HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
March 13, 2009

HFS Grade 6 Weekly Collections

March 13, 2009

Dear HFS Families,

Why do we succeed or fail? What forces are at work when our efforts fall short of our expectations? How do we know how well or how poorly we did and how do we go about adjusting our approaches given new information?

The answers to these questions and the questions themselves constitute a lifelong endeavor whether we are students, teachers, plumbers, rocket scientists, mothers, fathers, teammates, employees, volunteers or hobbyists. If school is a microcosm of the wider society – yet often with more consistent emphasis on directed learning and application – then what holds true for students may be a lesson for the rest of us. As we teachers observe on a daily basis, success and failure are not static experiences. They are dynamic moments of feedback through which we learn more about ourselves. The student who concedes, “I am bad at math,” is probably correct, not because of some limited math gene he or she inherited (which has yet to be discovered), but because he or she has adopted a self-fulfilling prophecy otherwise known as The Pygmalion Effect. Another common attribution can be, “The teacher’s expectations are too high,” or “The teacher doesn’t like me.” These two approach often result in a “Why try?” attitude or the equally self-defeating “arrested effort” when in the face of renewed effort and subsequent failure, a person identifies the failure as confirmation of that which he or she was certain, “I can’t do it.”

However, when we begin to attribute our successes and failures to our own efforts and can begin to identify how and why we were not able to meet our expectations, we have begun the process of learning and have turned “success” and “failure” into dynamic, useful information rather than static destinations. How then do we turn our ideas of what we can and cannot do into purposeful effort? We must identify small successes that come from informed effort. (This is not “effort” for effort’s sake. No one has ever become better at reading by trying to read “harder.” The admonition “Just try harder!” is really not helpful at all.) The person who tries a new approach to studying for a math test, but receives a failing grade did not fail if the new grade reflects an improvement from the previous test. These small victories are critical to identify and build upon in the learning process. Much like a mountain climber who repeatedly attempts to summit a mountain is likely to get a little further each time having learned from his or her previous attempts. (This is also exactly why scores reliably improve for those who take the SAT’s multiple times!)

Ultimately, we all need perspective. When we are young, our teachers, parents, coaches, and other supportive adults aid in that process. As we mature, we rely on experience more than others, but those who comfortably seek feedback from both may be at a slight advantage. For students, when informed perspectives of teachers, parents and others are inconsistent, the path of least resistance is often a child’s selected mode. When a child thinks, “Mom and Dad say I can do it, but my teacher says I cannot,” the likely and lasting conclusion is, “I cannot.” However, when those messages are aligned and consistent, and experiences of success and failure are used as feedback and not judgments, growth is not only likely, it is in the hands of the student, of the plumber, and the rocket scientist. Success is a product of self-concept and the consistent development of skills and abilities to achieve desired goals. Obstacles stand in the way if we let them and I am delighted to see students striding, striving, and hurdling each day in our classrooms thanks to the consistent message of, “Yes, you can,” echoed at school and at home.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Sixth graders continue to be very busy, indeed, with the many activities associated with the content of Humanities 6.  We are almost through our Spelling-Vocabulary book!  We do have another one waiting in line to be used, however.  Students are busily taking notes and writing their first drafts of their reports on a prominent Black poet.  They have been extremely intrigued by the lives of many of them.  We continue, of course, to do work with grammar and have almost finished our material on the adverb.  Could a test be in the offing next week?  We are also finishing up our unit on Ancient India and China and have been reviewing some of the more difficult names and terms.  A review game is planned very soon.

I would like to ask a favor of you parents.  Would you kindly see if your child needs to purchase some needed school supplies?  Too often we have to wait while someone borrows paper, pens etc. from a friend in order to do the next activity.  Thanks very much for your help in this matter.  Have a great weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: In sixth grade math we have begun to tackle the tricky triangles.  We have discovered how to determine the area and perimeter of a triangle.  Our area equation, 1/2*b*h, was derived from rectangles and then broadened to include triangles that you could not fit into a rectangle.  Now we have figured out that differently shaped triangles can have the same area if their bases and heights are similar, though their perimeters may be different.  I am continually impressed with the speed at which the class moves from discovering a new idea to applying it to everything under the sun.  Next week we will move on from triangles to circles.  In preparation, on Friday we celebrated Pi Day one day early on 3.13.

