HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
October 11, 2007

HFS Grade 6 Weekly Collections
(10/11/07)

Dear HFS Families,

How do we learn to respond effectively to adversity? How do we learn to manage conflict? How do we handle uncertainty and what can we learn from it? These queries apply to each one of us as much as they apply to our middle school students. In the first month of school, sixth grade students have had to adjust to a new school and new expectations among many other new things. Seventh grade students, numbering only four, have had to learn to negotiate their relationships in projects, in classes, in the hallway, a field trip, and myriad other interactions. Eighth grade has had to get to know four new teachers, four new styles of teaching, and learn to be the de facto leaders knowing that their every movement and utterance is looked upon by younger students as “appropriately modeled behavior.” Likewise, teachers and parents have gone through a similar learning curve. Each new year brings with it new challenges. However, it is not the challenge that determines what we extract from the experience, it is the experience of wholeheartedly engaging the challenge that teaches us what we need to know. Just as learning to skate requires getting on the ice, letting go of supports, and inevitably falling, so too does learning how to manage life’s rough patches. As is the case with most lessons in life and in middle school, there is no lightning bolt, no single event that crystallizes everything there is to know about one subject or another. However, each experience builds upon another, teaches us that we now possess skills, abilities, and perspective, and enable us to respond effectively to adversity, manage conflict, and handle uncertainty. Of course, under the tutelage of our faculty and staff, with your continuing involvement, care, and concern for their well-being, and through their own personal and proverbial bumps, bruises, and blemishes, our middle school students will develop those same skills, and gain the knowledge and a perspective that only their own experiences can provide.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Humanities: I am very happy to back at my desk today, which is much earlier than anticipated.  Just as everything that could go wrong did go wrong last spring, this time everything went absolutely right!  The doctors at Wilmer were surprised and delighted and so am I.  A million thanks are extended to my super wonderful substitutes – Jennifer Button in English 6, Jonathan Huxtable in Social Studies 6, Virginia Remsberg in English 7 and 8, and Jacob Norton in Social Studies 7.  It was a pleasure to come back to work knowing that these terrific folks had had my classes.  And thanks go to you for your cards, calls, and delicious food.  You all made me feel really special, and I am very grateful indeed.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: Sixth Grade science is now deep into mapping and what different kinds of maps are used, and why.  We have been introduced to the Mercator, Equal-Area, and Conic Projections.  We have also been looking at different aspects of maps such as longitude and latitude, as well as the baselines for these, the equator and the prime-meridian.  I was surprised to hear that many students had trouble identifying continents, so feel free to have an impromptu continent quiz whenever the feeling arises.

Math: After last week of Ferris wheels and cicadas, we spent this week finding both common multiples and common factors, culminating in a quiz on Thursday.  Next week, we will be studying factor strings and prime factorizations, which will wrap up our unit “Prime Time”.  There will be a unit test on Tuesday, October 23.

NOTES from Explorations…

Choir: We learned a new Spanish carol: Gesu Bambino. We also learned a new part in Grease. All are singing very well and becoming comfortable in 2-part harmony in one of our holiday songs.

Music: Learned about time signature: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4. Practiced filling in bars with the proper notes to equal the necessary amount of beats per bar, as indicated by the time signature.

Spanish: A review sheet for the upcoming oral exam on October 23rd was passed out this week. It will cover greetings, colors, shapes, and possibly numbers if the class continues to progress as quickly as it has. (Right now students should focus on the first 3 parts only, however.) We continue to review the vowels in Spanish, particularly the letter “u”, which we learned a helpful song about today. We also reviewed the pronunciation of the letter “z”. On Tuesday , we read “Salí de paseo” by Sue Williams, pertaining to colors. On Thursday we played a game of memory, where students needed to identify the shape and its color in Spanish. Congratulations to Hannah, who had lots of good suerte! Students all did a really great job! We will continue to absorb the information we’ve been learning these upcoming weeks and will have a fun día de los muertos celebration in store post-exam.

For additional information on Fun with Foreign Language, please see www.funwithforeignlanguage.com.

Physical Education 6/7/8: Students have one week to go in our “throwing” unit and all are making steady progress! We have played “Flicker Ball,” “Half-Ball,” and “Mini-Team Handball” as a means for actively incorporating throwing and throwing skills into our fitness work. The class is now sustaining a warm-up jog for two minutes and forty-five seconds. Each day of class they have increased their group goal by ten seconds and are doing a great job of achieving more than they originally thought possible. Mrs. Hudson taught three classes in the past few weeks, each time introducing new games and throwing activities. We look forward to having her back throughout the year!

