Learning Previews - Specials - February 2018

Learning Previews - Specials - February 2018
Posted on 02/27/2018
Library Technology: Sam Musher

6th Grade: For months, I’ve encouraged students to choose some of their independent reading from the excellent MA Children’s Book Award list (http://massachusettschildrens 6th graders who’ve read at least 5 of these books will get the chance to vote when the ballot goes online this week! The statewide winner will be announced on Apr. 2. Most of our 6th graders have read at least one book from the list (Roller Girl is especially popular) -- ask your child what they’ve read and what they thought about it.

7th Grade: In Social Studies, 7th graders will start their major research project, Stories of Persecution and Perseverance. They’ll choose a historical figure who faced persecution and write an essay about the ways they persevered. We have a wide range of topics to choose from, from Civil Rights leaders like Claudette Colvin or Nelson Mandela, to activists for women’s rights like Malala Yousafzai, to independence fighters like Haile Selassie or Toussaint L’Ouverture. Ask your child who they want to learn more about!

Health & Wellness: Justin McNulty

6th Grade: Students will be completing their Mental and Emotional Health Unit in the next several upcoming weeks. After that we will be focusing on personal hygiene and have a special guest from the Cambridge Public Health Departments’ “Healthy Smiles Program” come in and talk to students about the importance of dental hygiene.

7th Grade: Student will begin their unit SOS: Signs of Suicide. This is a program to help students identify someone they know that may be having symptoms of depression, self harm or other troublesome feelings. The program is designed for students to learn how to get help and how they could help someone themselves.

8th Grade Students will begin their 4 lesson unit Safe Dates. This unit teaches students the difference between and health and unhealthy relationship, warning signs of abuse and how to get your friend or yourself out of an unhealthy dating relationship.

Physical Education: Michael O’Connell

6th Grade: Students have just started their Fitness Unit. 6th graders will be learning about aerobic exercise versus anaerobic exercise, muscular endurance versus muscular strength and what muscle groups are used for specific exercise.

7th Grade: Students have just started their Fitness Unit. 7th graders will be learning the difference between skill-related components of fitness and health-related components of fitness, a variety of exercises that increase strength and endurance and how levels of intensity affect the outcomes of exercise. 

8th Grade: Students have just started their Fitness Unit. Using skill-related and health-related fitness components, 8th graders will be identify areas to improve and will participate in conditioning activities specific to those areas. Students will record their daily conditioning activities and results.

French & Spanish: Sarah Bilodeau

6th Grade French: In February we had our own French Olympic Games and begin work on creating a map of Paris with sentences about what we like to do at key Parisian monuments of our choice. We also created a bulletin board in honor of Black history month about a film we watched together entitled in English “The African Doctor”. In March we will present our Paris monuments projects and begin a project called “Fete de la musique” where we will listen to and learn about Francophone music and learn to make comparisons in French to talk about our own music preferences.

7th Grade French: In February we learned about café culture and presented dialogues about ordering food in a café. We also did a tasting of French macarons and bread and learned about how many revolution and resistance movements were inspired by discussions in cafés. We created presentations about famous revolutionaries in the French-speaking world such as Aimé Césaire, Léopold Senghor, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Jeanne Duval and Charles Baudelaire. In March we will begin work on describing people in our family and making family trees.

7th Grade Spanish: In February students created grocery flyers and dialogues about their favorite foods. They presented their dialogues to classmates who took notes and asked questions as well as gave compliments in Spanish. Students will begin a new unit in March that is all about their dining choices and health choices as well as learning to make comparisons about how the average American diet compares to that in Spanish speaking countries.

8th Grade French: Students presented their ideal homes to their peers who asked them questions and gave compliments on their peers work in French. In March we will begin a unit about tourist attractions in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Paris, France. Students will create dialogues between a client and a travel agent and they will create travel brochures about either paris or Port-au-Prince depending on their own travel interests. They will try to use several common irregular verbs in context like voir, pouvoir, vouloir, avoir, and faire.

Spanish: Nick Paras

6th Grade: We will beginning our unit on verb conjugations. Students will learn about subject pronouns and how to conjugate regular “AR” verbs. Students will practice writing sentences while using the correct form of the verb. In class, students will practice asking and answering questions with the second person singular to ask the questions and the first person singular to answer the questions. Also, we will be making verb transformations in class. Students will be doing a lot of oral practice conjugating verbs and also be participating in group conjugation circles. Once we have a good understanding of verb conjugations, students will be making a verb bingo board. This will be used to not only play a game but to practice writing verb conjugation, recognizing what subject pronouns go with verb ending and also repeating the verb to practice speaking. Toward the end, we will start telling short stories where students will create their own sentences with verbs that will be provided.

7th Grade: We will be starting a new chapter this week. It will cover dinner foods and what you should eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Students will be going over my food plate in Spanish and also discuss what you should eat daily in order to eat healthy. In class we will create list of what we eat to what we should eat and students will determine how healthy they eat and what they can do to eat better. We will also be doing some translations of short paragraphs about healthy eating. Students will research foods from various Hispanic countries and talk about them. As a class, we will discuss if these foods are healthy or not. We will then review time and talk about what we eat at certain times of the day. Students will then move on to the verb ser and go over its meanings and the conjugations of the verb. Ser is a very irregular but a very important verb. As a whole group discussion, we will talk about when to use the verb ser and practice writing sentences using ser.

