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Learning at VLUS: October 2017

Learning at VLUS: October 2017
Posted on 10/02/2017
6th Grade
In ELA, students are beginning the year by writing memoir poems. In social studies, the focus is on geography vocabulary and map skills. They will research and create a virtual brochure about a country of their choice. In science classes, students are observing and wondering about light. Math students are focusing on number representations and multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals. The students are adjusting well to lockers and changing classes, and we are really enjoying getting to know them all.

6th grade students, as well as SEI students, will be going to the Cambridge Public Library for a visit from the author Midhi Chanani, co-hosted by Porter Square Books Foundation. Midhi Chanani is a graphic novelist, and students will receive copies of her latest book, Pashmina, at the reading. We would like to invite all 6th grade families to join us for an Advisory Breakfast on October 12, from 8:30-9:00. Please bring a dish to share with the families in your child's advisory.

7th Grade
In ELA, students are about to start reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, about the experiences of people in Southern Sudan, including the Civil War. In social studies, students just completed their identity charts to learn more about each other's identities. In science, students are starting their unit on Chemistry. In math, students in both AMP and grade-level are learning about how ratios and proportions are all around, including in percents, unit prices, and scale drawings. 

Please be sure to check and sign your child's homework grid every week. These grids can be found on the 7th grade website: bit.ly/VLUS7th

8th Grade
In ELA, we have been setting Independent Reading goals for Semester 1 using data collected at home and school. Next, we will begin our Module 1 on Finding Home: Refugees, during which we will read the novel Inside Out & Back Again by Thannha Lai. 

The "On Grade Level" (OGL) Math class started the year reviewing order of operations, operations with integers and operations with fractions. The "Advanced Math Placement" (AMP) Math class finished the first unit on exponents, scientific notation, rational and irrational numbers, and square and cube roots on 9/25. Both classes are now studying how to solve multi-step equations. 

In science we are growing the first generation of plants for a long term experiment in artificial selection. We are also looking at the reasons for the seasons using a collaborative curricumlum with the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysics Center. The path of the sun in different seasons and the length of the day as well as the angle that light hits the Earth and the tilt of the Earth are all examined as causes of the seasons we experience in Cambridge, MA. 

In social studies we are starting the year with our Identity unit, exploring the way our identity shapes our perspective and the choices we make. Students have also started completing their weekly current event logs, which will require parent signatures.

The 8th grade will be having our Orienteering field trip on October 6 (Raindate: October 13). 8th graders will spend a day in the woods of the Middlesex Fells, using maps to navigate between checkpoints. We would also like to invite all 8th grade families to join us for our parent information meeting on October 17, from 8-8:30AM.

Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) 
Students are busy learning English through other subjects that include history, science, math, music, and art. You can help your children even if your own English is not perfect. The most important thing is that you are enthusiastic and that you give your children lots of encouragement and praise. Your child will pick up on your enthusiasm for the language too!

The SEI/ESL teaching team is hosting a family meet and greet on Tuesday, October 17 from 5:30-7:00 in Room 344, Ms. LaRose's Room. Students and their families are welcome to come get to know other families in the Vassal Lane community and chat with SEI teachers. Please bring a snack to share! We look forward to seeing you!