Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Field Day/Diffendoofer Day

Monday is our annual day of fun!

Uniform of the day: 8th grade t shirts and uniform shorts or pants.

From 8:00 - 12:00 students will be rotating from class to class spending time on activities designed by each teacher.

From 12:00 - 12:30 is the 8th grade versus staff kick ball game. This annual tradition is lots of fun. Last year was the first time the students won. Will this year's class continue the winning streak?

12:30 - 3:30 is field day! Mr. Weaver has a great afternoon of activities planned. Please be sure to remind your student to apply sunscreen before they get to school and pack an extra water bottle!

Parents are welcome to attend and Mr. Weaver is always looking for volunteers.

Teach In This Thursday

After all their hard work, the final presentations are upon us. This Thursday is our Teach In. Please read below for answers to all of your pressing questions.

1. What is this thing?
The Teach In is a day of sharing information about social justice causes. Each student was asked to choose a social justice topic that they feel passionately about, passionately enough that they were willing to stand up for it regardless of the consequences. Students have 10 - 15 minutes to share their topic is some format. Some have chosen speeches, some have chosen documentaries, some have chosen to create websites, zines, art, or children's books.

2. What should they wear?
Last Thursday we tie dyed t shirts because what sit in/teach in would be complete without tie dye? Students are permitted to wear jeans or shorts or skirts with their tie dye shirts. We're going for the "hippy" look. If students would like to add bell bottoms, funny glasses, fringed vests, or flower wreaths they are certainly welcome to. They are permitted to alter their shirts to add fringing and beads if they would like.
Related imageImage result for hippie attire
3. What should they bring?
Presentation pieces are a must.They may bring a bean bag chair or other comfy pillow to sit on and snack to share. Neither is required. We will be having pizza for lunch, so students do not need to bring a lunch, but I'm sure they will be hungry long before the pizza is ready, so snack is a good idea.

4. What time will students be presenting?
We will begin presentations at 8:30 and go until they are done. There is no guarantee of what time a particular student will go.

5. May parents attend?
Parents are welcome to attend as long as they remember that we have promised students an emotionally safe space to present. We have discussed at great length that I do not expect people to agree with everything being presented, but I do expect them to listen with an open mind and be respectful. It takes an immense amount of bravery to get up and speak about something you care deeply about knowing that others may not agree with you. So, parents attending will be asked to join the circle with a open heart and mind while being hyper conscientious about body language.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


May 8th, 2017
Dear Middle School Families,

While year end is rapidly approaching, we still have much to learn! Next week 6th, 7th, and 8th grade will be tackling what in the past we have called FACTS. For several years we have held FACTS class for 7th and 8th graders on the weekend and made it a family event. State law (ORS: 336.455, 342.726, 581-022-0413, 581-022-1440, 581-022-0416, 581-022-1510) now requires that we hold these classes during the school day so that all students have equal access to the information. That being said, we want to extend an invitation to parents to join us as an observer for these classes.

8th grade will be holding class on Monday, May 15, from 10:30 - 12:00 and 12:30 - 2:00 PM.
7th grade will be holding class on Tuesday, May 16th, from 11:15 -12:00 and 12:30 - 1:55 PM.
6th grade will be holding class on Wednesday, May 17th, from 11:15 - 12:00 and 2:15 - 3:25 PM.

The following standards will be covered:
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention
    • Describe the benefits of a tobacco and drug free environment
    • Explain short and long term effects of alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, and other drug use including anabolic steroids, and other performance enhancing drugs
    • Identify the influences that encourage young people to abstain and not abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
    • Identify the individual factors that modify drug effects including age, sex, weight, dosage, purity, tolerance, and drug interactions
    • Demonstrate refusal skills
    • Demonstrate refusal skills specifically around drinking and driving or being a passenger in a car with someone who has been drinking
  • Promotion of Sexual Health
    • Identify medically accurate sources of information about puberty, development, and sexuality
    • Analyze how friends, family, media, society, and culture can influence self concept and body image.
    • Set a personal goal to avoid an unintended pregnancy
    • Advocate for the promotion of abstinence as the safest and most effective method of protection from STD/HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and pregnancy
    • Access appropriate school, home, and community resources to meet specific needs for sexual health, including pregnancy and STD testing and contraception
    • Use a decision making model to avoid sexual activity that may put you and your partner at personal risk
    • Analyze the role of alcohol and other drug use in sexual violence related situations
    • Describe physical, social, and emotional changes that occur during puberty
    • Define sexual intercourse and its relationship to human reproduction
    • Explain how conception occurs, the stages of pregnancy, and responsibility of parenting
    • Compare and Contrast the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships
    • Describe a range of ways people express affection within various types of relationships.
    • Define STDS, HIV, Hepatitis B/C and how they are and are not transmitted.
    • Differentiate between biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression
  • Violence and Suicide Prevention
    • Explain how violence, aggression, bullying, cyber bullying, and harassment affect health and safety
    • Describe the difference between physical, verbal, relational, sexual, and dating violence.
    • Explain how witnesses and bystanders can help prevent violence by reporting dangerous behaviors.
    • Set a personal goal to prevent and stop violence
    • Describe how to access resources when you or someone else is depressed or considering suicide
    • Identify that media and technology may contain violent messages and images.

