As we approach the end of the second trimester, I am reflecting on how far your children have come since the beginning of seventh grade. I continue to enjoy watching them grow into more capable students and young adults. Here are some upcoming events, as well as highlights from class:
Reading Week: Reading Week will be held at the beginning of March, and the kids are being asked to get “sponsorships” (collecting cash donations) for participating in a variety of reading activities on campus. Money collected by 7th and 8th graders will go toward their 8th grade field trip accounts. For the 8th graders, this is the last school fundraiser before the trip money is due.
8th Grade Field Trips: If you haven’t already done so, please turn in the permission slip for the February 27 trip to see the Mayhem Poets. Thanks to Theresa for chaperoning; we could use help from a few more people. We’ll be back on campus by 11:30, and it’s a great poetry performance! If you can’t make this trip, consider chaperoning on April 9, when the 8th graders tour Sonoma State University.
Yearbook: For the 8th graders, baby pictures and wills are due by March 1!
Ark Auction Project: Are there any inspired and crafty parents who would like to take the lead on the 8th grade project for the Ark Auction? Please email me if you are interested.
Report Cards: The last day of the trimester is March 1, and report cards will be mailed home about a week after the trimester’s end. The last day for students to turn in absent/missing work is February 22. They should check their Schoolwise accounts and make up any missing work this week.
The seventh graders are studying Aztec, Inca and Mayan cultures. They have located reliable resources, taken and organized notes, cited sources, and drafted research papers. The final paper is due on February 21. You can take a look at the rubric via the following link: report rubric. The students will also create a Google Slideshow to teach the class what they’ve learned. We will simultaneously study Tenochtitlan, analyze Diego Rivera paintings, and learn about how Hernan Cortes changed the course of Mexican history. We continue to do Wordly Wise vocabulary study most weeks.
The eighth graders have studied the presidency of Andrew Jackson, and, based on their research, they have determined how they view Jackson’s legacy. They’ve designed “Wanted” or “National Hero” posters and now are researching and planning argument essays that use historical fact and in-line citations to support their claims. We continue to have vocabulary study most weeks, and we just had a literature discussion on a short story about the Cherokee and The Trail of Tears. Thank you to Tracey for helping run the discussions. The students have also learned how to recognize and appropriately use the active and passive voices in various reading and writing contexts, and we continue to study Wordly Wise most weeks.
Upcoming Dates: 22 FebruaryLATE WORK CUT-OFF 27 February8th grade field trip to LBC 1 March8th grade baby pictures and wills due 1 Marchend second trimester 25 Feb - 1 Marchdrama blackout week 1, 2, 8, 9, 10 MarchWilly Wonka production 4 - 8 Marchschool-wide Reading Week 18 - 22 Marchspring break
All the best,
24 January 2019
There is a lot going on in the middle of winter:
Art Show The Middle School art reception at Occidental Center for the Arts (at the old Harmony school in downtown Occidental) is tonight from 5-7 p.m. Please stop by to look at the amazing framed artwork on your way home! Snacks to share are welcomed, too :)
Library Cards A Sonoma County Librarian visited both classes yesterday and showed the students some great databases to use for their upcoming research projects. She also handed out library card applications and encouraged ALL kids to submit applications, because even if someone already has a library card, if they submit a second application they can have all their fees and lost books forgiven! Applications are due by Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Ark Raffle Tickets The students each got three Ark Auction raffle tickets to sell. Selling raffle tickets to family, friends, and neighbors is an easy way to make money for the school. Plus, those who win the raffle get to attend the Ark event in May for free! Money and raffle tickets (even if they are not sold) are due back Thursday, Jan. 31.
Progress Reports and Conferences Official mid-trimester progress reports were sent home with students on Friday, January 18. Please take a look at your child’s current grades, although the best way to keep on top of grades continues to be through the Schoolwise portal. We will also be holding parent conferences in mid February, by teacher or parent request. I will be reaching out to families that David and I would like to jointly conference with. If you would like a conference and don’t hear from me, please email me.
