Monthly Class Updates

6th Grade

May/June 2019
 

Beginning Instrumental Music 6: The 6th Beginning Instrumental Ensemble will begin to wind down the year as we prepare for our spring performance. We will continue to work out of the book as we cover the last few concepts for this year, including major and minor scales, common rhythm patterns, and advanced articulations such as marcatto and tenutto. The spring performance will bring together all the skills we have learned this year and give us the chance to demonstrate our growth as an ensemble.

Advanced Instrumental Music 6: The 6th Advanced Instrumental Ensemble will host a 5th grade class and give a demonstration of their instruments to students who might be interested in taking instrumental music next year. The 6th grade students will talk about their instrument, play a selection of music to show what their instrument sounds like, and then help the 5th grade students play on some demo instruments in order to help them make a decision about what they might like to play. The 6th grade ensemble will also continue to prepare for the upcoming spring performance, where they will demonstrate the growth they made throughout this year.

Acting 6: Sixth grade acting is continuing their work on group storytelling with adaptations of fables. Then we will write and perform our own morality stories. We will also talk about movement as a group, status, and continue our focus on stage conventions.

Vocal Music 6: In our last unit of the year we are working on challenging arrangements of modern and classic pop music. The students have also chosen a song to sing for their final in-class performance project and are working to fulfill specific guidelines around arrangement and singing in their best range. We are also finalizing our theory learning with sight reading lessons that emphasize the rhythm and pitch work we’ve built over the year.  

Art 6: Students have just begun their Hieroglyph Comic project. Once finished they will glaze their sculpted Clay Heads and finish up the semester with a Cultural Mask project.

PE 6: We have a lot to cover during the last stretch of school. Flag football, team handball and (finally) our brief unit on fencing. We will also complete our final round of fitness testing during the first week of June. I am hoping that we will also have some time to play some capture the flag and ultimate Frisbee. We will also complete the second semester project which is a 30 minute jog that I am sure that the students are excited about. This ends up being a fun time and a great accomplishment that the kids are proud of.

Health and Wellness 6: Our class is immersed in an inquiry and research unit in which students have the opportunity to further explore a topic of interest to them related to health and wellness. Each student works with a partner to research and present their findings, as well as offer an actionable recommendation to their peers about their topic. Following this project, our class will begin our unit on human development. For 6th grade we will focus primarily on the physiological changes that occur in the body during puberty. We will also discuss basic ideas of gender and sexual identity as well. This is a sensitive topic that we approach with great care.

Science 6: The sixth graders are busy putting together their final reports and boards for their science research projects. Their efforts will culminate on Sixth Grade Science Night, 6:30-8:00 pm on May 14th. We look forward to seeing you there! After we wrap up science research students will dive into a water quality study of Fanno Creek. They will have an opportunity to link this exploration to the skills we learned and data we collected at Barnes Creek and the Elwah River in the Olympic Peninsula.

French 6: Students will build their vocabulary skills for classes, descriptive adjectives, places around school and town, telling time, and asking specific questions. They will make cultural comparisons with what it’s like to go to school in France, and what school lunches are like in francophone countries. They will will expand their communication skills tackling two major verbs this month: être and aller. They will also learn a staple grammar point: agreement and position of regular adjectives. Students will execute the Paris trip brochure project. They choose a francophone country/region to visit, plus Paris. I set a budget and they plan transportation, hotels, and sites to visit. Then they create an itinerary and brochure for their trip. Toward the mid-May, we begin preparing for the oral interview, their final assessment. We will continue to look carefully at what I call PFGs - petites fautes de grammaire. These little grammar mistakes start to get more attention, as students better understand how French grammar works. We watch Tintin on Fridays and play perennial favorites, like the circle game (Chef!) and the crossy-offy game. Ask about these!

Chinese 6: The 6th graders enjoyed their watermelon sculpture project. In fact they liked their carved watermelons so much that they refused to get rid of them until I found opportunities to throw them out while they were on their excursion. We have certainly found quite a few artists in the class. Following their recent adventures in the Olympia National Park, they will learn to present their experience in a photo slide. They will learn how to upload their own pictures or use relevant google images in organizing their presentations. This month we will also have two topics students love to talk about: sports and animals. They will learn how to talk about their favorite sports and have opportunities to describe their pets and design a poster for them. Finally, they will complete their e-portfolio so that they can summarize their learning for the first year and use it to talk about their family, schools, hobbies and interests in Chinese in the future.

