HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
October 31, 2008

HFS Grade 6 Weekly Collections

October 31, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

Last night at Harford Friends School, nine of us gathered together in a small circle to explore the topic and practice of Friends education. Fortunately, each of us came to the conversation from different backgrounds and, as a result, we walked away with new insights into the purpose and promise of a Quaker-guided approach to teaching and learning. The group engaged three readings on Quaker education to spark thought and questions. We divided ourselves into three groups to cover the readings and enjoy corporate processing of the information found within – both the readings and the readers. When the whole group reconvened there were a few, common, and rather powerful threads that emerged from our considerations.

  • The dynamic of the Quaker classroom is built around the concept of a “Meeting for Learning” in which the class, teacher included, gathers in a corporate search for truth – new knowledge and insight.
  • Teaching and learning in a Friends classroom is dependent upon collective presence and involvement. Even if someone chooses not to speak, his/her earnest engagement is necessary through, at a minimum, internal reflection and questioning.
  • A Quaker approach to teaching and learning is centered on questioning, learning how to ask insightful questions, engage questions that have no definitive right or wrong answer, and to discern for one’s self what truth is and how that questioning and answering process should guide one’s actions. Questioning often begins with the teacher asking questions to which he or she does not know the answer, but invites the group to explore together. This places a premium on participation as well as an openness to listening to and learning from one another.
  • A Friends classroom demands a certain humility and openness to new understanding.
  • The process of teaching and learning is “an unraveling mess” otherwise known as “continuing revelation” through which we open ourselves to new truths and new understanding.
  • The culture of engagement and exploration is pervasive in a Friends school community. It is informed by basic tenets of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship that are modeled by its members.
  • A Friends school always balances a healthy energy between its value and promotion of the individual with its care, concern, and reliance on the community as an entity as precious as any of its individual members.

I left our conversation with a gratefulness for the opportunity to explore these concepts anew with friends who bring a fresh perspective to what has become commonplace and common practice for me within Harford Friends School. The experience also reinforced for me the awareness of how critically important each of us is in the care and concern for one another – our teachers for our students, our parents for our children, and our children for all of us in their lives.

Thank you,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Sixth graders have been extremely busy with the many activities involved with Humanities 6.  We will be having Spelling-Vocabulary Test on Unit 6 on Tuesday of next week.  Book Reports and October Reading Logs are due on Monday (November 3) as stated previously.  In grammar, we have moved on to the adjective, and, in particular, we have been studying both the definite and indefinite articles.  In writing, we will attempt to describe one of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, using vivid words and phrases.  In social studies, we have been working on maps of Ancient Mesopotamia, as the students seemed to have a difficult time visualizing just where the civilizations we have been studying were located.  Last, we have been compiling Civilization Charts of seven of the ancient civilizations that literally held court during this era.  A final social studies test on this unit is in the offing.  Have a great weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Sixth grade math is continuing its look at fractions, decimals, and soon percents.  We are gathering many metaphors and representations of fractions so that we have a deep-seated understanding of what we mean when we say 13/21, or even just 1/2.  We worked with ordering fractions and using benchmarks to determine approximate location on a number line.  Many of the students know about fractions, but the way we tackle the subject is probably a little different than they were learned in the past.  Next week we will more heavily focus on finding decimals from fractions, and vice versa.  Oh what fun!

Science: Sixth grade science is delving right into our look at soil.  We used some soil we gathered at the Holloway farm to look at nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus content as well as pH.  We know that the Holloways keep their soil slightly acidic, and our tests confirmed that.  We also found that their soil was low in nitrogen content, and then we read that nitrogen is especially difficult to keep fixed in soil, especially when compared to calcium.  We also added more exact definitions of the terms sand, silt, and clay, and well as loam, peat, and humus.  We never expected that soil was so complicated.  Also, ask your student how much of “average” soil is water and air, it might surprise you.  Next week we will continue our investigation of soil, especially how it is important to agriculture.

