MS/JH School News

October 7, 2015

Note from the Principal

Dear MS/JH Parents,
We will begin sending a monthly newsletter starting this month that gives you a quick snapshot of each area of the MS/JH. Many of you have shared your appreciation for the recent emails sharing updates and I will continue to do that as the need arises.

I have been asked many times, "How is it going?" And my response has always been that I love my role as the principal in grades 5-8. These kids are incredible. I love my staff as they have really bonded together. We have the common mission of challenging and educating the students within the framework of a Biblical worldview while leading them to a transformed life in Jesus Christ.

I am sure that you will hear the phrase "productive struggle" being used by our teachers. We will strive to challenge the students in a way that will help them to develop grit. This will be an ongoing conversation throughout the year.

Thank you for allowing us to partner with you,
Shane Schaffer
MS/JH Principal

Month at a Glance: October

Oct 5: Book Fair begins
Oct 8: Flu shot clinic; 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Oct 9: Quarter 1 ends
Oct 19: Fall break begins (no school)
Oct 27: Next Step K-12 Open House; 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Staying active!

When the winter months limit us from being outside during lunch, we will have to find creative ways to be active. We are asking parents to provide gently used or new items listed. Please drop off items to the front desk labeled with Mr. Schaffer. Thank you!

1) corn hole
2) spike ball
3) jenga
4) chess
5) board games

Grade Level News

5th Grade: Chelsea Reed & Kristen Wilcoxen

Fifth grade is a transition year into Middle School and students have been adjusting splendidly. During Bible, students have been studying the Old Testament from Creation through the early prophets. They have also been discussing the division of Israel. In Language Arts they have been becoming great readers through practicing different reading strategies, such as identifying the cause and effect, problem and solution, and using context clues to identify the meaning of unknown words or phrases. They have also been learning about the six traits of writing to enhance their own writing pieces. They are becoming better writers and enjoy sharing their work with the class during “Author’s Chair.” Students have also been reviewing and learning new skills in Math. Students have been practicing estimating and finding the sum and product of multi-digit numbers. These skills are also integrated into the Social Studies curriculum through geography and interpreting maps. Fifth graders are eagerly anticipating the overnight field trip to Bradford Woods and will be using the skills they are learning in Science. They have been studying the food chain, which directly correlates with the trip!

6th Grade: Hannah Tuttle

Mrs. Tuttle is extremely excited to join the TPCA family and teach English/Language Arts and Social Studies to 6th graders. She can't wait to meet everyone during parent teacher conferences next week.

Bible: Steve Zimmer

September was a busy month. In 6th grade, we began the year going through the book of Genesis. We looked at the creation, the fall, and God’s gracious plan for redeeming His people. In October, we will begin looking at the book of Exodus.

In 7th grade, we went through how we got our bible. We looked at the history of the incredible document and the men and women who were willing to die to get God's Word into the hands of His people. We also looked at defenses to give to non-believers on why what is said in Scripture is a true account. In October, the 7th grade will begin in Genesis and then they will go book by book through the entire Bible.

In the 8th grade, we also went through how our Bible came to us today. We looked at the different translations of scripture, we talked about those who had given their lives so that we could have God’s Word to read. In October, we will look at how to study the Bible. We will learn how to use commentaries and how to look up words in the original language. Our final at the end of next quarter will be our students demonstrating all they learned by leading the class in a bible study.

JH English/Language Arts: Jill Propst

The opening weeks of 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts have been fast and furious! We began the year in both grades by setting up the structure for the year by focusing on the days within the week: Monday is our introduction to vocabulary for the week, Tuesday and Wednesday are our literature and novel days, Thursday is the day for grammar and writing, and Friday ends our week with a vocabulary quiz over the words for the week.

Our weeks have been packed with a variety of English Language Arts topics during the months of August and September: characters, setting, themes, plot, resolution, nouns, autobiographical essay writing, short stories, book reports, and vocabulary words. Last week we began the first of our novel studies in both grade levels. The seventh graders are studying The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the eighth graders are studying To Kill a Mockingbird.

The students have done an amazing job in adapting to the expectations within the English classroom and are rising to those expectations of excellence in communications. . .both written and spoken. I am looking forward to further growth as the months move along and as we look to improve our quality of communications so that we can all be lights to our world!


6th, 7th, 8th grade: Julie Fisher
6th grade has been busy working on the order of operations, exponents, and operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. We just moved on to algebraic expressions and properties.

7th grade has been work on operations with positive and negative integers, fractions, and decimals. We have just moved on to expressions and equations. We will be solving 1 step and 2 step equations.

