The Guidance Office has been a busy place this Fall. We have had the pleasure of welcoming nine new 6th grade students to JGMS / Bedford, nine 7th grade students and three 8th grade students. They have been invited to be a part of Newcomers’ Club, a group for students who are new to JGMS / Bedford this Fall. The grade 6 group meets during Advisory every Day 6, the grade 7 group meets during advisory on Thursdays and the 8th grade groups meets during Advisory on Day 4. During these gatherings we have gotten to know one another, shared our stories about how each of them arrived in Bedford at JGMS and talked about how they are feeling about that big change. We have also discussed how to get connected in a new community, reviewed Aspen, eaten snacks and played a few fun activities. Ask your children about our group…it has been fun getting to know them. We will continue to meet throughout the second term.
Each of the counselors has also been busy meeting with students, individually and in groups. We have also been teaching classes and been involved in assemblies planning for High School!
In grade 6 Mrs. Siegenthaler met all the 6th grade students by teaching two Life Skills classes that focused on getting to know one another, discussing the transition into Middle School and learning about communication skills. Learning about the roles of mover, bystander, opposer, bystander or irrelevant and reflecting on the fact that how we treat one another, how we communicate with one another and how we handle conflict will impact both their sixth grade experience and the climate at JGMS. It was fun to work with the sixth grade…what a great group of students!
In grade 7 Ms. Daley delivered two Guidance-based lessons within the Theatre Arts Classes throughout the month of November. The lessons focused on the development of self-awareness and creative critical thinking skills as well as explored effective conflict resolution strategies and methods. The students were introduced to a variety of effective communication techniques as well as examined how these techniques enhance the quality of relationships. The 7th graders eagerly participated in the interactive activities, group-based discussions, and partner role-plays. Ms. Daley will also be traveling into the 7th Grade Learning Center Classrooms throughout the month of December to deliver the same lessons to those unable to participate in the Theatre Arts class due to schedule constraints.
In grade 8 Ms. McDermott is very excited to be back at JGMS this year and looks forward to continuing her work with the 8th graders this year. This will be a big year of transition for the 8th graders as they look forward to an exciting move up to high school next Fall. Ms. McDermott will be presenting a classroom guidance lesson in January that will focus on the high school transition and provide students with some academic and social emotional tips as they prepare for a positive transition next Fall.
On October 23rd, the Guidance team from Shawsheen Technical High School visited JGMS to present application and admission information. If you have a child who may benefit from the hands-on, vocational approach at Shawsheen Technical High School, please encourage your child to see Ms. McDermott. Application for Shawsheen Technical High School will be due on February 1, 2015.
We are busy meeting individually with students, running lunch groups and facilitating support for students on 504 plans. Please call or email any one of us if you have a question or concern.
Christina Delgado and Germaine Ross were selected to attend the Lead Boston Conference hosted at Boston University in October. For over 20 years, Lead Boston has been connecting leaders across sectors to increase the inner workings of Boston, their awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by it's residents and their capacity to positively impact their workplace and community.
Visual Arts News:
Every year, students in 8th grade Art classes do a major project related to social/political awareness and the concept of communicating ideas and concerns through their art. Studying artists from yesterday and today who are known for this kind of art help prepare students for the project. Research, planning, working things out as teams, and finally creating the final project takes a lot of time and effort, but the results are amazing. Large murals, eye-catching collages, and an interesting variety of 3-D pieces are the culminating works this year. Topics range from texting and driving, to ocean clean up, to equal rights. Look for them in the hallways near the office and on display in the library.
6th grade French is finishing up a chapter (leçon 3) on food vocabulary and how to ask questions in formal and informal settings. The students designed their own French menus on Google docs and will be sharing them in class. We looked at cultural aspects of French cuisine and cafés in France as well as the use of the Euro. We are about to embark on Leçon 4 which introduces telling time, giving dates and weather expressions. We have been learning songs that incorporate some of the vocabulary from the various chapters.
7th grade French has completed Leçon11 which introduced the various forms of adjectives and their typical placement in French. Students did descriptive writing as well as describing a situation in spoken form recorded in the lab. We looked at French youth and spoke about similarities and differences in the school systems and during our free time. We sang some songs related to the grammar in the chapter as well. Students are currently reviewing for a Unit 4 test which covers 4 chapters. In groups they will review the different chapters (each group assigned one chapter) and create a Google presentation for the class.
