Monthly Class Updates

6th Grade

September 2018

Beginning Instrumental Music 6:  I am very excited to start this year working with the 6th grade instrumental music students!  The Beginning Instrumental Music students will be spending some time working on and demonstrating basic skills in reading music and how that relates to playing an instrument. We will be focused on defining good tone, practicing technique for producing sound, and learning the language of music.

Advanced Instrumental Music 6:  The Advanced Instrumental Music students will spend time on revisiting the basics of reading music and how it relates to their instrument. We will be focused on defining good tone, practicing technique for producing sound, and learning the language of music. The will be an emphasis on demonstration as the students get to know me and my teaching style, and as I get to know them and their skill levels.

Acting 6:  The 6th grade acting students will be focusing on learning the basic skills of collaborative and group storytelling. We will be exploring techniques that use our physical and vocal “instruments” to add emotional color and texture to our stories. Theater vocabulary, stage picture, introductory character creation, and constructive critique will all be incorporated.

Vocal Music 6:  Students will jump right into solo and group singing, including finding their current vocal range. They will also be analyzing their strengths and potential as a musician and performer by engaging in activities that employ proper vocal technique and aural, sight reading, and performance skills. They will also be setting goals for growth over the year.

Art 6:  Students will begin by learning about the earliest cave drawings in the world and experimenting with line and tone to create their own animal and line design drawings. This will be followed by studying about the Book of Kells, the oldest known illuminated (illustrated) book with overlapping lines and geometric design. We will watch The Secret of Kells for inspiration, take doodle notes, and then use those notes to create our own visual narrative that includes similar art elements to this ancient manuscript.

PE 6:  The 6th grade PE students will begin the year outside with units on Ultimate Frisbee and Soccer. We begin each unit with the basic rules, skills and strategies that are needed to play the game successfully. We will also be completing our first round of Physical Fitness Testing (no need to panic about this). The plan is to have classes outside on the fields as long as the weather allows. Once the Oregon rain appears we will make the transition inside to SPARC.

Boys' Health and Wellness 6:  We start the year with team building initiatives and low ropes course challenges to begin to collaborate as a team and get to know one another. After the 6th grade trip in September, we study the ins and outs of friendship, teasing and bullying, restorative practice, as well as mindfulness. Throughout the year we will do a half-hour mindfulness practice every Wednesday led by Ms. McEnroe.

Girls' Health and Wellness 6:  We start the year with some low ropes course activities to get to know one another and learn how to collaborate. After the 6th grade trip in September, we study the ins and outs of friendship, teasing and bullying, restorative practice, as well as mindfulness. We rely primarily on Rosalind Wiseman’s work for guidelines on friendship, teasing, bullying, and restorative practice. We do a half-hour mindful practice every Wednesday with Ms. McEnroe and a shorter practice on Tuesdays with Mrs. Tooley. Looking forward to a great year!

Science 6:  This year we will be exploring the world around us in the streams, pond, wetlands and woods of OES. In September, students will hone their skills of qualitative and quantitative observation in a series of activities based in these habitats. Students will practice scientific illustration, capturing images using iPads, and will be introduced to measurement tools we’ll be using throughout the year, as they learn to experience the world around them through a scientific lens.

French 6:  Bienvenue! Welcome to the first year of French! We will start off with greetings and introductions in different contexts. We will also dive into numbers and common expressions for working in the classroom together. Students will practice their speaking and listening skills using a variety of scenarios, and will learn about speaking formally and informally. We will explore cognates, survey popular songs, and examine the pitfalls of online translators.

Chinese 6:  In September students will experience Chinese culture through the observation of Chinese Moon Festival. This is a time when people gather for family reunions under the fullest, brightest moon of the year. The purpose is to celebrate harvest and remember family and friends. Besides a feast, Chinese people enjoy moon cakes and rose tea while thinking about their loved ones who are doing the same thing under the same moon, wherever they might be. Our beginning class will encounter Chinese language by learning how to greet people and introduce themselves. They will also learn how to count to 100, spell the sound of the language and type in Chinese.

Spanish 6¡BIENVENIDO (welcome)!  I am excited to meet you!  We are all arriving to OES Middle School with zero or some experience in Spanish. The first chapter is the basics and brand new for some people and a great review for others!  We will be starting with the alphabet and pronunciation supported by some goofy songs. Learning greetings and goodbyes are a natural place to start with some role-playing activities. Also, we will be working on numbers to 1,000 and telling time with games. A basic small-talk area in every language is the weather and we will practice this often. See you soon!

