MS/JH School News

April 9, 2016

Note from the Principal

Greetings MS/JH Parents,

In this month’s newsletter, our staff wanted to give you some highlights of academic goals, projects and activities that we have been working on in the MS/JH classrooms this year. We also wanted to share upcoming plans for 5th through 8th graders. As a whole, we are continuing to develop cross-curricular activities and common formative assessments in our classrooms and we are increasing our technology usage toward that end. Above all, we have worked hard to create a God-honoring culture in our MS/JH grade classrooms and we will continue to keep that focus as a priority for our students. Please see the article entitled “What's New in MS/JH?” for some subject-area highlights.

Shane Schaffer

MS/JH Principal

Month at a Glance: April

Apr 11: K-12 Grandparents and Special Persons Day
Apr 14 &15: 6th Grade Trip to Marengo Cave
Apr 15: Bostick Service Day
Apr 18: ISTEP+ Testing Window #2 for 3rd-8th Begins
Apr 19: 5th Grade Field Trip to JA Biztown
Apr 22: 8th Grade American Heritage Dinner and Dance
Apr 28 & 29: 7th Grade Trip to Cincinnati

What's New in MS/JH?

Language Arts

5th Grade:

  • Implemented Reader's and Writer's Workshop which individualizes and differentiates the instruction and involves more mini lessons.

  • Added Wright Patterson Air Force Base Museum in May as a field trip.

  • Visit Twin Lakes Camp instead of Bradford Woods for the fall retreat.

6th Grade:

  • English/Language Arts & Social Studies groups have used the laptop cart almost daily for research and projects. We continue to stretch our use of these tools.

7th & 8th Grade

  • English/Language Arts & Social Studies classes are using a 4-level sentence analysis in grammar, writing monthly book reports and are journal writing every day.

  • Chromebooks are used on a regular basis to explore Google Classroom tools.

  • Next year, students will read 4-5 novels instead of 3.


All students in 5th - 8th have learned about and discussed Digital and Online Safety especially as it relates to social media (Digital Toolbox).

  • We want to increase the number of Chromebook and laptop carts in 5th and 6th grades so that more students can move from station access to individualized use.

5th Grade:

  • Students have been taught how to login to Google Chrome. They are learning to create and share Google Docs and will continue learning Google Apps during 4th quarter.

6th Grade:

  • Participated in the Global Read Aloud, connecting with five other 6th grade classes from other states and Canada using Edmodo and Padlet.

7th and 8th grades:

  • Covered searching strategies, online identity, copyright and plagiarism and have been exposed to blogging.

  • Next year, 8th graders will work more with blogging and creating a digital portfolio.


6th Grade Earth Science

  • Class telescope available for Astronomy Unit

7th Grade Life Science

  • Genetic Engineering Debate Unit

8th Grade Chemistry/Physical Science

  • Weekly labs every Wednesday

New Items for Next Year

  • More Outdoor Hands-on Labs

  • Greater Use of Technology for Test Preparation

  • Further developing Junior High unit alignment for preparation of High School courses

  • Consideration of Christian Science curriculum

Social Studies

  • 5th – 8th teachers have adopted and utilized Bob Jones University Social Studies Curriculum, which is a uniquely Christian. This Christian curriculum is completely integrated with a Biblical worldview and has numerous links embedded within the curriculum to enhance learning.


  • We are exploring how best to pilot a group of 8th graders to take high school Sevenstar classes. The parental cost would be $399-$699. Sevenstar is our partner with high school online classes. All of their courses hold the same accreditation as we do, but they differ from most online courses because they are fully integrated with a biblical worldview.

  • We are exploring different ways to more fully utilize learning lab for our MS/JH students.

In closing, we are always working to sharpen our sword (i.e. students learning how to learn and teachers learning how to phish).

