Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Twelfth Night Progress

We are 15 days from the curtain rising on this amazing production. I am quite pleased with how hard everyone is working and can't wait to see what the final product looks like.

In the coming three weeks we will be increasing rehearsal time, working on costumes, make up, play bills, and programs.

If you are available, I could use extra hands!

Volunteer Needs:
1. Readers - I need people who are willing to listen to students practice their parts. This can occur at any time during the day. Just come down to the room (after checking in at the office of course) and I'll send someone out with you.

2. Costumes - I need 2 people to help students try on costumes, put names on bags, and inventory what we still need.

3. Cast Party Taco Bar Donations - The day of the event, students will stay at school with me. We will have a short recess, then have our cast party. This is the celebration of all of their hard work and a chance to blow off some steam before the night performance. Mrs. Masterson will be sending out a list of needed items so people can sign up.

Thank you everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Winter Conferences

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Winter conference sign ups are now live! If none of the available slots work for you, please let me know and we'll find a time that does. 8th graders are welcome and encouraged to attend this conference. 

First semester report cards will be available at the conference. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

New History Unit

This week we will be beginning to look at the state of the world after WWII. Over the next few weeks, students should be able to discuss the following topics:

• Post-WWII devastation in Europe, Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods Conference
• Western fear of communist expansion, Soviet fear of capitalist influences
• Truman Doctrine, policy of containment of communism Formation of NATO, Warsaw Pact The “Iron Curtain” (Churchill) Berlin Airlift Eastern European resistance, Hungarian Revolution, Berlin Wall, Prague Spring

Rex Putnam IB Program Visitation

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As part of our continuing efforts to provide information about high school possibilities,  Rex Putnam's IB specialist will be visiting us on December 5th, 2016 at 12:30 PM. Parents are welcome to attend and listen to the presentation. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Winter Concert December 8th

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December 8th, 2016
Students arrive at 5:45 PM
Concert begins at 6:30 PM

White collared shirts and navy blue bottoms please! 

See you there

Guest Speaker Thank You

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Tuesday we were treated to a wonderful guest speaker. Mr. Perkins, Elijah's father and college professor, was in town and agreed to come and talk to our class about the history that led up to the Indian Independence Movement. It's always nice to hear from specialists in a field! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

This Week's Writing Assignment

This week we are in the process of writing a 5 paragraph essay about friends. The social scene is vitally important to 8th graders and so I am asking them to spend some time reflecting on the attributes they look for in a friend. We are also focusing on strong topic sentences and transitions. We have written our key word outline and rough drafts. This weekend is an excellent time to have a family discussion about friends. Share what you value in your friends and how you choose friends. 

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Poinsettia Sale Totals

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Thank you to everyone that helped sell poinsettias. We sold a total of 138 plants for an approximate profit of $650. This brings our total to almost $1300. 

I have a fundraising thermometer on the blog to the left so everyone can keep track of our efforts. 

Great work everyone!

Parent's Night Out Fundraiser

The students are working hard to find meaningful ways to raise money for Ashland. Yesterday they brainstormed ways to hold a successful "Parent's Night Out". 

On December 9th, 8th grade will be supervising younger students from 4:00 - 9:00 PM. The hope is that all 8th graders will be there to help and I could use 3 parents as well. 

If you are available to help out that night, please let me know. 

Twelfth Night Update

We are now just a month away from showtime. Today in art students worked with Mrs. Haight to decide what we wanted the set to look like and in class we continue to work on lines.

If you have ANY free time during the school day, I would LOVE to have people to listen to students run lines. All you have to do is listen to a small group, encourage them to slow down, enunciate, and speak up! It's easy, yet vitally important.

This last week there has been on vocab since students were trying to get up to speed with their lines and Rube Goldberg machines. Vocab will be reintroduced next week, so expect to see that.

Thank you for all of your help at home, it makes a big difference!

Robotics Project 1 Final

8 weeks ago students were handed Lego Mindstorm sets and a goal; work together to design, program, and test a robot that would drive forward and backwards, turn left and right, pick up and deliver a ball, and avoid obstacles. For 1 hour a week groups grappled with design, coding, and teamwork issues. They learned how to program, how to negotiate, how to problem solve, and time management. Today was the final presentation of their work.