Technology 6:  In the next months, we will learn about the community commitments and expectations for technology use in the Middle School, including reviewing our home-school device agreements as we begin working on digital citizenship projects. We will also setup our technology resources in Google Classroom (Typing Club, TinkerCad and Swift), and explore how to code with the Micro:bits.

Pre-Algebra Prep 6:  We’ll be starting off the year getting organized, learning the math class routines, getting comfortable with the e-textbook and then jumping into a quick division review before embarking on powers and exponents, order of operations, divisibility tests and introducing the “24 challenge.”

Pre-Algebra 6:  We’ll be starting off the year getting organized and becoming comfortable with the e-textbook and then, after a quick refresher, we will launch into pre-algebra skills of powers and exponents, order of operations and divisibility tests with games along the way.

Humanities 6:  6th graders will spend time building community at the beginning of the year in Humanities. Students will develop, refine, and share pieces of their personal history through discussion, reflection, and writing. As the fall trip approaches, we’ll consider the unique gifts that each individual brings to our class culture.

Library Skills 6:  After the 6th grade trip, we will look at the question of what are the research-related skills students need. We’ll look at using print materials for research (how does one use an index to help make this process more efficient?). We’ll also look at what is a database and how does one use them versus how does one go off and search for information on the Internet. There will be tips and tricks learned along the way and much room for practicing.

7th Grade

September 2018

Instrumental Music 7:  I am very excited to work with the 7th grade Instrumental Music students as they spend time revisiting the basics of reading music and how it relates to their instrument. We will be focused on defining good tone, practicing technique for producing sound, and learning the language of music. There will be an emphasis on demonstration as the students have the chance to get to know me and my teaching style, and as I get to know them and their skill levels.

Acting 7:  In this class we will be introducing the techniques of improvisation, then use those techniques to explore character and relationship as they relate to improvisational theater. We will be focusing on the skills used by the individual actor to support and move story collaboratively, building towards performance. We will be covering improvisational terms and vocabulary, connections between improvisational theater and text work, as well as constructive critique and sketch comedy.

Vocal Music 7:  Students will jump right into solo and group singing, including finding their current vocal range. They will also be analyzing their strengths and potential as a musician and performer by engaging in activities that employ proper vocal technique and aural, sight reading, and performance skills. They will also be setting goals for growth over the year.

Art 7:  Students will be looking at Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Medieval architecture. After studying different elements of these building we will learn to draw in 2 point perspective. Utilizing these skills students will then design their own architectural dwelling including structural and decorative elements.

History 7:  Welcome to 7th grade! We begin the year by posing this question:  how do we know what we know? We explore the importance of using evidence to inform our understandings about history. We also discuss other important vocabulary that helps the students think like historians. We then begin studying when and how the first humans arrived in the Americas, exploring different theories and looking for the evidence that supports those theories. We also review the steps involved in good historical research and citing one’s sources effectively. Lastly, students will collaborate on the first unit project, as we work together to build community.

PE 7:  We will spend the first weeks up at the field until the weather turns rainy!  Our first unit will be a combination of disc golf and ultimate Frisbee followed by soccer.  We will also do our first round of fitness testing. If the weather forces us in then we will start the pickleball unit.

Boys' Health and Wellness 7:  In our first weeks we explore the notion of “What it means to be healthy?” Students will be coming up with a list on this topic as they pertain it to be. Based on what they come up with, they will create a TED Talk on their chosen topic.

Girls' Health and Wellness 7:  We start out the year getting to know each other by exploring who we are through discussions on identity and the creation of identity posters. This work helps us build trust in ourselves and one another so we can develop a safe space for our work on what it means to be healthy and well as students navigate adolescence in society today. Once a week Cindy McEnroe will join us to practice mindfulness strategies that we will weave into our work on self-care and stress management.

Science 7:  I’m excited to get to know your student as a scientist and engineer, build our class community, and explore the magnificent planet that we thrive on! We will begin the year investigating how a system works, and then dive specifically into Earth System Science. At the end of this month we will head to Mt. St. Helens to apply our new knowledge and skills. We will explore the volcano and see firsthand the impact of the 1980 eruption. Curiosity and questions will be an integral part of our class and we will launch the year by considering; How do Earth's major systems interact and how do we impact them?