6th Grade Southern Indiana Trip

All sixth graders will be traveling to Southern Indiana for a class trip on April 14 & 15. Highlights for the trip will include caving at Marengo Caves on Thursday and canoeing on the Blue River on Friday morning. We will be taking buses for the entire trip and will be leaving at 7:00 am on Thursday, April 14th and returning Friday, April 15th between 3:00 pm and 4:00pm. If you are interesting chaperoning or have questions please contact Scott Jackson at

7th Grade Cincinnati Science Field Trip

All seventh graders will be traveling to Cincinnati for a Science field trip on April 28 & 29. Highlights for the trip will include visits to the Cincinnati Zoo, Newport Aquarium and the Creation Museum. We will be taking buses for the entire trip and will be leaving at 7:00 am on Thursday, April 28th and returning Friday, April 29th between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. If you are interesting chaperoning or have questions, please contact Scott Jackson at .


If your child is in grades 5-8, please DO NOT use the K-4 pickup line/area. It slows down the K-4 process and also will slow your ability to get out of the parking lot in a timely fashion. Please pick up your child from the parking area closest to the church. Let Mr. Schaffer know if you have any questions about this.

Grade Level News

5th Grade: Chelsea Reed & Kristin Wilcoxen

In fifth grade, we will begin focusing on wisdom and how to build a foundation of our life on God. We are going to read realistic and historical fiction during Language Arts while practicing comparing and contrasting the characters and setting throughout the story. Afterward, we will begin reading Number the Stars. In math, we finished area and perimeter and we were able to celebrate Pi Day together as a grade. The students had a great time finding the circumference of edible items. We are beginning geometry and are studying about 3D shapes. We are studying about the Great Depression this month in social studies. In science, students will finish preparing for JA BizTown and then begin our final unit about volume. The 5th graders will be taking a field trip to JA BizTown to practice their job skills on Tuesday, April 19. They have enjoyed preparing for the field trip and they are looking forward to working at JA BizTown for a day.

6th Grade: Hannah Tuttle

In the month of April, we will be immersed in a new novel called The Hiding Place. It is a Christian autobiography about a woman's journey surviving the Holocaust. We will also begin to look at Argumentative Writing which we will be discussing the rest of the year. In Social Studies, we will finish our Chapter on Ancient Rome then move directly into the Byzantine Empire. The last 9 weeks is upon on us and yet there is so much to learn!!

Bible: Steve Zimmer

Happy Spring everyone! At least I think it is supposed to be spring! We have marched through the book of Joshua and are entering into the dark period of the Judges in 6th and 7th grade. A time when every man did that which was right in his own eyes. How little times have changed! We will probably finish Judges before the break and pick up the one ray of sunshine during this dark time after we get back. The love story we find in Ruth. It is amazing that God chooses this woman from a foreign and pagan land to be a part of his own genealogy. How gracious is our God that He allowed each of us to become a part of His family as well!

In the 8th grade we will be looking at who our God is and what that means to our own faith as we look at some of our most closely held doctrines. The kids will also be working on their own bible studies to present to the class.

JH English/Language Arts: Jill Propst

7th Grade:

The last quarter of the 2015-2016 school year is here! Your seventh graders will soon be eighth graders. . .unbelievable! As we come to the close of the school year, we are finishing several items in literature and grammar as well.

Our novel, The Prince and the Pauper, has come to a close this last week before spring break. We made it through Twain’s Old English novel about two boys who switched positions in life. They both learned lessons of delivering mercy to others, developing honesty in themselves, and learning the power of words. During the week following spring break, we will be working on a project to recap the novel and will be reviewing for a final test on the novel. After the novel is finished, we will begin our last book of the year: A Wrinkle in Time.

The students are finally embarking on the last level of the Grammar 4-Level Analysis. By the end of the year, students will have mastered identifying the parts of speech for every word in a sentence, identifying the subject(s) and verb(s) of a sentence, identifying the direct and indirect objects/predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives in a sentence, identifying the prepositional phrases, identifying the structure of the sentence (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex), and identifying the purpose of the sentence (declarative, imperative, interrogatory, exclamatory).

As always, thanks for the privilege of teaching your children. They have done an amazing job this year!

8th Grade:

It is hard to believe that your students will soon be moving on to high school! They have done a great job of rising to the expectations this year in English.

We will be finishing Uncle Tom’s Cabin during the next several weeks and be moving on to our last section of literature for the last two weeks of the school year. The students have done well with this novel and hopefully have learned some valuable lessons from history regarding the issue of slavery and mistreatment of people who are different than we are.

