HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
December 12, 2008

HFS Grade 6 Weekly Collections

December 12, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

One of the many wonderful parts of my job and of being an employee of a Friends school is the opportunity to experience weekly Meeting for Worship. This week our Meeting for Worship occurred in advisory groups and was focused around the Quaker tenet of simplicity. As the groups, seated in circles, settled into silence, advisors read a passage on simplicity composed by HFS Trustee Mary Ellen Saterlie. In it, Mary Ellen writes,

“William Penn once wrote, “The very trimming of the vain world would clothe all the naked one.”  One of the tests of simplicity is the recognition of the point at which your possessions begin to possess you.  That is, when they pose a concern rather than a support to one’s lifestyle.

Christmas is a time when children can begin to understand that the fulfillment of simple needs and wishes can bring deeper satisfaction and longer lasting joy than overwhelming showers of presents which are soon laid aside.”

The group in which I sat reflected on related queries read by the advisor, Sarah Lanigan. Advisors have tremendous leeway in how they choose to facilitate a Worship Sharing session. An advisor can lay out several queries at once and ask students to respond as they wish or an advisor can lead the group through its response to a single query and present follow-up queries as he or she sees fit. Sarah and her advisees did a masterful job of allowing the queries to move the group from thoughtful silence to heartfelt sharing of responses. Since we are constantly bombarded with advertisers’ messages about the necessity of buying, acquiring, and possessing to achieve a sense of satisfaction, status, or happiness, it is easy to assume that our students are products of our culture and, especially the seemingly self-indulgent adolescent, have only an “I want” approach to the holidays. Based on my experience with Ms. Lanigan’s advisory, I can assure you that the true meaning of the season and all of its promise and joys are still the simplest and most profoundly represented in our children. The most prevalent sentiment of the group, shared at times in whispers each bookended by reflective periods of silence, was one of deep gratitude for all that students already had and a desire for a greater richness in and more quality time with their families. As a lesson from your children, I look forward to the upcoming break and holiday season as an excuse to rekindle the wonder and joy of simply being and having fun with family. There is no greater present. Ms. Lanigan and her advisory, thank you sharing your message and providing the reminder that the best things in life are usually the simplest and often already a part of our lives.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Students continue to work very hard in the many activities involved in Humanities 6.  We are progressing apace with our Spelling-Vocabulary work and will be having a test on Unit 9 next week.  We have had our first Adjective Test, which had a variety of results!  Students who wished to do so took a retest on Wednesday.  We read together “Casting the Gods Adrift,” a fictional story about young Egyptian boys caught up in the politics of the Pharaoh’s Court.  We will soon be completing a written exercise on point of view relating to the story.  Students have grouped themselves for a 3-D dimensional project and seem raring to proceed.  Have a great weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Sixth grade math is moving through angle measure of polygons with relative ease.  I am continually impressed by the ability of this class to generalize an idea from just a few concrete examples.  For example, you can ask your student how to determine the internal angle sum of a polygon of N sides.  They leapt to this generalization before even prompted.  Students should expect a pop quiz, though it will not be a surprise for those who read Collections.  We will continue next week with geometric concepts as we finish out the year 2008.

Science: Sixth grade science is continuing its work with plants.  We have added many words and even a couple of dichotomies to our body of knowledge so far.  We understand the difference between vascular and nonvascular plants.  Also, we have found that there are seedless plants to go along with most of our familiar seed plants.  We have learned the organelles of the plant cell as well as their functions this week in preparation for a quiz next Monday.  As we move into gymnosperms and angiosperms we will start to learn the parts of a flower, different kinds of vascular tissue, and also different parts of a leaf such as stomata and the cuticle.

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. We are researching the basics of the Internet that is exciting for the students.

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

Physical Education: The students are working on pacing themselves during our run. We are working on creating plays in preparation for the big game next week.