Spanish 6:   The end of the school year has us excited to finish our last chapter and to get started on final projects. Chapter 6 is focused on pastime and hobby vocabulary. We will continue to work on indirect object pronouns (to/ for me, you, her, us, etc.) with some tricky verbs. Also, we will soon be directly practicing possessives, even though we have been intuitively using them all year. Our cultural learning has us demystifying “Cinco de mayo” and trying to understand some complicated socio-cultural aspects in contemporary and historical contexts. For pronunciation we are enjoying having two songs to alternate between. Our final projects will be starting the end of May. The first, in small groups, is to make a music video to one of the songs we have sung this year. The final project will be two days of role-playing common travel situations. Each student will have a “job” for one class and the other day they will be a “traveler” moving through stations that require them to effectively navigate numerous scenarios we have practiced each chapter this year. There will not be a final exam!

Technology 6: Each 6th grade technology class is completing the last 2-week rotation over the next 8 weeks. Each group is editing iMovie skits about digital citizenship and presenting their learning to the class. Students will evaluate their goals for the year and reflect on their work, adding artifacts to their technology portfolio. They are comparing their incoming skills and habits using technology (Google Apps, touch typing, programming with micro: bits and personal technology use) with their current levels of skill and understanding and setting a personal goal for 7th grade.

Pre-Algebra Prep 6: We are deep into our work with positive and negative numbers. We will work on all the operations with integers and then bring in some positive and negative fractions and decimals. Then we will move onto some statistical concepts such as measures of central tendency, quartiles and, if time allows, some different ways of displaying formation. We will finish up the year with an application project using the statistics.

Pre-Algebra 6: Pre-algebra students will begin May by exploring ratios, rates further and incorporate writing and solving proportions. Their work with solving equations will come in handy as they find ways to complete proportions using inverse operations. Connections with real life situations are plentiful in the coming unit. As the students prepare for algebra 1 they will also learn about slope and direct variation. Come June they will use percents to explore how to calculate discounts, mark-ups, and tips as well as simple interest.

Humanities 6: We’re looking forward to our final unit of the year on Mongolia and China. 6th graders should bring Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang to school on Monday, May 6th. Each student will be given a “Note and Notice” book (a reading journal) to make notes on “aha!” moments, cultural clues and values, character development, quotes, vocabulary, and more. Students will try out various approaches to book discussions, explore history, and develop a work of creative writing while reading the book. By the end of the month, each student will have chosen a topic to research in preparation for a presentation to their peers in early June. It’s an exciting time, so keep asking your student about what’s going on in Humanities this spring!

Library Skills 6:  6th graders are finishing up their library skills rotation by working on a final project which will incorporate the skills they have learned throughout the year. This will be a mini-research project about music. They are researching a band or single musician and will use the research skills they have learned throughout the year, from using databases to analyzing websites and they will also look at copyright issues related to the musician or band they are researching. They will show the steps they took along the way, from keywords they used to how they determined the worthiness of the website they chose.

7th Grade

May/June 2019
 

Instrumental Music 7: The 7th Grade Instrumental Ensemble will host a 5th grade class and give a demonstration of their instruments to students who might be interested in taking instrumental music next year. The 7th grade students will talk about their instrument, play a selection of music to show what their instrument sounds like, and then help the 5th grade students play on some demo instruments in order to help them make a decision about what they might like to play. The 7th grade ensemble will also continue to prepare for the upcoming spring performance, where they will demonstrate the growth they made throughout this year.

Acting 7: In preparation of the Ashland trip, we will look at Shakespeare from an acting perspective. We will review or learn some of the stories of his plays, perform improvised versions, and talk about cross-connections. We will learn a bit about the world of Shakespeare’s theatre and touch on his language including scansion, projection, and operative words.

Vocal Music 7: In our last unit of the year we are working on challenging arrangements of modern and classic pop music. The students have also chosen a song to sing for their final in-class performance project and are working to fulfill specific guidelines around arrangement and singing in their best range. We are also finalizing our theory learning with sight reading lessons that emphasize the rhythm and pitch work we’ve built over the year, plus aural skills work in identifying intervals simply by hearing them.

Art 7: Students have just finished abstract Synthetic Cubist pieces, and will begin using music to inspire them to create abstract watercolor paintings in the style of Wassily Kandinsky. We will finish up with Abstract Expressionist color field painting.

