Hello middle school families!
Wow, October already! Seventh and eighth graders both have a math assessment next week. Their main HP this week is to study for the chapter 1 assessment (dates posted on planbook.com). In science, seventh graders are engaging in an engineering challenge where they design and test a seed dispersal system. Eighth graders are studying the periodic table of elements and atoms/elements.
Home Practice Club/Study hall is ON! It will be held every Tuesday from 3-4PM in my room. Students can use this time to get help if needed and complete nightly home practice or missing assignments. I would like to limit it to roughly 10 kids, so that the noise level is low and I can help those who need it. If you want to take advantage of this opportunity to get extra support and a quite space to get work done, please shoot me an email that your student will join.
The all school photo is tomorrow at 8:35AM. Pease be on time. On that note, please try to be on time every day! Seventh graders start math class promptly at 8:30. When students arrive late, they often miss the direct instruction part or notes, and struggle to catch up. Time is valuable!
October 22-26 is parent-teacher conference week. All students will be dismissed at 12:15PM. Look for an email with a link to sign up for a conference some time this week.
I am actively trying to get grades into the portal in a timely fashion. I have updated the grade book for most classes, and even if I have yet to grade the assignment, I have marked them as received for missing. Please check the student portal with your child to see how they are doing. An M mark is Missing, I is Incomplete, R is Received, and E is Excused. In math, if a student received partial credit, it is usually because they did not complete all the problems or did not show their work. If students get the problem wrong, but attempted to solve it and show all work, they get full credit! I encourage students to ask me about their marks and read all the feedback! I put time into providing helpful feedback and hope they listen to it.
Reminder: The weather is changing- please make sure students come to school dressed appropriately! The next few days look like rain and will be cold. Students should bring jackets, boots, umbrellas, and dress warm. On days that are nice, students need sunscreen and sunglasses (highly encouraged). I do not let students into the classroom until 8:30AM, so they need a jacket to keep warm in the morning. On days that it is snowing or raining, we will have a room available for students to hang out before school starts.
As always, let me know any comments, questions or concerns.
What a jam-packed first week of school! I have a bit to go over in the update, but I will try to keep it brief. I will always include important dates at the end of my weekly updates, so please make sure you scroll down to see those and mark your calendar.
Last week, students began to dive into the nature of science and how to think like a scientist. We engaged in two different activities that allowed students to hypothesize about an unknown, gather evidence, and generate a model to support their theories. We will begin the life science curriculum this week, as well as learn about lab safety and all the awesome tools we use in class.
Students also started their electives. In my art class, we are creating our own sketchbooks and working out our imaginations! As students get older, they are not asked to use their imagination as much and, unfortunately, many adults end up rarely using it at all. Every day in art I ask that students do a warm up to get the creative juices flowing; this can either be a themed sketch, an abstract emotion evoking piece, or a speed sketch. If you have any suggestions for an art project, a lesson, or a clever idea for a sketchbook assignment (those are given for Friday IS), I would love to hear it!
Additionally, all middle school students began (perhaps even finished) their iReady testing this week. iReady is a diagnostic and progress monitoring test we give students multiple times a year. The results from these online adaptive tests help guide instruction and allow me and Ms. Gretchen to better support students with gaps in their learning, or to further challenge your student in areas they are advanced. I will go over iReady more in-depth on Back to School Night.
Lastly, we did our first school wide appreciation closing circle this past Thursday at 2:30. We will be doing this every Thursday to close out our school week and practice the act of acknowledging and appreciating fellow students, staff and Creekside in general. This is part of our Social Emotional Learning curriculum we have adopted this year (more to come on this at back to school night, too). Seventh graders have buddied up with Ms. Jessica's third grade class. On Tuesday, students were assigned a buddy snd engaged in a "get to know you" Venn diagram activity. The entire class did so well with the third graders! Everyone was talking, asking questions, and really getting to know each other. Because Creekside is a small school, we are able to form relationships with all grade levels and the older kids can set a great example for our younger students. On Thursdays, all seventh graders will find their third grade buddy for the appreciation \ceremony and stand with them in the circle. I have attached a few pictures of this event.
Bake sales happening on Wednesday (6th grade). Have your child bring cash to support our fellow students!
9/13: 5:30-7pm Back to School Night (parents ONLY). This event will take place from 5:30-6:15 at Creekside in your student's classroom. All parents should then meet at 6:30 in the Palisades Conference Room at the Squaw Hotel for a whole school presentation. I have included a map to the conference room below. Ms. Gretchen and I will have seventh and eighth grade parents switch room around 6:00, so you can get to know both teachers. Ms. Monica will also be there.