During the next several weeks of the year, we will be finishing our four levels of grammar analysis by adding on to our identification of parts of speech, subject, verb, and prepositional phrases within a sentence. The students will be adding on by identifying direct/indirect objects, predicate adjectives/predicate nominatives, structures of sentences (simple, compound, complex, compound/complex), and purposes of sentences (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, and imperative).

Thank you for the privilege of teaching your students this past year!

JH Social Studies: Amelia Echemann

7th Grade:

In 7th Grade World Studies, the students will learn about different types of government systems such as monarchy, democracy, republic, oligarchy and dictatorship. After spring break, the class will be broken up into separate groups and each group will be assigned a different type of government each day. My room will be set up in stations and each group will use a myriad of materials to learn about the government systems. This unit ties into our economic unit which we just finished. Towards the end of April, we will do a "Citizenship Around the World" project!

8th Grade:

The 8th Grade U.S. History class just returned from their American Heritage Trip! The students saw West Point, New York City, Independence Hall, the White House and much more! After spring break, the students will reflect upon their trip and prepare for the American Heritage Dance which is on April 22nd. Each student researched a character for their American Heritage paper and will become that character at the dance. They dress, speak, and act just like George Washington, John Wilkes Booth and others! This is a very special time for the 8th grade class.


6th, 7th, 8th grade: Julie Fisher

6th grade - In March, we learned how to find surface area and volume of three-dimensional figures. In April, we will study statistics. We will learn about mean, measures of center and variation and mean absolute variation.

7th grade - In March, we studied surface area and volume of 3D figures. Students enjoyed doing a cross section activity with Play-Doh. We also began discussing probability and statistics, independent and dependent events, compound events and samples and populations. In April, we will continue our study of statistics. We will also study angles, triangles, quadrilaterals and scale drawings.

8th grade - In March, we studied some Geometry topics, including volume of cylinders, cones, spheres and similar solids. We also studied data analysis and displays, lines of fit and two way tables. In April, we will learn about exponents and scientific notation.

7th grade accelerated: Mendy Morrison

Before break, students learned about linear and nonlinear functions. They learned that linear functions have a constant rate of change and that their graphs are lines while nonlinear functions do not. They also learned about some specific nonlinear functions (quadratic, cubic and absolute value) and their shapes. When we return from Spring Break, we will be doing a unit on Linear Functions. This is when students will learn about slope-intercept and how to write equations in slope-intercept form. We will also look at scatter plots and find lines of fit for ones that have a linear relationship. Our following unit will be Solving Systems of Equations by Graphing and Substitution which we will finish right before their field trip.

8th grade Algebra: Elaine Leonard

We just finished a chapter on polynomials and learning how to factor them. We will be going into quadratic equations and functions, learning how to graph, factor and solve.

Science: Scott Jackson

6th Grade Earth Science

In March we kicked off a unit on Geology. We have been studying the incredible variety of rocks and minerals that God has provided us, along with how science classifies them. We just completed a mineral lab where students ran eight tests against ten different minerals in order to identify them. Some of the tests being conducted in the picture above included streak tests, hardness tests, magnetism tests, and calculating density by measuring mass and volume.

In April we will cover the rock cycle and learn of cave formations leading up to 6th grade class trip to hiking Marengo Cave and canoeing Blue River.

7th Grade Life Science

In March, the seventh graders concluded their unit on Heredity and studied the DNA molecule. They learned in-depth how God’s incredible DNA design contains all the code of how they are to be constructed and how the RNA translates the code to assemble the correct proteins to make you exactly as you should be. They did quite a few hands-on labs, pictured above, including genetic determination of offspring, human pedigrees, and karyotypes.

In April after spring break, we will have a week long debate discussing the issues around human genetic engineering. Students will either defend the pro and con sides or act as a legislature rendering a decision. We will then move on to ecology and the environment and at the end of April, travel to Cincinnati for the class trip visiting the Cincinnati Zoo, Newport Aquarium and the Creation Museum.

8th Grade Introduction to Chemistry

In March, we finished studying wave properties by applying it to light and color. We have worked with both on-line interactive labs and actual hands-on labs to help drive a better understanding of light properties. Eighth-graders had a color lab where they easily identified colors under a white light, but had more difficulty identifying those same colors under colored lights. They also had to mix colors from a palette of icing to match the shade of selected paint samples. Pictured above are students testing laser beams and refracted rays to see how light travels.