Spanish: We had a quiz on vocabulary this week.  Next week we will continue to put the vocabulary to use.  On Wednesday we will work on the project and have a review.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • The last installment of Schedule 2 Tuition Payments are being emailed this week.  They are due on January 1, 2009.
  • HFS Spirit Gear will make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers!! Stop in the business office and view our selection of sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts and tie dye shirts.

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. Saturday, December 13: D.I. Regional Instant Challenge Practice at Havre de Grace Middle School (12:30-4:30PM)
  2. Monday, December 15 – Thursday, December 18: Secret Santa gift exchange
  3. Monday, December 15: Basketball practice CANCELLED
  4. Monday, December 15: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg in Broad Creek classroom (3:30-5:30PM)
  5. Tuesday, December 16: MathCounts with Mr. Norton in Forest Hill classroom (3:15-4:15PM)
  6. Tuesday, December 16: Home and School Association meeting (7:00PM)
  7. Thursday, December 18: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM)
  8. Thursday, December 18: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  9. Friday, December 19: Service trip to Perry Point VA Hospital (AM); Holiday Bowl III (1:30-3:00PM) Volunteers needed! Please contact jbutton@harfordfriends.org by Wednesday, December 17 to volunteer!
  10. Monday, December 22 – Friday, January 2: School Closed for Winter Break
  11. Monday, January 5: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  12. Monday, January 5: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg in Broad Creek classroom (3:30-5:30PM)
  13. Tuesday, January 6: Card Club with Leslie Kline in Little Falls classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  14. Tuesday, January 6: MathCounts with Mr. Norton in Forest Hill classroom (3:15-4:15PM)
  15. Wednesday, January 7: Amnesty International with Mr. Pickard in Deer Creek classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  16. Thursday, January 8: Parent Coffee with the Head of School. (8:00-9:00AM) Please RSVP to jbutton@harfordfriends.org
  17. Thursday, January 8: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  18. Friday, January 9: All grades travel to Eden Mill Nature Center (12:30-3:00PM)
  19. Sunday, January 11: HFS Open House (2:00-4:00PM)

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

December 12, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

One of the many wonderful parts of my job and of being an employee of a Friends school is the opportunity to experience weekly Meeting for Worship. This week our Meeting for Worship occurred in advisory groups and was focused around the Quaker tenet of simplicity. As the groups, seated in circles, settled into silence, advisors read a passage on simplicity composed by HFS Trustee Mary Ellen Saterlie. In it, Mary Ellen writes,

“William Penn once wrote, “The very trimming of the vain world would clothe all the naked one.”  One of the tests of simplicity is the recognition of the point at which your possessions begin to possess you.  That is, when they pose a concern rather than a support to one’s lifestyle.

Christmas is a time when children can begin to understand that the fulfillment of simple needs and wishes can bring deeper satisfaction and longer lasting joy than overwhelming showers of presents which are soon laid aside.”

The group in which I sat reflected on related queries read by the advisor, Sarah Lanigan. Advisors have tremendous leeway in how they choose to facilitate a Worship Sharing session. An advisor can lay out several queries at once and ask students to respond as they wish or an advisor can lead the group through its response to a single query and present follow-up queries as he or she sees fit. Sarah and her advisees did a masterful job of allowing the queries to move the group from thoughtful silence to heartfelt sharing of responses. Since we are constantly bombarded with advertisers’ messages about the necessity of buying, acquiring, and possessing to achieve a sense of satisfaction, status, or happiness, it is easy to assume that our students are products of our culture and, especially the seemingly self-indulgent adolescent, have only an “I want” approach to the holidays. Based on my experience with Ms. Lanigan’s advisory, I can assure you that the true meaning of the season and all of its promise and joys are still the simplest and most profoundly represented in our children. The most prevalent sentiment of the group, shared at times in whispers each bookended by reflective periods of silence, was one of deep gratitude for all that students already had and a desire for a greater richness in and more quality time with their families. As a lesson from your children, I look forward to the upcoming break and holiday season as an excuse to rekindle the wonder and joy of simply being and having fun with family. There is no greater present. Ms. Lanigan and her advisory, thank you sharing your message and providing the reminder that the best things in life are usually the simplest and often already a part of our lives.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Students continue working hard in Humanities 7. We have begun our journey through South Africa and its neighbors. The students anxiously await the Africa project where they will become an expert of a particular African country. In literature, we finished reading, “The Most Dangerous Game,” by Richard Connell and were deep in discussion about the conflicts throughout the story. The students are working on a narrative paper responding to this piece of written work. They are using evidence from the story to show the many conflicts the main character faced. The narrative essay will be due on Thursday, December 17th. Reminder that book reports are due January 5th.