Science: Science in both sixth and seventh grade is working diligently on science fair projects.  The most important day to day idea to remember is to bring all science fair materials to class so that the hour in class can be used effectively.  Other science homework has come to a relative halt so that ample time can be spent on the science fair.  I would highly recommend talking with your student about their topic and either how their experiment is going or how the research is progressing.  We already have many sources, but I would recommend to never stop looking, even as we start to write our papers.  Also, I passed out a poster planning sheet so that we can start to think about what our poster should look like.  Even when there is no specific deadline the following day, I would recommend working for 30 minutes on the science fair every night that is possible, so that work does not pile up as the fair itself approaches.

NOTES from Explorations…

Computer Technology: The students are working on typing skills using Ultrakey 5.0 as well as creating tables using Microsoft Word. We are completing our discussion of search engines. The students have definitely found search engines that are not very helpful and ones that are helpful!

Physical Education: We are working on dribbling, passing, and shooting skills. The students are excited to be playing basketball.

Spanish 6: For information on Spanish, please contact Ami Pacheco at amipac@aol.com

Advisory/Life Education: Students will meet for the final Thursday class meeting on March 19th. There will be one additional session scheduled with Jennifer Hazlehurst, RN before Spring Break. Next Thursday students will complete course evaluations, submit any missing work, and return the Love and Sex in Plain Language books. Students will also watch the final installment of “An Everyday Miracle” from the BBC produced award-winning series “Intimate Universe: The Human Body.” Teacher will be sending home a special permission slip requesting parental approval for watching the birthing scenes of the program.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Signed Re-Enrollment Contracts are due. A place will be reserved for your student when the signed re-enrollment contract and deposit have been received.
  • HFS Calendars: We still have some calendars left and it’s only early March!! Still time to enjoy the wonderful display of creativity and photos that the students put together. Great for your office and a nice keepsake for your student. They are on sale now, $10.00 each or purchase 2 for $15.00.
  • If you would like to receive a tax letter for the mileage that you drove for HFS field trips this calendar year, please email the date and location of the field trip to kcarlone@harfordfriends.org
  • HFS Spirit Gear: Show off your school spirit! Stop in the Business Office and view our selection of sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts and tie-dye shirts (only a few tie-dye shirts left!).

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. Monday, March 16: Basketball practice in gymnasium CANCELLED
  2. Tuesday, March 17: Special Advisory Session (11:10-12:30) St. Patrick’s Day Buffet
  3. Tuesday, March 17: Card Club with Leslie Kline in Little Falls classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  4. Tuesday, March 17: Home and School Association meeting (7:00PM)
  5. Wednesday, March 18: Yearbook Photos with Edwin Remsberg (9:00-10:00AM)
  6. Wednesday, March 18: Amnesty International with Mr. Pickard in Deer Creek classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  7. Thursday, March 19: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM) Parent volunteers needed to serve as greeters/guides.
  8. Thursday, March 19: Student Committees rescheduled from March 17 (11:10-12:00)
  9. Thursday, March 19: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  10. Friday, March 20: All grades travel to Walters Art Gallery (Depart 9:00AM, Return 3:00PM)
  11. Wednesday, March 25: End of Interim 2; All student work is to be submitted by 3:00PM in order to receive a grade report.
  12. Thursday, March 26: HFS Science Fair and Technology Night (6:30-8:30PM)
  13. Friday, March 27: Monthly Movies in Broad Creek Classroom (3:00-5:00PM). Parent volunteer Leslie Kline will provide a movie and popcorn for students wishing to participate. Movie titles and ratings will be emailed the Tuesday prior to viewing. Next month’s movie will occur on April 24.
  14. Thursday, April 2: Parent Coffee with the Head of School (8:00-9:00AM). Please RSVP to Jbutton@harfordfriends.org
  15. Friday, April 3: 2nd Interim Reports distributed to students (1:30-3:00PM)

HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

March 13, 2009

Dear HFS Families,

Why do we succeed or fail? What forces are at work when our efforts fall short of our expectations? How do we know how well or how poorly we did and how do we go about adjusting our approaches given new information?

