2018.11.9 – Saxe Weekly

November 9, 2018

Quote(s) that resonated with us this week:

“Home of the free because of the brave. Our deepest gratitude to those that have served our country.”

“Gratitude is the best attitude.”

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.:” ~ Roger Staubach

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

Dear Saxe Family,

This week we take a look at World Language, Science, STEM, Social Studies, Physical Education, English Language Arts, professional learning around Saxe, the latest One-Second Everyday and Saxe News, respectively, and more! Be sure to check the special “Around Saxe” below where we spotlight some amazing physical (/mental) feats and one of our very own staff members who travels back in time to the era of the birth of our nation.

As our nation observes Veteran’s Day on Sunday, Saxe Middle School would like to thank all veterans, near and far, for their dedication and sacrifice to our country. More information on how Saxe honors our veterans is included below.

Have a great weekend,

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

11/12 Veteran’s Day – dress in red, white, blue

11/13 Saxe Book Fair (info, here)

11/14 Saxe Book Fair (info, here)

11/15 Saxe Book Fair (info, here)

Want to check out the weekly from last week? Click, here.

One Second Everyday:

Back again for this week – Saxe Middle School 1-Second Everyday! “Life is made of seconds.” Check out a few seconds from each day of the 2018-19 school year (so far), showcasing so much of what makes Saxe Middle School great. This will be a recurring, bi-weekly feature. Enjoy!

Pro tip: want to enjoy it more? Set your youtube playback setting to play at .75 speed

Departments and/or Grade Levels:

Science- Grade 6 STEM workshop

Sixth grades students in STEM Workshop developed and used models to clean wastewater. First, students planned and carried out investigations to test how various soils drain and absorb water to help plan their leaching fields. Additionally, they had to research how septic tanks work to trap solids before wastewater enters a leaching field. Next, they collaboratively created a blueprint of a septic system using materials supplied in class with other constraints. After detailed systems were presented, groups were approved to build and test their designs to see if they could clean simulated wastewater. For more information, please visit: https://www.pumper.com/editorial/2018/05/students-build-septic-system-models-learn-important-wastewater-lessons?ref=popular_bottom

Science- Grade 8 Blue and Green Team

8th Grade Blue and Green Teams are conducting a Hereditary experiment consisting of a two-generation genetic cross with the plant species Brassica rapa. In these pictures, Mr. Chard’s students are cross-pollinating the plants with dead honey bees glued to toothpicks. The thorax of the bee is hairy and provides an authentic way in which bees transfer pollen from one flower to another. The results of the experiment will be provided after a hydroponic grow of the second generation seeds. Students will look for the genetic marker in stem color. Congratulations to both teams on an excellent first generation grow cycle and successful pollination/fertilization.

Grade 7 Social Studies:

In social studies, our seventh graders use a variety of tools to learn and think about geography. At the beginning of a new unit, students often take a deep – dive into the physical and cultural geography of a place to anchor their understanding and launch the inquiry. These pictures show students exploring the geography of Afghanistan through readings, atlases, and Google maps.

These students are reading a text about the region, annotating along the way. In this case they were asked to use find evidence of conflict and stability in the text, using a different color highlighter to mark each concept.

These students are using Google maps and “pinning” or labeling geographic features that might be potential sources of conflict or stability for the nation.

Ask your students what they are learning about the geography of Afghanistan and what questions they will explore this next quarter. All classes will engage in the unit by next week.

The Social Studies Department:

The grade 6-8 social studies team had a terrific morning on our professional learning day. To help us align our instructional practice. Molly Winter from the DBQ Project returned to Saxe to lead the team through a workshop. If you are not familiar, a DBQ means “document-based question.” It is usually a compelling question with a set of curated (pre-selected) documents. The DBQ (document-based question) is a vehicle to teach students historical inquiry, close reading, and writing skills.

These teachers are doing a “thrash out.” Students caucus with others who have taken the same stance. Next, they try out their ideas in a mini-debate type format. This not only strengthens arguments, but it also gets students up and moving!

As a part of the workshop, teachers went through the process themselves including writing.

Saxe Physical Education

Each PE teacher is focusing on a different unit with their class teaching the knowledge, skills, and confidence to empower students to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Students have been learning and building their health-related fitness during every physical education class. Many students have had to opportunity to enjoy some of their classes outside, in this beautiful fall weather. Students in Project Adventure are learning how to apply the ABC’s of Problem Solving through team-building challenges such as Islands where 7th graders are working as a team to cross from one island to the other with only the use of the 2 planks and nothing being able to touch the floor. The 6th graders are working together to cross from one end of the swinging tires to the other end. 5th graders are challenged with Object Transport as they are working together to lift the water bottle on the platform off the ground and walk with it to the finish line without the water bottle falling. Some other activities students are participating in include, spikeball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and more!

