PYTHON PRESS

Pikesville Middle School, October 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRINCIPAL:

It’s hard to believe that we are already in October. We have successfully completed one month of virtual school. While we had some challenges, we also had many successes during our first month of school. Students are getting into a routine and attending classes on a regular basis, our school wide attendance rate is over 95%!

I encourage students to continue to reach out to their teachers and grade level administrators if they need additional support with any of their classes. Students will receive interim reports on October 13. The interim report is a measure of how students are academically doing so far this quarter. If a student’s interim report indicates an area of concern, I encourage parents to request a parent conference with the teacher so that a plan of action can be developed between school and home to support the student for the remainder of the quarter. Teacher-Parent conference night will be held virtually on Thursday, October 22 from 4:00-6:00 pm. Additional information will be sent at a later time for the process to sign up for teacher conferences.

At Pikesville Middle School we Strive for Excellence by taking PRIDE in our Virtual Learning Environment. We have adapted our PRIDE motto for virtual learning. Students are encouraged to review the PRIDE motto, shown below, everyday to ensure they are ready for virtual school.

Finally, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to our parents for supporting your child and Pikeville Middle School during this unprecedented time. The connection between home and school is critical, especially during this virtual setting. When staff and parents work together, student educational experiences are enhanced. Student academic success and personal responsibility at Pikesville Middle School are dependent on a cooperative triangle comprised of student-teacher-parent/guardian. Through a close and shared partnership with all stakeholders associated with Pikesville Middle School, I am confident that our school will continue to be a successful place for our students to learn and grow.

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IMPORTANT DATES:

10/13 (T) - First Quarter Interims Distributed

10/22 (Th)- Parent Conferences, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.(virtual)

10/16 (F) - Professional Development Day/MSTA Convention –

Schools Closed for Students

6TH GRADE NEWS FLASH FROM MS. LUECHTEFELD

It was great seeing and meeting a lot of you during device and material distribution. We have been so impressed with our 6th graders so far and how they are navigating the virtual learning environment. They have jumped in and shown their strength, dedication, and resiliency. We love seeing and hearing them on video – it is great how their personalities still shine, even through a screen.

As we are wrapping up our first month of middle school (WOW!), our 6th graders are becoming more comfortable with the routines and procedures here at Pikesville Middle School. This has been quite a journey for us all as we become accustomed to working and learning from home. We have begun to use and try out so many different, engaging methods to keep students focused on their learning. Many students have helped teachers navigate the new digital features and tools as well!

Please continue to check your students’ grades and help ensure that your students are completing all of their work. If you are not getting emails and calls from Pikesville Middle School – let Ms. Luechtefeld know so you can get connected. Please remember to reference BCPSOne to help students meet with success and complete their work in their classes. If you need help navigating Schoology or BCPSOne, please let Ms. Luechtefeld know and we can schedule time with you to review the features.

Lastly, each homeroom class had an administrator visit to review the BCPS Student Handbook and how it relates to a virtual learning environment. If you have any questions regarding the presentation or policies discussed, please let Ms. Luechtefeld know.

Just a few helpful hints as we move forward:

  • Set timers/reminders for the start of class each day, remembering that Wednesdays have different times during 5 day weeks
  • Utilize the calendar in your students Google Drive to set reminders for tasks/assignments/projects
  • Check in with your students’ teachers, counselors, administrators to make sure your student is meeting with success
  • Keep healthy routines that not only support YOU and your students physical health, but also your mental health. We have support staff available to students if needed

6th Grade Point of Contacts:

We know this has been a very different start to the school year and want to ensure you that we are here to support you. Once again, we are impressed with what we have seen so far. What a wild and positive start to the year!

7TH GRADE SCOOP FROM MS. HAMMEL

Hello again from the PMS 7th Grade Team! We know the beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time. However, all of us at PMS are so excited and working diligently to ensure a smooth transition for our students from 6th to 7th grade. Many students and parents may have questions about our virtual learning process, and we want to make sure your minds are at ease. If you have questions or concerns, we are only an email away! You can email Mr. Long at blong3@bcps.org or Mrs. Hammel at ahammel@bcps.org. We will do our best to answer your questions and make sure everyone is on the same page. After just one short month, we have seen the need for some tips and tricks that can help you navigate this virtual learning process. Below, we will discuss Time Management Tips for our 7th grade students and Schoology Notification tips for our 7th grade parents!