9/18: Field Trip to TERC in Incline Village. Please see my previous Parent Square post for more information. New this year, we are asking parents to sign field trip permission slips electronically. You will find the form on that email as well. We have enough drivers for this trip- huge thank you to all that volunteered!
9/26: Picture Day for 4-8 - Forms coming soon
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me or set up an appointment to chat. I am very busy in the mornings before school, so please shoot me a message to arrange a time to meet.
10/2: Second Field Trip to TERC in Incline Village
Thanks again and CHEERS to an awesome school year!
Good afternoon middle school families!
I am eager to see all of you tomorrow at the Master Agreement signing and orientation. August 28th (tomorrow) is a nontraditional first day of school- seventh grade students and parents will meet in my room (RM 11) at 2:30PM to sign MAs and have middle school orientation.
This is an important meeting and we have a lot to go over, so please be punctual! If you cannot be here tomorrow, please contact me. You will need to come early on your student's first day of school to sign the master agreement and arrange a time to go over the information given at orientation. (I will send an electronic copy of the IS for tomorrow to those who cannot make it.)
Technically, tomorrow is an independent study day and I will be asking all (7/8) students to complete a survey at home as their I.S. (I will hand these out tomorrow). I am also encouraging families to bake/cook/prepare something together to bring to the pot luck!
I am also asking parents to complete a quick questionnaire about their student. Please complete the Parent/Guardian Questionnaire form some time this week. Your answers help personalize my instruction for your child and I enjoy learning more about them through you.
Again, find the Parent Questionnaire HERE
MASTER AGREEMENT SIGNINGS: These are required by law and we wanted to give teachers a chance to meet with parents and go over the paperwork, and give parents information about the upcoming year. We know it's hard for working parents to be here in the middle of the day. If you are really struggling to be here, please contact your child's teacher. They will arrange a time for you to get copies of the information and for you to sign the agreement.
THERE IS NO CLASS ON AUGUST 28th
2:30- 3:30: 5th- 8th grade parent meetings ( students are welcome on campus). New students, this is a great chance to get to know some of your classmates. I'll be out on the playground to help facilitate new friendships.
3:30- 4:30: TK-4th grade parent meetings (students are welcome on campus). I will pair our older students with younger students so they can be watched on the playground. I will also be outside for this.
4:30-6:30: Community Pot-luck. Please bring a dish. No sign up sheet. Bring whatever you would like.
First Day of Class. 8:30AM start in room 11
Hike up Shirley Canyon. Please remember to wear comfortable hiking clothes and appropriate shoes, bring a water bottle and apply sunscreen.
Labor Day- No School
Cheers to a new school year!
After school today, I held a "Solving multi-step equations crash course!" session. What a great turn out and awesome learning! Later this week, I am going to send out a survey to find out what concepts they feel they need the most help with, and if they would attend a weekly math "crash courses," if offered.
Below are links to all the resources I provided in today's course. I also have extra copies of practice problems in my classroom. Remember, just like with skiing, practice of math skills makes for a stronger math student!
Please use these resources at home if any problem is challenging. Learning to use resources and notes is a vital skill that needs to be developed!
Solving Multistep Equations: Pinch Cards (this is a rad site that has a video linked with each step of the solving equations process!)
Math Antics: Solving Basic Equations Part 1
Math Antics: Solving Basic Equations Part 2
Math Antics: Solving Multistep Equations
Attached is a print out of a fun mnemonic to use to remember the steps when solving an equations. Check out the Math Dyal blog for great tips and tricks on learning/teaching solving equations!
I hope you find this helpful!
Welcome back WINTER!
I hope everyone has a wonderful break and enjoyed the snow we got last week. I was happy to ski three times last week and got some freshies on off KT on Thursday. Also, I attended the CPM (math curriculum) National Teacher Conference this past weekend. I went to 6 breakout sessions on CPM best practices and how to better assess student learning over the course of the year. I heard some fabulous teachers present from all across the country and the vibe was very exciting. This conference got me more feeling pumped on teaching math (nerdy, I know)!
Next week eighth graders will begin an hour of sex education over the course of 5 weeks, presented by a Planned Parenthood health educator. I sent home an opt-out letter for this class today and included in this email. If you DO NOT want your child participating in comprehensive sex ed, please sign the letter and return it to me by Friday, March 1. If your student opts out of sex ed, they will spend the hour in another room with an alternative health assignment. Comprehensive sex education is included in the middle school California state standards. Please see the letter for more details.
