8th Grade Newsletter - October 3, 2011

8th Grade Newsletter 8th Grade Newsletter
October 3, 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

Quick Links...

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Student pictures will be given out to 8th grade students in advisory today. Picture retakes are on October 27.

Attendance - Family Activity
A student may be gone up to 5 days from school for a pre-approved family activity. To get pre-approval from the school, you must do the following by completing the Family Activity Form available at the school office.
  • · At least 10 days before leaving, request permission from the school for your child to be gone for a family activity.
  • · Before leaving get your child's homework and agree that your child will finish the homework.
  • · Make sure that your student will not be gone for important tests like the MCA, NALT or MBST.
  • · Agree in writing that your child will miss no more than 5 days of school.
  • · Before leaving, get written approval from the principal.
Family Activities Longer Than 5 Days
If your family activity will last more than 5 days, you must ask permission from the principal in writing before you leave. If the principal gives permission to be gone longer than 5 days, you child will be expected to turn in a school report and/or a presentation to their teacher(s).

October is the Month of the Young Adolescent. In honor of this celebration, the Minnesota Middle School Association is sponsoring a writing contest for middle school students. The theme is "Come Together". Students may enter original compositions addressing the following prompt: "Tell the story of a time you worked with another person or group of people to solve a problem or face a challenge." Each entry must be 200 words or less. Two copies of each entry should be submitted to Ms. Constant. One of the copies should be headed with the student's name, age, and school name and address, and the teacher contact information including e-mail address. The other should contain no identifying information. Judging will be a blind review of all entries. The winning student will receive $100.00. The winning essay will be published in this year's Minnesota Middle School's Conference Program.

Have you signed up for Parent-Teacher Conferences? If not, please contact Ola Lloyd at 668-3640 or Ola.Lloyd@mpls.k12.mn.us. You will be scheduled to begin with one core teacher, but will have a chance to speak with other teachers as desired. Conferences are in mid-October.

Looking ahead to fall conferences, the 8th grade teachers encourage students to attend their conference. Students offer valuable insights and ask meaningful questions. Their presence at the table enriches the conference!


  • Picture retakes - October 27th
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences - October 13th (evening), October 18th (evening), October 19th (7:30 am-3:30 pm)
  • No School - October 19th, 20th, and 21st
  • No Sale Fundraiser - starts October 17th

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

Language Arts - Ms. Constant

On Tuesday students are to bring a draft of their third essay, comparing one quality from The Giver to that same quality in the movie "Pleasantville". This draft should be the best students can do without help. They will work in pairs to give and receive feedback on how to improve their writing. They will also have the option of getting help from me. Final drafts of the essay are due Friday. Directions can be found on my website via the link below. Please be aware that this "essay" consists only of body paragraphs--students are not ex[ected to write an introduction or conclusion, but are expected to write the best body paragraphs they possibly can.

This week in our readings and discussions we will continue to see how Jonas grows increasingly frustrated with his community as he learns more about the reality behind the seeming perfection. Students should read chapter 16 for Wednesday.

Algebra 1 ~ Mr. Leavitt
Chapter 1 Test Results Histogram

Hello families and students.

We completed Chapter 1 this week and tested on Friday. Chapter 1 was about data and graphs. Students refreshed their memories about mean, median and mode and made dot plots, scatter plots, box-and-whisker plots and histograms. It was an excellent review as well as a good way to introduce the many features of the graphing calculator that we will use this year.

The Chapter 1 test was last Friday. As you can see from the results above (on the left), scores where not what I hoped they would be. The mean score was 150/200 (75%) and the median was 165/200 (82.5%). I reexamined the test and decided that it was a bit too difficult so I chose to add a modified curve to the scores. I added 25 points to each score up to scores of 174/200. Scores above 174 were increased to 200/200. (This isn't really how scores are curved. This is really adding bonus points to address the difficulty of the test.) Those results are at the right.

I'm a little uneasy curving the scores. I don't want students to think that they are doing better than they really are. I will talk to the students today about that issue. Please look over your son's/daughter's test tonight. Talk about the concepts on the test. See if he/she can explain well. If not, suggest they do some make-up work.

Seth Leavitt

Problem of the Week

Cherokee Creek Checkers Club

Science ~ Ms. Schultz

Our chemistry unit continues with a new focus, MIXTURES AND SOLUTIONS. This week we will make many mixtures and solutions in the lab. By the end of the week we will begin investigating how to take mixtures and solutions apart. Homework #7 will go home on Tuesday. It is due on Friday. It involves a popular mixture...M&Ms!

