Middle School Learning

6th-8th Portfolio Share: January 30th

Our first Portfolio Share of the year will take place on Friday, January 30th from 8-8:30AM in your student’s Advisory. Students are working to capture and to reflect upon their learning so that they can share it with you. Advisors will provide families with some possible questions that you can ask your student(s) during the share. These questions are designed to facilitate the conversation with students about their learning and growth.

Following the Portfolio Share, families are invited to an informational session to learn more about our pilot of Schoology, a Learning Management System (LMS). The focus will be on helping parents navigate Schoology so that they can support their students.

Middle School Learning:

Each day I visit as many classrooms as I can to get to know students, teachers and the teaching and learning happening throughout the classrooms across our school. Since my office is on the 3rd floor I am able to really immerse myself in these classrooms. In this edition of the Vice Principal’s Corner, I would like to share some of what I have been observing in our middle school classrooms during the first few weeks of 2015.

6th-8th Grade Snapshots:

6th graders have been studying the Middle Kingdom in Social Studies and have been using maps to identify both historical and modern day places. They have also been discussing and considering how people were treated and the social hierarchies at play in this part of history. In ELA, students are researching an author of their choice for their author study projects, which will later be displayed in our library. They will be creating a poster and preparing an oral presentation to share with their class in the coming weeks. In Science, students are studying and exploring electricity and magnetism. In the exploration phase, students worked in small groups at various stations to discover more about magnetism and electricity and to design their own questions to further guide their work in this unit.

7th graders began the New Year with a conversation in Advisory about courage. They talked in pairs and small groups about what it means to be courageous and they considered the idea that courage may be dependent upon an individual, a group, or a specific situation like asking for help when you don’t understand something. In math class, students are studying ratios through word problems. Students are working in pairs to discuss how they are solving each problem. They are focused on increasing their level of “math talk” as they work in small groups. In Spanish, students are creating their “bucket list” using phrases like “yo quiero…” and “yo necisito…” to complete their bucket list and to identify for their audience how they will achieve the goals on their list. In art class, they are designing the covers for their portfolios, which they will share with families on January 30th.

If you have an 8th grader, your student is going to plan and cook a meal for you. The goal of this health assignment is for students to learn the life skill of planning and preparing a nutrient rich meal. While at dinner, they may be able to share some literary devices from Shakespeare’s play Romeo & Juliet or to explain some of the dynamic characters whose roles they have assumed in English class. Another topic of conversation is the Civil Rights Movement, which students are studying in Social Studies. 8th graders have been learning about this time in history through discussion, readings, and film. In addition, to some of these historical topics, your student should be able to share with you what causes weather to change and what makes weather different from climate. If your student takes French, s/he should be able to share with you some words and phrases that they would use if shopping or running errands in a local village or neighborhood.

I hope that these snapshots give you a sense of the depth and variety of content that students are thinking about and learning in 6th, 7th and 8th grades at Lawrence.

Best,

Laura Horst
Laura_horst@brookline.k12.ma.us

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