Students, we want you to be experts at time management, and following 5 simple tips will get you off to a great start. Tip #1: Make a Schedule. This will keep you organized and ensure you don’t forget about class or due dates. Tip #2: Set Goals. Each day it is important to set a goal for what you plan to accomplish. Hold yourself to those goals, and it will be amazing to see all the work you can complete. Tip #3: Don’t Plan Too Much. If you over plan, you may get overwhelmed. This could cause you to be stressed and not feel up to completing assignments. Tip #4: Reduce Distraction. Creating a “home office” can help you stay focused. Earbuds and headphones can also help block out noise from other rooms in your home. Tip #5 Reward Yourself. When you complete your goals reward yourself by playing games, going outside, or reading a book!

Parents, did you know you can receive Schoology notifications? Start by accessing your Schoology account and go to settings. From there, select the notifications tab. This will allow you to select what information you want to receive notifications on. Check the boxes that apply and save the changes. You can also receive notifications on your phone! On the right side of your screen under the notification page, click the icon that says, “send notifications to your phone via text message.” Then, enter and save your phone number! To view a more detailed explanation for receiving Schoology notifications, please view the linked video: Receiving Schoology Notifications.

8TH GRADE UPDATES FROM MR. SULLIVAN

Greetings 8th grade families. We cannot believe that it is already October and we are one full month into our school year! We are so proud of the work that our students are doing in their virtual classrooms. While it may not be the same as seeing their faces every day in front of us, we know that they are doing the best that they can and are showing an amazing amount of persistent and hard work. Please know that we are here to support your children during this tough time. We also wanted to remind you that students should be attending, and remaining in, Google Meets each day. Students must attend their virtual classes and complete work on time. This school year, attendance will be taken in each class and students will be given a grade for their work. If students have questions about their assignments, they should reach out to the teacher of that class and utilize individual work time to ask those questions. If you have any general questions or concerns, you can reach out to the following people: Mr. Sullivan (8th grade administrator), Mr. Laraia/Mr. Thompson (8th grade team leaders) and/or Mrs. Venetia Banks (school counseling chair). We look forward to a great school year!

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

For the past few weeks students have been exploring ways to increase their emotional intelligence (EQ). One of the things they began exploring and will continue to explore is self-awareness. It is critical for emotional growth that individuals understand their own strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to recognize and respond appropriately when in situations where emotions are involved. During this next month we will also be exploring growth mindset. I am sure that everyone has heard such phrases as “I can’t do that I am bad at _________” We will be exploring that nothing is set in stone so even if you were once bad at ___________ that doesn’t mean you always will be.

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IT'S ACADEMIC

MATH

The fall semester is well underway, please make sure you are checking Schoology frequently to check for missing work and to look at grades. All courses have taken or are about to take the Unit 1 Assessment. Math 6 is working on Number Operations, next will be Proportionality: Ratios and Rates ; Math 6 GT is working on Using Variables, next will be Representing Numbers; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on the Real Number System, next will be Ratios and Proportional Relationships; Math 8 is working on Proportional and Non-Proportional Relationships and Functions; Algebra 1 is working on Linear Functions and Models; next is Exploring Linear Relationships; Geometry is working on Extending Transformational Geometry, next is Geometric Reasoning. Remember the textbook is online in BCPSOne – Digit Content.

SCIENCE

Happy Fall Pikesville Family! Did you know that the beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves we see in the Fall, are the result of diminished chlorophyll production (green pigment) in the leaves! This is just one of many cool facts that your student may learn in Science class this year!


