8th Grade Newsletter - April 16, 2012

8th Grade Newsletter 8th Grade Newsletter
April 16, 2012
8th Grade News ~ Field Community School
in this issue...

Staff Contacts

Core & Advisory Teachers:

Sean Casey
(Advisory; Media/Tech)
(612) 668-3640

Alison Constant
(Language Arts; Advisory)
(612) 668-7672

Adam Farrell
(Social Studies; Advisory)
(612) 668-3640

(Math; Advisory)
(612) 668-3640

Ola Lloyd
(Advisory; Behavior Support)
(612) 668-3640

Gretchen Mattson
(Advisory; Reading Support)
(612) 668-3640

Tracey Schultz
(Science; Advisory)
(612) 668-8602

Mike VanPatten
(Advisory; Life Skills)
(612) 668-3640

Specialists & Support Teachers

Del Bey
(612) 668-3640

Marni Heck
(612) 668-3640

Kim Hotchkiss
(Band & Orchestra)
(612) 668-3640

Ruth LeMay
(Vocal Music & Guitar)
(612) 668-3640

Brenda Leviton
(612) 668-3640

Mark Usem
(Math Support)
(612) 668-3640

Heather Walker
(612) 668-3640

Administrators and Student Support:

Reggie Johnson
(Assistant Principal)
(612) 668-3640

Terry Mazig
(Parent Liaison)
(612) 668-3640

Steve Norlin-Weaver
(612) 668-3640

Julie Peterson
(Social Worker)
(612) 668-3640

Wendy Wolff
(612) 668-3640

Site Council Representatives/PTA:

Kathie Glick
(Site Council rep)

Sashank Varma
(Site Council rep)

Margaret Miller
(PTA Co-Chair)

Rich Flint
(Site Council community rep)

Quick Links...

Join our mailing list!

The MCA reading tests are this week on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings! Please help your child be ready and at school on time. Students should get a good night's sleep each night beforehand, and eat a healthy breakfast in the mornings in order to be at their best.

Volunteer Appreciation Tea
April 26, 2012 @ 2:45 pm
Field Media Center.

Summer School Applications should be turned in to the office. Information regarding Summer School can be found on the website.

If you haven't returned your parent surveys yet, please remember to do so.

Looking for an opportunity to do something meaningful for EARTH DAY? Join Ms. Schultz and other members of the Field community for the Earth Day Clean-Up this Saturday, April 21. The event runs from 9am-1pm. Please note that Sunday, April 22 is the rain date. If possible, please bring a rake or broom or other gardening tools. Students who volunteer for an hour or more will receive a green card from Ms. Schultz as well as personal satisfaction from improving our school grounds.

Here's what's happening in eighth grade this week...

Language Arts - Ms. Constant

I have high expectations for students on this week's MCA tests. I am setting a big challenge ahead of them--to significantly increase their scores from last year--and I know they are ready. In class we've reviewed key concepts and testing strategies. If students put in their absolute best effort, they are prepared to do well.

After MCA testing we will finish watching and reflecting on the movie version of "To Kill a Mockingbird." We will also begin work on our upcoming speech unit.

You may notice a change in the grading structure for 4th quarter. The reading, writing, and speaking & listening categories are combined to count 60% of a student's grade. Independent reading counts 15%. A final project that incorporates reading, writing and speaking counts for 25% of the grade. Students will learn more about this project in May.

Algebra 1 ~ Mr. Leavitt
Rocket Parabola

Hello Field families.

I had a very moving experience this past Saturday. I'm going to share it with you. Be patient - it is relevant to our current students.

I attended Soup with the Supe at Martin Luther King Park. The event started with a jazz combo of Field students that was simply fantastic. I knew our kids were good but I had no idea they could play that well. They were great.

During the event, an attorney who works for the school district approached me. He told me that he teaches a course on Education Law at William Mitchell School of Law. During a class discussion, one of the students mentioned a middle school math teacher who had a profound effect on her. He told me that that teacher was me. I was thrilled and honored to hear this story.

Later in the afternoon, I saw a parent of a student I had a few years ago. I asked her how her son was doing in math and she said, "Terrible." We talked at length and she told me she really felt that he fell apart in 8th grade math, in my classroom. I don't need to tell you how I felt about that.

What a pairing. Not 30 minutes after I was on Cloud 9, I fell very jarringly to Earth. It caused me to do some deep thinking. Here are my thoughts.

Teaching is a personal connection between teacher and student. When that connection is strong, teaching and learning find fertile ground. There's no guarantee that learning will take place but the conditions favor it.

