8th Grade Newsletter - May 14, 2012

8th Grade Newsletter 8th Grade Newsletter
May 14, 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!

Congratulations to Zach G. and Evan W.! As part of an economics unit in their BEST class, they teamed up to win the middle school division of the latest round of the Stock Market Game. Over the course of 3 months, they turned a virtual $100,000 into nearly $118,000 by investing in stocks and mutual funds. Zach and Evan were recognized at a luncheon on Friday, May 11th at the headquarters of Allianz Life, the company that funded Field's participation in the Stock Market Game. Thank you's go out to Allianz for their financial support and to Mr. Norlin-Weaver for attending the awards lunch with Zach and Evan!

Mark your calendars! On the morning of Tuesday, June 5, we will be having a celebration in the Commons to recognize the months and years of laughter and learning our eighth graders have shared. We will have an activity recognizing some of the special qualities of each student and something to munch on. Parents are welcome to attend, but school-age siblings should be in their respective schools/classrooms. Please join us in the Commons by 8:15 a.m. We will be finished by 9:15.

Also on Tuesday, June 5, the 8th graders will take their end-of-year trip to Valleyfair. This is a longer student day as busses return at 4 p.m. Students will need transportation home. Permission slips will come home in a few weeks.

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

Language Arts - Ms. Constant

It's been exciting to hear students' persuasive speeches. The range of topics and delivery styles have been engaging. I'm proud of the many students who tested out some of the many public speaking techniques we have talked about.

Our final speeches will be to emphasize eye contact and use of note cards. Students will be speaking for one minute about an influential person they do not personally know. We will also practice speaking in front of a larger audience as all speeches will be delivered to the whole class this Friday, May 18. Students will have time in class to research and practice, but should also practice at home. They will be turning in note cards after their speech.

Algebra 1 ~ Mr. Leavitt
Chapter 9 Scores

Hello Field families.

We completed our chapter on Quadratics last week and took the chapter test on Friday. About half the students finished the exam during class. That leaves about half to come in during recess on Monday or Tuesday to finish.

I've compiled the results of the exams I've graded so far. You can see a histogram of the scores above. (The scores are out of 200 points possible.) The distribution leans heavily toward B's and A's which is what I expect to see from our Field students. Of course, not every student is there. Please check with your son/daughter on his/her score. Make-up work is strongly encouraged and supported.

We'll be starting our unit on Probability today with the Monte Hall Problem, a classic. Ask your son/daughter to give the problem to you and see what you think. It very clearly demonstrates the counter-intuitive nature of much of probability.

Seth Leavitt

Problem of the Week

The Length of Larry's Rectangle

Science ~ Ms. Schultz
View of earth from Apollo 8

Our week begins with the 8th grade MCA Science test. We start on Monday and will finish Tuesday or Wednesday. I have great confidence that students will do well on this assessment. They have a tremendous base of scientific knowledge, have developed more effective and mature test taking strategies, and consistently put forth great effort in science. If you have any questions about this MCA testing, please drop me an email.

After the testing we move into our final unit of study, preparing for our great adventures at Valley Fair. If you didn't realize the scientific nature of this trip, our investigations over the next three weeks will explore the many concepts we might encounter at the amusement park. To begin, we will focus on energy from the sun. Hoping for a sunny day at Valley Fair, we need to know more about solar radiation and be prepared to protect ourselves from the sun's harmful rays. If you happen to have any odds and ends sunscreens that you would be willing to donate to our experiments, we will be designing controlled tests to evaluate their effectiveness at blocking UV rays. Thank you!

U.S. History ~ Mr. Farrell

Our WWII unit is coming to an end in U.S. History this week. Before I get in to what the agenda for the week will be like, I want to thank the students for their hard work last week finishing up their essays. Although there was some class time spent on the researching and writing of the papers, most of the work needed to be done outside of class and with little outside help. I was impressed with the quality of the essays that I have looked over thus far, and am excited to read more and see what the students were able to take away from the assignment.

In class this week the students will be learning about and discussing the decision made by the United States to drop the atomic bomb on Japan to help end WWII. The discussion will be the last lesson concerning the Second World War. Later in the week then we will begin our final unit for the school year. The unit centers on the idea of the "American Dream." The students will analyze postwar life in the United States and moving forward toward today. The struggles and triumphs and certain groups of people will be discussed in detail as the students wrestle with the concept of equality.

School Counselor and High School Transition ~ Ms. Wolff

This time of year, most of us feel a little bit less focused and a little restless - especially our 8th grade students! Anticipation of their transition to high school can be exciting, scary and a bit confusing as well. William Bridges is an author and researcher who has done a lot of work on transition and I think his work relates well to our 8th grade students. He defines change as the external events that happen to us (like moving on to high school) and transition as the internal process including emotional responses we experience in the midst of changes. He talks about 3 zones we typically pass through during transition; the ending zone, where something familiar is passing behind; the neutral zone, where we may still be letting go of the old thing and still a little apprehensive of the new things we are moving toward, and the beginning zone, where we have accepted and taken hold of the new thing. Right now for 8th graders, I would say they are right smack in the middle of the neutral zone. Bridges identifies 4 D's that people typically experience in the neutral zone: Disengagement, Dis-identification, Disenchantment, and Disorientation. Any of these D's sound familiar in your home? Bridges states that people must go through the neutral zone in order to enter the beginning zone successfully. So how can we help our students? Listen, normalize their feelings, yet maintain clear expectations. Encourage them to finish middle school strong while still acknowledging that they are ready to move forward. Saying goodbye to people, anticipating change and all the unknowns ahead of them can feel overwhelming. On Thursday May 24, Julie Peterson and I will be taking time with 8th graders to talk about transitions and the 4 "D"s during their Social Studies period. We look forward to a great discussion and supporting them through this exciting time in their life!

Fast Track Scholars is the summer school program for all 8th grade students. ALL students are invited to attend and there is still space! Fast Track will be held at South High School from June 18- August 2, 2012 from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Monday -Thursdays. This is a fabulous way for students to get a head start on high school and put 4 credits in their "bank" as well as ease their transition for the fall. If you have any questions about Fast Track, please call me at 612.668.3654 Tuesday - Friday!

LAST but not LEAST! MPS High School Counselors will be coming to Field next Thursday, May 17 at 10:45 to meet with any students who have not registered for their 9th grade classes yet!

Wendy Wolff
Field School Counselor

Family Focus

Want your teen to talk more, try listening more. One thing I've learned in my 15 years as a School Social Worker is that frequently kids just want somebody to listen to them. Many times talking through the problem or concern helps clarify the situation. While listening keep good eye contact, remain calm (as tough as this may be at times), focus only on what your teen is saying, and respond appropriately (e.g. nod head, say words like interesting, really?). Next time your teen comes to you wanting to talk try listening without offering advice, judgment or suggestions, you may be surprised at how much more your teen has to say.

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.

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