In 6th grade science, students are learning about ecosystems, honeybee life cycles and the connections between all organisms using food chains and food webs. Our 7th graders are learning about energy forms and how they are transformed into heat, in preparation for our solar cooker designs, which students are developing throughout the course of the unit. While we are not able to make the solar cookers as a class and indulge in the melted chocolate of a S’more together, students can build their models and try it at home under adult supervision! Finally, our 8th graders are studying natural disasters and tracking hurricanes using national weather sites. There are many tropical storms and hurricanes to track so feel free to ask your student about possible storms headed our way!

In 6th, 7th and 8th grade Engineering, students have started the year by investigating the multitude of engineers out there. Some examples include electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and aerospace engineers. Students used the WICOR strategy to research, collaborate and write about their favorite type of engineer. In Mr. McChesney’s 8th grade class students began the Automation & Robotics unit by examining the necessity of clear, specific and complete directions that are required to perform a task correctly. This skill will prove most valuable in the weeks to come when students begin writing code as they program virtual VEX robots to complete very specific tasks. In 7th grade Engineering, students began the Magic of Electrons unit by investigating everyday “circuits” that don’t involve electricity (such as running a lap on an outdoor track or going food shopping and coming back). The key here is to understand that electrical circuits to work, the same kind of continuous loop is required. Students then identified the four main components in every circuit. Currently, students are examining the relationship between voltage, current and resistance in order to explain how these are affected by the type of virtual circuit (series, parallel or combination) they will create. Lastly, in 6th grade students began their unit, Flight and Space by participating in an Instant Design Challenge in which they designed, built, tested and modified an airplane glider that could land consistently on a target. Students will analyze their process in order to identify and explain how they used the steps of the Engineering Design Process in their development of the airplane glider.

Please continue to encourage students to complete all assignments daily and discuss coach class days and times with their teachers when necessary. We look forward to a wonderful year of learning Science and Engineering!

SOCIAL STUDIES

Pikesville Historians,

October is here and the Social Studies Department would like to remind students to charge those devices and keep your Google Drive organized. Please remember to study your vocabulary and your notes. Your research notes are the practice that you will use to create essays, posters, comics, and all the other awesome products you make to demonstrate your learning in the Show What You Know.

Up Next:

Ancient World 6 –Paleolithic vs. Neolithic, Agricultural Revolution

Medieval World 7 – The Spread of Islam in the Middle East and beyond, West African Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali

American History 8 – Political Spectrum, Battles of the American Revolution

ENGLISH

Teachers in the ELA department (language arts, reading, theater, and college and career) are enjoying getting to know our students and assessing their abilities so we can move them forward. Though each day brings a new and exciting technical challenge, we are thrilled by our students’ engagement and participation! Ms. Getty, our library media specialist, has started joining classes and helping students access both our school e-books AND e-books from the public library. Our students are excited about the vast choices they now have! We know students are getting a lot of screen time, so please know the public libraries offer curbside pick-up to keep your family safe! Books are quarantined for seven days after being returned per CDC guidelines for safety. You can feel safe and confident using our public library. We hope you take advantage of ways to keep your student(s) reading!

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! Already a month into the new school year and we have been learning so much in World Language classes. Not only have students been learning how to talk to each other and about themselves, they also have been learning new ways to communicate. We have made FlipGrid videos, Padlets, completed work in Wizer.me, Gimkit and Quizlet Live. Students and teachers have been using Google docs to track progress and submit work as well. So much new technology but so much fun!

Please make sure that students are taking advantage of independent work time to ask questions. Each teacher also provides extra help from 2:30-3:00 and will schedule personal coach classes if requested. All teachers have multiple graded assignments in the gradebook, so make sure you check Schoology regularly.

It’s a great idea to have a notebook for World Language class, especially when we are virtual. Taking notes on paper, making flashcards, and writing vocabulary by hand can really help retention. For extra practice, your student can also use https://quizlet.com/ to review vocabulary and then make old fashioned flash cards on index cards! We also like https://www.duolingo.com/ to track progress and https://conjuguemos.com/ for extra practice with tricky grammar rules.