What happens when learning is not taking place? That's my dilemma. I try to connect with every one of the 120 students I see every day. But I can't. I can't spend time with each and every student. So I depend on student initiative. If I'm leading an activity (like tracing a graph of a rocket's flight to determine that 7.5 seconds into the flight, it is about 124 meters above the ground - see graphic at the top of this column), I depend on students engaging their hands and their minds. I look into every student's eyes. Are you getting this? Stop me and ask if you're not. During work time, dig deeply into the work. Talk about the work. Ask questions of your table mates. Ask me questions. Push yourself. Be sure you understand.

This is not just theoretical. It's what has to happen if learning is to take place. Sometimes we're unsure if we understand. So a quiz comes along to help us find out. Like a barometer measures atmospheric pressure and helps us predict the weather, a quiz measures our current understanding.

Which brings me to my current 8 graders, your sons and daughters. We had a quiz on Friday and the results were awful. And the topic is fascinating! Imagine that you can predict, with certainty, that a rocket will be 124 meters above the earth at precisely 7.5 seconds (see above) and you are only 14 years old and only in 8th grade! But you have the tools and the knowledge to make that conclusion. To me it is incredible that an 8th grader can understand these ideas. But they most certainly can. I know because I see them learn every day.

Except some are not and it really breaks my heart. In time, I am confident that every one of our students will understand these ideas and do well (if they try). But I really wish it was in my classroom. Put yourself in my place - wouldn't you rather hear about that law student from William Mitchell?

Seth Leavitt

Problem of the Week

Alvin's Theorem

This problem fits so nicely with what we are studying now, I'm going to leave it in place for one more week.

Remember, students (and families) can do any of the Problems of the Week, not just the current one.

Science ~ Ms. Schultz
View of earth from Apollo 8

We are nearing the end of our WEATHER and WATER unit! The unit test will be this Friday, April 20th. On Monday I will send home homework 21. It is due on Wednesday and will include tips for how to study and what to study for the final test. Between now and Friday we will focus on weather vs. climate. We will investigate air masses, weather fronts, and climate change. Please check the portal ASAP. I entered three grades last week. Many students are off to a fantastic start but a good number are not. I am available every day at recess for extra help and also most days before and after school.

U.S. History ~ Mr. Farrell

We are move steadily along in United States History. The students learned the causes of World War I last week, and we are going to wrap up the mini unit this week by continuing to discuss the United States' role in the war and the Treaty of Versailles. We will talking about the remapping of Europe following the war and how some of the stipulations from the treaty played in role in setting the atmosphere for WWII.

There will be a short quiz on FRIDAY reviewing the information from the last week and everything we get through this week regarding WWI. It is important that the students prepare for the quiz some outside of class in order to get off to a good start for the quarter. It is difficult to bring a low grade up as the quarter moves on, and I want the students to finish their 8th grade year out well. I am looking forward to another fun week in United States History!

School Counselor and High School Transition ~ Ms. Wolff

All 8th grade students should have received their high school placement letters in the mail this week. I will be keeping students and families updated regarding registration and open houses as we receive information from the district. Students or families who are unhappy with their high school placement can complete an appeal form which is due April 20 which is this Friday! Forms can be downloaded from the school choice website.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your child's placement or high school transition, please email me. I will be out of the office from April 16- May 1 but will be responding to email daily. I would also encourage all 8th grade students to apply for the summer program at Washburn called Fast Track Scholars. I have applications available in my office!

Wendy Wolff
Field School Counselor

Family Focus

Enforcing consequences can be tough - your teen needs you as a parent, not a pal! It may be hard to believe but teenagers want rules and limits set for them. Establish family rules and expectations and then set appropriate consequences for not following a rule. Teens are less likely to engage in inappropriate behavior that they have previously discussed and established clear consequences for with their parent(s). Be consistent. And most importantly, notice and acknowledge the positive.

The middle school years are a good time to start giving your teen more independence; It helps them establish their own place in the world. As your teen becomes more reliable and mature increase privileges and opportunities for independence. If they fall, they still have you to catch them and to guide them before they are out on their own. Remember some of life's most valuable lessons are learned through life experiences!

Struggling navigating through the teen years? Two Field parents developed an app that answers a lot of teens' -- and their parents'-- tough questions about things they face: relationships, mental health, substance abuse, bullying, etc. called teensphere. You can learn more about the app at teensphere.com. Check it out!

Did you know that having an "attitude of gratitude" has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others? Try it with your family! Do one small thoughtful or generous thing for each member of your family daily; express your appreciation for someone's skills or talents.

Advisory ~ 8th grade Advisory team

phone: 612-668-3640

Forward email

This email was sent to seth.leavitt@mpls.k12.mn.us by alison.constant@mpls.k12.mn.us |  

Field School | 4654 Fourth Avenue South | Field PTA | Minneapolis | MN | 55419