7th Grade Newsletter - September 19, 2016


September 19, 2016
The first few grades of the year should start to appear in your student's portal this week (if they have not already).  It is a good idea to review the portal with your student on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  It helps you stay up to date on your student's progress and helps students get in the habit of checking on their own.  Please feel free to e-mail any teacher at any time with questions.
Conferences are coming up in October (13th, 18th, & 19th).  We have had a tremendous response to conference sign-ups this year, and all available time-slots are currently filled. 
If you missed signing up, you can still request a conference. At this point, any additional conferences for parents/students we will need to set up a conference time outside of the regular conference schedule. What usually works best is after-school (2:45pm), on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays. Sometimes we cannot get all teachers together, but you should be able to meet with most, and we will be able to provide written feedback from any teacher that cannot attend. Email Mr. Usem (mark.usem@mpls.k12.mn.us) with your requests for a time, and let us know what might work for you after MEA Break weekend (...after Monday, October 24).
 - The 7th Grade Team 
~    ~    ~
    Language Arts      
mch I Need Your HELP! 
I am working on a project that will secure e-readers for the classroom. I am working through the DonorsChoose.ors sight. I am looking to raise about $1500, right now the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is doubling any contributions I receive. If you would like to donate or know of any funding sources send them my way. A link to the proposal is below. 
This week in class
Monday: How to answer a discussion question, Notes on Personal Narratives
Tuesday: Discussion
Wednesday: Oral Story, True Love For Ever a.k.a. TL4E
Notes on what makes a good personal narrative
Thursday: Significant Moments with Bone Black
Friday: Start, Amigo Brothers story
Thanks so much and have a GREAT week. 
    - Ms. Halasz
    Social Studies      
Social Studies
This week we are focusing on the U.S. Constitution and how the Bill of Rights protects our freedoms.  As we learn how the 3 branches of government keeps the power in check, students will research an important Supreme Court case in groups and create a poster presentation.  For this week's homework, students will write a 3-paragraph letter to a cousin in England describing the new U.S. government and stating why it is a preferred way to govern a country.  Directions can be found on the green warm up sheet. Letter is due this Friday.
   - Ms. Odermatt
Unit: Natural Systems
Some of what we will do this week:
  • Use pictures of organisms from Mono Lake in western California to construct a food web
  • Use pictures of Minnesota organisms to construct a typical Minnesota ecosystem food web
  • Begin a lab to measure calories by burning some typical snack food items like cheese puffs
HOMEWORK: RA3, Mono Lake,  will be passed out on Monday and due Friday (Turn in by Tuesday for a 4% bonus).
 - Mr. Boler
To review science content, make-up notebook entries, watch a video clip about any science topic of interest - go to the 7th grade science web page at:  http://www.bolerscience.net/
We're continuing our unit exploring integers.This week we'll use our new models to help us look at developing specific algorithms for adding and subtracting integers, and will also explore the concept of "absolute value".
Students took their first learning target quiz last Friday. This covered Learning Targets #2.1 & 2.2) Students should receive the quizzes back on Wednesday or Thursday this week, as soon as all students who missed completing or talking the quizzes complete them.

Homework will vary each week in our class, and depends on what students accomplish in class each day... the more they get done in class, and the more they show me they know the material, the less homework I have to assign as practice... in general, students (and parents) should expect homework about 3-4 times a week.

      - Mr. Usem 
The webpage lists what classwork we've done in class each day, references students' homework assignments, lists an availability schedule for students who need extra help, and has resources for parents & students.
GEMS and GISE Registration Info

Hello Everyone!  Mr. Hamilton, Ms. Nelson, Ms. Hill, and Ms. Trandem would like to invite each of your students to join the GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) or GISE (Guys in Science and Engineering) programs this year.  
This year we have the opportunity to compete in the FIRST Lego League robotics competition, build CO2 powered cars, and learn a lot about the Engineering Design Process while we do it.
Our first class is Tuesday, September 27, 2016.  If you have questions, feel free to contact Mr. Hamilton (GISE) or Ms. Hill (GEMS).  
You can register your child online by following this link to the registration form:

  • Dates to Remember
    SEPT 19: Picture Day
  • OCT 5: Bike/Walk to School day
  • OCT 13: Conferences (3:30-7:30pm)
  • OCT 18: Conferences (3:30-7:30pm)
  • OCT 19: NO SCHOOL - Conferences (7:30am-12:00noon)
  • OCT 20-21: NO SCHOOL -Education MN Teacher's Convention ("MEA break")
  • NOV 2:  End of 1st quarter
  • NOV 3-4: NO SCHOOL - Teacher professional development and record-keeping
  • NOV 7:  Beginning of 2nd quarter
 NEW Cell Phone and Personal Electronics Expectations:
While cell phones and other electronics seem to be an extension of our bodies, students are not allowing them to be used in school during the hours of 8:05-2:35pm.  
Here are our expectations:
  1. All phones and electronics are not allowed to be used, including during lunch and recess, at Field.
  2. They are to remain at home, locked in lockers or on their person, turned off and not used.
  3. Phones and electronics will be confiscated for the day, if being used, and parents will be contacted to come to school to pick them up if it occurs more than once.
Q: Why don't we allow cell phones in class/lunch/halls during the school day?
  1. We prioritize real human interaction.  We believe that learning the skills of in-person communication and collaboration are much more important. This generation has grown up with computers and cell phones. Students are already good at using electronics - they do not need social media practice or gaming practice at school. One of the most important skills our students will learn at Field is how to get along and work well, face-to-face, with a variety of people.
  2.  Electronics are disruptive. Cell phones ringing and buzzing disrupt the class.
  3. They are distracting. Students will pay more attention to their friends' texts and their games than to the lesson if allowed. We want students focused on the lesson, not who's calling or texting them.
  4. They cause drama.Students tend to say things online that they would never say out loud. We don't want extra drama at school.
  5. They get stolen.Unfortunately, as wonderful as our Field students are, phones do get stolen. They are attractive items. Leaving them in a locked locker is best if they can't stay at home.
  6. They are addicting. This generation of students is struggling to learn to think and stay busy with just their own thoughts. Managing boredom without tools or toys is an important life skill that we have little opportunity to practice when the phone is always present. We want our students to be fully present and experience all that school has to offer.
  7.  Students don't need them.  Field has technology in the classrooms. In most all class situations students do not need their cell phone to access the Internet or do any other class work. We are asking the adults in their lives to not only review these expectations but also help by not texting or contacting their student during the school day.  If parents need to reach a student, calling the main office 612-668-3640 always works.  If a student needs to contact a parent, they can come to the school office and call.
If teachers are having students use their phones for a specific academic purpose in their class, for example; taking pictures, research, or using specific apps..... teachers will tell students that they are permitted for use only in that particular class for that specific activity and that all electronics MUST be turned off prior to leaving the classroom.  
Leon Boler
Nicole Odermatt
(Social Studies)

Mary Catherine Halasz
(Language Arts)

Mark Usem
voicemail  612-668-7729
Heather Walker  
Other 7th Grade Advisors:

Bev Halvorson Trowbridge
(Reading Specialist)


Field School Student Resources:
Mariam Graff 
(Social Work) 
(612) 668-3640
Field School Site Council
7th Grade Parent Reps:

 * TBA
Field Community School
 4645 Fourth Ave.South Minneapolis, MN 55419
Telephone: 612-668-3640 | Fax: 612-668-3661
Field School & Hale/Field PTAs, 4645 Fourth Avenue South, Field PTA, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Sent by mark.usem@mpls.k12.mn.us in collaboration with
Constant Contact