The answers to these questions and the questions themselves constitute a lifelong endeavor whether we are students, teachers, plumbers, rocket scientists, mothers, fathers, teammates, employees, volunteers or hobbyists. If school is a microcosm of the wider society – yet often with more consistent emphasis on directed learning and application – then what holds true for students may be a lesson for the rest of us. As we teachers observe on a daily basis, success and failure are not static experiences. They are dynamic moments of feedback through which we learn more about ourselves. The student who concedes, “I am bad at math,” is probably correct, not because of some limited math gene he or she inherited (which has yet to be discovered), but because he or she has adopted a self-fulfilling prophecy otherwise known as The Pygmalion Effect. Another common attribution can be, “The teacher’s expectations are too high,” or “The teacher doesn’t like me.” These two approach often result in a “Why try?” attitude or the equally self-defeating “arrested effort” when in the face of renewed effort and subsequent failure, a person identifies the failure as confirmation of that which he or she was certain, “I can’t do it.”

However, when we begin to attribute our successes and failures to our own efforts and can begin to identify how and why we were not able to meet our expectations, we have begun the process of learning and have turned “success” and “failure” into dynamic, useful information rather than static destinations. How then do we turn our ideas of what we can and cannot do into purposeful effort? We must identify small successes that come from informed effort. (This is not “effort” for effort’s sake. No one has ever become better at reading by trying to read “harder.” The admonition “Just try harder!” is really not helpful at all.) The person who tries a new approach to studying for a math test, but receives a failing grade did not fail if the new grade reflects an improvement from the previous test. These small victories are critical to identify and build upon in the learning process. Much like a mountain climber who repeatedly attempts to summit a mountain is likely to get a little further each time having learned from his or her previous attempts. (This is also exactly why scores reliably improve for those who take the SAT’s multiple times!)

Ultimately, we all need perspective. When we are young, our teachers, parents, coaches, and other supportive adults aid in that process. As we mature, we rely on experience more than others, but those who comfortably seek feedback from both may be at a slight advantage. For students, when informed perspectives of teachers, parents and others are inconsistent, the path of least resistance is often a child’s selected mode. When a child thinks, “Mom and Dad say I can do it, but my teacher says I cannot,” the likely and lasting conclusion is, “I cannot.” However, when those messages are aligned and consistent, and experiences of success and failure are used as feedback and not judgments, growth is not only likely, it is in the hands of the student, of the plumber, and the rocket scientist. Success is a product of self-concept and the consistent development of skills and abilities to achieve desired goals. Obstacles stand in the way if we let them and I am delighted to see students striding, striving, and hurdling each day in our classrooms thanks to the consistent message of, “Yes, you can,” echoed at school and at home.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

The seventh graders are reading a story by Amy Tan, a woman who grew up in a Chinese American family. While we are reading “Rules of the Game” the students are making great connections between Chinese culture and beliefs and the characters in the story. In Social Studies, we are discussing social classes, family life, and the role of women in traditional China. We have begun unit 14 in our spelling-vocabulary. In grammar, the students are learning to use nouns, proper and common, as adjectives.

NOTES from Technology…

Math: In seventh grade math we are steadily reviewing our unit from the past on graphs, tables, and equations, and we have just started to introduce a new idea: the difference between a line that intersects the y-axis at (0,0) and one that has a nonzero y-intercept.  We are going to slow down to make sure that linear relationships are fully understood before we move into finding the intersection point of two lines and the beginning of manipulating equations algebraically.