French 7:  Bienvenue! In the first month of the school year, we will use games and conversations to reconnect with key concepts from last year, and then will head into Unité 4. This first unit of the year will help students build communication skills to make suggestions, discuss plans in the near future, and ask questions. Students will learn about soccer in France and francophone countries. We will also revisit their favorite French songs, build skills with dialogue videos, and reexamine the pitfalls of online translators.

Chinese 7:  In September students will experience Chinese culture through the observation of Chinese Moon Festival. This is a time when people gather for family reunions under the fullest, brightest moon of the year. The purpose is to celebrate harvest and remember family and friends. Besides a feast, Chinese people enjoy moon cakes and rose tea while thinking about their loved ones who are doing the same thing under the same moon, wherever they might be. Our 7th graders will encounter Chinese language by learning how to read maps, ask and give directions. They will also learn how to use Chinese currency to shop in Chinese. Instruction will be mostly in Chinese.

Spanish 7:  ¡Bienvenidos! It’s certainly an adjustment for most students into Spanish 7 and its all-Spanish-all-the-time policy and more complex material. It can be frustrating to not rely on English for 45 minutes when there are so many things that you want to say, but lack the vocabulary and grammar to do so. We will spend time reviewing last year's material and then begin our first unit – the differences between ser and estar (both which mean “to be”). We'll be doing lots of fun games and activities to practice when to use these verbs!

Pre-Algebra 7:  After a review of algebraic terms, we will launch into solving equations using all operations, learning to write equations with two variables, and begin learning the art of solving and graphing inequalities.

Algebra 7:  This month, we will start off solving simple and multi-step algebraic equations, including equations with the variable on both sides of the equal sign. We will also rewrite equations and formulas as we get more comfortable manipulating variable expressions. We will tackle our first Problem of the Week, a challenge problem that we will do periodically throughout the year. We wrap up the month by starting Chapter 2 on linear equations, an important foundation in algebra.

English 7:  The first reading selection for the seventh grade is Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. This historical novel tells the stories of two families living in Seattle’s International District during World War II and the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during the war years. The novel illuminates many themes:  American identity, immigration, family relations, race and ethnicity, bullying, justice, and the idea of “outsiders” in society. There will be short writing assignments based on the novel, students will study vocabulary words pulled from the book, and we will look at literary terms and examine the use of figurative language.

Technology 7:  In this course we will be exploring hardware and software technologies using concepts and techniques driven by the Maker movement. The students will build on a foundation of coding and hardware “recipes” that will help define and clarify basic concepts, and then we will use those foundational concepts as a launching point to explore our own creativity and interests using the Micro:bit microcontroller.

Religion 7:  Welcome to 7th Grade Religion! During September, 7th Grade Religion will explore creation myths from various faith traditions, examining the similarities and differences among them. Students will then dive into their own personal origin story and examine how their beginnings influence their life story to this point. We'll also begin focusing on important characters that appear in early stories within the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian faiths. Finally, we’ll explore other important characters within these stories that are often forgotten because of their gender, class, or nationality.

8th Grade

September 2018

Eighth Grade Inquiry Project/Project X:  Project X:  To learn more about what is happening for Project X in September, check out the OES Project X Blog.

Instrumental Music 8:  I am very excited to work with the 8th grade Instrumental Music students as they spend time revisiting the basics of reading music and how it relates to their instrument. We will be focused on defining good tone, practicing technique for producing sound, and learning the language of music. There will be an emphasis on demonstration as the students have the chance to get to know me and my teaching style, and as I get to know them and their skill levels.

Acting 8:  In this class we will be looking at acting from a production perspective. We will be working with scripts; breaking down text, constructing character, blocking movement, and memorize lines as we move towards performance. We will cover the concepts of production norms and design for theater as it relates to costumes, sets, sound, and lights. We will also be introducing basic directorial concepts and techniques.

Vocal Music 8:  Students will begin the year by learning about how the human body works in relation to singing. They will understand what happens with muscles, their lungs, and their vocal folds. We will learn music of many different styles this year, but we’ll begin with music that is part of African and American traditions—call and response, spirituals, blues, jazz, rock and pop.

Art 8:  Students will begin by learning about and exploring Creative Voice from both an individual and collaborative perspective. We will be exploring different artists and how they use inspiration and messaging to relay ideas to their audience. Afterwards we will be creating our own small sketchbooks, learning how to sew bindings that are reflective of personal creative voice.