8th grade has been solving more complex equations and learning about transformations. We learned about translations, reflections, dilations, and rotations. Ask your student about the reflection project they completed in class. We are now working on graphing and writing linear equations.

7th grade accelerated: Mendy Morrison

The 7th grade students and I have been having a great time learning about equations this past month. We started off with simple equations to build a foundation of showing the steps correctly and then we went on to bigger/longer equations. Students learned how to write equations and the importance of defining their variables. I stressed that while they might know the answer to the question the skill we were developing was writing an equation that represents the problem which will be very important as they continue in future math courses. We have since moved on to solving inequalities which is very similar to equations except for 1 thing – ask your student what it is! Ratios, rates, and proportions will take us to Fall Break. One of the concepts we will be learning is dimensional analysis. This is the process of changing the units for a rate (ex. miles/hour to feet/sec). While it is used in math classes, it is extremely important for some science classes, Chemistry, in particular. So, they will be learning how to organize their units, which they might not be very happy about, but please encourage them as this is something that is important and a must for Chemistry, ask Dr. Somlai ;-) When we return from Fall Break, we will begin talking about percents and their applications such as discounts, markups, and simple interest.

Science: Scott Jackson

6th Grade Earth Science

In September we studied water habitats which included an outdoor water lab where we visited a stream, marsh, and two ponds and gathered data from those sources. We then moved on and studied the earth’s atmosphere layers and how they differ from one another. In October we are studying the different types of weather and precipitation. They will spend the first 10 minutes of each class going outside and measuring ten different pieces of weather information and charting it for two weeks.

7th Grade Life Science

In September we studied how living organisms are classified and learned the main Domains and Kingdoms. We just finished a unit where we studied and compared Viruses, Bacteria, Protists and Fungi. We are now starting a 3-week unit on Plants.

In October we will be starting a unit on the Animal Kingdom and the students will have a project to work on in lieu of a test. We will be visiting the woods and marshes behind the school to observe plants and animals that live there.

8th Grade Introduction to Chemistry

In September we had a special unit to learn how to convert to the different units inside the metric system. We also covered what “matter” is and is not, and explored how matter has physical and chemical properties. We are now finishing up a unit on the different states of matter and how they change back and forth. In October we will begin exploring the structure of atoms and learn how the periodic table is arranged. We have conducted a lab every Wednesday in the Chemistry Lab and will continue to do so in the future.

JH Social Studies: Amelia Echemann

7th Grade:
The 7th grade World Studies class learned in September about the beginnings of history and why God wanted us to remember it. We related the beginning of Christianity to today's worshipers of Christ. We also studied an abundance of vocabulary and tied that into each class day. We are finishing up our unit on Islam and comparing the similarities and differences of Islam and Christianity. In October we will study different African and Asian cultures and the expansion of civilization in those areas of the world. We will primarily focus on the Eastern half of the world.

8th Grade:
In September, the 8th grade U.S. History class studied Colonial America! We discussed the power of France, England, and Spain in the discovery of the New World and learned about the impact that the Native Americans had on the new settlers of the time. We talked about Jamestown, John Smith, Plymouth, and more! The students also worked on a project and each student individually researched a different original colony. They presented a brochure they made to the class. In October we will study the expansion and establishment of the further development of the colonies. We will discuss how the settlers expanded their economic and government power and how relationships with the Indians changed drastically.

Co-Curricular News

5th & 6th: Cindy Schramm

Hello TPCA 5-6th grade parents. This is Cindy Schramm and I’m happy to have your middle school children in my art classes. We have been very busy in art. I’d like to share some of what has been going on in the art room. First I want to say, thank you for supplying your child with watercolors (it means a lot). Last month your children have been working very hard on their “Celtic” knot style lettering. They used their watercolors on this project. This art project was a way for your child to show gratitude to our Lord. They wrote next to their Celtic letter, what they desire to thank God for. Your children have also created covers for their portfolios, taken a pop-quiz (which they did very well on), and they have worked on line drawing. The Fifth graders are currently working on designing their own Mandala with radial symmetry. My plan is to have them copy their paper mandala design onto a mini-clay plate they will paint. The sixth graders have been working on painting clusters of autumn leaves. The concepts they are currently learning about are: line drawing, negative space, painting techniques, and warm colors. Before long we will be working on designing Christmas art, which I plan on posting on Artsonia. The scripture verse that I would like to be our theme in the art room this year is, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8. It is my desire that your children use their artwork as a witness and as form of worship to God. I tell my students, “Your artwork influences the thoughts of others. Follow Philippians 4:8”. It has been a pleasure having your children in the art room and it always touches my heart to hear their prayers. Thank you for sharing your children with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have questions. God Bless!