NOTES from Technology…

Math: Seventh grade math has moved through ratios and fractions into rates. This seems to be a more comfortable topic for the class as a whole. We have already come across unit rates and are comfortable with these as well.  I would prefer to have the test for this unit before the break so that content does not have the opportunity to escape over the two-week period, but this depends on how quickly we can wrap the unit up next week.  I don’t want to rush a test, but a test next week may be better than early January.  If the stars align, a test can be expected on Thursday.

Science: Seventh grade science spent the week discovering the simple lives of sponges, Cniderians, and worms.  We now have an understanding of what exactly a coral reef is made out of, and the stages of both a jellyfish and sponge’s life.  To make clear the real simplicity of these organisms, we also discussed the complexity of cells, tissues, organs, and systems.  We really appreciate the true simplicity of sponges now that we understand that they don’t even have tissues or organs.  We can also now differentiate between a flatworm, a roundworm, and a segmented worm.  There were certainly some “yuck’s” when the parasitism of some worms was mentioned.  We have come to the end of this small chapter on simple organisms so we will spend Friday finishing up new information and reviewing.  As a result, Wednesday is the test on these simple animals.  Afterwards we will move into more complicated animals, and then on to ecosystems and biomes.

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 and working on Internet basics.

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

Physical Education: The students are working on pacing themselves during our run. We are working on creating plays in preparation for the big game next week.

Spanish: We had a quiz on vocabulary this week.  Next week we will continue to put the vocabulary to use.  On Wednesday we will work on the project and have a review.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • The last installment of Schedule 2 Tuition Payments are being emailed this week.  They are due on January 1, 2009.
  • HFS Spirit Gear will make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers!! Stop in the business office and view our selection of sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts and tie dye shirts.

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. Saturday, December 13: D.I. Regional Instant Challenge Practice at Havre de Grace Middle School (12:30-4:30PM)
  2. Monday, December 15 – Thursday, December 18: Secret Santa gift exchange
  3. Monday, December 15: Basketball practice CANCELLED
  4. Monday, December 15: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg in Broad Creek classroom (3:30-5:30PM)
  5. Tuesday, December 16: MathCounts with Mr. Norton in Forest Hill classroom (3:15-4:15PM)
  6. Tuesday, December 16: Home and School Association meeting (7:00PM)
  7. Thursday, December 18: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM)
  8. Thursday, December 18: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  9. Friday, December 19: Service trip to Perry Point VA Hospital (AM); Holiday Bowl III (1:30-3:00PM) Volunteers needed! Please contact jbutton@harfordfriends.org by Wednesday, December 17 to volunteer!
  10. Monday, December 22 – Friday, January 2: School Closed for Winter Break
  11. Monday, January 5: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  12. Monday, January 5: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg in Broad Creek classroom (3:30-5:30PM)
  13. Tuesday, January 6: Card Club with Leslie Kline in Little Falls classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  14. Tuesday, January 6: MathCounts with Mr. Norton in Forest Hill classroom (3:15-4:15PM)
  15. Wednesday, January 7: Amnesty International with Mr. Pickard in Deer Creek classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  16. Thursday, January 8: Parent Coffee with the Head of School. (8:00-9:00AM) Please RSVP to jbutton@harfordfriends.org
  17. Thursday, January 8: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  18. Friday, January 9: All grades travel to Eden Mill Nature Center (12:30-3:00PM)
  19. Sunday, January 11: HFS Open House (2:00-4:00PM)

