2019.2.1 – Saxe Weekly

February 1, 2019

*Quote(s) that resonated with us this week:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

“One kind word can change someone’s entire day.”

“Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.”

“Kindness is contagious so pass it on.”

“Be kind to everyone, including yourself.”

“Believe in yourself, especially when no one else will.”

Dear Saxe Family,

Happy February! Monday was the kickoff of the now annual “14 Days of Kindness”. In 14 days, the goal is to spread 14 acts of kindness with the tagline, “Spread kindness to someone each day”. I am proud that our school places such a strong emphasis on making a difference in someone else’s life through small, simple gestures. Feel free to ask your children how they have been spreading kindness at Saxe, or, share your own ideas about spreading kindness that goes beyond our school community.

In addition to #Saxe14Days, this week we take a look at Emotional Intelligence (in English and Latin!), Math, Art, ELA, 5th-grade Student Leaders, Breakout EDU in Social Studies, NCPS Innovation Night, American Heart Month, Band, new staff, and more…

Enjoy this chock-full edition of The Saxe Weekly and have a great week!

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

2/4 Daytime Open House: 7-Green, 8-Green, 6-Blue; Board of Ed Meeting (7:00 p.m., NCHS)

2/5 Daytime Open House: 7-Purple, 8-Purple, 6-Green

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

14 Days of Kindness – Days 1-5

Mathcounts Competition

Ten Saxe students in grade 6-8 are moving onto the regional portion of the Mathcounts Competition! Ms. Wolf and Ms. Robinson will be joining our contestants at Fairfield University on Saturday, February 9th. Over 24 area schools, with over 250 students, will compete on that day to determine which teams and individuals will advance to the State Competition in March at the University of Hartford.

Mathcounts, founded in 1983, is a national program that provides students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers. The Competition Series has 4 levels of competition—school, chapter, state and national. Each level of competition is comprised of 4 rounds—Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Round. Altogether the rounds are designed to take about 3 hours to complete.

Stay tuned for future updates and good luck to our Saxe students!

Emotional Intelligence in action, in Latin:

Grateful January (gratias Ianuarius) began in Ms. MacQuarrie’s class after the winter break. She started every class for the first week back from break by introducing a topic that she wanted the students to think about (e.g. A family member you are grateful for, anything about food you are grateful for). The topics aren’t always “deep” and “meaningful” but they do get students to think about the idea of gratefulness and what some things they are grateful for could be.
Here are some of the visual results:

How about the Mood Meter, in Latin?! Modus Metrum…

Professional Growth

Saxe staff spent time on Thursday afternoon discussing the power and knowledge of emotions and positive relationships to create a healthier, more equitable, productive and compassionate school community. Topics included school and grade-level charters, use of the mood meter, and labeling emotions. It was a fun, productive session that allowed for some great collaboration and sharing of success stories and ideas!

Descriptor words in each quadrant of the Mood Meter in Ms. Bachman’s office

What’s up in the Art Studio?

Ms. Beatman’s art classes have just wrapped up their ceramics unit. Each grade level practices different hand building techniques to create unique work in clay. Their work will soon be fired and returned to the students to be glazed. Stay tuned for photos of their final pieces…

5th grade made bobbleheads from pinch pots

6th grade focuses on coil construction

7th grade focuses on slab construction

8th grade could combine techniques into a serving-ware piece

Here are some of her students hard at work:

English Language Arts (ELA)

Choice, choice, and more choice! Students in fifth through eighth grade are currently exploring the wonders of information text. The purpose of information text is to teach, inform, and explain, and our students are learning a lot by questioning, investigating, synthesizing, and reflecting! Fifth graders are reading across texts to study topics of their choice to present to peers; check out the “roadmap” below of skills! Sixth graders are learning new note-taking techniques to narrow topics of interest for an upcoming research project. Seventh graders are engaged in complex, high-interest non-fiction books and they are learning ways information authors engage readers and keep them interested through an entire book. Students will search for “issues” within these texts in order to research and craft an argument. Check out some of the great choices that students have been reading below! Eighth graders have researched an event of their choice in history while exploring bias and perspective, and they are currently preparing for an exciting multimedia digital presentation. Our students are using digital tools strategically and capably to make meaning of dense texts while they communicate their thinking with each other, explore theories about the world around them, and learn a ton in the meantime. Ask your children to tell you about the topics about which they are learning and see if they can keep you interested in the facts and details that they have gathered!