7th & 8th: Darin Grice

In September, the students practiced different techniques of being creative from scratch. The hardest part of any assignment, project or even our day sometimes is just getting started. They did some different exercises in their sketch book to build a foundation of processes. They learned some drawing fundamentals and the 7th grade drew shoes, while the 8th grade created an open subject drawing.

For October and November, I want to challenge them creatively by taking everyday, boring objects (i.e. a shoe box) and transforming them into something appealing or useful. We are blessed to have a 3D printer in our classroom and we will begin a "how to". The goal, as always, is to help the students become more creative in their problem solving skills.

Media/Technology: Beth Herr

News from the Media Center…September was a mixed bag of regular classes for 2 weeks and then NWEA testing for 2 weeks. Throughout the month, students have worked on ABC order, dictionary skills and encyclopedia skills depending on the grade level. On the Technology side of things, grades 5 & 6 have been practicing keyboarding by completing typing lessons and focusing on correct finger placement and usage. Junior High has enjoyed learning and working with Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and getting familiar with their Chromebooks! They also began an online game showing the potential effects of choices we make in social media and online. In Library, Junior High continues to practice correct finger placement for keyboarding. Also, each student has created a TBR list (To Be Read) to help them continually be ready to choose a new independent read. In October, the BOOK FAIR will be open from October 5-9. Also beginning in October, I have some exciting ideas planned for read aloud books that will be integrated with technology! To see regular updates on Media Center happenings, I encourage you to check my website, The Reading Eagles!


MS Choir: Carol Evans

5th and 6th grade music classes have been working on part singing and starting to learn their Christmas songs.

JH Choir: Grace Na

Mrs. Na, our new choir teacher for 7th-12th grade is enjoying getting to know her students. In the past two months the choir classes have been focused on the music for our Christmas musical “What Child Is This?” In October we will start working on the play with acting and choreography. We are also planning on studying how the stories in the musical are described in the Bible. In addition, we will also be looking at the historical background of the stories, focusing on what the people in the story might have been going through emotionally. Based on our findings, the students will start writing the play portion of the performance, both the dialogue and acting. Some of students volunteered to help with writing these and Mrs. Na is really proud of them for taking ownership of the performance. Besides working on the musical, we have been learning about simple music reading and writing with the help of musical hand signs. Many of the students are now able to read and sing simple music notation and rhythm. We will continue to build on this foundation to expand their music literacy.

Band: Nathan Perry

Mr. Perry’s bands are off to a fast start this year. The 5th grade players have gotten their new instruments and are already playing songs with 6 notes. The older groups played for the first pep rally of the year during Homecoming. Additionally, they are each finishing their second piece of music. The 7th grade will soon begin preparations for the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show on November 12th. We are continuing to emphasize the responsibility of turning in a practice log each week. Each band is working toward earning special performance opportunities throughout the year. The bands will also have their first ever fundraiser selling delicious, homemade pies. Stay tuned for more information!

Physical Education

Vern Clayton

Middle School students will continue to go outside for PE as long as we have this wonderful weather. They will run laps around the playground for time. I am looking at effort and hopefully improved times as we discuss each individual doing their personal best and competing with themselves and not others. It is approximately a half mile run. We want to honor God with our best personal effort regardless of what others do. We will also play games that work on throwing and catching this month, i.e. Ultimate Frisbee and Ultimate Football (same as Ultimate Frisbee just with a football). The spiritual component of PE will be a review of the chapel message each week and discuss it in terms of PE, sports, and athletics.

Kyle Johnson

It seems to have been a whirlwind of activity to start the school year for Junior High PE. We have spent time enforcing the principles of movement that we learned during August and have also learned badminton rules and played to enforce those rules. Other sports and activities included; ultimate Frisbee, walking for fitness, and kickball. Moving forward we will be learning volleyball skills and working with target heart rate.

Spanish: Rachel Bush

These last few weeks in eighth grade, we have been studying stories about llamas and frogs. We have been acting them out and rewriting them with our own spins. It has been a lot of fun to see the creativity these wonderful students have been displaying! In seventh grade, we have been learning stories about wolves and sheep and shepherds. Once again we have been entertained by the creative acting and rewriting displayed. In upcoming weeks, we will be finishing our units.

In fifth and sixth grades, we have been studying how to ask and respond to, "Que haces en______?" or "What do you do in ______?" This also has been interesting to see all of the creative and funny answers. In the next few weeks, we will be working on different activities done in the areas, for example: I cook, I study Spanish, I swim, I sing songs, I dance polka. It has been a fun and exciting and great start to the beginning of the school year!