History 7: As May arrives, students in History 7 are getting ready to deliver their speeches on the US Government. We’ve discussed tips for good public speaking, watched video clips of good (and not so good) speeches, and the students have been practicing a ton. (Thank you, parents, for listening and giving them feedback!) Around Mt. Hood Climb Service Day on May 9, the entire seventh grade begins the English and History Exploration project. Students will reflect upon the thematic connections between the disciplines to formulate a question they would like to study. With two classes each day devoted to this exploration, students engage in question development and research, and experience the inquiry process over an extended period of time. The Exploration wraps up with a celebration of students’ learning on June 6.

PE 7: This month the class will be starting a team handball unit. The students will also be presenting and leading the class in their second teaching assignment. In the assignment they had a choice of presenting a sport not played in the US borders or making up a game. We also will finish our outdoor high element ropes course unit. They will be tackling the vertical playpen obstacle. Lastly, they will be doing their last round of fitness testing. If enough time, we will still do a small track and field unit to end the year.

Boys' Health and Wellness 7: The boys just started the unit on the brain. They are researching different parts of the brain and will later present it to the class. After this initial start, the boys will research a topic as it is related to the brain. This can be how exercise affects brain function or development or perhaps they look into nutrition and brain development, to name a few. Also here, they will present their findings to the class. We will end the year with the reproductive systems. I will be showing the documentary “The Miracle of life”. Lastly, I will lead a yoga lesson sometime during these last weeks of school and Mrs. McEnroe will continue to visit with her mindfulness curriculum.

Girls' Health and Wellness 7:  The 7th grade girls are looking out into the world to find women who are using their power for good. Each student will pick someone to learn more about what inspires these women to make a difference in our lives. We will also be talking about the struggle of eating disorders with Ms. McEnroe. As always, we will continue to work on mindfulness and techniques that help to deal with stress and anxiety.

Science 7: The seventh graders are fully immersed in science research. They are finishing their data collection and builds for their science and engineering projects. Next, they will complete their final reports and presentation boards. After that they will focus on preparing and practicing their interview skills. All of this effort will be celebrated on Seventh Grade Science Night, 6:30-8: 00 pm on Tuesday, May 21st. We look forward to seeing you there! After we wrap up and reflect on science research students will dive into an inquiry unit focused on the biosphere and hydrosphere and the connectedness of the two.

French 7: We are watching Manon de la Source, the gripping sequel to last month’s film. This French classic provides rich topics to explore, like cultural differences, the other/outsiders, justice, and revenge. Students will complete their final unit of the year learning to talk about food items, grocery stores, specialty food stores, and markets. They will quantify food and drinks, use regular -er verb conjugations, and will broaden their use of articles—a staple of French grammar. The culture sections in the book are now in French, which helps build reading skills. Students will explore the importance of cheese in French culture, and will learn about different cheeses and their regions. They will also select a francophone country to research for different aspects of food, culture, language, and more. The last few weeks of school are busy as students take a final written assessment on Unit 6 and prepare for their oral exam.

Chinese 7: The 7th graders will select an endangered animal and conduct a mini research on their home, habitat, food, life span, endangered status and report their findings to class. They will also make a brochure or poster for display in class. They will also plan a birthday party to invite their friends to come, followed by a celebration with a meal in a Chinese restaurant. They will learn how to order food and drinks in Chinese. Finally, they will work on updating their e-portfolio for their year-end presentation on their learning.

Spanish 7: We are just beginning our final grammar unit for the year - el pretérito perfecto (the present perfect). Students will work with grammatical constructions around what we "have done." This unit also tends to be everyone’s favorite, and not simply because this is a first glimpse into a past tense, but because this unit’s vocabulary is based around food! During this unit, students will learn about foods of various countries, navigate menus, and design a menu for their own fake restaurant. There menu will include detailed descriptions of the foods using the pretérito perfecto and a variety of vocabulary words. I’m excited to see what this creative bunch comes up with! Instead of a written final exam at the end of the year, students will create a final project. In small groups, students will put together a 2 to 3 minute commercial about either an actual product or an imagined one. Our last day of class this year will be spent watching the commercials. When finished, I will upload them to my private YouTube channel and share the links with all of you. They are always a riot!

Pre-Algebra 7: The 7th graders will continue their dive into graphing linear equations as they explore different ways to interpret and graph equations. They will be exposed to the Standard Form of linear equations, the slope-intercept form and the art of writing equations in point-slope form. With each model, the students will discover its usefulness with everyday life situations. As they prepare for the continuation of algebra 1 in 8th grade, the class will begin apply their skills of solving equations to solving one-step, two-step and multistep inequalities, as well as graphing inequalities.