Curriculum The seventh graders have started a history unit on Central and South America, beginning with the geography of contemporary Latin American countries and an introduction to the Aztecs, Inca, and Maya. Students will be focusing on one aspect of one of the cultures for a research projects. In the process of researching and writing an informational essay, they will determine the credibility of websites, narrow or expand their topics, take notes, organize information, use in-line citations, and create a Works Cited page--all important skills for high school. We had a sneak peek at our Japan unit on our field trip--thank you to parent chaperones Tracy, Shannon, Joelle, Michele, and Gary for helping with the Japanese Tea Garden and the samurai exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. And our PBL coordinator, Kristan, is working with small groups of 7th graders to add plants to our own Zen garden outside our classroom. Eighth graders are studying the Bill of Rights. Not only are they studying the rights in various amendments, but they will also analyze Supreme Court cases involving the Bill of Rights and make comic strips imagining what life might be like without these protections! We also started Junior Great Book discussions, and last week we discussed how the ideals of the Preamble show up (or don’t show up) in our society. Thanks to Tracey for helping out with our discussions. For language arts, we’ve been studying the difference between active and passive voice.
Upcoming Dates January 24OCA Middle School Art Show Reception February 6upper grade talent show February 11-14parent-teacher conference week (by request only) February 15-18President’s Day long weekend February 22Humanities late work cut off February 278th Grade Field Trip to Luther Burbank Center Feb. 25 - Mar. 1Drama Blackout Week March 1end trimester 2 March 4-8Reading Week weekends of March 1 and 8: performances of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory March 18-22Spring Break
Thanks much! Tanya
17 December 2018
The seventh grade is studying medieval Islam. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be learning about the life of Muhammad, be creating beautiful Islamic “tiles,” and be doing choice projects about advancements in literature, arts, and sciences during Islam’s Golden Age. We had a guest speaker today froming.org who gave a presentation that's aligned with the 7th grade history standards. We’ll also do poster projects that showcase our interpretations of nature imagery poems from the Golden Age in Spain. Our current seventh grade literature book is Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, an adventure-romance novel set in the twelfth century and based on an Iraqi folk tale. Not only are we learning about history from the novel, but we are also focusing on point of view, analyzing how the story benefits from employing multiple perspectives. We just started our Wordly Wise vocabulary program. We will also plan a Middle Eastern feast when we return from vacation. We’ll play chess and backgammon, listen to Middle Eastern music, and try various dishes. Students will be researching ingredients and recipes, and they are encouraged (but not required) to bring in a dish to share.
Eighth graders put together their mock presidential election campaigns, and they held a rally in which each “party” presented their campaign speech and television ad, hoping to sway the 5th graders’ votes! They learned about the electoral college and political ideologies of various parties, as well as how to run a campaign. This knowledge has led into our current unit of study: the structure, purpose, and content of the United States constitution. In the first half of the unit, the students divide into “Expert Groups” to investigate the three branches of government and then report back to their “Teams.” In the second half of the unit, they will join “House Committees on Pizza” to amend and then try to pass a pizza bill. At the same time, students will be writing letters Ark to ask for funding for their bill, as well as to actual members of Congress on issues that they care about.
Here are a few other things that are going on:
We are currently planning a fantastic 8th grade trip to San Francisco for May 14-16. Please make sure that your child is asking for Jog-a-Thon sponsorships from family, friends, and neighbors so that we can cover the costs for this trip. I’ll send more information in the new year.
The 7th grade class has a field trip to the Japanese Tea Garden and to the Asian Art Museum on Jan. 22. Thank you to Gary, Michele, Misty, and Shannon for volunteering to accompany us. We could use at least two more parent helpers. Please email me if you are able to volunteer.
The middle school enrichment classes are supporting the drama production by creating the sets for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Some students are helping Mr. DeMarche with building, while others are helping me with design and painting. Set design students are invited to stay after school from 3-5 p.m. on Friday, January 11 to put finishing touches on the sets and earn community service hours.
We are also putting together a middle school art show at the Occidental Center for the Arts to be held in the second part of January that will showcase students’ favorite art projects they’ve done at school this year. Information about the art reception will be forthcoming. Thank you to Michele, Kristen, and Graham for selling greeting cards--the money will supplement our Ark grant to purchase frames.
The 8th graders pulled names for a Secret Santa exchange for Friday 12/21. They should bring in a wrapped gift for their Secret Santa buddy (homemade, regifted, or under $10).
