Stafford Middle School Newsletter - March 2016
We are happy to welcome another spring and warmer temperatures. This can be an exciting time of the year for everyone. As more students choose to walk and ride their bikes to school, please remind your students to be careful and cross streets at the appropriate places. Bike riders should walk their bicycle on campus. As drivers, we all need to remain alert and watch out for our students as they move about on campus and in the neighborhood. Safety is truly a team effort.
Spring temperatures also bring new wardrobes. Please be sure to review the dress code in the student handbook and make sure your child is dressed appropriately. STAAR testing begins towards the end of March. Students should get a good night of sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and dress comfortably on test days to help ensure that they are able to do their best. There are many exciting events coming up on the calendar and we hope to see you soon.
The Stafford Administration Team
Ms. Scott, Ms. Duffey, and Mr. Westby
Dates to Remember
March 17: Track Meet at Memorial Stadium
March 18: 8th Grade Field Trip
March 24: Track Meet at Memorial Stadium; Coffee with the Counselors
March 29: STAAR 7th Grade Writing; STAAR 8th Grade Math
March 30: STAAR 8th Grade Reading
April 4: 7/8th Boys Soccer Game
April 7: 7/8th Girls Soccer Game
April 11: 7/8th Boys Soccer Game
April 13: Choir Cluster Concert Game
April 14: 7/8th Girls Soccer Game
April 18: 7/8th Boys Soccer Game
April 21: 7/8th Girls Soccer Game
April 25: No School
April 27: 7/8th Boys and Girls Soccer Games
April 28: Open House; NJHS Induction
May 9: STAAR 6/7th Math; 8th Boys & Girls Soccer Games
May 10: STAAR 6/7th Reading
May 11: STAAR 8th Science; 7th Boys & Girls Soccer Games
May 12: STAAR 8th Social Studies
Would I Know if Truancy was Being Filed on my Student?
ABSOLUTELY! Be assured, we will contact you several times regarding unexcused absences before truancy is filed with the courts. Texas is a compulsory attendance state -- this means that a child between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school unless the student is otherwise legally exempted or excused. There is a notification process in place to keep parents informed of attendance rules, and to avoid unwanted circumstances and court costs.
Here are the basic parts of this truancy notification process:
Daily Attendance Email/Phone Call
The first stage of notification is the daily e-mail/phone call that is automatically generated when an unexcused absence coding is entered for the day. This e-mail/phone call is your reminder that the proper written documentation must be received within 3 days of the absence occurring in order to excuse the absence.
3-Day Truancy Letter
When a student reaches a total of 3 unexcused absences, it triggers an automatic truancy letter. This letter from the assistant principal is a notification that you have used 3 of the 9 unexcused absences allowed before truancy is filed. This 3-day letter is important, as attendance misunderstandings can be quickly addressed before more unnecessary unexcused absences accrue.
7-Day Truancy Letter
When a student reaches a total of 7 unexcused absences, another truancy letter is automatically generated. This is the 7-day truancy letter.
Truancy is Filed at 10 Unexcused Absences
When a student reaches 10 unexcused absences, truancy is automatically filed by the assistant principal with our truancy officer.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (469) 633-5107, or e-mail me at my e-mail address noted below. Frisco ISD has their attendance policy posted on the FISD website.
Keep those attendance notes coming!
The spring semester is both an exciting and challenging time for our students. The weather is nice, the year is almost over, and they are often struggling with staying focused on their academics. Here are some helpful tips to help parents and students make it through the year:
o Recharge yourself.
o Check your child’s planner every night.
o Check HAC regularly.
o Back pack clean-out/organize binder one night a week.
o E-mail teachers first and frequently with questions concerning class.
o Change up the evening routine.
o Take time for family fun.
o Have homework time AND study time.
o Make studying a game.
o Have a stash of notebook paper, fun pens, pencils, scissors, etc.
o Let them earn back the things you have taken away for punishment on a nightly basis.
STAAR season will soon be upon us. We always encourage our students to do their best on STAAR, which includes getting enough rest before the test and a healthy breakfast. STAAR dates for the year are as follows:
o 7th grade Writing & 8th grade Math- Tuesday, March 29th
o 8th grade Reading- Wednesday, March 30th
o 6th & 7th grade Math- Monday, May 9th
o 6th & 7th grade Reading- Tuesday, May 10th
o 8th grade Science- Wednesday, May 11th
o 8th grade Social Studies- Thursday, May 12th
Notes from the Nurse / Health and Wellness
Vitamins are a group of substances that are needed for normal cell function, growth, and development. There are 13 essential vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in the body's fatty tissue and are absorbed more easily in the presence of dietary fat. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body and leave the body through the urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years. A vitamin deficiency occurs when you do not get enough of a certain vitamin. Vitamin deficiency can cause health problems.
