Friday, December 13, 2013

Newsletter #12 (12/13/13)

Hello Quest Families,

Our feast is fast approaching!  If you have not responded, we could use more beverages and main dishes.  Usually, I make a double meal the night before the feast, so this might help :)  Let us know what you can bring.  It does not need to be for more than 5-7 people.

Team Building
One of our focuses on Team Quest this year is to improve our small group work skills.  Friday afternoons have been spent working in small groups to complete a task or a challenge.  Each afternoon has time built in to reflect and discuss how the group functioned as well as what students can do to improve as individuals.  Here are the new "Small Group Norms" that our students agreed were important for groups to follow:

Include everyone
Focused on the goal/objective
Listen to, ask for, and consider the ideas of others
Be willing to compromise

Respect other groups by using indoor voices
Good sportsmanship
Be kind
Have a positive attitude

We have started our new ESB unit, titled Ancient Egypt in Motion.  This integrated unit will cover the Social Studies standards around Ancient Egypt and the Science standards around Forces and Motion.  Students will participate in a few inquiry based learning

Steel Drum Residency

We will have an artist in residence next week.  The artist is Scott Paulsen, a steel drummer who features music from Trinidad.  We will begin the week with an all school assembly in the cafeteria. This will be a presentation by Scott about the culture of Trinidad and the history of the steel drum and will run approximately 45 minutes.   During the week, drumming will happen!  Each child will get one small group lesson on the pans (steel drums) during their AA.  We will end the week with an all school assembly/music share in the cafeteria for approximately 45 minutes.


We have been sledding at recess, which has been a lot of fun!  The only downside, is our sleds keep breaking.  If you know of anyone with a connection to sleds, who might discount some to us, please let us know :)  Thanks!

Questions to ask your student:
How can you use Quest's small group norms in a family, community, job, or as a citizen of a country?
What does it mean for two fractions to be equivalent?
What are you writing for your narrative?
Why were the ancient pyramids built?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Newsletter #11 (11/22/13)

Eva, Ashley, and Izzy excited for their first CBMS concert!

Hello Quest Families,

Thank-you for attending your student's student led conferences!  We hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!  Here are a few notes  to read over vacation:

ESB Project
Students continued to work on their individual research projects in ESB this week.  They chose from a selection of topics, including early human clothing, tools/weapons, food, language, art, and the archaeological discoveries of "Lucy" and "Otzi".  Student's research on these topics is focused around the question 'What has archaeological evidence told us about Homo sapiens?'  In class, students will write a report on the findings from their research.  

**At home, students should be working on an artifact for their project.  This may range from creating their own prehistoric tools or art to making an early human restaurant menu or cartoon.**  This is due Wednesday, December 4th.

Project Guidlines

Winter Recess
The cold weather is here!  These are a few reminders for what students need for winter recess:  gloves or mittens, winter hat, boots, snow pants (if they plan to play in the snow), winter jacket.

Holiday Feast 
ANNUAL QUEST TEAM HOLIDAY FEAST! We are planning to have our Annual Holiday Feast on Thursday, December 19th at 11:20 (11:00 set up) - 12:30.  We ask each student on the Quest Team to bring in a sample (4-6 servings) of a dish that their family enjoys eating – perhaps something traditional – and we have a big potluck lunch. Families and other teachers from around the building are invited to attend. We will have live music, from our students!  We’ll need some adults to help us set up and monitor the feast. So, mark your calendar… we’ll send home official invitations soon! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Newsletter #10 (11/8/13)

Students working together to create a skit using primitive language.

Student Led Conferences
This week, the portal for the student led conferences will open.  This is an online way for you to sign up for conferences.  If you do not have computer access, please write a note to indicate which time slot you would like to sign up for, and we will sign you up.

The conferences may look different than what you have seen in the past.  Throughout the trimester, we have been gathering evidence towards particular goals. This continual reflection is intended to help students understand why they are learning what they are learning, and how it can contribute to their development as a middle schooler.  When students share this information, in a room where other students are also sharing their work, it builds validation for their work, and ownership of their progress.  There is time for goal setting with both teachers and parents during these conferences.

The times for conferences are 30 - 45 minutes in length, and during that time, your student will lead you through his / her work from this first trimester.  As these are completely student led, there will be 4 - 7 conferences going on at the same time.  We reserve the library, which enables us to have space so families can sit together and focus on only their student.

This is a photo of student led conferences from last year.

The teachers are available during these conferences.  Curtis Taylor, Melissa Williams, and Melanie Zima will be in the library, stopping in at the different conferences.  If you want to speak to a particular teacher during the conference, you will put up a small "flag" that will signal that teacher to go to that particular table.  If, after the student led conference, you would like to sign up for an individual conference with one of the teachers, there will be a sign up sheet for Tuesday night's conferences. Note:  There is no sign up for Tuesday night until after the student led conference on Monday night.

If you are unable to attend the conference on Monday night, you might opt to have your student review his / her portfolio at home with you.  Most of the information is on their e-portfolios, and in a paper portfolio at school.  These will be available on Monday, the 25th for you to see.  If you need to see it sooner than the 25th, you may contact us, and we can help your student have it available for Friday the 22nd.