I hope the kids get a well deserved rest from school work over break, and I certainly encourage them to spend some time reading good books. Winter break is also a good time to clean out binders and stock up on pencils and binder paper.
Thanks to students and families for a wonderful fall, and I wish you a safe and fun-filled holiday.
Upcoming Dates Dec. 218th grade Secret Santa exchange Dec. 22 - Jan. 7winter break Jan. 8school resumes Jan. 11set design class: (optional) after school painting party (3-5 p.m.) Jan. 177th grade Middle Eastern feast Jan. 182nd trimester progress reports Jan. 21Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Jan. 227th grade field trip to San Francisco Jan. 24Art Show Reception Jan. 18 - 27Middle School Art Show at OCA
24 October 2018
The trimester is already rushing to a close! The late work cut-off date isFriday, November 2, and the trimester ends on November 9. Grades will be mailed out to families approximately one week after the trimester closes. Just a reminder that Humanities homework is posted on my school website at Hazelnut Humanities, and grades can be checked at Schoolwise.
Seventh graders have joined “feudal manors,” in which they play the part of lord, knight, peasant, or serf. They will be researching their roles, learning about the system of feudal obligations, creating coats of arms and maps of their manors, and earning “farthings.” Our class novel is Crispin: The Cross of Lead, which is set in 14th century England. We are studying vocabulary, plot, setting, character, and literary devices, as well as reviewing paragraph structure. Our last Crispin test is this Friday Oct. 26, and next week we’ll be writing formal paragraphs about the story. We’ve also been reviewing and learning grammar this semester, and there will be a “sentence basics” test the week of Nov. 5.
Eighth graders are starting a unit in which they participate in a “presidential” election process. The students joined campaign committees for various political parties. After researching their party platforms on various issues, they will write briefing papers for their presidential candidates, as well as create lawn signs, bumper stickers and TV ads. Their materials will be compiled on Weebly websites (I’ll send the eighth grade parents the urls and passwords as soon as they are published), and they will be holding an election rally for the fifth graders! Last week, we were lucky to have had a visit from our US Representative, Jared Huffman, while we are studying government. Eighth graders from previous years wrote letters to Congress, and he offered to come visit our school and answer questions about his job! Next week we’ll start reading The Misfits by James Howe, which addresses free speech, party politics, and elections, as well as makes a strong statement against bullying and name calling. Meanwhile, we’re finishing a literary analysis essay--I encourage students to have you look over their papers! And our third grade buddies have invited us to a Day of the Dead celebration on November first!
A message from the cafeteria: With this being Farm to School month, we wanted to take a moment and remind you to support the farm to cafeteria efforts here at Harmony. We are proud to offer local, organic to the highest extent possible, and house made meals. The children are excited to have more choices this year and many of the choices are harvested directly by the kids during garden time. Thank you for your continued support.
Upcoming Dates: Oct. 26Scholastic Book Order due class code: PDYWH Oct. 29Square 1 Art orders go home Oct. 31Halloween Parade 11:00 Nov. 2Humanities late work cut off Nov. 9Square 1 art orders due Nov. 9 end first trimester Nov. 12 no school Nov. 19-23Thanksgiving holiday
Thank you all for your support at home!
14 September 2018
I hope the end of the first four weeks of school finds you all well. Thank you so much for all the donations to the Arc raffle basket this week--it’s filled with fun beach items! Raffle purchase envelopes came home with your students today. You can buy raffle tickets all next week. I’ll be sorry to miss the Community Dinner next Friday night, as I’m spending my last night at home with my daughter before she heads off to college.
Students from both classes should be spending at least three hours of time at home during the week reading a book of their choice. Each week they alternately write a blog post about what they are reading or comment on classmate’s posts on Kidblog. (7th grade blog and 8th grade blog: I’d bookmark the link on a home device. Kids will need their passwords to sign in to this private blogging site.) For those who don’t have internet service or a device at home, don’t worry. The students get adequate time to work on Kidblog during Reading Workshop each week, and if they don’t finish they can continue blogging during Thursday work time.