Announcements/Calendar Updates

  1. Monday, October 15 Destination Imagination will meet with Virginia Remsberg from 3:30-5:00PM in Little Falls Classroom.  Parents should remember to provide written permission to HFS requesting their child remain after school with the team.
  2. Tuesday, October 16 Due date for students to return the Spirit Committee sponsored letter regarding the Halloween Party, to be held on Friday, October 26 from 3:00-5:00PM in the gym.
  3. Wednesday, October 17 SAT Preparation Session will meet with Virginia Remsberg from 3:30-5:00PM in Little Falls Classroom.  Parents should remember to provide written permission to HFS requesting their child remain after school with the team.
  4. Thursday, October 18 Blueberry Festival 2008 Coordinators Meeting to be held from 6:00-7:00PM at HFS?
  5. Thursday, October 18 Harford Friends School Back to School Night to be held from 7:00-9:00PM.
  6. Friday, October 19 Sixth grade field trip to Eden Mill Nature Center from 9:00AM-2:00PM. Please remind students to wear weather appropriate clothing, bring a bag lunch, and extra water! Please see Mr. Norton should you have additional questions.

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections
(10/11/07)

Dear HFS Families,

How do we learn to respond effectively to adversity? How do we learn to manage conflict? How do we handle uncertainty and what can we learn from it? These queries apply to each one of us as much as they apply to our middle school students. In the first month of school, sixth grade students have had to adjust to a new school and new expectations among many other new things. Seventh grade students, numbering only four, have had to learn to negotiate their relationships in projects, in classes, in the hallway, a field trip, and myriad other interactions. Eighth grade has had to get to know four new teachers, four new styles of teaching, and learn to be the de facto leaders knowing that their every movement and utterance is looked upon by younger students as “appropriately modeled behavior.” Likewise, teachers and parents have gone through a similar learning curve. Each new year brings with it new challenges. However, it is not the challenge that determines what we extract from the experience, it is the experience of wholeheartedly engaging the challenge that teaches us what we need to know. Just as learning to skate requires getting on the ice, letting go of supports, and inevitably falling, so too does learning how to manage life’s rough patches. As is the case with most lessons in life and in middle school, there is no lightning bolt, no single event that crystallizes everything there is to know about one subject or another. However, each experience builds upon another, teaches us that we now possess skills, abilities, and perspective, and enable us to respond effectively to adversity, manage conflict, and handle uncertainty. Of course, under the tutelage of our faculty and staff, with your continuing involvement, care, and concern for their well-being, and through their own personal and proverbial bumps, bruises, and blemishes, our middle school students will develop those same skills, and gain the knowledge and a perspective that only their own experiences can provide.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Humanities: I am very happy to back at my desk today, which is much earlier than anticipated.  Just as everything that could go wrong did go wrong last spring, this time everything went absolutely right!  The doctors at Wilmer were surprised and delighted and so am I.  A million thanks are extended to my super wonderful substitutes – Jennifer Button in English 6, Jonathan Huxtable in Social Studies 6, Virginia Remsberg in English 7 and 8, and Jacob Norton in Social Studies 7.  It was a pleasure to come back to work knowing that these terrific folks had had my classes.  And thanks go to you for your cards, calls, and delicious food.  You all made me feel really special, and I am very grateful indeed.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: In Seventh Grade science we had our kingdom court day and it was a smashing success.  Mr. Huxtable witnessed the proceedings as the counselors for the four kingdoms of the domain Eukarya gave rousing opening arguments and called dramatic witnesses to the stand of the Science Court presided over by the honorable judge Norton.  Thanks so much to the Seventh Grade for their outstanding work.

Math: In Seventh Grade math we were introduced to the graphing calculator TI83-Plus.  We are learning how to make graphs and tables on our calculators and glean values from both forms of information storage.

We learned how to make a graph different sizes, with different scales, and how to make tables with different scales as well.  It is also exciting to be able to write short messages on our calculators now (although this is not encouraged by Mr. Norton while in class).

NOTES from Explorations…

Music: We refined and sang each student’s compositions, which were Gregorian Chants. Each students did a great job in creating his/her own, unique chant. Congrats!

Choir: We learned a new Spanish carol: Gesu Bambino. We also learned a new part in Grease. All are singing very well and becoming comfortable in 2-part harmony in one of our holiday songs.

Spanish: A review sheet for the upcoming oral exam on October 23rd was passed out this week. We spent time reviewing, practicing, and discussing the information. On Tuesday, students listened to music by an artist they knew who sung in Spanish, which proved to be a challenge. Congratulations to Rachel who guessed! Thursday, students were informally orally quizzed on items learned in previous years. Everyone did really well! Great job, guys! We will continue with our review these upcoming weeks and will also be learning about and celebrating the upcoming holiday: el día de los muertos.

