Unit III Overviews
Unit III overviews and calendars have been, or will soon be, emailed home. Your children have these documents filed in their binders and can show them to you if you ask. Teachers are available to answer any questions you might have, so please call or email if need be. Here’s a short overview of this unit’s humanities and science:
8th year students continue to work on their Expert Project research and writing, while at the same time studying the physics of waves and sound. The students will explore the various elements of waves, especially sound waves – how they are produced and what affects their energy – through labs, activities and readings. For their final project in the unit, the students will design, build and then play their own unique musical instruments.
Unit III for the 8 grade is called Discovery. The students will begin this unit by learning about the conditions that made the Renaissance possible and the many innovations, inventions and discoveries that occurred during the time. The 8th grade will then conduct their own research on other times and places where a similar cultural flowering took place in the world. To compliment the unit, we will read Shakespeare’s Macbeth and travel to the Yale University Art Gallery on March 22, 2018.
In Unit 3, students will be studying the solar system, scale, and the origins of our universe. Students will also explore the phases of the moon and their effects on tides, the reasons for the seasons, and lunar and solar eclipses. They will be able to apply their group Design Thinking skills to a “Design an Alien” activity. The unit will culminate with a guided trip to the McCarthy Observatory in New Milford.
In our Third Unit, students will read, discuss, and write about fiction, poetry, primary sources, textbooks, etc. to explore the theme of “Vision and Perspective.” Guiding their studies will be questions about what makes people leave their homes to start new lives, what factors cause people to develop a vision of a better life somewhere else, and how we look at the world from someone else’s perspective. Also this unit, students will find out about their own family histories and create Family Books that combine writings, pictures, documents, and interview-based narratives.
The WMS 6th and 7th grade science classes are excited to welcome Mike Paolucci and Paige Godfrey to kick off their study of astronomy. Mike and Paige will help students connect their school studies with the use of the Slooh telescopes in order to bring the universe just a bit closer. Students will have the opportunity to test out the Slooh Classroom product over the course of the unit and give their feedback and input in April.
The WMS Middle School Book Club has its second meeting on February 14th at recess. The selection for this term is The Ethan I Was Before, by Ali Standish.
Spring sports will begin after March vacation. This year we will be offering track and field and tennis three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Practice begins at 3:30 and ends at 5:00 each day. Match and competition schedules will be given to your child once the season begins. Outdoor Club will also resume in the spring, every Wednesday from 3:30-5:15. Tennis and Track and Field begin on Monday, March 26 while Outdoor club begins March 28.
McCarthy Observatory Field Trip:
All 6th and 7th grade students will have a chance to visit the McCarthy Observatory this spring. Students will be given a tour/presentation by one of the volunteers, and on the way home are going to visit each planet on the scaled solar system which ends on Route 202!
Teachers will be sending out more detailed information for all trips before spring break, but just so you have it on your schedule:
6th Grade – the 6th Grade group will begin the week with a day trip to the New Britain Museum of American Art for a docent led program. On Wednesday, they will spend the day as student volunteers at the Trevor Zoo located at the Millbrook School. The following day is a trip back to the 1800s as they will be headed to Sturbridge Village. The group will be spending Wednesday and Thursday nights at a local sleepaway camp. This trip will be led by Lauren Long and Emma Risley with daily help from other WMS faculty and staff members.
7th Grade – the 7th grade class will spend Monday and Tuesday of trip week preparing for their Boston adventure. The class will take to the road on Wednesday morning and will return back to WMS on Friday for dismissal. Elizabeth, Annie and Kylie will be travelling with the group along with Erik and Greg.
8th Grade – the 8th grade class is headed to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona (about an hour from Tucson) for several days of service work and cultural learning. This is a new trip, planned and designed by our very own Nora, Tom, Melissa and Kresta.
Kindness, Respect and Community Life:
It is important to us that students in our community treat each other with respect and courtesy. As most of you realize, Middle School students are extremely social and do everything they can to stay connected to their friends. It’s also true that we all communicate electronically these days. We would like to remind you how difficult communication is in the best of circumstances. Without the benefit of a human face to let us know the response to our words, misunderstandings and hurt feelings can result. On a regular basis, we see students come to school upset about what’s been said over the internet the night before. As teachers we address these issues directly. As parents, we urge you to monitor your child’s use of the internet closely. Clear and reasonable guidelines are helpful to everyone:
- Clarify explicitly your expectations for your child’s treatment of others both in-person and online. It is always possible to be kind.
- Have computers used only in public places in your home.
- We suggest that you turn the internet off at 9:00 PM. There is no reason for children this age to be on the internet later than this.
The school considers infractions in and outside of school to be the shared responsibility of school and parents. If social problems occur because of internet communication at home, there will be consequences at school. With guidance during these critical years, we can help our children learn to enjoy the benefits of the internet and also to understand its pitfalls.
A reminder that it’s important to communicate with the MS staff if a social situation with schoolmates is making your child uncomfortable. We are committed to each and every child in our community during these sensitive years.
Middle School Conference Night
On the evening of April 4th, from 5:30-7:30, all middle school teachers will be available for short check-ins with the families of each student they teach. Please come up to the MS commons and sign up to meet with the teachers you would like to speak with. We will be debuting a new system that should help keep conferences moving more efficiently.
We hope these reminders have been helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please call or email Kerry or Tom at 868-0551 or email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org