And if you haven’t already, please bookmark my teacher website to see classroom information and weekly homework assignments. I look forward to meeting with my 8th grade homeroom families during conference week. I will send out conference requests in the next week or two. David will meet with the families of his seventh grade homeroom students, and I will provide detailed notes for him.
The seventh grade will finish a mini unit on the Roman Empire next week, and in preparation for the sentence building and combining work that we’ll do over the next two years, we are reviewing subject/predicate and simple sentence diagramming. We are also well into our first major writing project, a fictional narrative. Please ask to see your child’s draft on Google Classroom and also check out the fictional narrative rubric.
The eighth graders are studying the Declaration of Independence, interpreting and simplifying excerpts from the document to write picture books for the fifth graders. We are also reading S.E. Hinton’s classic young adult novel, The Outsiders, and we’re currently analyzing the Robert Frost poem that appears in the novel in preparation for writing literary analysis paragraphs. We are well into our Wordly Wise vocabulary program, and kids are searching for vocabulary words out in the world and are bringing them in to share with the class.
upcoming dates 9/21Community Dinner 9/26 Picture Day 10/1School Assembly 10/8-10/12Conference Week 10/117th Grade Field Trip to Luther Burbank Center
24 August 2018
Dear Middle School Families,
Welcome to the middle school Humanities class. It’s been a wonderful first two weeks of school. The eighth graders have come back to school with a new maturity, ready for their last year at Salmon Creek before looking forward to high school. The seventh graders are sweet and enthusiastic and are learning the procedures that come with switching classes. We’ve spent the first two weeks learning classroom routines and procedures, getting to know one another, and doing some academic reviews and assessments. Here are some highlights from class:
The seventh grade is doing a quick brush up on editing and world geography. In history class, we’ll learn about the Roman Empire for a few weeks, and we’ll simultaneously be studying Latin roots. Today we also started reviewing parts of speech (and next week we’ll review subject and predicate) so that we are prepared to dive into 7th grade sentence work.
The eighth graders have started the year reviewing U.S. geography and brushing up for a test on the 50 states. Next week we will learn about the physical and cultural landscapes of pre-Columbian “America.” The students have started their first writing project: a cover letter and application for a class job.
Here are some important pieces of information for the beginning of the school year:
You can stay on top of your child’s grades with the Schoolwise Parent Portal. I’ll begin entering grades at the end next week. Seventh grade parents and new eighth grade parents will be getting a sign-up sheet in the next week or two. Here’s the link to the portal--it’s useful to bookmark it and check it often!
I will be emailing you monthly newsletters and occasionally sending quick email news/updates. I also post weekly homework and other relevant information on our class website. And please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions. Email is the easiest way to reach me.
I hope you can all attend our Community Dinner on September 21. This is a wonderful opportunity for families, new and old, to get together. We are also holding our annual fundraiser, the basket raffle, at this event. We are accepting voluntary donations from families to fill the baskets. Our eighth grade homeroom basket has a BEACH theme: towels, beach games, deli certificates, lunch basket, small cooler, snacks, beach toys, water bottle... Please bring in donations over the next two weeks. Items are due on September 14.
And I look forward to seeing new and returning families at Back-to-School night on September 6, where you’ll get a chance to learn more about the two-year Humanities program. There will also be a volunteer registration booth on campus that night. If you would like to help on field trips and are not yet fingerprinted, please stop by the booth!
Lastly, below is a blurb from our kindergarten teacher, Allie. 5th-8th graders who attend the event can use the hours toward their Community Service graduation requirement:
Volunteer for Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 15th from 9am-12pm! Families are invited to join Ms. Allie (K) and Susan (5th grade) to help clean up North Salmon Creek Beach. TK-8th grade families are welcome and participants will help inventory the trash and recycling they find. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bucket(s), a reusable water bottle, and gardening gloves to help cut down on the amount of trash generated during the beach cleanup. 5-8th grade students can receive credit toward their community service requirement as well. RSVP at https://coastwalk.org/beach-locations/ and select North Salmon Creek Beach as the cleanup site.
Upcoming Dates Sept. 3Labor Day Holiday Sept. 6Back-to-School night Sept. 148th grade “beach” raffle items due Sept. 26picture day Sept. 21Community Dinner Oct. 8-12parent-teacher conferences
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