For additional information on Fun with Foreign Language, please see www.funwithforeignlanguage.com.

Physical Education 6/7/8: Students have one week to go in our “throwing” unit and all are making steady progress! We have played “Flicker Ball,” “Half-Ball,” and “Mini-Team Handball” as a means for actively incorporating throwing and throwing skills into our fitness work. The class is now sustaining a warm-up jog for two minutes and forty-five seconds. Each day of class they have increased their group goal by ten seconds and are doing a great job of achieving more than they originally thought possible. Mrs. Hudson taught three classes in the past few weeks, each time introducing new games and throwing activities. We look forward to having her back throughout the year!

Announcements/Calendar Updates

  1. Monday, October 15 Destination Imagination will meet with Virginia Remsberg from 3:30-5:00PM in Little Falls Classroom.  Parents should remember to provide written permission to HFS requesting their child remain after school with the team.
  2. Tuesday, October 16 Due date for students to return the Spirit Committee sponsored letter regarding the Halloween Party, to be held on Friday, October 26 from 3:00-5:00PM in the gym.
  3. Wednesday, October 17 SAT Preparation Session will meet with Virginia Remsberg from 3:30-5:00PM in Little Falls Classroom.  Parents should remember to provide written permission to HFS requesting their child remain after school with the team.
  4. Thursday, October 18 Blueberry Festival 2008 Coordinators Meeting to be held from 6:00-7:00PM at HFS?
  5. Thursday, October 18 Harford Friends School Back to School Night to be held from 7:00-9:00PM.
  6. Friday, October 19 Seventh grade field trip to

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections
(10/11/07)

Dear HFS Families,

How do we learn to respond effectively to adversity? How do we learn to manage conflict? How do we handle uncertainty and what can we learn from it? These queries apply to each one of us as much as they apply to our middle school students. In the first month of school, sixth grade students have had to adjust to a new school and new expectations among many other new things. Seventh grade students, numbering only four, have had to learn to negotiate their relationships in projects, in classes, in the hallway, a field trip, and myriad other interactions. Eighth grade has had to get to know four new teachers, four new styles of teaching, and learn to be the de facto leaders knowing that their every movement and utterance is looked upon by younger students as “appropriately modeled behavior.” Likewise, teachers and parents have gone through a similar learning curve. Each new year brings with it new challenges. However, it is not the challenge that determines what we extract from the experience, it is the experience of wholeheartedly engaging the challenge that teaches us what we need to know. Just as learning to skate requires getting on the ice, letting go of supports, and inevitably falling, so too does learning how to manage life’s rough patches. As is the case with most lessons in life and in middle school, there is no lightning bolt, no single event that crystallizes everything there is to know about one subject or another. However, each experience builds upon another, teaches us that we now possess skills, abilities, and perspective, and enable us to respond effectively to adversity, manage conflict, and handle uncertainty. Of course, under the tutelage of our faculty and staff, with your continuing involvement, care, and concern for their well-being, and through their own personal and proverbial bumps, bruises, and blemishes, our middle school students will develop those same skills, and gain the knowledge and a perspective that only their own experiences can provide.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

English: I am very happy to back at my desk today, which is much earlier than anticipated.  Just as everything that could go wrong did go wrong last spring, this time everything went absolutely right!  The doctors at Wilmer were surprised and delighted and so am I.  A million thanks are extended to my super wonderful substitutes – Jennifer Button in English 6, Jonathan Huxtable in Social Studies 6, Virginia Remsberg in English 7 and 8, and Jacob Norton in Social Studies 7.  It was a pleasure to come back to work knowing that these terrific folks had had my classes.  And thanks go to you for your cards, calls, and delicious food.  You all made me feel really special, and I am very grateful indeed.

Social Studies: This Monday we reviewed research project note cards for correct format—author, date, page number—and detail, e.g., one fact per card. From mid October to November 5, we will collect the data for the research project; all data must be on notecards, correctly formatted as above. Students should average fifteen notecards per day for a total of 250-300 total by November 5.

We had a pop quiz on Monday on the meaning of Spanish words used in the Hakim text: the intent was to emphasize the importance of reading the Hakim text carefully and looking up new material. Students should be in the habit of reading with a dictionary and atlas at hand.

For Tuesday, students revisited their debate between Spain and Mexico; they rewrote their debating points in outline form to clearly delineate the parts of an argument.