8th grade French has completed leçon 20 which introduces regular RE verbs and new expressions with the verb Avoir. Students have done some writing with these expressions as well as created foldables which incorporated many RE verbs in both sentences and drawings. Learning how to say commands in French was also practiced by role playing and writing dialogues. Students have recorded their voices in the lab as well to practice their oral production. Culturally we looked at how young French earn money and compared them to our youth culture. We have also practiced singing various songs that introduce grammar points from the chapter.
In 6th grade students learned that expressing likes and dislikes in Spanish is grammatically different than in English. In Spanish they need to use the verb “gustar”. They also learned that origin is expressed using the verb “ser +de”.
By the middle of December students will start the new Unidad 1 Lección 2. In this unit, students will keep practicing and extending the concept of the verb SER (to be) and they will be able to describe what somebody is like and his/her profession. They will also learn how to identify people and things. We will continue to explore the influence of the latino community within the US and its history (for example: El Alamo, Texas.)
In 7th grade Spanish the students are currently beginning a new chapter, the second lesson in the unit set in Puerto Rico. They are learning about foods, music, and other cultural traditions of this Caribbean island. They will learn about famous puertorriqueños and nuyoricans. The vocabulary for this lesson focuses on family using family trees. It includes dates as well, and numbers through a million. For grammar, they learn possessive adjectives, possession with de, and how to make comparisons.
Students in Spanish 8 recently completed a lesson on Ecuador which focused on traditional celebrations and household chores and responsibilities. They were introduced to the culture of Ecuador including the handicrafts of its great outdoor market of Otavalo and the traditions of music and dance in different regions of the country.
Spanish 8 students also completed a lesson which focused on the vocabulary used to talk about sports which took place in the cultural context of the Dominican Republic. They learned about several celebrities in our own country who are natives of the Dominican Republic.
Our new unit takes place in Guatemala. Students are learning to describe their daily routine and talk about grooming. They will also learn to talk about choosing various modes of transportation while traveling on vacation. One of the new grammar objectives is the introduction of the concept of reflexive verbs. Students will learn to use these verbs in the present tense and the present progressive tense as well as in familiar affirmative commands. Students will be introduced to the cultural traditions of Guatemala.
6th Grade News:
For Orange Team news, please click here
For Yellow Team news, please click here
7th Grade News:
During the first quarter, all seventh grade students were exposed to methods of characterization, the plot curve, and different types of character conflict. In addition to reading "A Reasonable Sum," and "The Landlady," students wrote an "I Am" Poem, delivered her/his book project award speech, and wrote her/his first response to literature. In addition, we studied two units of vocabulary, reviewed the different types of sentences, and practiced speaking and listening through various prompts. All and all, it was a very busy and successful start to the academic year. During the second quarter, we will begin with studying folklore: legends, fables, and tall tales, before studying Greek mythology in Spinner's Quicksilver. We will continue our work on sentence structures, and futher our work with new vocabulary units. In addition, students will also submit their first long composition after completing an entire writing process. We encourage your student to continue to self-advocate, and seek extra academic support if she/he should need it. Please know that we are available before school, after school, and during Day 5, Period 6 (Grade 7 Directed Study). All our best, Mrs. d'Entremont & Mr. Donaher
All 7th grade math classes just finished an Algebra unit on solving and graphing linear equations. They also all put great effort into their cartoon graphing projects submitted before Thanksgiving. The cartoons make a colorful and vibrant display in the math classrooms. The 7th Grade Mathematics classes are working on the Fractions unit. The 7th Grade Pre-Algebra classes are beginning a unit on ratios, proportions and percents. Students will also be working on Part II of their cartoon enlargement project, which will be due in January. Please check in with your child to make sure that they are bringing a calculator, pencils, and paper to class each day. Testing for 8th grade mathematics class placement will begin in early February. Placement will be determined by the results on these placement tests as well as on current class work.
7th grade Life Science has had a busy, productive, and interesting Fall. Students completed a major unit on cells. This unit alone had multiple days of laboratory work! There are 11 human body systems all composed of cells, tissues and organs. Pairs and small groups of students researched a single organ system, compiling their data, and presenting their findings to the class. Students used multiple sources for their research and they benefitted greatly from using our new iPads. Currently, students are learning about cell energy and the interconnectedness of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Our next major unit will be on ecology.