Out of five groups, none completed the task completely. Two groups programmed their robot to successfully complete the driving tasks, but not the ball pick up and delivery. Two more groups made it more than half way through the course, while one never got off the start line.

The oral presentations, which focused on the design process, were fantastic. Later tonight I'll be posting videos of each of the teams running their robot. I am proud of them and look forward to seeing them continue their problem solving and building skills in the next task.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rube Goldberg Physics Final

Our physics final is here! Over the next two weeks students will be working in small groups to create a Rube Goldberg machine which demonstrates all the physics principles we've learned. Yesterday teams met and discussed their goal. Today they received their rubrics and began to work.

Students are allowed to use any materials they find in the classroom or bring from home. They are NOT allowed to purchase anything. I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Rube Goldberg Project - Rubric

Section 1 Planning and Design

“Blue Print” Drawing
No drawing.
Does not show entire project, or incomplete.
Complete, with portions that are difficult to understand.
Complete, easy to understand, well-labeled.
Complete, easy to understand, well-labeled, organized, neat.

Steps well labeled on drawing/photo with step number, and description of what will happen.
No labels
Steps labeled.
Steps labeled correctly.
Steps labeled correctly in sequence.
Steps labeled correctly in sequence, with a description of each step.

Transformations of energy identified and accurately written out along with blue print.
(5 energy types)
No transformations of energy accurately written out.
1 Transformation of energy accurately written out.
2 transformations of energy accurately written out.
3 Transformations of energy accurately written out.
4-5 Transformations of energy accurately written out and included.

Use of time
Student does not use time in class well
Student works only when reminded to work.
Student works on project during class but needs 2-3 reminders to stay on task.
Student works on project during class with one reminder to stay on task.
Student works on project during class and required no reminders to stay on task.

Number of steps in Rube Goldburg before achieving the goal.
0 steps
1-5 steps
6-10 Steps
11-12 Steps
12+  steps

Number of simple machines used.
Only 1 simple machine type used.
2 different simple machine types are used.
3 different simple machine types are used.
4 different simple machine types are used.
5-6 different simple machine types are used.

Section 2 Presentation

Apparatus  is physically in the room and holds together.
No apparatus 
Apparatus  is in the room.
Apparatus  is in the room, and does not fall apart.
Apparatus   is in the room, does not fall apart, and appears to be well-constructed.

Presentation Quality
Student does not participate in presentation
Student participates minimally in presentation
Presentation is given but information is unclear at times.
Clear description of project is given during presentation.

Apparatus works
Apparatus does not work.
Apparatus works after more than 2 trials.
Apparatus works after 2 trials.
Apparatus works on the first or second trial.

Correct identification of the simple machines in the project.
Incorrect identification of the simple machines in the project.
Correct identification of 50% of the simple machines in the project.
Correct identification of 75% of the simple machines in the project
Correct identification of 80%-100% of the simple machines in the project

Transformations of energy are described correctly during presentation.
0 Transformations of energy are described correctly
1 Transformation of energy is described correctly
2-3 Transformations of energy are described correctly
4-5 Transformations of energy are described correctly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Memorizing Twelfth Night

Memorizing Twelfth Night

Memorizing lines can be quite difficult, but we have spent significant amounts of time in class as a group, in small groups, and individually.  We are two weeks in to our 6 week timeline.

Here are some tips for memorizing that may help over the long weekend. If you are able to come in and work with individuals or small groups during the week, I would very much appreciate it.

Tips for Memorizing Lines

Here are some tips and tricks for memorizing lines!

