Jonas Clarke Middle

New and Notes | January 2019

From the Principal

Winter has arrived! I hope that you had a safe, warm and relaxing long weekend and that storm did not disrupt too many plans. Go Patriots! Despite the cold, it was wonderful to see that so many in our community participated in the MLK Day events this past Monday as we paused to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr and all that he stood for. I was proud that several Clarke students were chosen to read their essays on race at ceremonies throughout the day.


This Friday January 25th marks the end of the 2nd quarter and we are halfway through this school year! It is hard to believe. Second quarter report cards will be posted on the Aspen Portal on Monday February 4, 2019. In addition students will receive new schedules in homeroom on Monday January 28, 2019. The only classes that will change on the schedule are the exploratory semester classes.


Now that we have entered into the second half of the year we quickly begin to talk about transitions for our students. Eighth graders transitioning to LHS should pay attention to the following dates and events this spring:


February 4, 2019 - Incoming 9th grade Parent/ Guardian Info Night 6:30 - 7:30PM at LHS

February 7, 2019 - Curriculum Night at LHS 6:30 - 8:00PM

February 11, 2019 PTO Q&A Forum @ Community Center 9:00 - 10:30AM

February 13, 2019 PTO Q&A Forum @ LHS Science Lecture Hall 7:00 - 9:00PM

February 27, 28 or March 1 - LHS presentations to Clarke students in school

June 7, 2019 - 8th grade Student Step Up Day to LHS 1:30 - 3:30 PM (students only)

Drop Off and Pick Up Reminders

We are asking that all parents please remember the guidelines for our drop off and pick up procedures. It is important for student, staff and parent safety that we all abide by these:


  • All pick up and drop offs should take place at the front of the building. We need to reserve the back of the building for bus entry ONLY


  • Please respect our wonderful neighbors and businesses in close proximity and we ask for your help in respecting their land and privacy as well. Please avoid using private residence and parking lots for school pick up and drop off.



Thank you for paying attention to these important reminders!

News from the Health Office

During these winter months it is very important to try to contain the spread of germs which cause illness. Thank you for supporting our efforts to keep our school community healthy by keeping your child home if they have a fever over 100 degrees F., vomiting or diarrhea, unexplained rash that may be contagious, or if they are in the active stages of a cold with frequent coughing and sneezing, even if they do not have a fever. We all appreciate this. The best defense against the spread of many illnesses is proper hand washing and cough technique. We continue to review this with students in the health office daily. Here are some reminders from the MA Department of Public Health:


How do I stop the spread of germs if I am sick?

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze.
    Throw the used tissue in a waste basket.

  • If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.

  • After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap & water or
    an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.


How can I stay healthy?

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.

  • Get vaccinated! Influenza (flu) vaccines can prevent serious illnesses.


Click here for A Flu Guide for Parents

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PTO Forums and Events

A huge Thank you to our PTO for putting together such valuable parent forums based on what parents say is needed! Earlier the month at the PTO meeting we had Kristie Demeriv, LHS Prevention Specialist attend the meeting and walk through the "Hidden in Plain Sight" bedroom that is set up to show parents items to look for in their teens' bedroom that might indicated substance use. This forum will be repeated on February 28 at 7:00PM at LHS in Commons 2 for parents that would like to learn more! Lexington Police Officer, Kristina Hankins will also be in attendance. This is a really great opportunity to ask questions, learn more and be informed about what is out there!


Also in January the Clarke PTO in conjunction with our counseling staff put together a parent forum around communicating with teenagers. There were several stations where counselors and social workers presented on different topics and strategies. We also had staff from LYFS there and several recent LHS grads were there to speaks as well. So helpful and informative!


The PTO will also be sponsoring the always very popular Q&A with current parents of LHS students for parents of 8th graders. There will be 2 opportunities to hear from a panel of current LHS parents: February 11th 9:00 - 10:30 AM at the Community Center and February 13th 7:00 - 9:00PM at LHS in the Science Lecture Hall. Don't miss it!


Stay tuned for information on upcoming PTO forums and events including a technology forum, a forum about communicating around sex and sexuality as well as a possible screening of the documentary "Angst".


Thank you so much to the PTO for organizing and all the parents who donated and helped out with the annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon in January. I say it every year, but we look forward to it all year long. The food is fabulous and it is all such a treat. Thank you for taking such great care of our staff - it is truly appreciated!