Students have had a strong start in Social Studies classes this year. In our India unit, students learned about the geography and early settling along the Indus and Ganges rivers. There was a focus on the culture of India, including the Caste System and the two major religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Students learned how to write the different pieces of a research essay, including an introduction with a grabber and thesis, detail paragraphs with topic and transition/clincher sentences and several explanatory detail sentences, and a conclusion with a restated thesis sentence and summary. Students then used these lessons to write their first formal research essay of the year about how reincarnation was important to ancient Indian culture, focusing on Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Students also learned about two of the early dynasties of ancient India, including how they rose and fell. We have begun our unit on China with a focus on geography, three major philosophies, and early dynasties. Students have become experts about Confucianism, Legalism, or Daoism and presented the benefits of their philosophy to their classmates in a symposium. After the Thanksgiving break, they will begin their second formal research essay focusing on the philosophy they think produces the best ruler.
8th Grade News:
8th Grade Highlights
With almost a third of the school year already completed, the 8th grade is fully in the groove. Having welcomed two new teachers to the grade (Mrs. Scaltreto and Mrs. Little have hit the ground running!) and new curriculum in Social Studies and Science, teachers have been working hard to bring an engaging experience to the students. This has included an inspirational visit from Dr. Terrence Roberts, a member of the nine students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957, and will include a rewarding trip to the movies to see the third installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, on December 23rd. Many teachers have found exciting and useful ways to bring the brand new iPads into some of their daily lessons as well.
This year we have a very short span of time between our breaks, so you can imagine that the excitement level has certainly increased in lower A Wing. We encourage parents to remind their children to work hard until the close of school on December 23rd and to be proactive in letting their teachers now of any planned absences. We wish all of our JGMS families a wonderful holiday season and a restful and enjoyable winter break!
Highlights from English (Mrs. Stephen and Mrs. Little)
Eighth grade students completed a review of literary terms using a collection of short stories and poetry by Walter Dean Myer, Eudora Welty, Richard Connell, John Updike and Edgar A. Poe. The students studied vocabulary that was taken from the stories and began a review of grammar using an on-line program called IXL.
We are in the midst of reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and as we discuss the role of government in a citizen's life, we will also continue examining to what extent we are each responsible for others. This unit will culminate in an expository essay and also a field trip to see the new release, Mockingjay.
Highlights from Social Studies (Mr. Casey and Mr. Nagle)
Students began the year by exploring how individual identity is formed and how our identities inform the decisions we make. Students wrote personal anecdotes describing a time when their identity was challenged. These themes will run through the course of our study this year.
The focus then shifted to a study of civics and the role of a citizen within society. Beginning with a study of the purpose of government, the curriculum has now moved into exploring how the United States’ founding documents (Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) have created an identity for our national government and for each citizen.
We took a brief break from civics to take advantage of an opportunity to have a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Terrence Roberts, visit with the 8th grade and share his experience. This proved to be an inspirational and motivational assembly that will be drawn upon later this year when students study the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Dr. Roberts left the students with many important messages, foremost being that they are “the boss of their own education”!
Highlights from Math (Mrs. Mangini and Mrs. Berinato)
Our algebra students are currently finishing up a unit on linear functions. Chapter 5 connects and extends the big ideas introduced in the last unit to graphing equations. In this chapter, students will be able to answer the following questions:
- What does the slope of a line indicate about the line?
- What information does the equation of a line give you?
- How can you make predictions based on a scatter plot?
Our pre-algebra students are currently working on a rates, proportions and percents unit. In this unit, students find ratios and unit rates, as well as write and solve proportions using cross products. This unit focuses on many real world applications of mathematics including: discounts, markups and other problems involving price.
Our next unit will be linear functions. In this unit, students will learn how to use a table, write a mathematical expression, or create a graph to describe the relationship between two things. Students will see how each of these representations can give important information about the relationship, and how this information can be used to make decisions.
Highlights from Science (Ms. Ferri and Mrs. Scaltreto)
We began the school year by exploring our different learning styles and reviewing the scientific method. In our first full unit we honed our mapping skills and explored how different projections are used to map areas of the globe.
We began our astronomy unit by learning about the history of astronomy and what different ancient astronomers believed, based on the technology available to them at the time. We are currently learning about the formation of the universe and the life cycles of stars. We will be exploring the attributes of the planets in our solar system before the holidays. When we return, we will focus on eclipses, the phases of the moon, what causes the tides and the seasons.
8th GRADE WASHINGTON D.C TRIP UPDATE
Although the Washington D.C. Trip is still over five months away, planning has already begun in what will be our 40th anniversary of the trip here at JGMS! The deadline to register for the trip has passed, but there is still room available for those who are still interested.
In addition, financial aid requests will be addressed by the school administration by the Winter Break. Students requesting financial aid are not expected to register until they receive an answer from the school.