Friday, January 4, 2019

Happy 2019



Welcome back! We hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable December break. It may be hard to believe, but the end of quarter 2 is fast approaching. Grades for quarter 2 will close on January 25. 


As we settle back in to a routine we are also focusing on building a strong community here at Rockport Middle School. We hope to use our morning announcements to incorporate small practices that help build community and a sense of working together. Beginning January 7, each day will have a theme. The themes are as follows:


Mindful Monday - short mindfulness practices
Trivia Tuesday - a piece of trivia will be shared
Wisdom Wednesday - inspiring quotes
Thankful Thursday - expressions of gratitude from our community
Funny Friday - comic relief

As we approach the halfway point of the year, I also wanted to share some updates from the core departments.

English

Students in 6th grade reading in the past month have been working on analyzing short stories, poems, and articles. We looked at characters, vocabulary and practiced taking notes while actively listening. We are beginning literature circles and having daily small group discussions. Leading up to this, we talked about what are the elements of a good discussion and had students model what that looked like and sounded like. They will be finishing up their literature circles before the end of the semester and working on a small group project to present to the class.

Students in 6th grade English just finished their unit on the eight parts of speech. Students used these concepts to write descriptive paragraphs about a fascinating person using vivid and specific adjectives, and active verbs while avoiding unnecessary adverbs. During the last two weeks before the December vacation, they read a play version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. This culminated with our field trip to see the North Shore Music Theater production.

Students in 7th grade English are reviewing the writing process through the creation of a narrative/descriptive writing project. Students regularly practice the multi-step process of brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing and publishing a complete and polished piece of work.

Upon completion of To Kill a Mockingbird, students in 8th grade are currently reading the graphic novel MAUS I and II by Art Spiegelman. While reading, students are annotating their thoughts through questions, comments, connections, and predictions about the novel. In class, students are using the novel to work on skills such as sequencing, identifying conflicts, learning new vocabulary, and character analysis. Weekly, students are reflecting on major themes through journal prompts. Students are anticipating the start of the movie “Boy in Striped Pajamas” to reflect on the different experiences of those that lived through the Holocaust and World War II.

RMS Science, Technology & Engineering

6th graders are working hard being “paleontologists,” studying how rock layers form and change.  By understanding how rocks change, 6th graders are learning about environmental evidence of earth’s fossil history and past positions of the continents.  

7th graders are engaged in Mr. Allia’s climate change unit, learning how climate change has impacted animals and their environment. Along with environmental impact, 7th graders tested light bulb energy efficiency and found LED the winning energy-efficient. Measuring air quality and comparing modern versus past air composition.

8th graders recently completed their Bunny Projects, where they used 2 parent bunnies to predict offspring traits.  

Technology Engineering 6th graders are busy designing and building “Maglev” trains, using magnets to repel and push their train. 7th graders are designing their own scale model homes. 8th graders are building DIY (do it yourself) audio speakers, using magnet wire, cardboard and a styrofoam plate.

Mathematics

The 6th grade students are continuing through their unit on rational numbers and the coordinate plane. They have learned about integers and absolute value, the vocabulary surrounding them, and their real world applications. Currently, students are using coordinates to plot and connect points on a plane to create shapes and images. In order to show their understanding of the concepts, the students are currently creating their own figure and other students can plot the points and recreate the design. Students continue on a coordinate graph. They must then generate a list of coordinates to develop their mental math computational strategies as much as possible .
Analyzing and using proportional relationships is the unit the 7th grade is currently engaged in. They are using equivalent ratios to identify proportional relations. They are then applying them to solve problems. They are learning to recognize proportional relations as graphs of lines through the origin. In order to show their understanding, the students worked collaboratively to create posters to represent real-world problems utilizing tables and graphs. Through the design and discussion of the posters, students were able to identify whether problems were proportional or not.  
In 8th grade, the students have been focused on graphing linear equations. They have determined the graphs of equations using both the slope-intercept form (y = mx + b) and the standard form (Ax + By = C) of an equation. The unit of instruction culminated in a scavenger hunt, where the students solved systems of linear equations through graphing in order to find mystery locations throughout the school. They “traveled” to the “destinations” in the building to determine if their solutions were accurate. The students filled their passports with stamps from every location. 
Social Studies

In 6th grade one of our essential questions in our Latin America unit was, "People need water to survive.  Does that make the rainforest a desirable biome for survival?" To address this question, students read about the rainforest and life in the tropics.  They also looked at the importance of water as a survival need and the effects of heat and humidity on our health. After coming to a conclusion about the desirability of living in the rainforest, students created a home appropriate for the rainforest biome.  Their home needed to protect them from some of the biggest environmental problems in the biome such as high heat and humidity, rain, and bugs.

In 7th Grade we are currently studying the ancient Egyptian civilization.  The focus of the unit will be on the geographical, historical and cultural aspects of ancient Egypt.  The highlights for our study of ancient Egypt will be the reading of the myth of "Osiris & Isis" as well as grouping in action activities in the library.

We are currently finishing up a unit on Medieval Europe in Grade 8.  Students have learned about powerful rulers such as Charlemagne and Alfred the Great, worked on their second expository essay of the year on their reigns.  Using our imaginary kingdom of “Swanbergia,” students have learned how the feudal system worked and how it impacted the people living during the Dark Ages and Medieval Times.  We are rounding out this unit by investigating the Bubonic Plague, and how the disease changed the course of European history.



Friday, November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018


It's hard to believe that we are coming up on Thanksgiving, and that we have already had our first snowfall!  We have been busy here at RMS!