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

December 12, 2008

Dear HFS Community Members,

One of the many wonderful parts of my job and of being an employee of a Friends school is the opportunity to experience weekly Meeting for Worship. This week our Meeting for Worship occurred in advisory groups and was focused around the Quaker tenet of simplicity. As the groups, seated in circles, settled into silence, advisors read a passage on simplicity composed by HFS Trustee Mary Ellen Saterlie. In it, Mary Ellen writes,

“William Penn once wrote, “The very trimming of the vain world would clothe all the naked one.”  One of the tests of simplicity is the recognition of the point at which your possessions begin to possess you.  That is, when they pose a concern rather than a support to one’s lifestyle.

Christmas is a time when children can begin to understand that the fulfillment of simple needs and wishes can bring deeper satisfaction and longer lasting joy than overwhelming showers of presents which are soon laid aside.”

The group in which I sat reflected on related queries read by the advisor, Sarah Lanigan. Advisors have tremendous leeway in how they choose to facilitate a Worship Sharing session. An advisor can lay out several queries at once and ask students to respond as they wish or an advisor can lead the group through its response to a single query and present follow-up queries as he or she sees fit. Sarah and her advisees did a masterful job of allowing the queries to move the group from thoughtful silence to heartfelt sharing of responses. Since we are constantly bombarded with advertisers’ messages about the necessity of buying, acquiring, and possessing to achieve a sense of satisfaction, status, or happiness, it is easy to assume that our students are products of our culture and, especially the seemingly self-indulgent adolescent, have only an “I want” approach to the holidays. Based on my experience with Ms. Lanigan’s advisory, I can assure you that the true meaning of the season and all of its promise and joys are still the simplest and most profoundly represented in our children. The most prevalent sentiment of the group, shared at times in whispers each bookended by reflective periods of silence, was one of deep gratitude for all that students already had and a desire for a greater richness in and more quality time with their families. As a lesson from your children, I look forward to the upcoming break and holiday season as an excuse to rekindle the wonder and joy of simply being and having fun with family. There is no greater present. Ms. Lanigan and her advisory, thank you sharing your message and providing the reminder that the best things in life are usually the simplest and often already a part of our lives.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Students continue to work very hard in the many activities involved in Humanities 8.  We are progressing apace with our Spelling-Vocabulary work and are comfortably ensconced in Unit 10 of the textbook.  We are also advancing through the mysterious world of Misplaced Modifiers.  Both students and teacher have thoroughly enjoyed some of the sentences that we have been attempting to correct!  A great example is “I saw a woolly bear driving to work this morning.”  Picture that!  We have begun work on Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” and students are really into it!  We may go on the road anytime soon.  We are also working on Charts of the Thirteen Colonies to summarize the work we have been dealing with in Social Studies.  Have a great weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: This week has been spent cleaning up issues related to applying the Pythagorean Theorem, including working with  and  triangles.  The unit test on “Looking for Pythagoras” will be taken on Tuesday, December 16; it will include applications for the Pythagorean Theorem, as well as topics related to proof of the theorem.  We will be reviewing for the test on Monday in class.

The unit project, our play “The trial of Pythagoras” is still in the making, and will be discussed in class next week as students select their character roles, which will be contemporaries of Pythagoras.  Mr. Pickard has kindly agreed to assist in the writing of the script.

Our next unit of study will be more algebraic in nature, as we explore quadratic relationships and functions through the unit “Frogs, Fleas, and Painted Cubes.”