RELATED ARTS

Welcome to the Pikesville Middle School Related Arts Department! Related Arts are your “Specials” classes. At Pikesville Middle School they consist of Physical Education, Health Education, Art Education, Chorus, Band, Orchestra, World Music, American Music, and Dance Education. We have so many exciting opportunities for our students outside of the core four classes here at Pikesville Middle School.


Physical Education and Health Education are taught in a combined setting. You will have PE class for 1 marking periods and Health for 1 marking period. Both classes will be taught by the same teacher.


Physical Education is a class that students are required to take. It encourages psychomotor learning in a play, or movement explorations setting to promote overall wellness. Home Fitness - Towel Activities Link (Video) Home Fitness - Balloon Challenge Link (Video) Home Fitness - Tabata Link (Video) At Home Daily Activities SuperDeck - Fitness Workout


Current Units of Study: Aerobics, Line Dancing, Cardio Drumming, Fitness Walking, Jumping Rope. Students need a space to complete their daily exercises. Also see student PE Schoology courses for materials needed for class. Most are household items.


Health Education is a class that students are required to take. It is any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their overall health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes. Health Education will begin Quarter 2.


October Health and Fitness Calendar https://www.shapeamerica.org/uploads/pdfs/2020/calendar/October2020-Health-Literacy-Month-Calendar-English.pdf https://www.shapeamerica.org/uploads/pdfs/2020/calendar/October2020-Health-Literacy-Month-Calendar-SPANISH.pdf


Fine Arts is a collection of classes such as Visual Art Education, Music Education and Dance Education.


Visual Arts is an area of learning that is based upon only the kind of art that one can see, visual arts- drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and designing jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics and design applied to other fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings.


Announcement: 7th and 8th graders - Art supplies can be picked up at Pikesville Middle School Every Thursday between 8:30 and 2:30.


Music Education incorporates music training and education in multiple areas of music because involvement in music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior. At PMS it is made up of many different courses, chorus, band, orchestra, world music and American music.


Announcement: Instrumental Music Students – School owned instruments are two to three weeks away from arriving at Pikesville Middle School. Students and Families are encouraged to obtain an instrument on their own by renting or purchasing. Pikesville Middle School’s approved vendor is Menchey Music in Timonium, MD - https://www.mencheymusic.com/stores/timonium-md/


Dance Education is a practice whereby students are taught a broad understanding of dance genres. It is taught by Ms. Crockett; she is a talented dancer and even better teacher. She started the program at Pikesville Middle School three years ago. We have had several students accepted into the Baltimore County Honor Dance Program over the last few years. You will experience multiple types of dance such as, Ballet, hip hop and modern dance.

COUNSELING CORNER

Tips to help your child succeed

Praise, encourage and affirm your child often

Decide with your child on a regular space to work remotely

Encourage your child to take advantage of the Wednesday Asynchronous Learning and/or small group instruction

Monitor your child’s progress on Schoology

Maintain frequent contact with your child’s teacher and school counselor

Provide your child with a safe, healthy, and supportive environment



Things you can do to help build self-confidence in your child

Encourage self-discipline by setting limits and holding your child accountable for their behavior

Provide opportunities for your child to take responsibilities in the family

Let your child know that you love them even when you disapprove of their behavior/choices

Practice good communication with your child

Repeat back what you have heard your child communicate to you this demonstrates good listening skills

Set family policies

Decide on fair rules and logical consequences for breaking them

Demonstrate the behavior that you want your children to have

Limit the amount of time your child spends watching T.V. and on social media

HEALTH SUITE

During these times of virtual learning it is very important to remember to have your son/ daughter eat healthy meals and get plenty of sleep. It is a very long day on the computer and it is important to remember when the virtual learning is done to exercise and get active.

Please make sure that your son/ daughter’s immunizations are up to date and that the health suite has a copy of the completed vaccinations. If you are having difficulty getting an appointment with your pediatrician please contact Ms. Limmer at jlimmer@bcps.org or 443-809-5000 for assistance.

Also, if there are any changes in your child’s health status please let Ms. Limmer know. For any questions or concerns please contact the health suite at 443-809-5000 or jlimmer@bcps.org.