HFIS Grades 6-8 Monthly Newsletter

Get schooled on what's happening.

We're Halfway There

Wow! Can you believe that we're already halfway through the school year? This year has been a particularly incredible one, and we'd like to use this milestone to kick off the new monthly newsletter. Our hopes are that we can keep everyone in the loop about the exciting events here at HFIS.

Report Cards

As the second quarter draws to a close, second quarter report cards are approaching. This is a great opportunity to go over grades with your student(s), and to help keep the academic momentum continuing throughout the year. Here are some tips from Cheryl Embrett (http://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-talk-to-your-kid-about-report-cards/):

-DO stay positive. Find something that you can praise your child about.

-DON'T compare your child to others. Every child is an individual.

-DO listen to your child. You might get some useful insight as to strengths and weaknesses.

-DON'T lose sight of the big picture. Remember that one grade does not define your child.

-DO prepare a follow-up plan. Celebrate successes and plan for improvements.

In the Classroom


Sixth Grade: In early December, we completed our first unit on The Hero’s Journey and reading our novel Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. We culminated the unit with a writing piece (completing the writing process) for a compare/contrast essay of the novel to the movie depiction. Unit 2 will be centrally focused around the idea of "Rules to Live By," including the novel Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Seventh and Eighth Grade: Before vacation, students completed three literature projects. Some students may still owe parts of the last project. Please check with your child. We are excited to dig into our non-fiction unit about children facing adult challenges. We encourage you to talk to your child about this topic.

Social Studies

Sixth Grade: Sixth grade students continue their exploration of the Eastern Hemisphere this month focusing upon Mesopotamia and Early River Valley Civilizations. Although these complex societies and civilizations have certain defining characteristics in common, each is also known for unique cultural achievements and contributions. We will focus on written language and the establishment of laws. Initially students will be engaged in hands-on activities deciphering and creating messages using ancient forms of writing. We will then turn our focus and examine how the need for law and order ultimately establish a civilization’s political and social systems. “An Eye for an Eye” or structure and justice?...The sixth graders will be the judge!

Seventh Grade: Planning a Spring Break Getaway!?...Check out the seventh grade 13 Colonies Travel Brochures! This month students will be exploring the various reasons for the establishment of the American colonies and analyzing why and how the colonies developed differently based on economic, social, and geographic factors. What factors influenced the development of New England, Middle and Southern colonies? What factors influenced the development of present­ day New York? Read all about the colonies from our academic adventure before embarking on an adventure of your own!

Eighth Grade: We are happy to welcome Ms. Chrysanthe Giadonis to our class! She will be student teaching with us for the next 8 weeks, and is excited to be taking our 8th grade students on some historical adventures to explore Imperialism and World War I. The 8th graders are sure to impress Ms. G with their historical thinking skills and their ability to converse like real historians, skills they've been working hard on mastering!


The PASS program is available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 3:00-3:45.

Sixth Grade: We've been working really hard with ratios, rates, fraction operations, and decimal operations. During classroom time, we've created projects in real world applications such as "Going Out to Dinner" and "Going on a Shopping Spree." Over the next five weeks, we will introduce rational (positive and negative) numbers using visual models such as number lines, thermometers, and coordinate planes. Remember when you are with your child at a store or supermarket, ask them to calculate a unit rate or the tax for you!

Seventh Grade: We started the year off with the constant of proportionality, which is just a fancy name for unit rate. We have studied integer operations, and are now applying those skills to simplifying expressions and solving equations. In the coming weeks, we will be working on percent problems, so make sure to have your child calculate the tip at a restaurant or determine the discount when shopping!

Eighth Grade: Since September, we have covered several topics, including integer exponents, scientific notation, congruency - transformations, angle relationships, dilation, and similar figures. Our current topic is writing and solving linear equations. I would like to acknowledge the success and smart work of all of my students and thank them for their efforts made in class so far. Keep up the good work. You deserve the best! I would also like to acknowledge the students who made the snowflakes for the Winter Solstice station. You did a great job using Kirigami.

Reminder: Students may come to room 233 during recess for extra help with Mrs. Smith. Also, please check Mrs. Smith's webpage for homework and additional resources.


Sixth Grade: Sixth grade students in Science are currently studying the importance of biodiversity and the relationships between organisms and their environment. Check out Mr. Patsch's teacher page for all of our current "Classroom News!"

Seventh and Eighth Grade: Welcome back everybody! I would like to encourage all parents to get involved with what your child is learning through our new lesson platform for science class here at HFIS. All lessons are accessible and interactive through Google classroom. These lessons will allow students to access and process information at a suitable pace and allow us, as a class, to focus on hands-on learning in smaller groups.

New to HFIS science as well is our new community blog: The Highlands Project.

In this forum we, the greater Highland Falls/Fort Montgomery family, will have a unique opportunity to interact and discuss all things science, happening worldwide or in our own community. I encourage students (required at times:), parents, and educators to participate and contribute. This is an open platform for all so let's share, communicate, and learn, from each other!

Note: Environmental Club will be held every Tuesday after school in 225, join us! We will be putting a plan together for a community garden, starting worm composting and figuring out how to keep those k-cups out of our landfills!

Any questions please contact me anytime at: andrew.krakowka@hffmcsd.org


¡Hola! All students are required to take a midterm at the end of January. This counts as a test grade for the second quarter, and assesses their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish. Hopefully you've seen and heard your student going over possible questions and answers for the speaking section!

Seventh Grade:
Ask your student what it means to conjugate verbs. They should have a whole lot to say about it! In the near future, you should expect to see an árbol geneológico (family tree), since the familia unit is coming up.

Eighth Grade: Students did a wonderful job on their casa projects, which involved creating an ideal home with everything labeled in Spanish, writing a composition about it in Spanish, and presenting the project completely in Spanish. Soon, we will be starting our unit on health, and students will act out a dialogue in which they try to convince their guardian to let them stay home from school.

Reminder: Many resources, including notes, handouts, videos, and assignments, are available online in Google Classroom.


Mrs. Thomas's news: Advanced Wind Ensemble and Band 6 both performed marvelous concerts in December! Thank you parents and students for your hard work! Right now we are beginning our preparation for the Spring Concerts as well as enhancing our ELA skills by creating goals for the new year. All County Band students are getting ready to perform their solos, scales, and sight reading at auditions that will be held in the coming weeks. Keep up the inspired work!

Mrs. Magyar's news: Grade 6 STEM students are serving as Bridge Building and Robotics Engineers. Students are working hard on their projects. After they complete this, they will switch activities so that they can participate in the other Engineering Project.