Tomorrow (2/27) at 1pm, the middle school will be competing in the first ever Creekside Olympics! Come support your student and help run the events. I am look for a few volunteers to help us referee the three different events. Please let me know ASAP if you are available to help from 1-1:50pm tomorrow. Thank you!
We will hold a metal ceremony Wednesday morning at 8:30am to award the top competitors in each event. Please come support the athletes!
Farm Cart Program
Middle school students will be participating in a Farm Cart program starting tomorrow. It is facilitated by The Tahoe Food Hub. Students will learn about where food comes from, the farming process, marketing, setting up a business, and working a booth. More information to come tomorrow on this program.
End of Season Skier IS
Please send me the IS schedule for your student if they are competing in the upcoming competitions and will be gone for more than one day. I would like to get all of the IS organized this week to give to students before they leave.
Reminder: We are a team! Students, parents, and teachers work together and share responsibility for learning. Students on IS are required to use outside resources to learn the material given to them. All IS needs to be completed by the end of each learning period. LP6 ends this Friday!
If you can help organize graduation, please contact me. I am putting together a team of parents to get the planning started. So far I know that Dawn and Hunter are able to help. Lets make this the best graduation yet!
Volunteers in the classroom
I would love some help organizing! I have a ton of things I need filed, labeled, cleaned, organized, and put into binders. If you are able to help at any time, please let me know and I will get everything set up for you to come in. These tasks will be easy and fast, but will support me and, thus support the learning for students. Help!
And lastly, if your student is interested in taking care of the class chameleon, Dr. Ronny Googles over Spring Break let me know! He needs a home that week, as I will be out of town.
Cheer y'all and let it snow!
Hello 8th grade families!
What a great surprise to get snow today! Students were having so much fun out back during lunch today, sliding on the snow almost like human curling. Our playground brings out the creative side of the middle school students. I am hoping winter decides to stick around for a while.
Report cards were mailed home today for first semester. Look for them Wednesday. We are already halfway through learning period 6!
Remember, if your student is a skier/on IS, they are required to complete their independent study and turn it in the next day they are present. I have posted on my website several resource links for math and science help. Please check it out! All students have school assigned Khan Academy and IXL accounts for independent math and science learning (Purplemath.com is super useful, too). When students take IS days, it is their responsibility to use various resources to learn the content. They can make an appointment with me to receive additional help, but they must take the initiative to schedule a meeting. It is critical for students to keep on top of their work, lest becoming overwhelmed and stressed.
Harvest of the Month will be this week, hosted by the lovely Chiara. If any other parent is interested in helping with this monthly lesson on fresh foods, please contact me. This week we will learn about kale and Swiss chard- yum!
The whole school will be hosting a Creekside Olympics on Tuesday 2/27. The middle school will be competing from 1:00-1:50pm. We always need parent volunteers! Please email me if you are interested/available to help. The award ceremony will be held 2/28 at 8:30am for the whole school.
Students are encouraged to bring their own plates and forks to Pizza Thursdays. Creekside is actively trying to lessen our ecological footprint, and we can make a huge impact by reducing our waste. Additionally, please remind your student to bring their own water bottles! We do not want to give any cups out (again, we want to eliminate trash).
Lastly, 8th grade graduation is nearing! Every year, we have had a team of fabulous parents who organize the graduation ceremony. If you are interested in helping, please let me know and include how much time/level of involvement you can do. I would like to start organizing this event sooner than later. And on the graduation note, all middle schoolers are required to complete 5 hours of community service each year. You may turn the completed forms into me or the office.
2/19-2/23 President's Week (Ski/Skate Week)
2/12-2/16 Random Acts of Kindness week
2/27 Creekside Olympics
2/28 Creekside Olympic Ceremony
Enjoy the fresh snow!
Happy New Year 8th Grade Families!
I am so excited for the new year and new beginnings! Before the break, we discussed the impact that sugar has on our health. Students watched TEDed videos about how sugar affects their brain, read articles about the sucrose molecule and health adversities linked to sugar, and watched Fed Up (a movie about sugar consumption in America).
Today, students were introduced to a 10 Day SUGAR FREE Challenge. We (me included) will begin the challenge tomorrow and finish on 1/18. Students were sent home with a sugar free challenge log and we will be taking time daily to reflect on their ability to refrain from sugar.
