Wednesday, August 29, 2018

What to Expect on the First Day

Wednesday is the big day!  What should you expect? 

First, you should expect your student to be simultaneously excited and exhausted. We hit the ground running as soon as we are settled in to our classrooms.  While there are a lot of procedural things on the first day, we will also begin our first writing assignment, which will serve as my baseline. Students will receive their syllabus and review it as a class. They should be able to explain to you my homework policy, absence policies, academic integrity policies, and behavior policies. We will briefly review the course of study, and students will be able to explain what they will need to know by the end of our first units. 

All students will have a few minutes in their math class. During that time they will receive their math book and learn how to set up their math notebook for a successful year. They will not have regular math homework the first day, but do need to cover their math book. While you can use store bought book covers, I highly recommend the old fashioned brown bag technique. 8th graders are perfectly capable of doing this on their own if you provide a brown paper bag for them! If they need a little guidance,here's how to cover your books!

Their final homework assignment for day 1 will be to have a family discussion about what contact information you are comfortable with them sharing. On Thursday we will be creating business cards. These cards will be used in our classroom to share contact information so students can contact each other for homework help. 

8th Grade Night

8th Grade Meeting
September 20th,  2018
6:30 PM

September 20th at 6:30 PM is our 8th grade family information night. Every family will want to have at least one person there to learn about:

  • being promoted from 8th grade
  • understanding the wide range of options for high school
  • choosing a high school that best fits your student
  • our end of year trip
  • fundraising possibilities

This is your chance to help shape our end of year trip and have a say in the extent of our fundraising. 

Please come with any questions you have about high schools, GPA translations, deadlines, essays, recommendation letters, etc. 

Also, please bring any ideas you have for fundraisers that align with our school mission. 

September Lunch Menu

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Water Bottles and Classroom Beverages

Water Bottles and Classroom Beverages

I believe strongly in the importance of proper hydration by students. I encourage every student to have a full reusable water bottle every day. As you're shopping for one, please avoid glass bottles. They are beautiful, but in the close classroom quarters, they end up in pieces on the floor too often. 

Image result for glass water bottles Image result for glass water bottles
These are two of the brands that didn't hold up well last year! 

So why do we ask students to drink only water at school? 

Water and Brain Energy

The brain is one of the most important organs in your body to keep fueled. It is approximately 85 percent water and brain function depends on having abundant access to water.
Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.
According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.
Water is also needed for the brain's production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Nerve transmission requires one-half of all the brain’s energy.
When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity.
The reason why it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day for optimal brain function is because your brain does not have any way to store water.
When your body loses more water than you are replacing, dehydration will kick in and brain function will be affected. 

Students are allowed to drink all the water they would like. Please do not send them with Starbucks or Black Rock in the morning! I appreciate your support and look forward to seeing everyone soon. 

Homework ~ What to Expect

In 8th grade, students will have homework every night. I do my best to keep it predictable so that families can schedule other activities without worrying about fluctuating needs. 

1. Math - Students will have one lesson on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday they will have 2. This is 30 problems and should take no more than 45 minutes. In order to successfully complete their math in a timely manner, students will need their math book, notes taken in class, calculator (for Course 3 and Advanced Math classes only), and a quiet and well lit work space. This work provides needed practice with new skills and review of past skills. Math homework will be corrected each day. Any day that it is not completed (all problems done AND work shown), students will stay in at lunch to work on it until they are done. If work is still not completed by Friday, students will attend Friday school to complete it. 

2. Vocab - Students will get 6 new words each day. This should take no longer than 15 - 20 minutes. For each word, they must define it, give the part of speech, and write one quality sentence. A quality sentence is defined as one that infers the meaning of the word, begins with a different sentence opener, is grammatically correct, and has a dress up. In order to successfully complete this work in a timely manner, students will need a dictionary or access to an online dictionary, pens, lined paper, and a quiet well lit work space. All work must be completed in italics. Vocabulary work is undertaken to help students be better writers and readers. Our vocab list comes from the SAT list.  Vocab homework will be checked each day after the daily vocab/spelling test. If not completed to these standards, students will work during lunch to complete it. 

3. Reading - Students are expected to read 30 minutes a night seven days a week. Each week they will be assigned one article to be read on . This assigned passage allows students to practice reading non fiction text in short bursts and looking for specific information within it. Each passage is followed by several questions that must be answered. This passage will be assigned on Monday and is to be completed by the following Monday. If students score less than 80% they will be asked to reread and correct their answers. Last year many students found it useful to complete this passage on Monday night so that they could correct on Tuesday if need be. The rest of the week students are to read books of their choice. The expectation is that they will complete a minimum of one book per month. The last week of the month, students will present about the book they read. Book presentation requirements will be discussed in class and posted to the blog in a separate post. I insist that students read every day for a variety of reasons. Here are the most important ones: 

  • Reading teaches students about the world around them. Through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround them. This learning is important for its own sake however it also builds a store of background knowledge which helps students learn to read confidently and well.
  • Reading improves a student's vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves the student's ability to write well. This is because students learn new words as they read but also because they unconsciously absorb information as they read about things like how to structure sentences and how to use words and language effectively.
  • Reading helps humans develop empathy. This is something I’ve only recently realized but it makes sense. As my fifteen-year-old son said to me when we were discussing it, ‘Of course it does because you’re identifying with the character in the story so you’re feeling what he’s feeling.
    • ~ From Every Day is an Adventure

That's it! When there are other things that need to be done, one or more of the regular daily assignments will be cut to make time. Almost everything for big projects like NON and Science Expo are done in class. 