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 sixth graders continue to work on typing skills with Ultrakey 5.0. They are learning how to manage documents with Microsoft Word.

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

Physical Education: The students continue working on the timed run. They continue playing games that require strategies for our football unit.

Spanish: We finished unit one and had our final exam.  We are working on a class project and we will finish on Tuesday.  Wednesday we will start the new material.  The vocabulary sheet went out already.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Thank you to all of the parents that completed the Credit Card Survey. Results will be presented to the Finance Committee at the next meeting.
  • 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. Monday, November 3: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  2. Monday, November 3: Basketball Practice with Jonathan Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM)
  3. Tuesday, November 4: Election Day. Vote!
  4. Wednesday, November 5: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM).
  5. Thursday, November 6: Parent Coffee with the Head of School (8:00-9:00AM). Please RSVP to Jennifer Button at jbutton@harfordfriends.org.
  6. Friday, November 7: 1st Advisory Interim Summary Reports distributed to students
  7. 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 representatives who are planning to attend the event (parents, trustees, and teachers) are asked to provide 30 minutes of service during the event to assure its success. Please contact Jennifer Button (jbutton@harfordfriends.org) for a list of volunteer needs. Do you need babysitting services during the event? Contact Virginia Remsberg at Virginia@remsberg.com
  8. Monday, November 10: Signed Interim Grade Reports due back to advisors.
  9. Monday, November 10: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  10. Friday, November 14: Grades 6 & 7 travel to GVOLC for a day of teambuilding activities.
  11. Monday, November 17: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  12. Tuesday, November 18: Home & School Association meeting (7:00PM); Becky Reynolds of School Search Group will speak to HFS parents about searching for and selecting a “right fit” high school for your child.
  13. Wednesday, November 19: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM).
  14. Thursday, November 20: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM)
  15. Thursday, November 20: 8th Grade trip to Philadelphia departs (Time TBD)
  16. Friday, November 21: 6th Grade trip to Emory Knoll Farm; 7th Grade Spanish field trip
  17. Saturday, November 22: HFS Admissions Assessment (9:00-11:30AM) Additional information to follow. Volunteers needed!
  18. Wednesday, November 26: Grandparents and Special Friends Day (9:00-12:00). Dismissal at 12:00PM
  19. Thursday, November 27 – Friday, November 28: School Closed for Thanksgiving Break

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

October 31, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

Last night at Harford Friends School, nine of us gathered together in a small circle to explore the topic and practice of Friends education. Fortunately, each of us came to the conversation from different backgrounds and, as a result, we walked away with new insights into the purpose and promise of a Quaker-guided approach to teaching and learning. The group engaged three readings on Quaker education to spark thought and questions. We divided ourselves into three groups to cover the readings and enjoy corporate processing of the information found within – both the readings and the readers. When the whole group reconvened there were a few, common, and rather powerful threads that emerged from our considerations.

  • The dynamic of the Quaker classroom is built around the concept of a “Meeting for Learning” in which the class, teacher included, gathers in a corporate search for truth – new knowledge and insight.
  • Teaching and learning in a Friends classroom is dependent upon collective presence and involvement. Even if someone chooses not to speak, his/her earnest engagement is necessary through, at a minimum, internal reflection and questioning.
  • A Quaker approach to teaching and learning is centered on questioning, learning how to ask insightful questions, engage questions that have no definitive right or wrong answer, and to discern for one’s self what truth is and how that questioning and answering process should guide one’s actions. Questioning often begins with the teacher asking questions to which he or she does not know the answer, but invites the group to explore together. This places a premium on participation as well as an openness to listening to and learning from one another.
  • A Friends classroom demands a certain humility and openness to new understanding.
  • The process of teaching and learning is “an unraveling mess” otherwise known as “continuing revelation” through which we open ourselves to new truths and new understanding.
  • The culture of engagement and exploration is pervasive in a Friends school community. It is informed by basic tenets of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship that are modeled by its members.
  • A Friends school always balances a healthy energy between its value and promotion of the individual with its care, concern, and reliance on the community as an entity as precious as any of its individual members.