The Stafford Library Buzz
The Spring Book Fair was a success! Thank you to everyone who stopped in to support us by making purchases at the book fair.
Students who have long-overdue books (books checked out in September or October) will be receiving "long overdue" notices. If the student has the book that is long-overdue, they need to turn it in ASAP. If they cannot find the book, it will need to be paid for through our Funds4Books website. If this is the case, I will be giving individual students the information they need to get this taken care of. If you have questions about long-overdue books, please contact Mrs. Fletcher in the library.
English as a Second Language
English Language Learners are busy expanding our English vocabulary. We have been discussing grammar and parts of speech to prepare for upcoming writing assessments.
6th Grade News
6th Grade ILA
6th grade ILA classes have been busy reviewing compound, complex,and compound-complex sentences. In addition, we are continuing to write expository pieces and have written several character analysis pieces that include characters from "The Watsons Go To Birmingham" as well as from the novel, Holes. We will be creating our Wanted posters related to Holes that includes a tea-staining activity as well as letters written in the voice of a character.
In addition, students created awesome projects entitled "Altoids Tin Book Reports" in which they included a summary and 3D visual of an independent reading book within an Altoids mint container.
Finally, sixth graders are preparing for the upcoming STAAR test in May by analyzing both fiction and non-fiction reading passages.
6th Grade Math
We have been working hard in math and learning new concepts. Module 4B covered equations and inequalities. The current Module 5 works on classifying numbers, operations with integers, and Cartesian Plane. Module 6 moves into geometry and will begin after Spring Break. We hope everyone continues to work hard and attend tutorials or SOAR.
6th Grade Science
After learning about energy and different energy systems during Unit 4, students are now able to make logical plans to conserve energy in the home, school, and community. Mrs. Cheng helped us remember the different energy names: Mechanical, Radiant (Light), Sound, Chemical (batteries and wood), Heat (Thermal transfers), Nuclear, and Gravitational. Students used Energy Guides from our home appliances to help make decisions about future purchases.
Sixth graders are now racing into our new unit on Forces and Physics. Labs will include racing remote controlled cars, speed and velocity calculations, and applied force calculations. Sir Isaac Newton and simple machines will also be discussed.
6th Grade World Cultures
In World Cultures for the coming few weeks, we will be learning about the Middle East. Much of our unit will be literature based using the book The Breadwinner. We will also get to have Officer Courville teach us about drug awareness and its dangers and side-effects.
Ms. Wiemann and Coach Hawkins
6th grade Technology Applications would like to welcome Coach Hawkins and thank Mrs. Rosenberg for working with our students during the 1st semester. This six-weeks we have been exploring desktop publishing techniques and creating print media using Microsoft Publisher. Students used their skills to create a travel brochure for Social Studies about their chosen European Union country and illustrated the cover of their favorite book.
Students have greatly enjoyed reading through and discussing social issues involved in Wonder. We continue to work on organization and study skills each week with students. Please continue to encourage your students to be checking their grades in HAC so that they can monitor their own progress and take greater ownership of it.
7th Grade News
7th Grade ILA
Ms. Baxter, Ms. Hawkins, and Ms. Phillips
7th Grade ILA is currently reading the novel Tangerine. Students are focusing on characterization, conflict, figurative language, comprehension, and high level questioning. After reading the novel, students will be writing an analytical short answer response and completing a research project.
The STAAR Writing Assessment is coming up on March 29th! After spring break we will begin our STAAR Writing Bootcamp. This will prepare students for both the essay and revising/editing portion of the test.
7th Grade Math
Ms. Foster and Ms. Sandhu
It is hard to believe Spring Break is next week! We can't believe that we are three-fourths of the way done with this school year. So far we have covered ratios, rates, percent, proportions, equations, inequalities, geometry, and financial literacy. We have tried to incorporate a project for each module to give students real life applied examples of the content covered in class.
In the upcoming weeks we will begin studying Data & Populations, Probability. As we move forward, we will continue to push our students to build a stronger conceptual understanding of math and build computational fluency. Our goal is to enable the students be the best they possibly can in Math and all walks of life.
7th Grade Science
Ms. Hendrix, Mr. Blanton, and Ms. Peak
Students recently concluded a unit over body systems! Your student should be well versed on the systems in their body and how those systems function and work together.