Algebra 7: We are hitting the homestretch! We will wrap up our unit on solving quadratic equations and explore projectile motion with our last project of the year. We will toss a lacrosse ball, soccer ball, or some other object and calculate the formula for some of these phenomena. When discussing parabolas at home, feel free to discuss lines of symmetry, vertices, x-intercepts, and maximum and minimum values. We then end the year looking at square root functions and the Pythagorean Theorem.

English 7: May begins in English 7 with the completion of the unit on Romeo and Juliet, culminating with a viewing of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 movie version. Also in the first week of May, students recite the poems they have been learning by heart in the month of April (National Poetry Month). Around Mt. Hood Climb Service Day on May 9, the entire seventh grade begins the English and History Exploration. Students will reflect upon the thematic connections between the disciplines to formulate a question they would like to study. With two classes each day devoted to this exploration, students engage in question development and research, and experience the inquiry process over an extended period of time. The Exploration wraps up with a celebration of students’ learning on June 6.

Technology 7: The technology 7 class is continuing to explore the micro: bit MakeCode platform this month with the goal of creating independent projects that incorporate sensors (inputs) and creates actions (outputs). The class is also learning about data collection by building a micro: bit weather station for use in 7th grade science.

Religion 7: In May, our 7th grade religion class will continue focusing on important characters and plot lines that appear in early stories within the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian faiths and their parallels in pop culture, specifically focusing on movies, literature, and music. We will also begin exploring key figures within religious stories that are commonly forgotten because of their gender, class, or ethnicity. After learning about key characters, forgotten characters, and common plot lines within these sacred stories, students will create and perform their own version of an ancient story.

8th Grade

May/June 2019
 

Eighth Grade Inquiry Project/Project X: The eighth graders are in the final phase of Project X: ‘Phase IV - Commit Beyond Yourself’ where they are reflecting on their year long process, putting their guiding questions to action through their service projects on Mt. Hood Climb Service Day, and collaborating with their peers to organize their end of year celebration. You are all invited to attend the 2018-19 Project X Learning Celebration on Thursday, May 23rd from 6:00 - 8:00 PM in the Middle School.

Instrumental Music 8: The 8th Grade Instrumental Ensemble will host a 5th grade class and give a demonstration of their instruments to students who might be interested in taking instrumental music next year. The 8th grade students will talk about their instrument, play a selection of music to show what their instrument sounds like, and then help the 5th grade students play on some demo instruments in order to help them make a decision about what they might like to play. The 8th grade ensemble will also continue to prepare for the upcoming spring performance, where they will demonstrate the growth they made throughout this year.

Acting 8: Students have self-selected scenes and have been working on blocking and memorizing them in preparation for a collaboration with the high school acting students. High schoolers will visit our classroom, give notes and direction, and study the scenes with our students. This work will culminate in a performance with feedback for the high schoolers in a few weeks.

Vocal Music 8: Students continue to sharpen their sight-reading skills and prepare for the concert on June 5. The 8th graders will also participate in singing for staff appreciation day (May 24, 1:30pm). They will combine with the US choirs, US Buddhism classes and some LS students to sing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. The focus for the spring in 8th grade choir is on music of other cultures/in other languages. So, for the spring concert they’ll sing not only in English, but also in French, Latin and Swahili.

Art 8: Students are finishing up their experience on the Ceramic Pottery wheel. They will be glazing those pieces with underglazes before they are fired. Students are also working on choosing their final artwork for our online 8th Grade Art Show which will be available at the end of the semester for viewing.

History 8: We have just embarked on a new project for the end of our Cold War unit. The students have all chosen topics to research. They will be writing a paper broken up into sections: Overview, Connection to the Cold War, and Legacy. Using the iBooks Author program, we will be creating a book about the Cold War with each chapter consisting of the three section essays they are currently researching. Students will then be able to read their peers’ papers to have a discussion on what we’ve learned.

PE 8: We are starting an archery unit (first ever at OES). We were given a complete set of archery equipment and instructions to teach an activity in which people from all walks of life and almost every size and ability can participate.

Boys' Health and Wellness 8:  The boys are wrapping up our work on categorical thinking, stereotypes, bias, and the concept of privilege. We will then move into the workings of the adolescent brain and addiction. As always mindfulness and stress management remain on the plan.

Girls' Health and Wellness 8: For the remainder of the year, we will continue our practice of mindfulness and stress management techniques, explore physical and self-defense tactics, and look at stereotypes in the context of The Danger of a Single Story. The class will examine microaggressions and how to interrupt them, as well as discuss allyship and what it means to be an ally. In June, the class will have the opportunity to work with Tom Handel on team building through games and trust building activities.