Science: Since last report, we continued through the effort to understand the nature and uses of waves, sound, electromagnetic radiation, light, and our eyes’ perception of light.  Our textbook-centered readings touch superficially on a wide range of scientific topics in these realms, and students were encouraged (sometimes through homework assignment) to help focus the deeper discussions upon things they found most compelling.  Sometimes the helpful scientific leadings seem to lie in student remarks that initially sound off-topic, inattentive, and distracting, but actually carry the root of a teaching opportunity. At other times there is a necessary call to self-discipline on the part of students.  Outdoors and in possession of a hand-held GPS device, students were less interested in geometric triangulation and the geosynchronous orbit of satellites than in creating a flower illustration on the GPS map (they did get some exercise, as the device traveled more than a half mile at a good pace).  Apparently incurious about why the sky is blue, the sunset red, and some of the sky’s light polarized, students were wild about eyeglasses that contain a diffraction grating and create a rainbow aura around backlit things including other students.  In this particular exercise the students were finally called back to the classroom and asked to explain what incentive they had given the teacher for outdoor learning.  This became a brief philosophical lesson on the interactive consequences (known as life itself) of choice (personal responsibility, things students can influence or control) and chance (things they cannot).  Having concluded this set of topics before the holidays with an exam, parents will be able to inquire early next week whether students provided evidence they chose to be attentive and to study.

In a separate project, students have been asked to prepare a biographical sketch of a scientist of their choosing, both in written form (final revisions due Dec 17) and as a poster (due in January).

Topics in 2009 will turn to approachable yet sufficiently challenging considerations of the nature of matter, simple mechanics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and much else as we return to larger issues of our stewardship of the planet.  Implosion, air cannon, gunpowder, and critical analysis of “inconvenient truths” may enter, but not all at once.

Students have been asked to begin consideration of possible science fair projects, and to spare parents the burden of emergency purchases, emergency help.  Science and Technology Night is scheduled March 26, 2009.  There is plenty of time, or so it seems today.

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 eighth graders will be sharing our web pages and wrapping up our computer class.

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

Physical Education: The students are working on pacing themselves during our run. We are working on creating plays in preparation for the big game next week.

Spanish: We will continue our unit on likes and dislikes.  We will have a quiz on December 16th and work on the project this day. January 6th part 4 of the project is due.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • The last installment of Schedule 2 Tuition Payments are being emailed this week.  They are due on January 1, 2009.
  • HFS Spirit Gear will make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers!! Stop in the business office and view our selection of sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts and tie dye shirts.

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. Saturday, December 13: D.I. Regional Instant Challenge Practice at Havre de Grace Middle School (12:30-4:30PM)
  2. Monday, December 15 – Thursday, December 18: Secret Santa gift exchange
  3. Monday, December 15: Basketball practice CANCELLED
  4. Monday, December 15: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg in Broad Creek classroom (3:30-5:30PM)
  5. Tuesday, December 16: MathCounts with Mr. Norton in Forest Hill classroom (3:15-4:15PM)
  6. Tuesday, December 16: Home and School Association meeting (7:00PM)
  7. Thursday, December 18: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM)
  8. Thursday, December 18: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  9. Friday, December 19: Service trip to Perry Point VA Hospital (AM); Holiday Bowl III (1:30-3:00PM) Volunteers needed! Please contact jbutton@harfordfriends.org by Wednesday, December 17 to volunteer!
  10. Monday, December 22 – Friday, January 2: School Closed for Winter Break
  11. Monday, January 5: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  12. Monday, January 5: Destination Imagination practice with Virginia Remsberg in Broad Creek classroom (3:30-5:30PM)
  13. Tuesday, January 6: Card Club with Leslie Kline in Little Falls classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  14. Tuesday, January 6: MathCounts with Mr. Norton in Forest Hill classroom (3:15-4:15PM)
  15. Wednesday, January 7: Amnesty International with Mr. Pickard in Deer Creek classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  16. Thursday, January 8: Parent Coffee with the Head of School. (8:00-9:00AM) Please RSVP to jbutton@harfordfriends.org
  17. Thursday, January 8: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  18. Friday, January 9: All grades travel to Eden Mill Nature Center (12:30-3:00PM)
  19. Sunday, January 11: HFS Open House (2:00-4:00PM)