Don’t try to memorize too much at one time. Instead, break it up into parts. If you are trying to memorize a poem, don’t do the whole thing at once. Memorize just one stanza at a time.
You can sometimes “chunk” information. Remembering 10 numbers in a sequence is hard (3 0 7 5 5 5 8 2 9 4). But remembering 10 numbers in telephone format is a lot easier (307- 555-8294).
Repetition over time is the most important method of getting information into your head and retrieving it readily. Don’t cram; the information won’t stick. Repeat the information frequently over time.
Writing things down and saying them out loud are wonderful ways to help you remember things. When you use these two strategies, think about what you are trying to remember. Just don’t say things out loud when they will annoy other people.
Adding a tune to what you are memorizing can be really helpful. The best example is the alphabet song, which you probably learned when you were four or five years old. Isn’t it unbelievable that you could remember all 26 letters at that age?
The Rehearsal 2 app. This is hands down my favorite way for actors to learn lines. It’s the scene partner that never gets tired of running lines with you. If you can get past the fact that it’s $19.99, this is a game changer. You can highlight the lines in the app, record the other character’s lines, and use it as a teleprompter, which will scroll through the script as you are reading it. Then it just keeps playing on a loop. The secret for me is to whisper my lines and read the other character’s lines out loud when I’m recording, so I don’t get too caught up in the way I’m saying my lines, but I know how much time I have to say them. I will literally put my iPad on a chair and pretend I’m running lines with someone. It’s so much better than a tape recorder. Love it. (Time: Approx. 30 minutes for a 12-page scene.)
Run the lines with someone many times. Preferably an actor, not your friend who was an extra on “Blue Bloods” one time, likes to coach you, and keeps reading the stage directions out loud. The first time you run through it, just listen to the words. Focus on pausing between each line, really absorbing what’s being said and going over the scene many times in many different ways, playing with intention, actions, and pacing. Try it sitting and standing, and allow yourself to make mistakes and explore every way not to do it, while also getting more and more comfortable with the lines. Focus on the “why” and the circumstances, which will help you learn the scene on a deeper level. If you forget your lines, you can find your way back because you really understand what’s going on. (Time: Approx. 30 minutes to an hour.)
  • Cook, clean, or go jogging.
    While you're repeating the words, do something with your hands and feet. Do some cooking, clean your bathroom, or go for a run. This will occupy the parts of your brain you don't need for memorizing.
  • Take your time.
  • This technique requires lots of time to work its magic. So if you have to be off book by next month, start now and take your time.
  • Whisper instead.
    This technique requires you to talk a lot. It may be hard on your voice. If you need to, whisper it instead.
  • Remember to breathe.
    It may sound simple, but it isn't. People like to hold their breath subconciously. But if you breathe, it will help you remember the text better.

Monday, November 7, 2016

November Happenings

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  • November 3rd - Sock Hop - Our sock hop was a fabulous success. We raised more money than we thought possible with a total of $662. Thank you to Mrs. Brinker for heading this fundraiser and Mrs. Masterson, Mrs. Prisel, Mrs. Ediger, Mrs. Kiesz, Mrs. Beeber, and Mrs. Butler for helping supervise. I was very proud of the 8th grade students who did the vast majority of the work. These type of activities allow students to become confident in their ability to plan and execute successful events. Applying math and communication skills in the real world allows students to see the importance of applying oneself in class. 
  • November 4th - Conferences - It was a pleasure to spend time with each of you. This is the first year since I moved from 2nd grade to 8th grade that every single family was able to get in for fall conferences. Thank you for taking time out of your day to sit down and talk with me. Remember that this is not a one time thing. If you have questions or concerns at any time during the year, I am happy to sit down with you and discuss them. 
  • November 10th - Coffee in the Library with Mrs. Macy. Come and find out more about our new director, ask burning questions, or just offer your support. 8:10 AM
  • November 14th - Poinsettia order forms due. Only one more week to get the word out. This is a fairly easy fundraiser since so many people buy poinsettia's for the holidays. Ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. If you need more forms, please let me know. 
  • November 15th - PTA Meeting - 6:30 PM
  • November 17th - Accreditation Visit - A team from Advanced Ed will be on site observing, talking with students, and completing the next step in the accreditation process. 
  • November 17th - Robotics Project 1 Final - Since September students have been working in small groups to design, build, program, and test a robot that will pick up a ball, navigate a course, and place the ball into a container. On November 17th students will be presenting their final project. This will include one person sharing their design process and then having the robot run the course. Parents are invited to attend. The showcase will begin at 1:00 PM and last for approximately 30 minutes. 
  • November 21st - Board of Directors Meeting - 6:30 PM
  • November 23rd and 24th - Thanksgiving Break - No school
  • November 29th - High School Visitations - I have confirmed with Milwaukie Academy of the Arts and am waiting on CAIS and CMC. If you would like to attend this field trip, I have extra spaces, so please let me know. Times are still up in the air, but will likely be from 8:30 - 2:00. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Getting to Know You Surveys

Today's computer lesson was on creating surveys using Google Forms. Each student created a short survey which class members are being asked to take. Students should take all of the survey's by next Tuesday.