As you can see, there are a lot of standards to cover, so it will be quite fast paced. We strongly encourage deeper conversations about these critical topics at home. There are many wonderful websites that focus on conversation starters around sex education, violence prevention, and drug use prevention. If you would like assistance in finding these, please let us know!

Thank you,

Mr. Vieira, Ms. Venture, Mrs. Adams

Monday, May 8, 2017

Smarter Balanced Testing

It's Smarter Balanced Test Time!

8th grade takes three tests, Language Arts, Math, and Science. We will take Science this Wednesday from 12:30 - 2:00. Math and Language Arts will be next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. All three tests are computerized which means we will work in the computer lab. Results typically take several months and you should look for results in the fall via US mail.

Here are a few ideas for helping students perform to the best of their ability.

• Make sure your children have eaten well on test days. Studies suggest that good nutrition is related to improved attention and concentration.
• Help your children by encouraging a good night’s rest before exams. Children who are tired will have difficulty focusing on their work.
• Make the morning of test days pleasant. Stress will impair your children’s ability to perform their best.
• Remind your children to dress in their most comfortable uniform, perhaps in layers, so that they are able to adjust to the temperature in the room.
• Ensure that your children make it to school on-time so that they do not miss any instructions and are allowed ample time to settle in and relax before the test begins.
• Don’t schedule dental or doctor appointments for testing days.
• Don’t be too anxious about your children’s test scores. Although it is important to let them know that the tests should be taken seriously, it is also important not to increase test-taking anxiety.

If you have any questions about SBAC, please let me know!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Civil Rights/Social Activism - How Parents Can Help

The final project of 8th grade is a social activism project. Students were asked to choose a topic that they felt passionately about, so passionately that they would be willing to stand up before their peers and present it, even if their peers disagreed with them.

Students are allowed to choose their method of presentation as long as it meets the following requirements:

  • 10 - 15 minutes in length
  • Educates the audience about the issue
  •  Motivates the audience to act
  • Represents a significant amount of effort. (12 - 20 hours worth of work over a 6 week period)

We talked at length about possibilities. A few I've seen in the past are:

  • Documentary written, filmed, and edited by the student
  • Webpages created by the student
  • Picture books
  • Zines
  • Speeches
  • Album of songs written and performed by the student
  • Murals

Some new ideas students came up with this year include:

  • Social media campaign complete with slogan, graphics, and written business plan
  • Fundraising camping complete with art and written plan for dissemination
  • Writing a proposal for a bill and meeting with local congressional representatives to pitch their idea
As students get going, they are going to need some help and as parents, you'll want to be involved. This is a great idea, as long as everyone keeps a few main points in mind. 

  1. The idea behind this entire project is for the student to become socially active about a topic of their choosing. 
  2. Students should do the vast majority of the work. It is perfectly ok for parents to hold the camera while students interview someone for their documentary, not ok for parents to contact people for the student to be interviewed. Please ask them questions to clarify their process or thoughts, please do not provide them with a step by step to do list. Please drive them to the store to pick up supplies, please do not make the supply list for them. 
  3. There are many great ways to help! Ask questions, introduce them to community resources on their topic, visit the library, read articles together and discuss, shop for supplies, and most of all, tell them you believe in their ability to do this. 
  4. On June 1st your student will be in front of the class for 10 - 15 minutes. They need to know their topic and feel passionately about it. Work that is done for them will leave them feeling unsure of themselves and nervous about standing up there. Work they have done will leave them confident and excited.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask via email or phone. I am excited by the range of topics that students chose and can't wait to see their presentations. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Writing Assignment

This Week’s Writing Assignment
KWO – Tuesday                Rough Draft – Wednesday            Final Draft – Thursday
I. Introduction
               a. Use a short story to explain why this topic is important.
               b. Close with a strong sentence about there being a difference between joking and harassment.
II. What is joking?
               a. Define joking
               b. Give multiple examples of joking and the impact of each
III. What is harassment?
               a. Define harassment
               b. Give multiple examples of harassment and the impact of each
IV. Where does joking and harassment blend?
               a. Give examples AND analyze the possible impact of each
V. Conclusion
               a. Explain best practices for using humor and not hurting others