8th Grade Newsletter - December 12, 2011

8th Grade Newsletter 8th Grade Newsletter
December 12, 2011
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

(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

Linda Slocum
(Social Studies; Advisory)
(612) 668-3640

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...

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Thanks to our students council, our school counselor--Wendy Wolff, and our many parent and staff volunteers for a fabulous Winter Candyland dance last Friday night. We greatly enjoyed the dancing, the decor, and the many students dressed up and having fun!

G.E.M.S. Family Spaghetti Dinner! Thursday, December 15th 5-7pm, at Field School, in the Commons. $6 for kids, $8 for adults, $25 Family maximum. Come join the field community! Enjoy some good company, and good food, served by the group of G.E.M.S. Girls going to Costa Rica! Dinner will consist of spaghetti, salad, and bread, catered by Fat Lorenzo's! Any questions or concerns don't hesitate to contact Evelyn Blum at emb5567@yahoo.com or 612-819-5023.

Missing Something?
The lost and found will be cleaned out and remaining items will be donated to a local charity on Friday, December 23. Please have your child check for lost belongings. The lost and found is located between the commons and the student restrooms.

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

Language Arts - Ms. Constant
MCA data photo

Last Thursday I was frustrated with the lack of focus during 7th period, so I shared the above data with students. On Friday I shared it with my other classes. There were a lot of open mouths when students saw how they compare with my previous groups.

Our students are not where I expect them to be, and it's not because of lack of ability. Students need to step it up and put more effort and focus into their working and learning. Even students with A's and B's can significantly increase their time on task and their efficiency as well as their knowledge and skills. With hard work, I have every expectation that by year's end our data will be on par with prior years. Even better would be moving all students in to meets or exceeds expectations!

After seeing the data, students made individual goals for their performance this year. They also identified what they need to do to achieve their goals, what they need from their classmates, and what they need from me. One need they strongly identified is the need to stay on task. I will be even tougher in monitoring this and I expect students to be even more accountable to each other to staying on task with learning. I will return students' reflections to them on Tuesday, and will keep a copy for my reference. Please ask your child to see his/her paper and discuss the goals. If you have any feedback for me, please let me know.

This week students will begin drafting their own This I Believe essays. We'll be in the computer lab Monday for drafting, and later in the week for revising. Students who do not finish a good first draft in class will need to finish up at home and give me copy by Wednesday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we will continue to analyze published This I Believe essays using the AVID strategy of charting text to identify what an author is saying vs. what writing strategies s/he uses. Students will be expected to try some of these strategies in their own essays.

Reading Logs are due on Wednesday.

Algebra 1 ~ Mr. Leavitt

Hello families and students.

Students learned a new way to write linear equations. It is called point-slope form because it enables you to write an equation with just that information. Given two points, it's easy (or it needs to be easy) to calculate the slope. Then, simply choosing one of the points, its, again, easy to write a linear equation (or it needs to be easy).

I include the two parenthetical notes above because it's not easy for everyone yet. I'll share the responsibility for this with my students. I've been absent a bit. While my expectations are that students continue their studies, and the substitute teachers were both very competent, some students did slack off. Many did not and learning has continued. But many have slacked off. Please find out if your child is one of those slackers and if so, please give them a good lecture about work habits. I've done the same. We'll get through to them, I know we will. It just takes some reminding.

I'm repeating the following links (which are also available on my web site.) Solving equations is Algebra 1's bread and butter. It does not hurt to practice.
Algebra Balance Scales from the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Math.com Algebra Worksheet Builder

Seth Leavitt

Problem of the Week

A Holiday Gift for Grandmother Brown

Science ~ Ms. Schultz
View of earth from Apollo 8

Sometimes timing is everything! This weekend there was a lunar eclipse and this week in 8th grade science we are investigating solar and lunar eclipses. We will model shadows cast by the Moon and Earth, develop definitions for the terms "umbra" and "penumbra," analyze the conditions under which the Moon and Earth's shadows cause eclipses, and investigate the frequency of eclipses occurring. The homework this week is to prepare for the quiz on Wednesday. Students should study pages 7-11 in their notebooks, rereading their notes, finishing unfinished work, and writing summaries on each page to describe the concepts and vocabulary they learned.

One piece of exciting news, our classroom is now home to an iPad cart which we will use to enhance our learning! Four secondary science classrooms in the district received this technology and we are very fortunate to be one of them! The cart contains 30 iPads which students will have access to on a daily basis during science class. While students cannot download apps onto these iPads, I can, and I am very eager to do so. If you or your child knows of an app that might be useful to us in science, please drop me an email.

U.S. History ~ Ms. Slocum

In American History we will be finishing up the Civil War Unit. Students are working on a study guide that will help them to review and study for the final test. The Unit Test will be on Tuesday. We will be going through the study guide in class and everyone will have ample opportunity to be successful on this test. The kids will need to do some studying over the weekend and on Monday. Please encourage your student to plan some study time.
We will be looking at the Reconstruction period in more depth. Students will have some response writing work related to being a newly freed slave. They will have time to construct their writing, improve their "sloppy copy" and make a finished product ("neat sheet") in class. I always enjoy their thoughts and this should be interesting because they have much background information to draw from. That pretty well rounds out the week. They will have Histofacts related to Reconstruction. The quiz will be on Friday. Have a great week!

AVID ~ Mrs. Walker
AVID logo

School Counselor and High School Transition ~ Ms. Wolff

Summer Job Applications for "Step Up" are available already for summer 2012! Applications are due February 3, 2012 which will come up quickly after the holidays! "Step up" is a fantastic summer job program for our students age 14-21 to help them gain valuable experience and learn about the world of work...while making some money and new friends over the summer! Check out the website for more information:

High School Choice web site
High School Open House Flyer
High School Information Sessions Flyer

Advisory ~ 8th grade advisory team

Thank you to the members of our Field School I-team for the insightful and valuable presentation on sexual harassment during Advisory last week! This week we will continue to focus on this important topic with follow-up activities related to identifying, dealing with, and reporting sexual harassment.

phone: 612-668-3640

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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