Red Cluster News

April 2016

What's Happening in Class

Our Talk with the Kids

As we explained in our January newsletter, we had an open discussion with the kids about keeping track of their agendas and writing down their assignments. We have noticed an improvement in this area. We are receiving fewer emails and students are coming more prepared! Encourage your child to continue with his/her good strategies. They need constant guidance in this area.


Red Cluster science students are unzipping the mysteries of DNA. We began by learning about the "Race to the Double Helix" with Avery, the first scientist to discover the most important molecule of life, and Franklin, a female scientist whose breakthrough x-ray showed the molecule structure. Later, Franklin's work was "borrowed" and led to the famous work of Watson and Crick who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for the double helix model we know today. Students have explored DNA structure with building paper and Lego DNA models. Next week we will change our focus to mutations in DNA.Term 3 will be a little more challenging with increased expectations and accountability but the students are ready!


In English, we are in the middle of our unit on coming of age short stories. Last week, students worked in small groups to read and analyze a short story in which the character experienced a coming of age experience. This week, each group is presenting their story to their peers and leading an in-depth discussion of the story. It has been great to see students taking on leadership roles in the classroom, and really pushing themselves and their peers to engage with a text! Later this week, students will work on updating their digital portfolios. They recently received back their grades on their nonfiction essays (look for an email regarding these essays soon!), and on Friday, we will be completing an in-depth reflection and adding this to our online digital portfolios! We will use these reflections and the feedback received to prepare for an upcoming writing assignment comparing two of the short stories we've read recently. The students' writing has shown so much improvement over the course of the year, and I'm looking forward to seeing this trend continue on our next assignment!


It's creature time! I am asking that you start collecting materials for your child's creature. Please see the list below:

  • cardboard boxes
  • cylinders like pringle cans, soup cans, paper towel and toilet paper rolls
  • circular items like buttons, bottle and jar lids
Students will need a "covering" material like duct tape, spray paint, wrapping paper.

Students will also need a sphere. The sphere can be an old ball that can be covered, styrofoam spheres, or anything else that is spherical.

In math class we are finishing up equations and moving on to probability. Probability can be challenging for students because it requires reading the questions very carefully. And, of course, practice! We will be doing a lot of activities in class with probability. Math lab will have a few geometry labs coming up - constructing triangles, making cross sections and more work with circles.

PARCC is not until May and you and your child(ren) should not be worried. The most important thing in 7th grade is that they have learned basic skills, feel good about math, and that they are able to problem solve and persevere.


Our Greeks unit was a big hit in Social Studies. Students made some wonderful civics connections between the ideals of democracy from ancient Athens and our own American form of government. After weeks of hard work in class, Red Cluster students had a fun-packed week during 'Greek Week'. This was a week of all sorts of competitions, both in class and after school. We played 'pictionary' with key vocab words from the unit and also had a great time playing a Jenga-related challenge. After school challenges involved a Marathon relay race, a strategy board game, and a five-way dodgeball game dubbed 'Demolition by Dodgeball'. It was exciting to see students so engaged in applying their knowledge in a fun and creative way. After some time learning about Alexander the Great and asking the question--'Was Alexander Great?', we will move into our final major unit of the year (hard to believe!) on Rome. Ask your student what their favorite activity during Greek Week was!


Since many of you have the wonderful opportunity to study a variety of World Languages, we will not give an update here, but be sure to check your WL teacher's website and updated homework on the school website's Homework Pages on a daily basis.

Red Cluster's Monthly TOP CAT

Contact Us

Mr. Keohan, Social Studies

Mr. K with his newborn twin nieces!
Red Cluster Homework

Help your child find his/her homework!