October 21, 2010

Dear MS Parents:

Hello!  We’ve reached the mid-point of the first trimester, and the middle school is as busy as ever. The first hot lunch of the year took place last week and was a huge success, and the first middle school service project, the food drive for Concerns U, has started as well. The food drive to collect items for Thanksgiving food baskets goes until Nov.17, and we are attempting to collect 100 jars or cans of gravy and 100 boxes of instant mashed potatoes, in addition to other items for the food pantry.  This project is one of three service projects in our Roots and Shoots program, which was introduced to the students last week.

In other news, many Mary Bilick, the school counselor, will be leading an ongoing study skills and stress management group (Stressbusters!) on Wednesdays from 11:30-12:00 during independent work time. Students can drop in as needed throughout the year, and we will be inviting 7th and 8th graders separately to a mandatory session in the next two weeks to learn about the group.

Last Friday in social studies, Civil War historian and WHMS staff member Roger Fallon presented to the students. He brought in artifacts he’s collected from the time period including weaponry, uniforms, newspapers, posters and family photos. His great-great grandfather was an officer in the Confederate Army and his stories, confederate money and other memorabilia have been handed down to Roger.  This was a wonderful educational opportunity for the class! Most recently, the students have been developing Civil War era timelines and should be proud of their hard work on this assignment.

This weekend the 8th grade students along with teachers Cora Heiser, Leah Blind and Jacob Colwell and parent Jon Briccetti will have the opportunity to travel to New York City and be part of the Global Citizen Action Project, a program specifically designed for students enrolled in Middle School Montessori programs.  Along with other Middle School Montessori students from around the country, Woodland Hill students will have the opportunity to experience and discuss the work of the United Nations and learn what they can do to become better informed and more productive global citizens.  This will be an amazing educational experience, as we will tour the United Nations, meet international leaders, dine in the Delegates Dining room, attend a variety of workshops, and stay overnight in Times Square!  This is a unique learning experience for the students and is a highlight of the Middle School experience. 

In ELA, the students have been using the Socratic method during once-a-week Socratic Seminars to explore a piece of text. Students guide their own discussions using prepared questions and evidence from the text to explore and support their ideas. They are also finishing their novel study and will be writing a literary analysis to demonstrate their understanding of their novels.

In Science, students are currently studying the effects of water on the surface of the Earth. They are also studying groundwater and completing labs about these topics.

On Thursday, Oct. 28, parents are invited to attend a short presentation about dyslexia given by Lee-Ann Mertzlufft from Options with Learning. She will be speaking with students during ELA, and you are welcome to join the class from 9:25 until about 10:00 that morning.

We look forward to the parent/teacher conferences on Friday, Oct. 29 and Monday, Nov. 1. As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

The Middle School Team