On November 7th thanks to support from the Education Foundation of Rockport, Ed Gerety came and spoke to students about the strength of being a community and being kind to each other. The talk was great, and many student expressed a desire to be kinder and more positive over their middle school years. More about Ed can be found on his website: https://www.edgerety.com/

We have our second A.L.I.C.E drill Monday at 1pm. We thank families and students for their continued support and questions as we all work together to keep our community safe. 

Grade Seven students were on a field trip on November 9 to IMAX theatre. Students were great and the whole group had a good time. 

We are in the middle of our annual food drive to support the Open Door food pantry. Last year, students brought in 1,660 items, and the Student Council has set a goal this year of donating in 1,700 items! Students have until the 1/2 day on Wednesday to bring in donations, as the pick up will be that morning. Non-perishable items can be brought to their homeroom teachers. Some suggested items are canned children and tuna, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, and coups. No glass containers please! 

Our Chain of Kindness is growing! This year we have had more students fill out kindness cards to share what a classmate has done. Some examples of how our students show kindness are below, as well as a picture of how the kindness chain is spreading through the school!

One student helped another pick up their binder when it was dropped

A sixth grader helped clean other people's lunch tables
A sixth grader was an upstander and not a bystander in a tough situation




Some recent highlights from the classrooms include:

In grade 8 English students are reflecting and writing on interesting topics related to To Kill a Mockingbird such as "Is To Kill a Mockingbird" a book 8th graders should read or "Did Atticus make the right decision?"
In Grade 6 Social Studies students recently learned about elevation and the effects on humans as they travel to higher locations
Grade 8 Algebra is learning about slope and are working on determining the y intercept. They will soon be using these characteristics to write and graph linear equations




Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall 2018



We end our second full week of school having accomplished a lot of different goals already, and it hard to believe it is still so early!

We kicked off the year with a new summer reading initiative with book groups on September 5. For a full period, all students were in small groups with a peers and teachers who had read the same book as they did. The discussions throughout the building were thought provoking and just so much fun. We are excited to continue forward with this summer reading approach and encourage you to share any good book recommendations with us so we can consider them for our list. In that same vein, if you are ever clearing out your home book shelves, please keep classroom libraries in mind! We are always looks for new books! The more we have, the more we can get into students' hands.

We had our first A.L.I.C.E drill on Monday September 17 and everything went really well. Students were respectful and committed to practicing what we would do in a critical situation. They asked thoughtful and important questions. The response of staff and students to these questions and drills show more clearly than ever the strength of our community and our desire to look out for one another.

We are continuing with our Chain of Kindness throughout the school, highlighting kind actions taken by students here at RMS. Some examples of how our students show kindness:

Several students have been welcoming toward our new sixth graders
A student checked to be sure another student was included in an activity
Several students helped return lost and found items to their respective owners

Some recent highlights from the classrooms include

Growth mindset activities in Math classes- always remember the brain can grow!
Starting a robotics unit in Grade 6 Science
Understanding maps in Grade 6 Social Studies
Students have created a class periodic table in Grade 8 Science

On a final note, keep in mind our Open House is Thursday September 27! We hope to see you there!

Monday, February 12, 2018



It's hard to believe we have passed the half way point of the school year! Soon, we will begin having conversations about preparing for the next grade level.  

Please also keep in mind the on February 13, we have Katie Greer coming to present to students and parents. Ms. Greer is a expert on internet safety, an increasingly important topic given the amount of time teenagers spend online and on phones. She will present to parents at 6:30pm in the auditorium. We hope to see you there!

While the New England weather has been all over the place lately, students have remained focus on their learning and are discovering new things. Recently, in Grade 6 science, students learned about cells and in a hands on experiment, examined what can permeate a cell membrane by observing how certain substances can permeate an egg, while others cannot.



Our chain of kindness continues to grow. Some highlights include:

A student showed patience and kindness to a fellow student
A student helped another student whose binder fell and spilled everyone
A student helped a teacher with a project



This week happens to be National Random Acts of Kindness Week. Throughout the week there will be various activities to promote kindness. Today at lunches students wrote thank you notes to teachers and/or staff. Over 290 cards were written and distributed this afternoon! 



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Winter Updates





Welcome

As you may know, one of the goals at RMS this year is to increase communication home. We hope you will find helpful information in this blog!

Kindness Starts a chain reaction

We are starting a visual on the wall to recognize our students when they do something contributes to the positive culture here at RMS. We will share the acts with parents as well. In our blog, we will recognize a few acts of kindness each month. For this month here are some great things our students have done for each other and/or for the community:

A  student turned in $20 that was lost by another person
A  student ran out into the pouring rain to pick up some cans drop the the food pantry truck
A student moved lunch tables to join someone sitting alone



School Calendar

There are a few half days coming up:

December 6 is a half day for students- professional day for Staff
December 22 is a half day for all- start of the December Break
Students return on January 2nd

Please remember that Food Services is closed on half days.




From the Dean


Hi Parents and Guardians,

As you know, cooler weather is upon us and will it be getting colder. Students have the option of going outside for 15 minutes each day after finishing lunch as long as it isn't precipitating or below 20 degrees (according to the "feels like" temperature, which includes windchill). That said, please help students remember to bring in winter coats, gloves/mittens and hats if they plan on going outside. Getting that fresh air is extremely helpful for many students and we hope, by working together to make sure they are prepared to go outside, we can ensure a nice outdoor mid-day break. Thanks for your help!

Happy 2019

Welcome back! We hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable December break. It may be hard to believe, but the end of quarter 2 is fast app...