Broadway Star meets with our Clarke Drama Students

The cast and crew of Clarke Middle School's production of Anne of Green Gables had the opportunity to work with Broadway star Chilina Kennedy this week. Ms. Kennedy, who is currently starring as "Carole King" in the Broadway production of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, flew into Boston on Monday morning to spend the day working with the Clarke students. When she was in high school, Ms. Kennedy played the role of "Anne Shirley" in the Charlottetown production of Anne of Green Gables and so she came to Lexington to coach the students on their production - scheduled to open at the end of the month. Ms. Kennedy provided feedback on scenes, character development, technical elements, musical interpretation and more. The students then had the opportunity to talk with her about her Broadway experiences, her theatrical background, and to gain insight into their own theatrical journey. She impressed upon the students to be kind to themselves as well as being kind to each other - the lesson that extends beyond the stage and into their everyday lives. What an incredible experience for our Clarke students!

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Come see Clarke students perform Anne of Green Gables

Clarke Middle School presents the Lucy Maud Montgomery classic story Anne of Green Gables Come see this musical of a young girl who, through her own creativity and energy, changes not only her own path but those around her!


Thursday, 1/31 at 7:30

Friday, 2/1 at 7:30

Saturday, 2/2 at 1:00 & 5:30


Tickets are $10 at: http://www.showtix4u.com or at the Clarke office during school hours.

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Deconstruction Construction during WIN

Two Clarke teachers Mr. Roy and Mr. Murray have teamed up for a new WIN offering called Deconstruction Construction. Students have signed up to tinker and learn about the inner workings of (broken) common household or school small electronics, and then seeing if we can repair them or turn them into something new!

French Pen Pal Projects

6th, 7th and 8th grade students in Ms Starczak and Ms Barrillon’s classes...

have been corresponding with students in France and Senegal. They will be exchanging on the following topics: their families, their hobbies, tourism in their hometowns, favorite classes and school schedule.... and much more!

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Upcoming Dates

Friday January 25 | Quarter 2 grades close


Thursday January 31 | Clarke Drama - Anne of Green Gables

7:30PM


Friday February 1 | Clarke Drama - Anne of Green Gables

7:30PM


Saturday February 2 | Clarke Drama - Anne of Green Gables

1:00 PM and 5:30 PM


Monday February 4 | Parent Night at LHS for incoming 9th Graders

6:30 - 7:30 PM LHS Auditorium


Thursday February 7 | Clarke PTO Meeting

8:30am, Clarke Cafeteria


Thursday February 7 | LHS Curriculum Night

6:30PM - 8:00PM @ LHS


February 8 | Clarke Ladies Night Out

10am-8:15pm, Helena's Boutique & Fred Astaire Dance Studio


February 11 | 8th Grade Parent Forum "Going to LHS"

9:00-10:30am, Lexington Community Center Room 139


Thursday February 13 | 8th Grade PTO Parent Forum "Going to LHS"

7:00-9:00pm, Lexington High School Science Lecture Hall


February 18 - 22 | No School

Winter Vacation


Thursday February 28 | Parent Forum on substance abuse

7:00-9:00 pm, Lexington High School Commons 2


Thursday March 7 | Early Release Day

11:45AM Dismissal for Middle School (Please note earlier calendars indicated 3/21 as the early release date. This has been changed)

Clarke’s Choral Program: a Model for Inclusion

The Clarke Choral program was showcased at the January meeting of the SHAC LGBTQ Task Force. Clarke Choral Director, Brendan Ferrari shared the students’ proactivity in acknowledging, respecting, and supporting all students, including those that may identify as LGBTQ. Of particular interest was the chorus music literacy curriculum, which involves kids learning songs directly taken from students’ and their families’ cultures, heritages, and identities. Not only do these tunes develop proficiency in rhythm and pitch patterns, but they also promote respect for the backgrounds of every student.


The picture below is Mr. Ferrari with members of the SHAC Task Force.

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News from Grade 7

Team Adventurer

In English, Adventurer students wrapped up our study of setting, acknowledging it as a powerful literary element. While reading The Giver, we’ve learned how setting can be the cause of conflict and how it can greatly impact an character. Currently, we’re exploring nonfiction texts with a critical eye. We’re checking authors and sources, looking for bias, and and asking ourselves if a text is trustworthy or not. We’re heightening our awareness of an article's purpose and how it seeks to persuade, inform or entertain.