Fifth-grade students are reading information texts to gather relevant information on topics of choice. Then they use this information to write an informational report. Mrs. Figueroa is working in a writing conference with a student during the writing process.

Sixth grade students are transferring their notes from individual research topics to cite their information digitally in a platform called NoodleTools.

Non-fiction reading is exciting! Seventh grade students are choosing from high-interest texts (some featured above) to explore ideas over an extended text.

Eighth graders in ELA are studying the craft moves of information authors in order to become information writers themselves. They transfer these ideas from mentor authors prepare an engaging multimedia presentation.

Grade 5 Student Leaders

The fifth-grade student leaders continued training this week as they dove into leadership concepts such as using a “theory of change” to develop an effective action research project (our theory of change is called “stepping stones,” pictured below). Also pictured below student struggled to untie the human knot, an activity which highlights the need for perseverance, cooperation, communication, and reflection while trying to address complex problems.

Breakout EDU

Students use knowledge and teamwork in Ms. Nelson’s 7th-grade Social Studies class to unlock clues and learn about Ancient China Globalization. Here is a glimpse at the problem: “While Ms. Nelson was playing with all her new technology, she accidentally sent the class back in time to Ancient China! The only way you can get back to the modern day, and to the weekend, is if you can crack the code on ancient globalization. Will you all be able to get back in time? The expectation that you work together will be the key to your success!

Students as Innovators
We are proud to announce this year’s event as, “NCPS Innovation Night”. This is the 14th year in which the NCPS provides students and educators an opportunity to showcase how their innovations enhance and encourage learning. Innovation is not solely the use of technology, but rather a spark that captures our imagination. Innovation Night is an evening that highlights our sparks, the students, as they demonstrate their innovative projects created outside of school and within their classrooms. Innovation Night will take place on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 from 6:30-8:00 PM at New Canaan High School. For more information, please click here.

Here are a couple of pics from last year…

Saxe Participates in “The Nation Goes Red in February”
On the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. From landmarks to news anchors and neighborhoods to online communities; this annual groundswell unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke. Because when we come together, there’s nothing we can’t do.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
Watch your weight.
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
Get active and eat healthily.

Saxe Band

On Wednesday, the 5th and 6th-grade bands performed for the annual winter concert. They sounded terrific and had a great time. Even Mr. Coulter got into the mix with his high-pitched intro and oversized Mickey gloves, for the “Mickey Mouse March”. Congrats to musicians and teachers alike!

On Thursday, the 7th and 8th-grade winter band concert was held in the Saxe Auditorium. The evening began with the 7th graders performing The Star Spangled Banner followed by their renditions of Summit Fanfare by William Owens, The Abominable Snowman Chase by Robert W. Smith, and Carol of the Bell Ukranian Carol arr. The 8th-grade band then performed An American March by John Edmondson, At a Turkish Market by William Owens, Cake by The Ocean Arr. by Doug Adams, and Let it Snow by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. Congratulations to all students and Band Directors Chris Coulter, Janet Rosen, and Ben Kibby.

Welcome to Saxe!

Please join in welcoming our newest Campus Monitor, Dan Tosches. Originally from Stamford, Dan served for over 30 years in the Stamford and Darien Police Departments. He also served with the Department of Homeland Security at the Westchester Airport. Don’t let his size fool you, he is a big, friendly, guy. Welcome to the Saxe Family, Dan!

Around Saxe

Mr. Bedard does it all! While he was reminiscing back to his early years in Canada, we had to remind him that this was not an actual Zamboni…

We are grateful for our custodial crew for braving the elements this week and keeping our school safe and clean!

This morning was crisp and clear with a trail of “stars” (or, planets) leading right down to the moon!

Have a great week!

* A special thanks to Mary Calabrese for the continuous stream of positive, optimistic quotes!

Saxe Resources:

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

Twitter: @SaxeMS

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

Weekly: SaxeMS.com

Saxe Middle School

Celebrating Our Learning Community Through Caring, Communication & Commitment

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