Parent Connection 7th grade STAR House

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

English Language arts

Quarter 2:

The majority of second quarter was focused on reading and writing memoirs. The students spent a great deal of time writing their memoirs. These memoirs consisted of four vignettes, or small memories, that were all centered around the same topic and shared a central theme. Students were expected to include descriptive writing, dialogue, inner thinking and a number of grammar items reviewed during this time. Overall, the students really enjoyed writing about some of their favorite memories and their narrative pieces were quite successful.

Quarter 3:

Currently, the students are delving into some historical events from different cultures and countries to help with argumentative reading, writing, and speaking. The students have been learning to support positions with logic and reasoning, as well as to anticipate and address counter-arguments. The students have been doing a few debate-style activities in class and are enjoying these. The major writing piece is a personal letter to a fictional character arguing whether he or she should stay in the United States or return to his or her homeland. Throughout this unit, grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and basic ELA skills are being addressed.

Independent Reading Reminder

Students will continue to read and reflect on their personal-choice books in class. Additionally, the independent reading expectations will continue throughout the school year. The expectation will remain at 2 ½ hours per week. The reading logs will be collected monthly for a score and should have a parent signature. The logs are available for printing on the website should the students misplace their copy.

math

Quarter 2:

We ended up being quite busy during the second part of the quarter. I’m sure many of you found yourself sending sweets to school with your child for a “math project.” Students worked on a small team to explore ratios and unit rate before constructing a gingerbread house to meet those requirements. Some students found out even with the best laid out plans, sometimes we needed a plan b! All students did well and we enjoyed seeing their creations.

We finished Chapter 4 at the end of 2nd Quarter. Students reviewed Algebra tiles and writing expressions. We also spent some time looking at positive and negative tiles and connecting the tiles back to our understanding of integers from earlier in the year. Many students enjoyed working with the manipulatives as we discussed more complex expressions.

Quarter 3:

This quarter will go quickly as will Chapter 5. We will begin Chapter 5 by revisiting Proportional Relationships, Part-Whole Relationships and exploring the ideas behind percent off and discounts at stores. Students will then take a closer look at probability, games of chance, and compound events before starting a new problem solving process called the 5-D process. This process is a bit time-consuming but important to help students develop a greater number sense. Initially students will be completing a lot of “guess and check” as their strategy to solve problems, but quickly they will begin to link their understanding of variables and algebra from Chapter 4 into their problem solving process. Please encourage your child to use the methods they are learning and school and trust that we are not going to make them “Guess & Check” for the rest of their lives.

Chapter 6 will again refocus on Algebra Tiles as we bring back ideas from Chapter 4. Students will begin to look at connections between tiles and solving for the value a variable. Finally we will get into solving equations using the step-by-step problem solving pulling together understanding from the previous five chapters of CC2.

Odds & Ends:

We know that math looks very different then when we were kids and at times, it becomes frustrating to “not know” how to help your student. Please know that we are looking at many different strategies because math, like clothing, is not a “one-size fits all” mentality. Each student brings different backgrounds, strengths, and understanding into the classroom which also means their thinking and problem solving might look different. If your child is stuck, feel free to give them a strategy - just make sure they you have discussed it so they can show us how they found their answer. Also, please ask your child to show you some of the new strategies and ideas that they have learned!

CPM also provides an online textbook to students. The textbook offers homework help on all math homework. Students must enroll at: https://enroll.cpm.org (PIN: NGR0P)

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact us via e-mail at: kwaack@depere.k12.wi.us or bbalck@depere.k12.wi.us.

science

Quarter 2:

Students were busy second quarter learning about genetics and heredity. They worked to find out why certain traits are inherited within offspring and how different species display a variance of traits. They were introduced to Punnett squares and practiced predicting and determining the likelihood of certain traits showing up in our fictitious characters, Clyde and Claire.

Students also began working on our Human Body Systems essential question: How do the human body systems work together to maintain homeostasis and enable me to do the physical activities I enjoy? We began with exploring the digestive system to better understand the role it plays in our bodies. Students did a vocab study and created a product using Google Drawings that will be showcased in their final project. They also were introduced to the process of writing an abstract to summarize the function of the system.

Quarter 3:

So far this quarter, students have been learning about the circulatory system and are about to learn how it works with the respiratory system. Soon after, the class will explore how the skeletal and muscular systems contribute to the body's overall function. Reading with a questioning stance and other "thinking" strategies will be reinforced as students gather more information about the systems we cover. Lab and group activities will give students a chance to experience "hands on" how their body systems function and are interconnected. Each human body system unit will wrap up with a couple of projects that will be included on their final webpage.

social studies

Quarter 2:

Second quarter included many successful student projects and presentations to wrap up the Mesopotamia unit. Students chose one of three project options: a Powtoon story, a Lucidpress story, or performing a talk show. All three options were meant to stretch their thinking, as they needed to present what they learned in a story format. It was a great way for students to share their learning and creativity. Ancient Egypt was the next stop. Students compared one civilization to the next and began to look for connections with our modern-day way of life.

Quarter 3:

This quarter, students continue to learn about ancient Egyptians, their way of life, and their achievements. Most recently, students went on an architectural tour of sorts using Google Maps. After comparing pyramids, temples, and statues, students made inferences as to why those structures were significant to Egypt. Once we wrap up ancient Egypt, we will be studying ancient India. By quarter's end, we should be just getting started with another guided inquiry unit - China.

additional information

Prior to winter break, the STAR house enjoyed a trip to Ashwaubenon Lanes for a pizza lunch and bowling. It was a great way to connect with students throughout the house, have fun, and celebrate a successful start to the year.

If you haven't already heard, DPMS has a team of 7th and 8th grade students that are competing in the Verizon App Challenge. This team of students designed an app to curb bullying and focus on the good things students are doing for one another. They won Best in State and have also won Best in Region. Consider texting your vote to support our students as they compete for Fan Favorite.

Thank YOu!

Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions, or concerns.

STAR House Teachers

Mrs. Balck, Mrs. Krebsbach, Mrs. VanDenBusch, and Mrs. Waack

Credits:

Created with images by porqi - "classroom school student" • ZapTheDingbat - "Reading" • Eljay - "we were first to finish" • GoToVan - "Science World" • WikiImages - "egypt nile aerial view" • Flikkersteph -5,000,000 views ,thank you! - "snow" • Mimzy - "back to school pencils rainbow"

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