History 8:  Welcome to 8th grade! We begin by learning how to read different kinds of data as well as looking at the broader idea of change over time. Students will examine charts, graphs, maps, etc. as we begin our exploration into what it means to be a global economy as well as investigating the origins of the global market. Our introduction will also focus on proper research skills, evaluating information, citing sources using Chicago style citations, and collaboration with fellow students.

PE 8:  We will prepare for our first round of fitness testing by diving right into a fitness unit. This will include many different types of workouts, but will also include fun and active games. Come prepared to be active, engaged, and to have fun!

Health and Wellness 8:  Starting with a recognition of the grand complexity of living a human life, we’ll be diving into questions of personal identity and the interplay with one’s environment. Explorations of the concept of culture, categorical thinking, and elements of cultural proficiency will emerge through the first weeks.

Science 8:  Welcome to another year of science, and you’re one of the main characters. Our 8th grade science class will be about our place in the universe. We’ll start off in September looking at how science observes, analyzes, predicts, and then allows us to make informed decisions. We’ll also look at engineering and how we can make progress in that field by trying things out, analyzing with science, and then designing something even better the next time. These are stepping stones towards the science of how humans interact with our fellow living systems, energy needs, technological tools, and where and how we currently reside in the universe.

French 8:  Bienvenue! In the first exhilarating month of the school year, we will use games and conversation to reconnect with key concepts from last year, revisit some favorite French songs, and head into Unité 7. Real estate listings and dialogue videos will help provide context for the theme of the home. Students will develop vocabulary skills to describe a home in detail. We will explore different types of residences in francophone countries, especially those in northern Africa. Students will make cultural comparisons between the francophone world and their own experiences.

Chinese 8:  In September students will experience Chinese culture through the observation of Chinese Moon Festival. This is a time when people gather for family reunions under the fullest, brightest moon of the year. The purpose is to celebrate harvest and remember family and friends. Besides a feast, Chinese people enjoy moon cakes and rose tea while thinking about their loved ones who are doing the same thing under the same moon, wherever they might be. Our 8th graders will encounter Chinese language by learning how to organize birthday parties, eat-out dinners and zoo trips in Chinese. They will also learn how to cook a Chinese dish and bring it to class to share. Instruction will be mostly in Chinese.

Spanish 8:  ¡Bienvenidos a un año nuevo! We will do minimal review of last year's material and dive right in with IOPs (Indirect Object Pronouns). We will be playing some fun games, learning technology and telephone conversation vocabulary, and adding IOPs to all prior grammatical concepts. After three months without class, some students may likely feel as if they’ve hit a brick wall in a sense. This is completely normal! I encourage all of my students to come find me when they’re feeling this way for a bit of encouragement, laughter, and some one-on-one time with the material.

Geometry 8:  We’ll start building the discipline of Geometry starting with the three undefined terms of point, line and plane. From there we will build up to ray, bisectors, congruence, angle pair relationships, the Pythagorean Theorem and introduce the platform provided by Geogebra, a program that lets students explore geometric relationships in a more dynamic manner.

Algebra 8:  This month, we will start by reviewing pre-algebra topics, including operations with negatives, fractions, and decimals. We will also be solving simple and multi-step algebraic equations, including those with the variable on both sides of the equal sign. We will rewrite equations and formulas as we get more comfortable manipulating variable expressions. We wrap up the month with a recap of linear equations from last year, an important foundation in algebra, and then introducing systems of linear equations.

English 8:  English 8 students will be sharing song lyrics that have meaning to them as a beginning to our look at how language ties to identity. We begin this work by looking at children’s books in order to practice the kind of literary analysis and writing we will engage in throughout the year. We will then be building from this idea as we begin our first novel of the year, Warren St. John’s Outcasts United, and moving towards our first creative and analytical writing connected to that source.

Physical Computing and Coding 8:  In this course we will be exploring hardware and software technologies using concepts and techniques driven by the Maker movement. The students will be building on a foundation of coding and hardware “recipes” that will help define and clarify basic concepts, and then they will use those foundational concepts as a launching point to explore their own creativity and interests using the Micro:bit microcontroller.

Religion 8:  Welcome to 8th Grade Religion!  During our first month together the 8th grade religion class will begin designing and leading our weekly Middle School Chapel, with a particular focus on creating an inclusive and welcoming space. Students will also explore how best to incorporate music, story, and student voice into our weekly chapels. Throughout September, we’ll also learn how different faith traditions gather and what different worship styles may teach us about our own chapel gathering.