Science: Science in both sixth and seventh grade is working diligently on science fair projects.  The most important day to day idea to remember is to bring all science fair materials to class so that the hour in class can be used effectively.  Other science homework has come to a relative halt so that ample time can be spent on the science fair.  I would highly recommend talking with your student about their topic and either how their experiment is going or how the research is progressing.  We already have many sources, but I would recommend to never stop looking, even as we start to write our papers.  Also, I passed out a poster planning sheet so that we can start to think about what our poster should look like.  Even when there is no specific deadline the following day, I would recommend working for 30 minutes on the science fair every night that is possible, so that work does not pile up as the fair itself approaches.

NOTES from Explorations…

Computer Technology: The students are working on typing skills using Ultrakey 5.0 as well as creating tables using Microsoft Word. We are completing our discussion of search engines. The students have definitely found search engines that are not very helpful and ones that are helpful!

Physical Education: We are working on dribbling, passing, and shooting skills. The students are excited to be playing basketball.

Spanish 7/8 A & B: For information on Spanish, please contact Ami Pacheco at amipac@aol.com

Advisory/Life Education: Students will meet for the final Thursday class meeting on March 19th. There will be one additional session scheduled with Jennifer Hazlehurst, RN before Spring Break. Next Thursday students will complete course evaluations, submit any missing work, and return the Love and Sex in Plain Language books. Students will also watch the final installment of “An Everyday Miracle” from the BBC produced award-winning series “Intimate Universe: The Human Body.” Teacher will be sending home a special permission slip requesting parental approval for watching the birthing scenes of the program.

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Signed Re-Enrollment Contracts are due. A place will be reserved for your student when the signed re-enrollment contract and deposit have been received.
  • HFS Calendars: We still have some calendars left and it’s only early March!! Still time to enjoy the wonderful display of creativity and photos that the students put together. Great for your office and a nice keepsake for your student. They are on sale now, $10.00 each or purchase 2 for $15.00.
  • If you would like to receive a tax letter for the mileage that you drove for HFS field trips this calendar year, please email the date and location of the field trip to kcarlone@harfordfriends.org
  • HFS Spirit Gear: Show off your school spirit! Stop in the Business Office and view our selection of sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts and tie-dye shirts (only a few tie-dye shirts left!).

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. Monday, March 16: Basketball practice in gymnasium CANCELLED
  2. Tuesday, March 17: Special Advisory Session (11:10-12:30) St. Patrick’s Day Buffet
  3. Tuesday, March 17: Card Club with Leslie Kline in Little Falls classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  4. Tuesday, March 17: Home and School Association meeting (7:00PM)
  5. Wednesday, March 18: Yearbook Photos with Edwin Remsberg (9:00-10:00AM)
  6. Wednesday, March 18: Amnesty International with Mr. Pickard in Deer Creek classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  7. Thursday, March 19: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM) Parent volunteers needed to serve as greeters/guides.
  8. Thursday, March 19: Student Committees rescheduled from March 17 (11:10-12:00)
  9. Thursday, March 19: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  10. Friday, March 20: All grades travel to Walters Art Gallery (Depart 9:00AM, Return 3:00PM)
  11. Wednesday, March 25: End of Interim 2; All student work is to be submitted by 3:00PM in order to receive a grade report.
  12. Thursday, March 26: HFS Science Fair and Technology Night (6:30-8:30PM)
  13. Friday, March 27: Monthly Movies in Broad Creek Classroom (3:00-5:00PM). Parent volunteer Leslie Kline will provide a movie and popcorn for students wishing to participate. Movie titles and ratings will be emailed the Tuesday prior to viewing. Next month’s movie will occur on April 24.
  14. Thursday, April 2: Parent Coffee with the Head of School (8:00-9:00AM). Please RSVP to Jbutton@harfordfriends.org
  15. Friday, April 3: 2nd Interim Reports distributed to students (1:30-3:00PM)

HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections

March 13, 2009

Dear HFS Families,

Why do we succeed or fail? What forces are at work when our efforts fall short of our expectations? How do we know how well or how poorly we did and how do we go about adjusting our approaches given new information?