On Tuesday, Mr. Huxtable came to class with a show and tell, a notebook of unknown origin. Students worked together using close observation and their inferential skills to identify the notebook, its author, the era, and the purpose to which it was put.

For Wednesday, students were asked to comment on a reprint about a “facts only” approach to education, using Mr. Huxtable’s show and tell for examples. In addition, they proposed a preliminary organization for their research topics.

On Wednesday, the class attempted to rebut my argument that Hakim depicted the Spanish conquistadors as “cruel fools.” The class worked on this as a group while I met individually with students about their work.

Next week, our reading takes us from the Spanish in North America to the early explorers of France, and England with Sir Walter Raleigh. We will discuss how these explorers acquitted themselves in the New World in comparison with the Spanish.

We will have a class exercise next week, reading a chapter and picking out the salient points. Note taking is improving in quality; several students remarked that it was useful, and getting easier. Students are to bring two talking points from the reading for discussion. A dictionary exercise is planned. We will have show and tell, with the intent of connecting modern and historical events.

Our research projects are now in full swing. Part of Monday’s classes for the rest of the semester will be devoted to reviewing progress on the projects. Parents may be of help by making sure students are up to date on their note cards.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: Eighth Grade Science considered a reading on the behaviors and vocabulary of solvents, solutes, solutions, and colloids (where technically, brass is a solution and fog a colloid … go figure).   This took us to practical matters of why salt melts winter ice, whether milk has a higher boiling point than water, and why salt water is a better electrical conductor than sugar water.  In “Science in the News”, we temporarily bypassed the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prizes and considered instead a Sun article on the origins of violent human behavior; the complexity of nature-nurture perspectives were highlighted, and scientific pathways by which one might obtain more definitive answers were discussed.  In passing, this raised even more complex scientific and even ethical questions that may be considered later, and it caused more than a little confoundment at the workings of our justice system.  Remaining time was devoted mostly to review of the year’s science material to date. This coincided with preparation for the first sizable exam, which included in the instructions the droll hope, “May your study and attention be properly rewarded!”.

Math: We wrapped up our unit on linear and inverse variation with a unit test on Wednesday, October 10.  The test was returned on Thursday, with students revising their tests for errors.  We begin a geometry unit next week, “Looking for Pythagoras”, where we will spend time studying the infamous Pythagorean Theorem, the Distance Formula, and radicals and roots.

NOTES from Explorations…

Choir: We learned a new Spanish carol: Gesu Bambino. We also learned a new part in Grease. All are singing very well and becoming comfortable in 2-part harmony in one of our holiday songs.

Spanish: A review sheet for the upcoming oral exam on October 23rd was passed out this week. We spent time reviewing, practicing, and discussing the information. On Tuesday, students listened to music by an artist they knew who sung in Spanish, which proved to be a challenge. Congratulations to Rachel who guessed! Thursday, students were informally orally quizzed on items learned in previous years. Everyone did really well! Great job, guys! We will continue with our review these upcoming weeks and will also be learning about and celebrating the upcoming holiday: el día de los muertos.

For additional information on Fun with Foreign Language, please see www.funwithforeignlanguage.com.

Physical Education 6/7/8: Students have one week to go in our “throwing” unit and all are making steady progress! We have played “Flicker Ball,” “Half-Ball,” and “Mini-Team Handball” as a means for actively incorporating throwing and throwing skills into our fitness work. The class is now sustaining a warm-up jog for two minutes and forty-five seconds. Each day of class they have increased their group goal by ten seconds and are doing a great job of achieving more than they originally thought possible. Mrs. Hudson taught three classes in the past few weeks, each time introducing new games and throwing activities. We look forward to having her back throughout the year!

Announcements/Calendar Updates

  1. Monday, October 15 Destination Imagination will meet with Virginia Remsberg from 3:30-5:00PM in Little Falls Classroom.  Parents should remember to provide written permission to HFS requesting their child remain after school with the team.
  2. Tuesday, October 16 Due date for students to return the Spirit Committee sponsored letter regarding the Halloween Party, to be held on Friday, October 26 from 3:00-5:00PM in the gym.
  3. Wednesday, October 17 SAT Preparation Session will meet with Virginia Remsberg from 3:30-5:00PM in Little Falls Classroom.  Parents should remember to provide written permission to HFS requesting their child remain after school with the team.
  4. Thursday, October 18 Blueberry Festival 2008 Coordinators Meeting to be held from 6:00-7:00PM at HFS?
  5. Thursday, October 18 Harford Friends School Back to School Night to be held from 7:00-9:00PM.
  6. Friday, October 19 Eighth grade field trip to