In regards to the challenge, sugar means sucrose. Refrain from added sugars to food, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, etc. Sugar from fruit and milk is OK. It is important to read nutrition labels.
Abstaining from sugar can help improve sleep, energy levels, focus and concentration, and improve mood.
I invite you to join us in the challenge! I have attached a copy of the pledge for you to use if you want to participate. I encourage you to make meals at home with your child, read nutrition labels, and pack healthier lunches. Encourage water instead of juice or gatorade, oil and vinegar rather than ranch dressing, and stay away from high-glycemic starchy foods (french fries, chips, fried foods). I will be sending home recipes for easy lunches, dinners, and snacks every day this week.
I know this will be a hard task, but it is just 10 days! I encourage whole family involvement because cooking and discovering new foods together can make cooking more fun!
8th graders will have a chemistry unit final on Monday. They were given a study guide last week (also posted on planbook.com) and are allowed to use their science notebooks for help. The ONLY science IS this week is to STUDY! We will be having a study hall in the afternoon tomorrow.
Additionally, algebra students will have an exponent and polynomial quiz on Wednesday morning next week and then I will be collecting math notebooks.
Learning Period 4 ends this Friday. Students need to turn in LP4 PE logs and any missing work since 11/20. No PE log equals a zero for the LP and will lower the PE grade significantly (the easiest A+ one can get).
Lastly, we will be doing Holidays Around the World on Thursday 12/21 and I would love some parent volunteers to travel with the 8th graders or help out in my room! Additionally, during last period, we have our middle school holiday party. If you can help from 10:30-11:30 for Holidays Around the World OR from 1:50-2:45 for our party, let me know ASAP. Any additional adults that day would be awesome.
Students are invited to bring a $5 maximum gift for White Elephant on Thursday afternoon. Regifting is encouraged, as the game is supposed to be fun.
We have an exciting new addition to the science and math classroom: a pet chameleon!
Last week, we had guest speakers come in and talk to the middle school about the unique animals of Madagascar, which included live chameleons that they breed.
Pam and Jeff were kind enough to donate a baby chameleon to my classroom! The students have named him Dr. Ronny Goggles. Students will be taking turns feeding the little guy crickets, meal worms, and silkworms. We are studying how chameleons change colors, their specific ecosystems, and will be using their unique traits as a discussion launch point for many scientific inquiries. Additionally, students will learn how to take care of such a challenging pet. Dr. G thrives in tropical temperatures with 50% humidity and recreating that in Tahoe is challenging, but a great learning opportunity about climate control. We will also be building him a larger enclosure at some point, as he is growing fast!
I will be designing a sign up system to take the chameleon home on holidays for students who are interested. I am so excited about our new addition- he is so cool looking and fun to watch!
In other news:
Happy weekend middle school families!
7th graders are wrapping up our first math and science unit. They will have a math and science assessment the week of October 9th. Students are studying probability in math, focusing on writing probability as fractions, decimals, and percents. In science, 7th grade is wrapping up our survival and reproductive traits unit. Throughout the unit we examined organisms from Madagascar, their unique traits, and why they adapted they way they did.
A friend of Ms. Gretchen's will be coming in on Thursday 10/5 to present information about Madagascar, give a slide show of their trip to the island, and show off their chameleons! More information on this to come early this week.
Currently in 8th grade science we are studying chemistry. Students are exploring the concept of atoms, elements, molecular bonds, and extended structures. If you are a chemist, please let me know! I would love a guest speaker to come in and talk about the amazing possibilities chemistry has to offer.
In algebra, 8th graders are finishing up a unit on functions and graphing functions. There will be a math assessment on functions the week of 10/9.
HUGE thank you to Kailea and Bill Kelly for fixing my whiteboard and mounting the TV arm to the wall. Both are working great, especially the TV. I can now show everything on the big screen!
Additionally, thank you to the ongoing donations parents provide to my classroom. Everything you donate helps support student learning and enhances my lessons. I am so grateful!
Announcements and Upcoming Events
I am in SF this weekend visiting the SF, milling about the city. I am excited to return with some creative and inspiring ideas for art class. Enjoy the lovely weather and have a great weekend!
Welcome to my class website. I teach middle school math, science, and art. Here you will find important information, weekly updates, resources, and class photos. I live in North Lake Tahoe and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. My dog Bear joins me on all my adventures and often visits the classroom. Bear is currently training to become a therapy dog!