Just as New England gets colder, geography class heats up! Right now we're visiting the Middle East, then we're off to Africa!


In Science, Adventurer students have been continuing their studies of human body systems. After making working arm models illustrating how muscles and bones work together, students then investigated the circulatory system. Students explored the inner workings of this system by dissecting a sheep heart. We learned more about the respiratory system by doing a lung capacity lab, and analyzing our data scientifically and mathematically. Next we'll dive into the digestive and nervous systems. The culminating project will be for students to explain, in a presentation, how several different body systems work together while doing an activity of their choice.


In math, we have finished our ratio, proportion and percent units. Students enjoyed going on a mock spending spree that highlighted their work with percents dealing with tax, discounts and markups. We continue to work on students’ skills of critiquing the work of others, sharing ideas, and working together to solve challenging math problems. We are looking forward to our lessons in the spring when we can explore more of our geometry standards and probability.


Math Challenge of the newsletter

Percentage Mad

What is 20% of 30% of 40% of $50? Show the solution in as many ways as possible! Have fun!

Team Endeavor

Endeavor Science students have been "knee deep" in examining the human body systems. While we focus on the basic organs and function of each system, we are also interested in understanding the way in which different systems work together to accomplish each goal. For each system students will have the opportunity to model the way in which the organs of the system function (check out the picture of some Endeavorites modeling their arm models) and in some cases, dissect certain organs to really get their hands dirty. We have finished dissecting the chicken wing to examine the relationship between the skeletal and muscular system, and are now onto the sheep heart (A picture of students working with the hearts is also included.) to better understand the heart and circulatory system. This will be followed by the respiratory system, digestive system, and nervous system.


In English, students contemplate and work to answer the following question: How do we become informed citizens using 21st century media? Diving into the world of non-fiction, students will evaluate long-form and short-form non-fiction texts for credibility, timeliness, purpose and perspective in order to respond to the essential question. This unit prepares students to research and then write an argumentative essay on a topic of their choosing.


In Endeavor World Geography, we are immersed in the Africa unit. Among the topics we have studied include colonialism, apartheid and peaceful non-resistance movements, and famous places/faces from the region. Skills we have developed include primary source analysis, annotations, cause/effect, and creative writing. Also captivating the students’ attention are the stories we have examined in which we learned about lives of adolescents whose lives are similar to and different from their own. The students are currently working on their final projects for the unit about which they chose one of three options. Check in with them to see the creative ways they are demonstrating their knowledge about their lives and the world.


In math, we have finished our ratio, proportion and percent units. Students enjoyed going on a mock spending spree that highlighted their work with percents dealing with tax, discounts and markups. We continue to work on students’ skills of critiquing the work of others, sharing ideas, and working together to solve challenging math problems. We are looking forward to our lessons in the spring when we can explore more of our geometry standards and probability.


Math Challenge of the newsletter

Percentage Mad

What is 20% of 30% of 40% of $50? Show the solution in as many ways as possible! Have fun!

Team Enterprise

Exciting things continue to unfold on Enterprise Team this year! This update reflects what we’ve been working on during the second term and provides a brief preview of what is to come. In an effort to embrace the B.A.R.K. theme of “Acceptance”, we have updated our class rosters. This opportunity provides students with the ability to socialize and learn with different peers.


In math, we have finished our ratio, proportion and percent units. Students enjoyed going on a mock spending spree that highlighted their work with percents dealing with tax, discounts and markups. We continue to work on students’ skills of critiquing the work of others, sharing ideas, and working together to solve challenging math problems. We are looking forward to our lessons in the spring when we can explore more of our geometry standards and probability.

Math Challenge of the newsletter

Percentage Mad

What is 20% of 30% of 40% of $50? Show the solution in as many ways as possible! Have fun!


In addition to several short stories, Enterprise Team completed two class reads, “The Giver, by Lois Lowry as well as “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. While reading “The Giver”, discussion focussed on how setting can significantly impact both character and plot development. Students engaged in some lively conversations and made some insightful analysis of the text. In “A Long Walk to Water”, two narrative voices reveal events taking place in South Sudan during two different time periods. Based on a true story, Salva’s journey begins in 1985 while Nya’s experiences begin in 2008. Each narrative voice provides us with unique perspective. Readers are captivated by the struggles each individual has to face along the way and despite great hardships, all are hopeful for a positive outcome. Choice Reading should be ongoing. Please continue to encourage students to check-in for book recommendations and consider joining in as students strive to read 30 minutes EVERY night! By the end of September and October, students that remained committed to reading 30 minutes every night read approximately 1,500 minutes! By the end of November and December, students logged an additional 1,800 minutes! January offers a chance for another 930 minutes. Students can also participate in the IMC BINGO reading challenge.