Uniforms at Cascade

A quick summary for families new to Cascade Heights, and a quick reminder for returning families.  There is quite the comprehensive uniform code in the Handbook found in each student's planner, so we will not go over everything with a fine-toothed comb here, just the big ideas that may affect your back-to-school shopping over the next few weeks.

Basic Uniform:
White collared shirt:
White collared shirts may be long- or short-sleeved, with a turtle, mock-turtle, Mandarin, Peter Pan, or regular wing collar.
All of these are fine and quite stylish.
Uniform shirts MUST be long enough to tuck in all the way around.  They may NOT have large logos.  Undershirts may NOT have print that shows through the top collared shirt.

Navy bottoms:
Navy is a dark blue material that is NOT denim or black.  Shorts, skirts, pants, kulots, skorts, jumpers, and kilts ARE acceptable.  Cargo, stretch, leggings, jeggings, short-shorts (must come to 1" above knee or farther down) are NOT acceptable. Please check the length of shorts and skirts. Many students will grow over the summer and what fit perfectly in June is no longer appropriate.
This works:
Mock layer pleated jumper by French Toast, $19.99
Because, although it is "mock layer," it has the requisite white collared shirt look to it.

This doesn't work:
Old Navy polo dress for such a great deal!
Because it does not have the "white shirt with collar" part of the uniform.

Leggings and tights:
Please regard leggings (white, navy blue, or black) as more like tights than pants.  They may be worn as a layer under jumpers, but are NOT a substitute for pants.  Stretch pants (leggings included) are not part of the uniform.

A word on shoes:
Cascade Falcons have P.E. and recess every day. Heels are not permitted  for daily wear. On special occasions, low heels will be allowed.

Other shoes that don't belong at school: shoes with heels (including combat-style boots, cowboy boots, etc.), slippers, UGGS, mud boots (as the only shoe--if students can change quickly, they may bring mud boots for outside wear), sandals, open-toed shoes, flip-flops.

Socks and tights may be any color. They must show up over the edge of shoes (no no-shows). Nylons are allowed with skirts or shorts.

Red sweaters:
Please look for fire-engine red as much as possible.  Maroon is not a school color.  Sweaters may be sweatshirts, cardigans, pullovers, v-necks, etc., but may NOT have a hood if a child wishes to wear it indoors.

These are NOT allowed to be worn in the classroom (in fire-engine red, or any other color):
Super sporty, but not inside.
Sweaters are also not a substitute for tucking in a white collared shirt that must be worn under the sweater!

Make Up:
8th graders are permitted to wear light make up. The following graphic may help students to decide what "light" means. Basically if the make up stands out it should not be worn to school on a daily basis. Save it for special events!

The purpose of uniforms is multi-fold:
  • It removes a level of class-based judgement and bullying.  Children who all dress the same find it more difficult to single out others who may have less.
  • It makes the identification of those who belong on campus and in field trip groups easier and quicker; it's a safety thing.
  • It is visually calming and far less stimulating than a sea of a billion colors.  Please remember the distraction of fancy hair-baubles, earrings, bracelets, etc.
  • It simplifies getting dressed in the morning.
  • It creates pride in identity and place: we know we look smart as a group and we are proud of it!
  • It encourages students to express their personality with their...personality.  They are driven to express themselves through assignments, thought, speech, and actions.  
  • It is one of the many reasons families choose and stay at Cascade Heights!

Supply List

*** Individual supplies please have student write their first and last name on front, as appropriate ***
3 1 subject spiral notebooks
scissors (reuse the pair you have from past years)
3 ring binder (1")
1 stick O'Glue (roll on gel glue)
Colored Markers (not sharpies)
Highlighters (multi color: yellow, blue, pink)
1 pkg colored pencils
Fine tip black Sharpie
white board markers (low odor)
2 dozen ball point pens (any color but yellow or gel pink)
1 set of headphones (earbuds or over the ear, dependent on student preference)
** Communal Supplies (will be shared/stored with the whole class):No names on supplies **
3 Reams College rule paper
2 reams of copy paper (white)
1 box facial tissue
1 tub Clorox wipes
1 Roll Masking tape
1 pkg 3x5 notecards lined
Math Course 3 (revised 5/17/16)
2 1 subject spiral notebooks, 1 compass
1 pencil pouch for supplies fine tip colored markers 1 pk white board markers
scissors (reuse the pair you have from past years) Ruler with metric 1 protractor
(1) 70 page college rule Spiral notebooks
1 folder with pockets
(1) 70 page college rule Spiral notebooks or (1) 1" three ring binder
1 folder with pockets 1 tub Clorox wipes
1 Essential Elements Book 1 (for given instrument)
Woodwinds: 1 strength 2 reeds (Vandoren or Rico preferred)
Brass: 1 valve or slide oil