration of vocabulary and knowledge from assigned readings into students’ written assignments; and sufficient mastery as assessed in examinations.

NOTES from Explorations…

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

Choir: For information on Choir, please contact Andrew Lewis at drewan74@aol.com.

Computer Technology: The students are showing off the typing skills that have been acquired from previous years of practice. We have begun to discover the program we will be using for our web designs.

Music: For information on music, please contact Andrew Lewis at drewan74@aol.com.

Physical Education: The students are working on speed and our timed run. We continue playing games that require skill and strategy to get us ready for our football unit.

Spanish: We will continue to work on greetings at different times of the day and responses. We will have a review of numbers and telling time. Next week, we will begin to talk about around the classroom words and basic commands.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Please respond to the Credit Card Survey that was emailed to all parents this week. We value your opinion.
  • Wednesday, October 1 – Payment (1) is due on all outstanding Student Activity Fees. Please send in your first installment payment to avoid any late fees.
  • HFS Spirit Gear: Show off your school spirit! Autumn is approaching quickly. Come get your HFS sweatshirts while supplies last! We have HFS t-shirts and sweatshirts in the Business Office for sale. Only a few tie-dye shirts left!!

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. PLEASE! Please exercise great caution when driving on or near school grounds. We share the parking lot and roads with many other organizations, their clientele, employees, and our neighbors. Please be sure you are within posted speed limits and are obeying all traffic signs. Thank you!
  2. Do you have any news magazines you would like to recycle? Please forward them to Mr. Pickard for use in Humanities classes.
  3. Saturday, October 4: Darlington Apple Festival (9:00AM-5:00PM). Please contact Sarah Buchanan-Wollaston for more information.
  4. Wednesday, October 8: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM)
  5. Thursday, October 9: HFS Back to School Night (7:00-9:00PM)
  6. Monday, October 13: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM). Students must provide permission from home to include all future D.I. practices.
  7. Thursday, October 16: Harford Day School High School Night (6:30-8:00PM) www.harfordday.org
  8. Friday, October 17: 6th, 7th, 8th grade trip to Eden Mill Nature Center.
  9. Friday, October 17: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  10. Sunday, October 19: HFS Open House (2-4 PM) Volunteers needed!
  11. Monday, October 20: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  12. Wednesday, October 22: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM)
  13. Thursday, October 23: 8th Grade trip to Jamestown/Williamsburg departs
  14. Friday, October 24: 6th Grade trip to Holloway Brothers Farm; 7th Grade trip to The Arena Club
  15. Saturday, October 25: 8th Grade trip returns from Jamestown/Williamsburg
  16. Monday, October 27: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  17. Wednesday, October 29: End of Interim 1
  18. Thursday, October 30: Introduction to Quakerism and Quaker Education Parent Workshop (7:00PM)
  19. Sunday, November 9 (2:00-4:30 PM) at The Bel Air Armory.  A Taste of Excellence: Wine-Tasting to benefit Harford Friends School. Tickets available through HFS and BottleWorks of Hickory.