In world geography students continue to explore the five themes of geography (location, place, movement, human/environment interaction, and region). These five themes help to guide us as we explore each region of the world. After our focus on Europe we went on to Central Asia, the Middle East, and we are now studying the continent of Africa. One highlight from the Middle East unit of study was the “Oil Game”. Students from both Enterprise and Explorer Team were separated into groups, assigned the name of a country, and then put into one of two roles: buyers or sellers. The buyers try to purchase as many barrels of oil as needed by their country. The sellers try to sell all of their oil for as great a profit as possible. There are four rounds to the game and a new conflict is introduced with each round. While the simulation can appear chaotic at times, students are highly engaged and take the game quite seriously. Now that we are studying the continent of Africa, students are engrossed in a Project Based Learning unit. Each group is working to design a highway that will foster political cooperation among the African nations and to promote economic development, trade, and tourism. By the end of this unit, students will be able to define how connecting the countries in southern Africa with a highway system can positively affect the lives of the people living there.


During second quarter science we zoomed out from cells to body systems. Kids got their (gloved) hands dirty by participating in two dissections. We dissected chicken wings to uncover how bones and muscles work together to cause movement, and a sheep's heart to observe how the structure of its chambers and blood vessels enable it to pump blood throughout the body. We also brought engineering into the science classroom by designing a prosthetic arm to grasp, lift, and lower a cup. When we wrap up body systems, we are diving into the thing that connects all living things... DNA and genetics!


Bullet Journal WIN block

Enterprise students have organized a Bullet Journal WIN block and designed a Google Classroom to support their goals. Bullet Journaling is a system “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” This WIN block offering will run from December through June.

Team Explorer

Explorer Team has been really busy lately! Here are some of the interesting things our students have been learning by subject:


English

In ELA, the classes are currently learning how to read non-fiction critically. They are learning to dissect news articles and combat bias and fake news. They are reading from different sources, sifting through evidence, and becoming more aware of an author's word choice as opinions and biased can slip right through the cracks of what is supposed to be nonfiction. This is done by giving each article a C.R.A.P. test. (If they are using this work at home, it is legit, and we are discussing it in class). C.R.A.P. stands for currency, reliability, authority, and purpose. This unit will be followed by argumentative essay writing in which the students will be choosing a topic that they are passionate about and argue for or against a specific action. They have been starting each class with a free-write on several topics ranging from "should athletes stand for the national anthem?" to "should this country be spending billions of dollars on a border wall?" These prompts have led to many lively discussions and some great writing in their response journals.


Science

In Explorer Science we are wrapping up our human body unit. Students conducted a sheep heart and chicken wing dissection to learn more about the circulatory, muscular and skeletal systems. To understand how the muscular and skeletal system work together to allow for movement, students are building a working model of the arm. Students also built a working model of the respiratory system using a 2 liter bottle, balloons, straws, a rubber band and plastic bag. Next week we will begin our genetics unit where students will learn how traits are passed from parent to offspring.


World Geography

In Explorer World Geography we have begun are first Project Based Learning Unit with Africa. The students will be working hard in groups to answer the driving question: how can connecting the countries in southern Africa with a highway system positively affect the lives of the people living there? As a final product students will be creating a proposed route for their highway, a website to promote that proposed route to the public, a memo to the World Bank to persuade them to fund their route, and a map that illustrates their highway. We are excited to explore PBL together!


Math

In math, we have finished our ratio, proportion and percent units. Students enjoyed going on a mock spending spree that highlighted their work with percents dealing with tax, discounts and markups. We continue to work on students’ skills of critiquing the work of others, sharing ideas, and working together to solve challenging math problems. We are looking forward to our lessons in the spring when we can explore more of our geometry standards and probability.


Math Challenge of the newsletter:

Percentage Mad

What is 20% of 30% of 40% of $50? Show the solution in as many ways as possible! Have fun!