Science 8: Our astronauts have learned about science and engineering, living systems and agriculture, energy production and use, produced their own technological devices, and have learned about (and taught about) space. So what's left to do? Plan a trip to space of course. First we'll do a quick experiment about rockets. Then, as a culminating project, each class will design a real-world mission to send a live crew to rendezvous with an asteroid. Students will work solo, in groups, and as a class to develop their mission. Diverse interests and pursuits, as well as group support, will mix together to help us accomplish something bigger than any individual. The big picture realization for this mission and for our course is that if we can plan out solutions to live in an environment as foreign and hostile as space, then we can definitely solve the challenges that we face here on Earth. As long as it's not physically impossible, then we can do it.

French 8: How do people stay healthy and maintain a healthy environment? How does travel transform a person? How do I persuade someone and respond persuasion? To wrap up our unit on health, students are learning vocabulary related to environmental concerns and solutions. They will be introduced to object pronouns and will continue to practice the effective and challenging impératif mode (telling others what to do). During the final unit, students will study vocabulary related to travel and directions, learn to use a variety of negative expressions (nothing, never, no one, etc.) and make superlative statements (the best! the worst!). The last couple weeks of school are dedicated to formative assessments, including the oral exam.

Chinese 8: To prepare students for the summer break, we will talk about travel. Students will have opportunities to plan their ideal holiday trips and anywhere in the world and present their ideas to the class. They will have to name their destination, give reasons for their choice by listing five things they want to do and five places they want to see. Students will also learn some basic facts about China’s history and geography. To summarize their learning, they will work as groups to conduct a mini research project on one aspect of Chinese culture and report it to class. They will also work on their own to update their e-portfolio for future use.

Spanish 8: Like the future tense, which we are almost finished studying, our last grammar unit of the year is the conditional (“I would do"). The conditional tense also has very simple conjugations which is a welcome respite! We will ask and answer ridiculous hypothetical questions in class and have lots of opportunities for creativity and silliness, especially as this unit is paired with outer space themed vocabulary!

Instead of a final exam at the end of the semester, students in small groups will choose a popular (and appropriate) film for which they will then rewrite either the ending or a pivotal plot point. I'm really excited to see what these guys come up with! When finished, I will upload them to my private YouTube channel and share the links with all of you.

Geometry 8: We are in the midst of our study of right triangles and basic trigonometric ratios. So much is all related to similarity!  We will then move onto the qualities of different quadrilaterals including parallelograms, rhombi, squares, rectangles, kites and trapezoids. We will end the year looking at area, perimeter, volume and some applications of these concepts.

Algebra 8: This month we are exploring the non-linear!  We’ll be talking about quadratic functions (think parabolas and the arc of a basketball, say from 10 feet beyond the 3 point line to close out a series -- I think we’ll have to write the equation of that shot!)  By the end of May we’ll be solving quadratic equations by factoring, completing the square and using the quadratic formula. We’ll be using this new skill to understand and model projectiles like lacrosse balls or basketballs or rockets and working on a project calculating the formula for some of these phenomena. When discussing parabolas at home, feel free to discuss lines of symmetry, vertices, x-intercepts and maximum and minimum values, and make sure to check wind speed before launching any rockets in the name of mathematical exploration.

English 8: After our look at comics as a medium for storytelling, English 8 is moving back into more traditional work tied to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Connecting to our broader look at how identity is explored through the stories we tell, students will consider how Golding’s work is a mirror for the human experience and look to find connections to the experiences of characters from the rest of the year.

Physical Computing and Coding 8: During May in 8th Grade Tech Rotation class, we’ll be embarking on our project work in earnest. At the start of the month, we’ve just all decided on our project ideas that incorporate technology as “an application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes”, and are working to gather materials, create plans for iterating, documenting, assessing our work, and ultimately how we want to present out our progress to the world. We’ve got everything from embedded electronics in clothing, to fabricating designing and fabricating fun objects from the 3D printer, out of wood, and even groundbreaking new edible creations from the food lab. Ask your 8th grader in Tech Rotation during May for an update on how projects are progressing!

Religion 8: During May, our 8th Grade Religion class will continue to design and lead our weekly chapels, with a particular emphasis on the power of questioning and curiosity, creating an inclusive chapel space, and engaging a variety of student voices. In relation to the Mount Hood Climb remembrance in early May, we will also focus on how stories shape our identity and connect people and communities. In addition, students will have the opportunity to explore the meaning and traditions of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which falls in May this year, and then identify ways in which to share their learnings during chapel.