We are now in a unit over genetics and heredity. Your student is learning how they inherit traits, the probability of those traits being inherited, and the impact of favorable traits over generations. They have learned about Darwin and Mendel and their contributions to this area of scientific study. You should have a geneticist in the making!
7th Grade Texas History
Mr. Rutherford, Ms. Lane, and Mr. Oppenheim
During the fourth six weeks grading period, your Texas History students have had the opportunity to work on the Techbook Project, Unit 6 - Republic Of Texas, and Unit - 7.1 Causes Of The Civil War. The Techbook Project in an ongoing collaborative project between FISD middle schools to design and produce a student created textbook and online book for Texas History. Your students were responsible for creating a game that would allow students across the district to study historical figures from the Republic of Texas time period. After the completion of the project, we transitioned into Unit 6, where students learned how Texas established a government that would lead the newly formed Republic of Texas. Upon completion of Unit 6, we began Unit 7 and discussed the issues and circumstances that caused Texas and the rest of the United States to begin the Civil War.
As we enter into the fifth six weeks grading period, student will learn about the role of Texas Soldiers and leaders in the Civil War. Students will work on a Document Based Questions (DBQ) that will detail the dynamic roles that individuals and groups had in the War. After the completion of the DBQ, we will transition into Unit 7.2 where students will learn about the different Civil War battles that occurred in Texas and across the US.
The year is going by fast, and our students in Texas History will get to see how Texas plays a large role in the future of the United States. It should be a fun time for our students!
8th Grade News
8th Grade ILA
Ms. Beasley, Ms. Vestal, Ms. Varnell, and Ms. Browning
At the beginning of MP4, ILA students presented persuasive speeches based on research about a school, national, or international issue. Then we moved into Literature Circles, and students chose the novels they got to read! Groups have worked to create plot diagrams and character sketches each week based upon their novels, and they also focused on basic skills such as summary, questioning the text, character development, conflict, and Short Answer Responses independently. Going forward, all 8th graders will visit the Dallas Holocaust Museum on March 18th, which will provide historical context and background as they begin their group study of Voices of the Holocaust, which will end with group presentations of thematic connections.
At the beginning of MP4, ILA students presented persuasive speeches based on research about a school, national, or international issue. Then we moved into Literature Circles, and students embarked upon the study of The Count of Monte Cristo, a challenging classic novel. Students worked together, analyzing the complex plot and finding thematic connections to poetry and songs. In the end, they will complete a Literary Analysis assessment of their choice to represent their depth of learning with the novel. Going forward, all 8th graders will visit the Dallas Holocaust Museum on March 18th, which will provide historical context and background as they begin their group study of Voices of the Holocaust, which will end with group presentations of thematic connections. Pre-AP students will also independently read a Holocaust-related narrative which they will compare to the texts shared in Voices.
8th Grade Science
Ms. Wilson and Mr. Blanton
In 8th grade science, we are in the middle of force and motion. We then move on to chemistry for the remainder of the grading period. After that, we start prepping for the STAAR test! Students will be using an online STAAR test prep program called Study Island for the next 6 weeks. This is an excellent resource which should help them score their best!
8th Grade Math
Ms. Shelden and Ms. Maynard
The 8th grade math classes have just finished an intense study of Pre-Algebra and Statistics - exploring linear and nonlinear situations as well as analyzing two variable data sets. Students are learning to use scatter plots to display data sets, create a line of best fit, determine associations, calculate the mean absolute deviation and then make predictions from this information. Our next unit before the STAAR test will be a geometry unit where we will focus on finding the total surface area and volume of 3D shapes including spheres.
Please continue to encourage your child to do his/her nightly homework, check HAC, and to seek help when needed. We will be working very hard to continue with our current TEKS as well as review concepts from past units as we prepare for our STAAR test. We are excited for a great spring and thank you for your continued support at home!
Algebra students have mastered linear functions, exponential functions, and are now discovering quadratic functions. There are so many videos, songs, and dances for quadratics! Our classroom favorite is "teach me how to factor"! Ask your students about the quadratic function videos and songs.
8th Grade American History
Ms. Lane and Ms. Kranzberg
We have been busy in 8th Grade History this six weeks as we formed our nation and explored how the early presidents shaped our lives today! We had a ton of fun learning about the War of 1812 and decorating "Nationalism Eggs" to explain the effects of this event. We have also learned all about the Industrial Revolution and the Lowell Factory Girls. We relived our younger days by using play-doh to create models of important inventions of this time period! Stay tuned as we head toward the "Era of Bad Feelings" dealing with issues surrounding the Civil War.
