2020.3.6 – Saxe Weekly

March 6, 2020

Dear Saxe Family,

This week in the Saxe Weekly we take a look at Science, Wellness updates, Nat Geo Bee, a holocaust survivor comes to Saxe, Latin, Math, Connections, an NY Times Best Selling author comes to Saxe, and much more. We also have the latest episodes of Saxe News and Saxe one-second everyday…

Enjoy and have a pleasant weekend,

Dave Gusitsch

Principal, Saxe Middle School

Upcoming Noteworthy Dates:

3.8: Daylight savings – don’t forget to set your clocks ahead…

3.13: Saxe Spirit Day (“Clone” Day)

Want to check out the “Saxe Weekly” from last week? You’re one click away, here.

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, please follow all of the NCPS communications posted on our district website.

Within Saxe, we continue to share important self-care messaging to keep everyone healthy…

*Quotes that resonated with us this week:

“A great future doesn’t require a great past.”

“Don’t worry about things you have no control over.”

“Good people bring out the good in other people.”

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. “

“You only fail when you stop trying.“

Back again for this week – the latest, updated Saxe Middle School 1-Second Everyday! “Life is made of seconds.” Check out a few seconds from each day of 2019 (so far), showcasing so much of what makes Saxe Middle School great. This is a recurring, bi-weekly feature. At the end of the year, we will have a full version that includes every single day of the 2019-20 school year. Enjoy!

Saxe News

Check out the latest Saxe News that covers the student response to the Saxe Hawks mascot. Thanks to Mr. Petrakopoulos and his team for another fun episode!


Mr. Tomasiewicz’s, grade 8 science students used PhET simulations to explore how forces impact the motion of objects.

Grade 7 Science

In February, students on the 7th Grade Green Team learned about climate change. Students started the unit by using Surging Sea Mapping Choices tool to explore what will happen to various locations if the sea level rises. They asked questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. Based on those questions they then explored topics from how energy enters the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases, past climate change, and human activities. Over the course of the unit graphs, had been created and analyzed, labs designed and conducted, simulations explored, and models developed. To culminate the unit and everything that was learned, students utilized their technology skills and created Infographics as a visual way to present their claim, evidence, and reasoning about climate change. Below are some examples. We hope you learn something informative – happy viewing!

Nat Geo Geography Bee

For the second year in a row, Rowan Richey Elliott will be representing Saxe Middle School at the State Nat Geo Bee Competition on March 27th! Check out a recent press release, here. Congratulations and best wishes to Rowan and thanks to Saxe Nat Geo Bee advisors, Ms. Fulco and Mr. Fusci!

Holocaust Survivor Visits Saxe

Yesterday, we were pleased to host Ms. Agnes Vertes who came to speak with the 8th-grade about her experiences in Hungary during the Holocaust. Ms. Vertes and her two-year-old sister survived, separated from their parents, with the help of others, by moving from place to place. As a part of their current unit, War, Diplomacy, and Imperialism, students learn about the Holocaust, a parallel event at this time. Ms. Vertes has an extensive resume which includes teaching math and documentary filmmaking. For the past twenty years, she has been speaking in schools, synagogues, churches and a variety of organizations about her experiences during the Holocaust. Her film, “One out of Ten,” won the 1998 silver medal at the New York Film Festival. It is the story of eight people from different countries who were children during the Shoah, or Holocaust. Ms. Vertes spoke powerfully, not only about the Holocaust, but also the power each of us has to stand up to what is wrong.

Author Visit: Welcome Mr. Conor Grennan!

New Canaan’s own, Mr. Conor Grennan, came to visit Saxe Middle School’s fifth grade today to share the power of a story. He captivated our fifth graders as he shared his experiences and his journey to becoming a NY Times Best Selling author! A big thanks to Ms. Devine for organizing this great experience for our students!


In 6th-Grade Latin, we are learning about Family and Houses. The students made Roman families and then asked each other about those families to try and make a family tree – all in Latin! Here are some examples of questions and answers!

“Quis est mater?” “Mater est Metella.”
“Habetne canem?” “Ita! Habet canem – est Cerberus.”

“Habetne avia?” “Minime, non habet aviam.”



When students are not around, teachers learn and plan for them. During the Professional Learning Day, the teachers began the morning with some mathematical team building. They had to use appropriate tools and develop using a cost to height relationship. Teachers continued the morning by analyzing student data, calibrating assessment data and planning for future student work.

Students in grade 6 were sharing different strategies about how they were approaching a problem involving distance, time and rates. Students explained their thinking to their classmates and they found there were different ways to think about the problem. What a great conversation involving mathematical thinking!

Students in grade 5 were sorting animals based on attributes to create ratios. What a fun way to learn about ratios! An interdisciplinary, real-world approach makes learning authentic for students. They apply problem-solving skills, perseverance, and the ability to look at math through a different approach. Mathematicians think qualitatively, quantitatively and abstractly.

Students in grade 7 were finding the slopes of different objects in the classroom and writing equations using a program called Desmos. The students made predictions about the slopes and then tested their conjectures by entering the equation into the program.


Connections classes meet for 20 minutes every other cycle. The purpose of Connections is to improve connections between students, between students and faculty, and to improve the Emotional Intelligence skills (like the ability to manage stress) of everyone in the community. Today in Connections students learned about empathy, taking the perspective of others, and how empathy can help us to manage conflict.

Sleep (Zzz)

It is National Sleep Awareness Week next week. Our bulletin board was just updated with sleep information and we have a great hand out: #sleeprechargesyou http://sleepeducation.org/healthysleep/infographics/sleep-recharges-you-school-poster

Diana Graber Follow-up

If you missed last month’s “Raising Humans in a Digital World” presentation with award-winning author and educator Diana Graber or would like to ask her a follow-up question, here’s your chance! Diana will appear via ZOOM in the Plaut Room at the New Canaan Library on Wednesday, March 18th from 12pm-1pm.

Ms. Graber will instruct parents on how to protect their child’s reputation and personal information online, will provide tips on helping middle-schoolers develop “on-line” social-emotional skills such as empathy and respect, provide guidance on balancing virtual and real-life and offer advice on how to avoid cyberbullies and online predators. To register please click here: https://newcanaancares.z2systems.com/event.jsp?event=717&

Schools Supporting Each Other

Mark your calendars! New Canaan High School Theatre Presents, The Jukebox Musical: MAMMA MIA! March 19th, 20th, and 21st at 7:00 PM in the New Canaan High School Auditorium.

Of special note, please look out for Saxe 5th-grader, Elise O’Keefe, who will be playing the role of “Little Sophie”!

Saxe Hawks

One of our resident raptors showed up again this week!

Have a great week!

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

Saxe Resources (live links)

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

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

Twitter: @SaxeMS

The Saxe Weekly: SaxeMS.com

Saxe Middle School

Celebrating Our Learning Community Through Caring, Communication, & Commitment

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