I left our conversation with a gratefulness for the opportunity to explore these concepts anew with friends who bring a fresh perspective to what has become commonplace and common practice for me within Harford Friends School. The experience also reinforced for me the awareness of how critically important each of us is in the care and concern for one another – our teachers for our students, our parents for our children, and our children for all of us in their lives.

Thank you,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

The seventh graders discussed civilizations and one in particular, the Nacerima, and the sacred rac. There were some eye-opening discussions after we read about their civilization. We have begun our unit on Sub-Saharan Africa.  In grammar, we continue to work with verbs. We read “Antaeus” by Borden Deal. We are continuing our discussions on allusions and characterizations. Remember that our next book report is due November 3, 2008.

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Seventh grade math is continuing the Stretching and Shrinking Unit with problems that are about how we can determine similarity and also using similarity to figure out missing side lengths and angle measures.  Ask your student the necessary components for two figures to be considered similar.  It will most certainly involve corresponding sides and angles.  We are cruising through this investigation with certain alacrity, so our unit projects will be due on Nov. 13, not next Thursday, but the following Thursday.

Science: Seventh grade science continued our investigation of plants.  We made a poster of a plant cell, and labeled the organelles.  They are adorning the walls of my room now.  We also learned about what it is that happens during photosynthesis chemically.  We also started our look at how you classify plants.  We discussed the differences between vascular and nonvascular plants.  We talked about what kind of obstacles plants faced as they emerged from the water, and started to colonize the land.  Next week, expect a quiz on the organelles of the plant cell, as well as continuing our look at plants.

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 seventh graders are creating spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel and learning how to use formulas in a workbook. They continue to work on typing skills.

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

Physical Education: The students continue working on the timed run. They continue playing games that require strategies for our football unit.

Spanish: We worked on unit one and went through it with a lot of success.  We are working on a class project and should be finished on Tuesday.  We will begin the next unit on Wednesday.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Thank you to all of the parents that completed the Credit Card Survey. Results will be presented to the Finance Committee at the next meeting.
  • 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. Monday, November 3: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  2. Monday, November 3: Basketball Practice with Jonathan Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM)
  3. Tuesday, November 4: Election Day. Vote!
  4. Wednesday, November 5: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM).
  5. Thursday, November 6: Parent Coffee with the Head of School (8:00-9:00AM). Please RSVP to Jennifer Button at jbutton@harfordfriends.org.
  6. Friday, November 7: 1st Advisory Interim Summary Reports distributed to students
  7. 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 representatives who are planning to attend the event (parents, trustees, and teachers) are asked to provide 30 minutes of service during the event to assure its success. Please contact Jennifer Button (jbutton@harfordfriends.org) for a list of volunteer needs. Do you need babysitting services during the event? Contact Virginia Remsberg at Virginia@remsberg.com
  8. Monday, November 10: Signed Interim Grade Reports due back to advisors.
  9. Monday, November 10: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  10. Friday, November 14: Grades 6 & 7 travel to GVOLC for a day of teambuilding activities.
  11. Monday, November 17: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).
  12. Tuesday, November 18: Home & School Association meeting (7:00PM); Becky Reynolds of School Search Group will speak to HFS parents about searching for and selecting a “right fit” high school for your child.
  13. Wednesday, November 19: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM).
  14. Thursday, November 20: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM)
  15. Thursday, November 20: 8th Grade trip to Philadelphia departs (Time TBD)
  16. Friday, November 21: 6th Grade trip to Emory Knoll Farm; 7th Grade Spanish field trip
  17. Saturday, November 22: HFS Admissions Assessment (9:00-11:30AM) Additional information to follow. Volunteers needed!
  18. Wednesday, November 26: Grandparents and Special Friends Day (9:00-12:00). Dismissal at 12:00PM
  19. Thursday, November 27 – Friday, November 28: School Closed for Thanksgiving Break

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

October 31, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

Last night at Harford Friends School, nine of us gathered together in a small circle to explore the topic and practice of Friends education. Fortunately, each of us came to the conversation from different backgrounds and, as a result, we walked away with new insights into the purpose and promise of a Quaker-guided approach to teaching and learning. The group engaged three readings on Quaker education to spark thought and questions. We divided ourselves into three groups to cover the readings and enjoy corporate processing of the information found within – both the readings and the readers. When the whole group reconvened there were a few, common, and rather powerful threads that emerged from our considerations.