Stafford Sound Machine
Mr. Holzer, Mrs. Wilson, and Mr. Hanrahan
Thank you band for collecting over $2,000 for the Small World Angel Program. These funds went to ensure that children in our community had a bright Holiday Season.
March 3 - Symphonic Band UIL 8:00 am
March 4 - Urban Air Party 5:00-7:00 pm
April 2 - CCCC Jazz Fest and Arts in the Square
Ms. Rutledge- Director of Orchestras, Ms. Heuer- Director of Harps
This spring semester is already flying by! Our beginner students have learned a set of daily bow exercises to improve our right hand strength and technique. We've learned a lot of new bowing styles recently including staccato, legato, slurs, and hooked bows. We've learned all notes on the A, D, and G strings. We'll learn our E and C string notes before the end of March.
Chamber and symphonic orchestras are both working very hard! Symphonic has been focusing on improving tone and style in our three pieces for the Spring Concert. Chamber Orchestra has been preparing for our annual UIL contest! We will be performing at Marcus HS in Flower Mound on March 3rd. Please wish them good luck and good skill!
The Spring Concert was rescheduled to March 16th at 7:00 pm. An email was sent home during the week of Feb. 15th and Students were also given a hard copy of this information.
For all students, our next important events include Solo and Ensemble Contest, our fun trip to Six Flags,and our Final Concert of the school year!
Choir students are working hard to continue to grow as musicians! Pre-UIL and UIL are over and both Varsity Choirs did well preparing for these competitions. The Varsity Women's Choir competed on February 29th, and they walked away with SWEEPSTAKES, straight top scores across the board!
Coming up in April is the Solo & Ensemble Competition. Students will have the chance to perform a solo in front of a judge and may earn a medal! Now as a Choir, we begin work on the Pop Show music, where students will have the opportunity to show off their talents. We hope to see you there!
Contact info: MorganS@friscoisd.org, 469-633-5125 https://sites.google.com/site/staffordmschoir/
Dates To Remember:
April 9: Solo & Ensemble Competition, more information to come
May 23: Pop Show - LSHS, 7:00 pm
It is certainly Spring time in the Art room! We have been busy making awesome artwork! Here are a few projects you may have heard about: 1 and 2 point perspective cities, The Butterfly Contest and festival (April 16th in Wimberley, TX- all are invited), Clay Face Vase, Clay rattle creatures, and Fauvism Wild Beast still life watercolors!
Coming next for some classes is the empty bowls community project donation (to help feed the hungry). Please join us at Frisco Arts in The Square April 2 & 3. Buy a bowl for $5 to donate to the food pantry. Stay tuned to see who will be selected to compete in the Jr. VASE art competition this May. This is a big honor if your child is selected. Thanks for supporting the ARTS!
Students have wrapped up a unit on Shakespeare. They have learned about his time and theatre as well as read through one of his plays. They have creating unique projects to show their mastery of the unit… everything from models of the Globe Theatre made in Minecraft, to handmade Elizabethan costumes, to original choreography of a court dance. They are now beginning to learn how to accurately evaluate theatre and other media as well as what goes into the production of TV shows and films. They will soon be writing and producing their own original short TV programs!
Students have concluded a thorough study of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as well as Theatrical Design. They read and analyzed the play and then had to transport the show to a different time, style, or place than it was originally intended. They created costumes, sets, and publicity in their chosen style and then culminated in a scene or monologue, translated from the original text to their chosen period. Their next unit deals with Musical Theatre and they will be taking popular songs and writing them into an original musical with their own scenes and choreography!
Students have been working on their UIL OAP Digging Up the Boys by Laura Lundgren Smith since late November and their efforts have paid off: they were named District Champions! They won first place overall and several students earned individual awards at each stage of competition. Athena Hawkins was even named Best Actress at zone contest and Tanner Denton earned Best Actor at the district contest. Every student did amazing work and has so much to be proud of!
Students have created work for the district Theatrical Design contest. They had to design costumes, sets and publicity items for the assigned play, Alice in Wonderland. 5 students competed at the district level and Davis Anderson won 3rd place overall for Publicity! They are now transitioning into designing the spring play, Barbecuing Hamlet. They will design and build the sets, costumes, and props. Look for their work onstage in May!
Skills for Living
Our Food Science Unit is unfortunately coming to an end. The students had a blast making a variety of foods, and hopefully they have shown you some of their skills at home! The students also had a Food Service Project in which they ran their own restaurant for a day. If you are needing a day off from cooking, allow your young chef to make you a meal and wait on you. They should be experts at both!