The answers to these questions and the questions themselves constitute a lifelong endeavor whether we are students, teachers, plumbers, rocket scientists, mothers, fathers, teammates, employees, volunteers or hobbyists. If school is a microcosm of the wider society – yet often with more consistent emphasis on directed learning and application – then what holds true for students may be a lesson for the rest of us. As we teachers observe on a daily basis, success and failure are not static experiences. They are dynamic moments of feedback through which we learn more about ourselves. The student who concedes, “I am bad at math,” is probably correct, not because of some limited math gene he or she inherited (which has yet to be discovered), but because he or she has adopted a self-fulfilling prophecy otherwise known as The Pygmalion Effect. Another common attribution can be, “The teacher’s expectations are too high,” or “The teacher doesn’t like me.” These two approach often result in a “Why try?” attitude or the equally self-defeating “arrested effort” when in the face of renewed effort and subsequent failure, a person identifies the failure as confirmation of that which he or she was certain, “I can’t do it.”

However, when we begin to attribute our successes and failures to our own efforts and can begin to identify how and why we were not able to meet our expectations, we have begun the process of learning and have turned “success” and “failure” into dynamic, useful information rather than static destinations. How then do we turn our ideas of what we can and cannot do into purposeful effort? We must identify small successes that come from informed effort. (This is not “effort” for effort’s sake. No one has ever become better at reading by trying to read “harder.” The admonition “Just try harder!” is really not helpful at all.) The person who tries a new approach to studying for a math test, but receives a failing grade did not fail if the new grade reflects an improvement from the previous test. These small victories are critical to identify and build upon in the learning process. Much like a mountain climber who repeatedly attempts to summit a mountain is likely to get a little further each time having learned from his or her previous attempts. (This is also exactly why scores reliably improve for those who take the SAT’s multiple times!)

Ultimately, we all need perspective. When we are young, our teachers, parents, coaches, and other supportive adults aid in that process. As we mature, we rely on experience more than others, but those who comfortably seek feedback from both may be at a slight advantage. For students, when informed perspectives of teachers, parents and others are inconsistent, the path of least resistance is often a child’s selected mode. When a child thinks, “Mom and Dad say I can do it, but my teacher says I cannot,” the likely and lasting conclusion is, “I cannot.” However, when those messages are aligned and consistent, and experiences of success and failure are used as feedback and not judgments, growth is not only likely, it is in the hands of the student, of the plumber, and the rocket scientist. Success is a product of self-concept and the consistent development of skills and abilities to achieve desired goals. Obstacles stand in the way if we let them and I am delighted to see students striding, striving, and hurdling each day in our classrooms thanks to the consistent message of, “Yes, you can,” echoed at school and at home.

In peace,

Jonathan

NOTES from Humanities…

Eighth graders continue to be very busy, indeed, with the many activities associated with the content of Humanities 8.  We are almost through our Spelling-Vocabulary book!  We continue, of course, to do work with grammar and have been working with indirect objects.  Next week we go on to the more complicated world of subjective complements!  Today, we had a test in social studies and are enjoying the many events and developments associated with the beginning of the American Revolution.  We also will be rehearsing the Math Play frequently, and whenever possible do some quality research on our history papers.  Whew!

I would like to ask a favor of you parents.  Would you kindly see if your child needs to purchase some needed school supplies?  Too often we have to wait while someone borrows paper, pens etc. from a friend in order to do the next activity.  Thanks very much for your help in this matter.  Have a great weekend!

NOTES from Technology…

Math: During the past week, eighth graders have been looking at patterns of change for functions, as well as studying rates of change for functions, focusing particularly on linear, quadratic, and exponential functions.  We have discovered that using these patterns of change is a useful tool is finding an appropriate mathematical model in the problem solving process.  With only one more investigation remaining in this unit of study, “Reasoning With Symbols,” we will be preparing for a unit test on Say It With Symbols on Monday, March 23. Having developed the script for our class play, students will be spending this Friday afternoon blocking the play with Mr. Pickard and myself.  Please remember that opening night will be Technology Night, March 26.