The scores for the unit one test on characteristic properties of matter were posted over the weekend. Please check the portal. Students who scored less than a "C" (less than 35 points out of 50) are strongly encouraged to come in for extra help. I will be available at recess, before school, and after school. Talking over missed questions will not only help clear up misunderstandings, but will also result in a higher test score. It is important to practice asking for help in middle school so that we are confident and motivated to seek the support we need in high school!

U.S. History ~ Ms. Slocum

This week will end our unit on the American government. Students will work on a study guide on Monday. They will be able to finish the study guide from their notes. The Unit Test is scheduled for Friday. The good news is that the kids won't have Histofacts this week, so they may focus their study on the Unit Test. Each student will also be researching one of the nine current Supreme Court Justices. We will use the computer lab for research and writing on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This work will be due at the beginning of the next week. Students should be able to get an excellent start and come close to finishing their research and report. They will have a clear grading rubric to guide them.
Encourage your student to study for the Unit Test.
Thanks for your support!

AVID ~ Mrs. Walker
Avid Logo

AVID students have reviewed and practiced all of the steps to tutorial. Although tutorial is held on Tuesday and Thursday in the AVID classroom, the secret to tutorial is taking good notes and participating at a high level in classes each day. Students have reviewed cornell note taking, editing notes, summarizing and writing higher level questions. 8th graders are in the process of learning to use a more advanced tutorial request form. This should lead to even stronger tutorial questions. Students who were in 7th grade AVID last year gained an average of 9 1/4 percentile points on the MCA Reading Test and 8 1/4 percentile points on the MCA Math Test. (This was the first year of the MCA III Test which measures students based on higher standards. The district as a whole dropped 8 percentile points on the MCA Math Test and the state dropped 9 percentile points.) I am proud of the gains AVID students made. I am convinced that the combination of tutorial, and the work students do before tutorial and at home such as taking good notes, editing and summarizing have contributed to these gains. I also believe that the new tutorial form, which will require more pre-writing, will contribute to even more focused, high level tutorial discussions. Students will continue to work through the new form in their tutorial groups this week. When we feel they are adequately prepared to do this piece successfully, they will begin doing their TRF form on their own before class. Please feel free to email me if you have and questions. New AVID students have been exposed to a lot of information in a short time. They are doing a good job of jumping right in, but they should not hesitate to ask questions or let me know if they are overwhelmed.

School Counselor and High School Transition ~ Ms. Wolff

Save the Date!

The High School Information Meeting for Zone 3 (Anthony, Field, Green Central, Ramsey and Windom) will be held on Monday October 17, 2011 starting at 6:00 p.m.. The meeting will be held at Barton Open School which is located at 4237 Colfax Avenue South. This will be a great time to learn valuable information about the high school registration and transition process for your 8th graders. Please contact Wendy Wolff if you would like information about the meeting or if you would like language specific information in Hmong, Somali or Spanish. Stay tuned for more information that I will be posting outside Mr. Leavitt's classroom as transition information comes our way!

The dates for the high school open houses are as follows:
Southwest- Tues., Oct. 25
Washburn- Thurs., Oct. 27
North-Wed., Nov. 2
Roosevelt-Wed., Nov. 9
South-Thurs., Nov. 10
Edison-Tues., Nov. 15
Henry-Thurs., Nov.17

Wendy Wolff
Field School Counselor

Advisory ~ 8th grade advisory team

This week in Advisory we will start the "Second Step" curriculum with 8th graders. This is a school-wide program that we use in Advisory to address multiple aspects of a student's social, emotional, and school success. The goals of the Second Step program are to decrease aggression, violence, bullying, and substance abuse and increase school success. In eighth grade we teach second step lessons 1 or 2 weeks a month for 2 days each week. The objectives for our Second Step lessons this week are to understand the importance of being a positive leader, identify actions that will inspire younger students, apply empathy skills, and define ally and identify when and how to be one.

The Field Student Council needs STRONG STUDENT LEADERS to serve on the student council team! Candidates must make a commitment to attend weekly meetings (Tuesdays from 2:40-3:40), set a positive example for their peers, and bring ideas and an interest in planning school activities. There will be 4 students from each grade level chosen for the Student Council team and Wendy Wolff, our school counselor, will be the Student Council Advisor this year. Students who are interested should get an application and a teacher recommendation form from their Advisor ASAP. Completed applications need to be turned into Ms. Wolff before the end of the day Friday, October 7th.

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