Immediately after Spring Break we will begin our Clothing Care and Sewing Unit! The students will learn how to sort clothes, do laundry, hand sew, and sew with a sewing machine.
In Intro to Spanish we learned about Spanish architect Antoní Gaudí and his influence on the city of Barcelona Spain. Students studied Gaudí and his influence and techniques and then created their own mosaic work of art in a style similar to Gaudí.
In Spanish 1 we learned about places in the house and chores. Our new focus is learning synonyms to augment our vocabulary and push our production beyond the basic level.
We have kicked off Health! We just concluded our first unit and have moved on to our unit on personal health. Students will learn the basics of personal health, how to measure BMI and waist-to-hip ratio, review the body systems, and fitness. We will start having a few fitness days during the unit. These will be days that students have the opportunity to participate in physical activity to support a healthy lifestyle and apply what they have researched in class. The dates of these days will be announced soon! When we have a fitness day, please have your student bring clothes that they can be active in (must be in school dress code) and shoes that are appropriate for physical activity.
If you missed the Last Chance Sale, I have a limited number of yearbooks available for purchase. Don't wait until distribution day to purchase one of the additional copies through My Payments Plus. Check your e-mail for detailed instructions.
The yearbook distribution party will be here before you know it! The staff has been working so hard to create a yearbook that will make our student body proud. Thank you for your continued support!
Digital Graphics & Animation
This six-weeks saw the wrap up of our Greek Mythology Claymation Unit. I am continually amazed at the talent and creativity of our students. Next six-weeks, we are learning how to create and animate 3D characters using Blender.
Broadcast is doing a great job of sharing what is going on here at Stafford Middle School. Their ability to dig deep and produce an exemplary product continues to impress both staff and students. Check out some of the past broadcasts on the Stafford website:
The students created a “Sumo-Bot” and were involved in a round-robin style competition to determine the winners of their class. Congratulations to those that competed and won! Within the next few weeks we will begin our Airplane Challenge. The students are going to be building an “Airplane” and programming it to follow a runway and prepare for “take off."
The Robotics competition is quickly approaching and a select few students have been involved in discussions regarding the two teams and the requirements for the competition. Stafford has won the previous two years and we’re looking forward to competing for a third straight year!
Gifted & Talented
6th Grade GT:
In March, 6th grade GT ILA will start unit 6D with an emphasis on evaluating our reading skills. We will be preparing for the STAAR Reading Test with a Reading Boot Camp as well as introducing a Poetry Unit. Along with our test preparedness, our GT students will continue their study of stems and grammar.
7th Grade GT:
The 7th grade GT ILA students are challenging themselves to improve their writing skills in preparation for the STAAR Writing Test on March 29th. We are finishing Unit 6C with an embedded assessment that looks at social problems presented in The Outsiders and the students' solutions for these problems.
8th Grade GT:
8th grade GT ILA is entering our most challenging unit of the year with our Upstanders study. We will learn about these courageous individuals through our study of the Holocaust and World War II. Students will be engaged in Literacy Circles and will study the effects of propaganda as used by powerful leaders throughout history. Students will write an AP-style DBQ using six different sources dealing with Adolph Hitler. Your students will continue with their study of Greek and Latin stems as well as preparing for the STAAR Reading testing at the end of March.
Coach Olson, Coach Anthony, Coach Trammell, Coach Rutherford, Coach Oppenheim, and Coach Hawkins
Basketball season has ended and track and field season is heating up! The boys will compete in the district qualifying meet on March 17th, and those who make it will compete in the district championships at Memorial Stadium March 24th. Soccer try-outs will begin after spring break. An announcement will be made soon for dates and times. For the most up to date information regarding boys' athletics visit: https://sites.google.com/a/friscoisd.org/stafford-athletics/ and follow us on twitter @staffordsports
Coach Browning, Coach Teague, Coach Hendrix, Coach Red Fox, and Coach Varnell
The 8th grade basketball ladies played well all season long and learned a lot along the way. In the beginning of the season the ladies won the first ever Collin County Hoops Fest Tournament in December. The girls aimed to BE PERFECT (Bring Excellence Play w/Effort Remain Focused Exhibit Chemistry as a Team) all season, but fell short in the district tournament placing 4th. All of the coaches are proud of all the girls and wish them nothing but success as they move into their high school careers.
7th grade ladies faced tough competition throughout the season learning and growing along the way. "A" team finished regular season and advanced to the district tournament. Great hard fought season!