In April we begin the final unit of physical science which includes Forces and Motion.

Co-Curricular News

5th & 6th: Cindy Schramm

I pray you all had a wonderful “Resurrection Sunday” celebrating our risen Savior!

Fifth graders are finishing up their open-choice artist study. They were asked to pick a Christian artist and come up with a studio project using the “style” of their artist. Students have selected several different Christian artists. Kate Johnson, chose “Joni Eareckson Tada” as her artist. You can see in the photo above, she is experimenting by using her teeth to hold the paintbrush. The goal for this project was for your child to explore different art styles and materials. A one page written artist report will accompany their studio artwork.

Sixth grade students have been working on their own duplication line drawing exercises. The goal of duplication exercises in art is to help train the eye to see. Each duplication page will have at least one Christian symbol. Some of these student created duplication exercises, will be photocopied for other students to practice their duplication skills with. Students will thus have a part in creating their own curriculum for this unit.

In His Love,

Cindy Schramm

7th & 8th: Darin Grice

The 7th grade art classes are working on personal logos in corporate style. The 8th grade classes are working in their sketch books and creating watercolor images.

Media/Technology: Beth Herr

It’s been a very busy time in the Media Center during the last month with the completion of the Wish-TV I Love to Read Challenge and the Scholastic Book Fair. Both events were wonderfully successful and a ton of fun! April is National Poetry Month, so all classes will have a focus on poetry as we use websites and collaborative tools to create poems. Middle School (5th & 6th) has been discussing digital media in greater depth and learning “tools” for the digital world. In the coming month, they will continue learning information literacy with a focus on strategic searching skills. Junior High (7th & 8th) completed a cross curricular project with Bible where each student created a timeline of the Old Testament from creation through Samuel. Students learned a new website to create this timeline and did a great job with it. They have also been delving deeper into the concept of digital footprints. After break, they will continue this concept by addressing authenticity online and digital drama.


Mrs. Evans:

The fifth and sixth grade choirs are preparing for the spring concert on Monday, May 2. They also led chapel for Early Childhood students and they did a great job!!

Mrs. Na & Mr. Perry:

On February 26-27, 22 7th grade band and choir students traveled to Bethel College to play and sing in the ACSI Music Festival. They had extra rehearsals to learn some difficult music. The festival included working several hours with a clinician and performing a concert on Saturday combined with students from seven other schools. Our students were well-prepared and leaders at the festival. We also toured the Conn-Selmer woodwind and percussion factory and visited the Basilica at Notre Dame. On March 19th, several of our band and strings students attended the Indiana Wind Symphony concert at the Palladium in Carmel. The students got to meet the conductor, Dr. Charlie Conrad, after the performance. They did have a run in with security (storm troopers at the space-themed concert). Also, they spoke to a trumpeter in the group about music—Paula Fisher’s husband, Don. It was a great concert and the students especially liked the “Star Wars” music! This week a new timpani drum and percussion trap table arrived. These are more purchases from our fundraiser proceeds. We are now preparing for Grandparent’s Day Chapel and our spring concert.

Physical Education

Vern Clayton

5th & 6th grade Phys Ed. will be focusing on physical fitness. As the weather allows, we will go outside and run timed distances looking for personal improvement. We will also begin to keep track of push ups and pull-ups. As time allows per class period, we will also review rules and play sports with bases such as kickball and whiffle ball.

Kyle Johnson

In 7th and 8th grade PE, we are beginning our Traders Point Physical Fitness unit. Students will be tested on sit ups, push ups, agility, 20 yard sprint and the mile run. This is similiar to the Presidential Fitness Award that was in place in the U.S. from 1966-2010. We will be practicing these skills for the next few weeks and test them the last 3 weeks of school.

Spanish: Rachel Bush
The fifth and sixth grade students are going to do another skit, using the phrases that they have already learned. They will also learn how to say that "we" do something. I cannot wait to see their creativity in how the perform their skits! The seventh grade students are jumping back into their books, Cuentame Mas! Our main story is about a little mouse from the country. Lastly, the eighth grade students will be starting their new novel, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Secret Map.