Specialists Teachers Weekly Update

October 1, 2021

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What is happening during WMS specials classes?

The specials classes are listed below.

Art: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Technology Education: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Health: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Music: 6th and 7th grade

Drama: 8th grade only

Physical Education: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Orchestra, Band and Chorus: 6th, 7th and 8th grade by student choice

Specials classes meet for 1 term every other day with the exception of physical education; physical education meets every other day all year. There are 4 terms in the school year, so your child will have all four specials by the end of the school year.

Art Class

6th grade: This week students continued to work on drawing Musical Instruments.

We turned in our second graded assignment, our 7 Musical Instrument Thumbnail Sketches and got our next set of comments and grades returned to us. Students receive a grade of 0-5 and have the option to make changes and turn the assignment back in for a re-grade if they would like to. (Usually that would need to be done on their own time and not during class.) About ½ our students also finished and turned in their Rough Drafts this week, moving on to their Final Draft Musical Instrument Drawings.

Students had a choice of making their Musical Instruments in either Oil Pastels, Colored Pencil or Shaded Pencil on either 9x12 (small) or 12x18 (large) paper. Rough Drafts and Final Drafts are made on the SAME piece of paper, with Rough Drafts being drawn lightly in pencil so that edits can be made easily and then the Final Draft steps are once we feel all the editing is finished and the coloring can begin. Students are moving through these steps well, asking for help when they need it and making some AMAZING looking drawings!


1. Artists draw what they see, not what they know.

I WILL take time to look at the object in front of me, SO I CAN draw “what I see,” not what “I think I know.”

2. Artists edit their work, they don’t expect the first thing they draw to look perfect right away.

I WILL take time to look at my paper, compare it to the object I’m looking at and be honest with myself about what looks good, and what needs fixing SO I CAN edit, refine and change what’s on my paper, to match what I’m seeing.

7th grade: This week students worked on wrapping up our Zentangle Drawings. We moved through steps of building complicated drawings made from tiny shapes and adding many layers of details, coloring in blacks and pattern areas and maybe adding the next level of complexity with strategic colors (optional) into our “Final Zentangles.”

This project really emphasizes composition and design. It also asks students to “respond” to the changes they make before adding new changes to slow down and be thoughtful about next steps.

Next week we will move on to Painted Color Wheels, mixing the Secondary and Tertiary Colors (as well as Tints and Shades) using the Primary Colors and White.

Learning Target: ZENTANGLES

I can change my mistakes to make them look intentional, if I am thoughtful and reflective about the best way to “hide” them inside my complex pattern drawing.

8th grade: This week students continue to work on our Portrait Projects. Students learned a basic 4-box grid, measuring in halfways, connecting measured Dots and Dashes to place things and mapping out the features guidelines to know where to place the features. Some students have already mapped out their eyes, nose and mouth and are on to final edits and shading, while others are still working on the correct placement for their features. This is hard work and goes faster for some students than for others. Next week we are going to attempt to wrap up our portrait projects so that we can move on to Perspective Drawing.

Learning Target: PORTRAITS

I can use gridding and other drawing “tricks” to analyze my portrait reference image and draw a pretty realistic version of that image. I will refine and change what is on my page as necessary until I have an image that captures the essence of my portrait.

Technology Education

6th grade: This week students have been exploring bridges specifically, as they relate to structures, and getting to understand their types and styles. Next week we will be discussing related forces and loads, in preparation for their team projects where they will design, build and test deck structures.

7th grade: After defining systems generally, and in particular transportation system types, and looking at modes of transportation that fit into each category, we’ve begun exploring ‘transportation subsystems’ and their functions with examples. Next week we will get into the dynamics of flight, and begin to explore the four forces that affect flight (and other modes of transportation as well).

8th grade: This week we’ve been discussing and analyzing the Engineering Design Process, and have been looking at examples of its steps in action through excerpts of the WGBH show, Design Squad. We also explored a case study on the Engineering Design Process, called ‘The Deep Dive’, in which a design firm, IDEO, redesigns the shopping cart for Nightline. We did a ‘mock design team analysis’ where we assumed the role of the design team to analyze the results of testing the cart, toward potential redesign ideas. Next week students will be introduced in more detail to the Lego Mindstorms kits and software. Shortly thereafter, the students will form groups and design, build and program a number of autonomous robots to experience hands-on design challenges for themselves.


6th grade: This week we have been learning all about the Health Triangle. Students played small games of charades/pictionary, so that the Health triangle made a lasting impression in their minds. We are now beginning to work on a group project all about the Health Triangle that will continue into next week!

7th grade: This week we finished our nicotine unit. Students identified similarities and differences between vaping and smoking cigarettes. We discussed reasons why teens are vaping, and the effects on the body from vaping. Many students had very thoughtful questions, and we’re connecting their everyday life with Health class!

8th grade: We began the week taking a look at the myths vs. the realities of puberty. Students recognized that the mental and social changes that come with puberty are just as difficult to deal with as the physical changes of puberty. Next week we'll begin our unit on relationships.


6th Grade: After successfully wrapping our first unit with a short project, our 6th graders are now digging into their new unit on Ukuleles, using brand-spankin'-new ukes purchased through a grant! Special thank you to district coordinator Rick Saunders for making that happen for us!

7th Grade: In preparation for more formal projects, the 7th graders have been making an absolute mess on GarageBand, exploring the lengths and limits of a variety of features. Their creations are meant to be experimental, and their abstract choices have created some… unique songs!

8th Grade: Our 8th graders have officially begun a new unit on Improvisation. Through a variety of games and activities, students are learning to trust their own ideas, think fast, and respond to their peers' offers. I've also been pleased to see students working with others outside of their immediate friend group, something they may not have been comfortable doing at the start of the year!

Physical Education


We received most of the shirts this week! If your child(ren) still needs a PE shirt they can be purchased from the PE teachers for $12 each. Students will be required from now on to wear this shirt as part of their PE uniform.


Students will start to learn about Soccer (in grades 6-7) and Football (in 8th grade). We will start with individual skills then move into small group skills and games.


Does your child(ren) have their PE shirt? Are they clean and ready for classes this week?


Our orchestra students are hard at work learning their winter concert music!

Together, they’ll be performing an exciting piece called Gargoyles and a lovely rendition of Ode to Joy titled Beethoven’s Lullaby. The ⅞ orchestra is also working on an exciting, grooving selected titled Dance Rhythmico.


Both ensembles have put away their concert music and geared up for Week 1 of choir bootcamp! They've started building lots of new skills like sight reading, health breathing, blend, balance, and tone. They've also been challenged with rounds and cannons, having to hold firm on their parts despite the delay.

6th Grade: Our kiddos have been working hard on a warm-up called "counting up"-- a tune I'm sure you've heard them humming away by now! Through a process of trial and error as well as a lot of experimentation, they've gotten to the point where they can hold their parts even with half the group starting at a delay!

8th Grade: This week, we took the first phrase of "Hey Jude" and refurbished it, creating a mind-bending cacophony. Getting all the way to a three part split, students are having to hang on to their melody line despite the fact that everyone is starting at different times. I'm going to try and record this so you all can hear-- it's very interesting!


Check back next week to hear what is going on!


The Follett Book Fair is coming- Save the Date for 11/1-11/5

Volunteers wanted. If you are interested in helping out in the library please reach out via email to breana.cole@watertown.k1.ma.us. I am looking for volunteers that can come on a regular basis (ideally weekly) to help return, shelve, and process books.