  • The dynamic of the Quaker classroom is built around the concept of a “Meeting for Learning” in which the class, teacher included, gathers in a corporate search for truth – new knowledge and insight.
  • Teaching and learning in a Friends classroom is dependent upon collective presence and involvement. Even if someone chooses not to speak, his/her earnest engagement is necessary through, at a minimum, internal reflection and questioning.
  • A Quaker approach to teaching and learning is centered on questioning, learning how to ask insightful questions, engage questions that have no definitive right or wrong answer, and to discern for one’s self what truth is and how that questioning and answering process should guide one’s actions. Questioning often begins with the teacher asking questions to which he or she does not know the answer, but invites the group to explore together. This places a premium on participation as well as an openness to listening to and learning from one another.
  • A Friends classroom demands a certain humility and openness to new understanding.
  • The process of teaching and learning is “an unraveling mess” otherwise known as “continuing revelation” through which we open ourselves to new truths and new understanding.
  • The culture of engagement and exploration is pervasive in a Friends school community. It is informed by basic tenets of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship that are modeled by its members.
  • A Friends school always balances a healthy energy between its value and promotion of the individual with its care, concern, and reliance on the community as an entity as precious as any of its individual members.

I left our conversation with a gratefulness for the opportunity to explore these concepts anew with friends who bring a fresh perspective to what has become commonplace and common practice for me within Harford Friends School. The experience also reinforced for me the awareness of how critically important each of us is in the care and concern for one another – our teachers for our students, our parents for our children, and our children for all of us in their lives.

Thank you,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Eighth graders have been extremely busy with the many activities involved with Humanities 8.  We have completed Unit 6 in Spelling-Vocabulary and will be completing the Review Activities during next week.  Book Reports and October Reading Logs are due on Monday (November 3) as stated previously.  In writing, we are still working with various methods of sentence combining and are all working hard to avoid both fragments and run-ons in our papers.  In social studies and literature, we have been finalizing our projects for Jamestown and have begun studying the aspects of Puritanism that influenced the development of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies.  We will examine the Mayflower Compact soon and will enjoy some of the work of the notable poet, Anne Bradstreet.  Have a great weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: After having a wonderful educational experience in Virginia last weekend, the eighth graders have refocused this week on exponential models as we have explored the dilemma posed by Thomas Malthus, a late eighteenth century economist, who expounded the theory that population growth was an exponential function of time while food supply was a linear function of time.  By understanding the nature of the growth involved with both types of functions, students concluded that starvation would be an inevitable consequence of Malthusian models.  In class, students developed a world scenario, which mimicked Malthus’s model, as well as a scenario for the United States, in a quiz on Wednesday.  The students showed a keen interest in this problem, and mastered the mathematics necessary for analysis.  At the end of the week, we studied the inverse of exponential growth, exponential decay, which was explored through investigations involving absorption rates of medication in the bloodstream and an informal look at Newton’s Law of Cooling.  The eighth grade has had a good start to the year in math.  We are working on algebra skills through warm-ups to help prepare for the transition at the end of this year.

Science: It has been said (Robert Fulghum) that all we need to know, we learned in kindergarten.  What, then, of all the things we learned for the first time in middle school, and find ourselves remembering unexpectedly many decades later?  Some such things are disconnected and arguably trivial facts, but many of them are the tools of knowledge with which we construct meaning and direction as we navigate citizenship and life.  Few of us remember things the first time we hear, see, touch, taste, or smell them unless it is a spectacularly mind-focusing encounter. To the brain, repetition matters.  Does this sound like a sufficiently elaborate excuse for the way we spent most of our week?