ELA Department

Adolescent readers love to talk about books! Our fifth through eighth-grade students are working with peers to comprehend, analyze and enjoy their novels. Students choose books to read as they explore timeless themes motivated by symbolism (Grade 5), character relationships (Grade 6), societal conflicts (Grade 7) or power struggles (Grade 8). In this unit, students should be balancing the art of reading closely (taking notes while they read and analyzing the part to the whole) and reading wide (building stamina and joy across many pages). As students discuss their books in partnerships or clubs, students will dig to a deeper meaning and will communicate that thinking in a variety of ways to teach others about their synthesis. All of our students should be engaged with a novel and talking about it with other students (and teachers)! We all love to talk about books, even as adults. Don’t hesitate to model this with your children to show the power of authentic reading beyond school and work. When asking questions about the books your children are reading, some questions you might ask could be:

  • What do you love about this book, and what are you thinking about as you read?
  • How are you understanding the book differently by talking about it with friends?
  • What are the character struggles (conflicts)? What does that imply about the message the author wants to teach you? What does that say about life?
  • How does the author communicate this understanding to you?

Latin: Grades 6 -8

8th grade Latin students are working hard learning and sharing what they have learned about Latin Grammar and how it differs to (or is similar to) English! Learning a second language supports the development of our native language! Here the students are demonstrating their ability to decline noun/adjectives pairs

6th grade Latin students participating in the Dies Lustricus (naming day ceremony). This day was celebrated on the 8th or 9th day after birth. On this day, relatives and friends offered small metal and clay charms that were strung together and worn around the neck.

Sixth graders working collaboratively to share what they’ve learned this year!

One of the goals of Latin is being able to read without translating every word! Like the Modern Languages, students should be able to read, understand, summarize, and learn from Latin texts! Here, sixth graders, do some partner reading about a trip to the zoo! “Puella et puer sunt in vivario.”

Professional Learning

The ELA team was fortunate to learn from consultant, NY Times Best Selling Author, and researcher, Chris Lehman on Tuesday. Chris worked with the team to develop our independent reading strategies and skills and the team was motivated and energized!

Saxe staff, led by Ms. Bachman, Ms. Reddan, Ms. Broas, Dr. Clapp, Mr. Young, Dr. Ferreira, & Mr. Adams, continued the ever-important Emotional Intelligence work during the 11/6 PL Day.

Art teacher, Ms. Duncan added a little pizzaz to the mood meter and it turned out great! The “Artsy Mood Meter”:

Around Saxe

Check out the latest Saxe News! This crew continues to put together and produce quality episodes. Thanks also to the leadership of Mr. Petrakopoulos!

Thanks to our wonderful Saxe PTC for the amazing PL Day luncheon! We are grateful for you.

Saxe Maintenance, custodians, and administrators participated in a training session on the emergency alert systems around Saxe on Tuesday (11/6).

Saxe Middle School Annual Veterans Appreciation Day

Saxe Middle School students will participate in the Eleventh Annual Veterans Appreciation Day. Veterans will be speaking to students throughout the day. Grade five and six students will meet in smaller venues to hear veterans share their stories. Whereas, grade seven students will hear Police Chief Leon Krolikowski, who served as a member of an infantry company from 1987-1995, speak in an assembly style format in the Saxe auditorium. He served in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and his unit was one of the first units to enter Kuwait City. NCPD Officer Christopher Dewey, who served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer of 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2012, will be speaking to eighth graders. Furthermore, veterans will be honored by the music department as a team of students will be performing a welcoming medley of patriotic songs in the front lobby.

All Saxe students will be able to make thank you cards that will be delivered to the West Haven Veterans Hospital and the New Canaan Veteran Homebound Human Services Division. Students will serve as escorts for the visiting veterans. This Veterans Day at Saxe Middle will be a day to remember because all of the students will have an opportunity to hear history first hand from our visiting veterans. This is a day for the Saxe Learning Community to take the time to honor those heroes who have sacrificed so much for the United States.

In honor of our visiting Veterans, we would like to encourage all students and staff to wear Red, White, and Blue on Monday. We look forward to welcoming our guests for Veterans Day.

Saxe “Did You Know?”

Saxe custodian, Carl Boccadoro participated in the reenactment of the 240th Anniversary of the Revolutionary War Camps in Redding, CT. The reenactment took place at Putnam Park and included artillery and drill demonstration, battlefield skirmish, colonial craftsman, kids drill instruction, army camp life talks, and soldiers of Putnam Park discussions.

And, mild-mannered Carl keeping our building in tip-top shape back at Saxe! We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff all-around.

Saxe “Runs”

Christen Veach ran her 11th half marathon, Cape Cod Half Marathon, during the Nor’easter on October 27, 2018.

Brittany Figueroa ran her 3rd marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, on October 28, 2018.

Jonathan Adams ran his 1st marathon, NYC Marathon, on November 4, 2018.

Congrats on these amazing accomplishments! You are each an inspiration to us all…

Supporting all NCPS Schools

Show your NC Pride at the Turkey Bowl!

Youth (YM-YXL), Adult (AS-A3XL) long-sleeve cotton t-shirts are available for sale at the HIGH SCHOOL.

Tues 11/13, 9am-12:30pm lobby, outside auditorium

Wed 11/14, 9am-12:30pm lobby, outside auditorium

Thurs 11/15, 11am-2pm Spirit Wear Store, next to gym

Fri 11/16, 11am-2pm Spirit Wear Store, next to gym

Mon 11/19, 11am-2pm Spirit Wear Store, next to gym

Tues 11/20, 11am-2pm Spirit Wear Store, next to gym

Have a great week!

Saxe Resources:

Website: https://www.ncps-k12.org/saxe

Twitter: @SaxeMS

PTC: http://www.saxeptc.org/

Weekly: SaxeMS.com

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