Science: “What Mad Pursuit” is how Francis Crick entitled his reflections on his role in the discovery of DNA structure, a path “beset with false ideas, sloppy models, inconclusive results and fiascos.”  By way of the science fair, 8th graders have been assigned a small taste of the madness, an affair necessarily accompanied by some disillusionment about the ease with which one can propose, do, and explain any piece of science.  Students were reminded that what matters is not the thing flung, but the fling itself.

In parallel with exhortations, instructions, and suggestions about the upcoming science fair, we moved back and forth between theoretical (reading, homework, discussion) and kinesthetic immersions in classical mechanics (work, power, simple machines).  Each student took a turn (outdoors) at an atlatl, throwing a dart (something between a spear and an arrow, this one with blunt tip) in a way that exploits a third class lever to amplify velocity of the dart.  Students had already heard of the prehistoric and early American weapon (a bane to mammoths and conquistadors alike), and now have additional language and physical experience with which to consider human inventiveness.  We also revisited our newly constructed trebuchets, experimenting with leverage and with variables such as the length of the throw-weight from the fulcrum.  Further, we examined a few simple and compound machines from teacher’s kitchen and barn.

Science teacher has occasionally been questioned whether instruments of war are inconsistent with Quaker epistemology.  Opinion here is that we must aspire to understand ourselves, our species, our history, our physical universe before we can reasonably aspire to outgrow the worst of our primal inclinations.  More simply, it is good to have some fun in class.

NOTES from Explorations…

Physical Education: We are working on dribbling, passing, and shooting skills. The students are excited to be playing basketball.

Spanish 7/8 A & B: For information on Spanish, please contact Ami Pacheco at amipac@aol.com

From the Business Office…

Just a couple of reminders…

  • Signed Re-Enrollment Contracts are due. A place will be reserved for your student when the signed re-enrollment contract and deposit have been received.
  • HFS Calendars: We still have some calendars left and it’s only early March!! Still time to enjoy the wonderful display of creativity and photos that the students put together. Great for your office and a nice keepsake for your student. They are on sale now, $10.00 each or purchase 2 for $15.00.
  • If you would like to receive a tax letter for the mileage that you drove for HFS field trips this calendar year, please email the date and location of the field trip to kcarlone@harfordfriends.org
  • HFS Spirit Gear: Show off your school spirit! Stop in the Business Office and view our selection of sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts and tie-dye shirts (only a few tie-dye shirts left!).

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

  1. Monday, March 16: Basketball practice in gymnasium CANCELLED
  2. Tuesday, March 17: Special Advisory Session (11:10-12:30) St. Patrick’s Day Buffet
  3. Tuesday, March 17: Card Club with Leslie Kline in Little Falls classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  4. Tuesday, March 17: Home and School Association meeting (7:00PM)
  5. Wednesday, March 18: Yearbook Photos with Edwin Remsberg (9:00-10:00AM)
  6. Wednesday, March 18: Amnesty International with Mr. Pickard in Deer Creek classroom (3:00-4:00PM)
  7. Thursday, March 19: HFS Open House (9:00-11:00AM) Parent volunteers needed to serve as greeters/guides.
  8. Thursday, March 19: Student Committees rescheduled from March 17 (11:10-12:00)
  9. Thursday, March 19: Basketball practice in gymnasium (3:00-4:15PM)
  10. Friday, March 20: All grades travel to Walters Art Gallery (Depart 9:00AM, Return 3:00PM)
  11. Wednesday, March 25: End of Interim 2; All student work is to be submitted by 3:00PM in order to receive a grade report.
  12. Thursday, March 26: HFS Science Fair and Technology Night (6:30-8:30PM)
  13. Friday, March 27: Monthly Movies in Broad Creek Classroom (3:00-5:00PM). Parent volunteer Leslie Kline will provide a movie and popcorn for students wishing to participate. Movie titles and ratings will be emailed the Tuesday prior to viewing. Next month’s movie will occur on April 24.
  14. Thursday, April 2: Parent Coffee with the Head of School (8:00-9:00AM). Please RSVP to Jbutton@harfordfriends.org
  15. Friday, April 3: 2nd Interim Reports distributed to students (1:30-3:00PM)