The week began with a review discussion of our visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg, with emphasis on the scientific aspects including vitamin deficiencies and starvation.  Next, we began preparation for a mid-week exam.  Teacher provided written study guides, which we reviewed and discussed in class.  Students were reminded of the material covered in this period, directed to their own readings and notes, and spent much of one class quizzing one another in turn.  Remembering was revealed, as was a great deal of forgetting.  The exam itself, on Wednesday, served both as an assessment and as another means of review and teaching.  Students self-graded their exams before turning them in, and have a general sense whether they were pleased with their performance.

To calm some of the post-examination energy and provide opportunity for a blend of new information and genetics review, we watched a Nova/PBS video, “Dogs and More Dogs.”   In short, the video raises and attempts to answer (but not conclusively) the question of how such a rich variety of dogs arose in a relatively brief period (perhaps 10,000 years).  It posits that modern dogs are descended from wolves (a hypothesis supported by genomic sequencing done since the video was made), and that humans in one way or another had a great deal to do with the proliferation of sizes, shapes, temperaments, and talents of the hundreds of dog breeds known today.  This kind of rapid micro-evolution is familiar to all of us because similar human-promoted changes within a species are historically near to us (livestock breeds, flowers, grains, etc.).  Nevertheless, the genetic mechanisms that underlie such a proliferation of diversity continue to surprise scientists, who (if they are scientists at all) will not only confidently describe what they have found but gracefully acknowledge how much they still don’t know.

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 worked on our typing skills as well as our web pages.

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

Physical Education: The students continue working on the timed run. They continue playing games that require strategies for our football unit.

Spanish: We are starting our new unit on Tuesday and will begin to work on descriptions and weather.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Thank you to all of the parents that completed the Credit Card Survey. Results will be presented to the Finance Committee at the next meeting.
  • 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.  Monday, November 3: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).

2.  Monday, November 3: Basketball Practice with Jonathan Huxtable (3:00-4:15PM)

3.  Tuesday, November 4: Election Day. Vote!

4.  Wednesday, November 5: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM).

5.  Thursday, November 6: Parent Coffee with the Head of School (8:00-9:00AM). Please RSVP to Jennifer Button at jbutton@harfordfriends.org.

6.  Friday, November 7: 1st Advisory Interim Summary Reports distributed to students

7.  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 representatives who are planning to attend the event (parents, trustees, and teachers) are asked to provide 30 minutes of service during the event to assure its success. Please contact Jennifer Button (jbutton@harfordfriends.org) for a list of volunteer needs. Do you need babysitting services during the event? Contact Virginia Remsberg at Virginia@remsberg.com

8.  Monday, November 10: Signed Interim Grade Reports due back to advisors.

9.  Monday, November 10: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).

10. Friday, November 14: Grades 6 & 7 travel to GVOLC for a day of teambuilding activities.

11. Monday, November 17: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg (3:30-5:00PM).

12. Tuesday, November 18: Home & School Association meeting (7:00PM); Becky Reynolds of School Search Group will speak to HFS parents about searching for and selecting a “right fit” high school for your child.

13. Wednesday, November 19: Christmas Parade prep with Sarah Potter (3:00-5:00PM).

14. Thursday, November 20: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM)

15. Thursday, November 20: 8th Grade trip to Philadelphia departs (Time TBD)

16. Friday, November 21: 6th Grade trip to Emory Knoll Farm; 7th Grade Spanish field trip

17. Saturday, November 22: HFS Admissions Assessment (9:00-11:30AM) Additional information to follow. Volunteers needed!

18. Wednesday, November 26: Grandparents and Special Friends Day (9:00-12:00). Dismissal at 12:00PM

19. Thursday, November 27 – Friday, November 28: School Closed for Thanksgiving Break