8th Grade: In grade 8, we will be starting a new unit on the bedroom. As a whole class activity, I will show pictures of bedrooms and we will discuss what is in the bedroom. In class, we will write sentences describing the bedroom and then correcting them as a whole class activity. Students will be translating small paragraphs about bedrooms and then write about their own bedrooms or a dream bedroom they would love to have. We will also be reviewing colors so students can say what color certain items are in their bedroom. Once the drawing of the bedrooms are complete, students will ask questions about their bedrooms to other students who will then answer them. Follow up questions can be asked. We will also write our questions down for practice. To continue a review of colors, students will read about what certain colors mean and then choose which color they most associate with. They will then write a short paragraph about why they associate with a certain color. We will then move onto making comparisons in Spanish. We will go over the vocabulary needed to make them. Students will then practice making comparisons. At first, teacher will give prompts for students to make comparisons and then students will make them on their own. The class will then move onto conjugating stem-changing verbs.

Art: Lucia Lee

6th graders just started their semester of Art and have recently finished a “police sketch artist” partner drawing exercise. They are now starting on a tissue paper “stained-glass” project--depicting either a representational or non-objective image. This project is a practice in patience as well as a focus on planning, problem-solving and paper cutting techniques.

7th graders are finishing up their papier-mache creature mask project by adding any final touches of paint and applying gloss varnish to brighten up the colors. They will start a metal art project using copper repoussé techniques.

8th graders finished up their grid drawing enlargement project. Some have also learned to create a value drawing as well, in which they use shading techniques, different types of drawing pencils and many shades of gray to create a 3-D effect on their images.

Theater Arts: Summar Elguindy

6th graders are working on becoming a strong, supportive ensemble in theater arts. In this first unit they are focusing on developing strategies for working well as a team in order to take creative risks. They will identify and practice the qualities of a great audience, develop strategies for group work and begin to explore the idea of what it means to be a creative risk taker.

Band: Patrick Wroge, Director of Bands

6th Band: Great job on your first concert at RAUC! We are starting work on new music such as “Three Folk Tunes”, “Enter Sandman”, “Hey Jude”, and “Raiders March”. We will continue to expand our literacy by learning the concert Eb and F scales. Through these pieces and others we will continue the focus on music literacy, proper playing position, breath support, ensemble playing, proper embouchure formation, and the use of dynamics and how they play a major role in the outcome of a piece of music.

7th and 8th Band: Great job on the first concert of the year! We are starting work on new music such as “Three Folk Tunes”, “Enter Sandman”, “Michael Jackson Hit Mix”, and “Basket Case”. Through these pieces and others we will continue the focus on music literacy, proper playing position, breath support, ensemble playing, proper embouchure formation, and the use of dynamics and how they play a major role in the outcome of a piece of music.

String Orchestra: Brittany Phillips

The 6th grade orchestra did an outstanding job in their concert on February 1st! Bravo! Moving forward, we will focus on music notation through frequent composition exercises. Students will practice writing out four and eighth bar compositions using notes from the D major scale. This will strengthen their rhythmic and melodic reading skills. We are currently working through a fun arrangement of “The Haunted Pirate Ship” which has students playing eerie harmonies. We will soon be moving onto the study of a Jamaican Folk Song, “The Banana Boat Song” which will push us to new heights!

The 7th grade orchestra had a great time performing “Dragon Slayer” and “Themes from Canon in D” at the Unity concert earlier this month. They are ready for new challenges! As we look ahead to our spring concert and beyond, students will continue to focus on note reading, performing slurred, tied, and hooked bows, and performing in new meters. We are working on an arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” by the late Israel Kamakawiwo, which introduces a new cut time signature. Additionally, many students are experimenting with the acoustic guitar part for this piece. It is a fun, busy, and very exciting time in the 7th grade ensemble!

The 8th grade orchestra had a great time meeting Ms. Umbro and the high school musicians from CRLS. Additionally, they did a great job performing “Themes from Canon in D” at the Unity Concert. We are pushing forward full steam ahead with our arrangement of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and our new combined 7th grade piece, “Over the Rainbow” by the late Israel Kamakawiwo. This semester we have added a keyboard section, a percussion section, a flutist and a guitar/ukulele section into the 8th grade ensemble. As students prepare for high school, we will continue to work on advanced techniques including shifting and vibrato. We are looking forward to our Spring String Showcase in May!

6th Grade Music Studio: Brittany Phillips

The sixth grade music studio is continuing our study on acoustic guitar. We are focusing heavily on rhythmic notation and dictation, and have been incorporating new rhythms into our strum patterns. Students have a wide variety of chords under their belts now, and will focus on writing their own music along with song selections of their choice. We would like to do some recording and experiment with making our own music videos.

Chorus & Music Studio: Joshua DeWitte

6th Grade: After an inspiring performance at their concert, singers are working on group projects to write a song. Students are writing lyrics, adding an instrumental accompaniment, and recording their songs. Through the process, they will learn about sound design and sound engineering. Once the projects are completed, we will begin learning new repertoire as well as focusing on music literacy.

7th Grade: After an inspiring performance at their concert, singers are working on group projects to write a song. Students are writing lyrics, adding an instrumental accompaniment, and recording their songs. Through the process, they will learn about sound design and sound engineering. Once the projects are completed, we will begin learning new repertoire as well as focusing on music literacy.

8th Grade: After an inspiring performance at their concert, singers have been working on their 8th grade recital pieces. In the tradition of vocal studios in high school and college, students will perform a solo or small ensemble piece. This is an opportunity for all singers to demonstrate the progress they have made over the past 3 years. Members of the CRLS choir and their director will visit the class this week and discuss options for students who wish to continue singing in high school.

7th Grade Music Studio: Students presented their music labels. Each group presented the vision and story of their label, the artists they will sign, a clothing line they are developing, and a performance by the original artists of each group. Students will now begin the process of recording their original artists. In addition to learning about recording, each label will choose an area of the world and research and present its music.

8th Grade Music Studio: Students are composing beats using GarageBand. As they learn the software, they discuss the aesthetics of a good instrumental beat. Once they finish their beat, they will try to “sell” their beat to their classmates.