8th Grade Newsletter - May 21, 2012

8th Grade Newsletter 8th Grade Newsletter
May 21, 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...

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Students will be bringing home permission slips today for our end-of-the-year trip to Valleyfair. Extra slips are downloadable from our web page if needed. This is an exciting way for us to end the year together and we want all students to join us for a day of fun. Please be aware that we arrive back at Field at 4:15 and students must have a way to get home. Students wishing to stay later at Valleyfair must have an adult meet us at the front gate at 3:15. We must have a note in writing by Monday, June 4, for students choosing this option. Please note that all books must be returned and lunch accounts brought up to date before we can put money toward Valleyfair.

Calling all books!

Please help your child search at home, in the car, in backpacks--anywhere Field School books might be hiding. Now is a great time to turn in ScienceSaurus texts, books from Ms. Constant's classroom library, LA and B.E.S.T. books, and books from the media center. Algebra text books can be kept until Thursday, May 31. All books must be returned or paid for before our trip to Valleyfair!

Please join us Tuesday, June 5, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. as we celebrate the eighth graders' years at Field School. Invitations were sent to eighth grade families last week via U.S. mail. You do not need the invitation or a ticket to attend. Parents are welcome to join us, but school-age siblings should be in their respective schools/classrooms. Please email Alison Constant or your child's advisory teacher if you have any questions.

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

Language Arts - Ms. Constant

When your child comes home and tells you the LA homework this week is to watch television, you can believe it. In our final two weeks we will be researching and debating issues of American culture. Up this week: do celebrities have a responsibility to be positive role models? We will work on preparing arguments in class, but students can add to their knowledge by watching TV, listening to music, reading pop culture magazines, and surfing the internet. The key is to be critical media consumers and consider how the various images celebrities portray impact our society. Discussions will take place Thursday and Friday.

I am quite pleased with students' final speeches last week--they showed great improvement in eye contact and engaging the audience. Grades should be posted by this evening.

Please check the portal with your child to see if s/he has any missing assignments. Make-up work must be completed by Friday, June 1.

Algebra 1 ~ Mr. Leavitt

Hello Field families.

We will finish our look at Probability on Monday. Then we will organize ourselves to begin our review of this year's work. Your children and I have done a lot of work this year. We need to spend some time reviewing before we take the final exam (which is cumulative). The final exam is on Friday, June 1.

Last year, at the suggestion of a Math teacher from Patrick Henry High School, I organized the review into a tournament. Students enjoyed it and I think the review went well. We'll try it again this year. The certificate you see above will be awarded the winning team members in each class period.

Students in 9th grade in Minneapolis typically take Intermediate Algebra. This course includes the last half of Algebra 1. 10th grade is Geometry and 11th grade is Advanced Algebra (Algebra 2).

Field students are taking a complete Algebra 1 course in 8th grade. Successful completion of Algebra 1 places students in Geometry in 9th grade. Successful completion includes

  • A score of C- or better in the course
  • 70% or above on the end-of-course exam
  • Teacher recommendation
I'd like to talk a little bit about my recommendation, which might be opposite of what the first two measures dictate. The reason for this is that my goal is for our students to be successful in their high school mathematics. For some students, this means Geometry in 9th grade and for some Intermediate Algebra is a better choice.

I think carefully about each student. Based on the data and my best judgment, I make my recommendation. I will meet with students individually on Monday, June 4 to discuss the course that I feel suits him/her. I also send my recommendation home to parents and guardians by US mail. If you have any questions, we can talk over the summer. While the high schools would prefer not to make changes, course changes can be made through the summer, before school opens in the fall, or even during the first week of class.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about this before June, I certainly welcome the conversation. Email me or call and we can set up a time to meet.

I've created a link for parent feedback. If you have anything you would like to share with me, I encourage you to visit the link. Your comments can be signed or anonymous. I value your input as I strive to be a better teacher. You and your son/daughter know best what worked this year and what didn't work. I'd appreciate you insights.

Thank you.

Seth Leavitt

Problem of the Week

The Length of Larry's Rectangle

I didn't receive many solutions to this puzzle last week so I'm leaving it in for another week.

Think quadratic.

Science ~ Ms. Schultz
View of earth from Apollo 8

Last week we successfully completed our MCA testing in Science. Unfortunately, there is usually an extended period of 2-4 months before the scoring is complete. I will be eager to analyze students' scores when they arrive! Our classwork last week centered around the ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM. Please check on the portal to be certain that this work was completed. This week we will focus on the ultraviolet radiation the Sun emits (7% of the energy released by the Sun is UV, 49% is infrared, 43% is visible, and 1% is misc. wavelengths). By the week's end we should be testing the effectiveness of various sunscreens in protecting us from this harmful energy.

U.S. History ~ Mr. Farrell

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we are starting our final unit for the year in United Staes History. The students were introduced to the unit last Friday as we discussed the idea of the "American Dream." Although the unit will be short, the summative assessment will take place on Friday, June 1st, I hope the students can take a lot away from it.

For the next few weeks we will be analyzing the idea of the American Dream in the post WWII era. We will look at who had access to this dream and why this may have been the case. The unit will focuses largely on race and gender, including lesson concerning the role of the 1950s housewife and the Civil Rights Movement. I know the students are getting excited for summer to begin, but I hope we can remain focused for the last few weeks and take as much away from this unit as possible.


School Counselor and High School Transition ~ Ms. Wolff

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

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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