Cluster 4 Update

January 14, 2022

Math with Mr. Martin

We are working with Percents! Discounts, taxes, raises, increases, decreases and all proportional and percent thinking. Students will be able to solve real world problems involving percents. Throughout this unit students will be working on strengthening their basic skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with both decimals and fractions.

  • Determine missing measurements in proportional relationships involving fractional quantities or percentages.

  • Represent proportional relationships using tape diagrams, tables, double number lines, and equations.

  • Interpret and solve problems about real-world situations involving proportional relationships and percent change.

  • Use tape diagrams and tables to represent situations that involve adding or subtracting a percent from the initial value (or from 100%).

  • Determine the new amount given the original amount and a percent increase or decrease.

Social Studies with Ms. Lorigan

Social Studies students are engaged in their third thematic unit of study focused on the question, “How do our beliefs affect the way we live?” To demonstrate tolerant civic-mindedness, students are developing an awareness of world religions in both ancient civilizations and modern societies.


Learning Targets:

  • I can... identify the origins and central beliefs in Judaism.

  • I can… explain how religion influences how people live.

  • I can… participate in classroom discussions about world religions in a thoughtful, curious, and respectful manner.


Students are using a self-paced “game board” to learn about the origins and central beliefs of Judaism. They are reading non-fiction texts and watching short videos to learn about the key historical individuals and events.. Some students are working in pairs, small groups and others, individually. Together, we have explored the migrations of the ancient Israelites and students are noticing the connections to other familiar monotheistic religions.


ELA with Ms. McDonagh

We kicked off the New Year 2022 with Amanda Gorman’s poem, “A New Day’s Lyric”. Students read the poem, watched Amanda Gorman recitation of the poem and students responded by creating mini-one pagers. Some of the work was really stunning!


Book clubs have started! Students are working in small groups to read one of several books with common themes of social issues. This is a throughline from our Outsiders unit. Focusing on characterization and theme, students are applying what they learned in The Outsiders with more independent thinking. The book choices are wonderfully current with issues that are relevant to all of our lives. So far, students are really enjoying their books and working collaboratively to study and reflect in their groups. Some of the reading is done together in class, and most students will have reading to to at home for their books. We continue with independent reading, which can be done on nights and weekends when students don’t have reading for book clubs.


Learning Targets:

I can cite evidence from the text to help me analyze what is happening in the book and determine the author’s message or theme

I can identify the theme and track its development over the course of the text.

I can analyze how particular elements of a story interact, specifically how do setting and conflict impact characters and plot.

I can participate in collaborative discussions on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing my own ideas clearly.


The term ends January 25, so make sure you are checking PowerSchool to help make sure all work is completed. Progress reports will go home on Friday, January 13.

English as a Second Language with Ms. Schoenbeck



Entering ELD

This week students did an excellent job showing their English language skills while taking ACCESS, the annual state test that assesses how much English they have learned.


Next week, we will work on vocabulary for sequencing events as we read about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




Emerging ELD

This week students reviewed telling time and sequencing words, and they were rock stars on the ACCESS test, where they are assessed on their English language progress. Next week, we will learn about Martin Luther King Jr, and use our sequencing words to retell his story. We will also begin using adverbs of frequency this week, and then take a quiz on time, sequencing, and adverbs of frequency on Friday. Ask your child what they always, usually, often, sometimes, and never do at school!




Developing ELD

We have been preparing to take the annual ACCESS test - the test all English Learners take once a year. We have been practicing speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Most students are finishing the test today. We are starting a unit on informational texts and will begin by reading texts about the civil rights movement.




Expanding ELD

Students continued to read the novel Esperanza Rising and began ACCESS testing, as well as start to dive into informational texts on Civil Rights and about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




Transitioning ELD

This week and next week, students are taking the annual ACCESS English test. They are also honing their English writing by debating and story-telling. This week we focused upon creating complex sentences in English and wrote short stories using them. Next week, we will employ this knowledge while writing a letter expressing students’ viewpoints on whether middle schoolers may hunt for food.




Phonics 7th & 8th Grade

This week we did ACCESS testing, where students put their new phonics skills, knowledge, and strategies to great use! We introduced the latest set of High Frequency Words, and started working with the long i sound, spelled as i___e and y. Next week will we continue with long i and other spelling patterns of igh, and hammering down the concept that VCe makes the vowel sound long.

ELA with Ms. Sullivan

The topic of social issues has provided a foundation for in-class book clubs. As middle school students, social issues are becoming woven into their daily lives. These novels provide a lens into topics such as stereotypes, culture, and relationships. Students read a brief summary of each selection and set off into their groups. This structure of reading provides students mini-lessons based on reading strategies to assist them with reading broadly and deeply. Daily pages are recorded as students keep a running notetaking journal based on characters, conflicts, and social issues. A recent Washington Post article titled “Does Reading Make You a Better Person?” concludes that the answer to the title question is “Yes!” Reading literature especially has proven to increase people’s ability to empathize with others, and to be more socially aware. A driving force in this unit is the power of reading to transform how we see others and to show us new ways to be kind, to connect, and to stand up for what’s right (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). The book clubs will run through the end of January. If you would like a copy of the novel that your student is reading, please send a request!


Science with Ms. MacAulay

Students are enjoying the chemistry unit, especially with our new science lab notebooks! They are learning how to record their observations and data, as well as take written notes and sketch notes. The students are doing well on their first long, procedural lab activity where they have to read and follow instructions, identify materials and examine their physical and chemical properties, and determine uses for materials based on their findings. It can be challenging for 7th graders to go between a textbook, lab materials and their notebook, but they are figuring it out and will have lots more practice as we continue to explore more chemistry.


Learning Targets:

  • I can…give examples of physical and chemical properties.

  • I can…distinguish between physical and chemical properties and changes.

  • I can…understand that substances have specific properties no matter the size of the sample of the substance.