We hope you find this format empowering for your student.  Let us know if you have any questions regarding conferences.  The times on Monday are: 3:00, 3:45, 4:30, 5:45, 6:30, and 7:15. 

In our Bones and Stones unit, students were busy this week exploring the development of language and early human cave art.  Activities included creating our own early human language, performing skits, using nature to make paint brushes, and painting our classroom with early human cave art.  Next week, students will be starting a project of their choice on a topic from our Early Humans unit.  Information about this project will be available on our website.

Mick painting, using a brush she created from the woods!

This week we will wrap up our work with division strategies and begin a new unit on 3D Geometry and Measurement.  You can find the parent letter linked to the Quest website.

Questers have been working on Multiplication Fast Fact Goals for the past few months and have met their first goal!  As a reward, students will have next week OFF from homework in Math class.  Their Math's Mate Sheet 6 is due Tuesday, but they will not have homework on Thursday or a Math's Mate for next week.  Keep up the fast fact studying so we can reach our next goal!

Language Arts 

This week we used Google Calendars to map out our reading for our most recent book group books.  We also began reading, and looking for details about characters and figurative language.  We continue with writing with details, both to our epals, and in our POWs.  Next week, we will have book group meetings, and will learn about the narrator's point of view.

What was your early human skit about?
What is an example of figurative writing?
What has your ePal written to you about?
What did you paint on the "cave wall?"
How does a 'menu' help you solve long division problems?
What did you do with your AG on Early Release Day?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Newsletter #9 (11/1/13)

Hello Quest Families!

The study of Early Human Survival continued this week with a exploration the advancements in weaponry and fire.  Students learned about how the early humans made fire with the little tools they had and then tried this difficult task out for themselves. Students also learned about early weapons, trying their throwing skills with "spears" and atlatls!  Students will have an opportunity to make some of these tools on their own with a project that will be coming up in a week and a half.

Service Learning
On Wednesday, students worked with community partners on two different projects.  Some of our students met with James Moore, Co-President of SunCommon, to learn about the new solar array at CBMS.  These students are in the process of making a brochure that will educate the CBMS community about solar energy in our area.  The rest of team Quest met with Alan Quackenbush of the Vermont Land Trust to plant seven maple trees around the school's outdoor classroom.  This work will secure the land's riparian zone by providing stability as well as provide shade for our outdoor classroom.

Multiplication and the order of operations were our big focus points this week.  Students worked on tasks such as determining how much solar energy can be produced by our new solar array.  There is so much multiplication in our every day lives.  See if you and your student can find some examples!  If you see your student using an area model to solve multiplication problems, this is a fine place for them to be.  By the end of this year, we will move away from the model, but it is a great tool to support the decomposition of numbers.  Have them explain how it works!

We will be exploring division strategies this upcoming week with an emphasis on the relationship between multiplication and division.   Again, have students explain their strategies to you before you jump in.  We are building an understanding of division before we learn the traditional long division strategy.

We are beginning our fiction unit!  We worked on our first roles that will be a part of book groups starting next week.  Students will be writing about a descriptive event for their next POW.  This could be Halloween, or any other event that has had an impact.  This writing is a part of our fiction writing unit. Students are also writing to their epals.  Sometime soon, we may even go old fashion and send postcards!

Book Orders
Book orders are due Monday, November 4th.

Wreath and Poinsettia Sale We passed out information for our new fundraiser today.  The fundraiser is a wreath and poinsettia sale.  Students have a green paper to bring home today, which has more detailed information.  Please help support this fundraiser!  It helps with field trips and other opportunities for each of the teams in the school.

What is an atlatl?
What is your independent reading book?
What are the two "banned" words in your writing?
How does a bow drill work?
How many solar panels does the school have in their new solar array?

Enjoy your weekend!

Due Monday, November 4th

Wreath and Poinsettia Sale

Friday, October 25, 2013

Newsletter #8

Hello Questers!

Welcome winter!

Students have been working in their band groups on presentations.  One presentation was  via Google slideshow, the other was a poster.  Both of these presentations required assigning roles, reading comprehension, some artistry, and working together!   Next week we will be heading to the woods for some survival skills.  We hope the weather holds up for us!

We finished our Sy Montgomery books.  Students have been working with main ideas and details in their reading. Students wrote summaries, and created posters.  There will be a quiz on summaries next week.  We continued writer's workshop this week which enabled students to choose some of their writing.  We have some good storytellers in our group!  The POW for next week is a free choice, and the students are excited about that!  Next week we will begin our blogs through YWP.

 POWs have started up again.   Please help your student keep on top of these assignments by checking in with them.  The POW (paragraph / paper / prisoner?) of the Week is intended to be a week long assignment.  Each day, students are encouraged to work on a bit of it at home.

You can check on Powerschool to see if your student has any outstanding work.  Most assignments will not have codes, but if they are marked, an orange box  means that it is missing, and a red triangle means that it is late.

Service Learning
We worked more with our service learning this week.  Students mapped out where our 8 sugar maple trees will be planted, or went outside to ask questions about the solar project at our school.  Next Wednesday, we will continue with this work, including planting trees!

This week we worked on multi-digit multiplication and began learning about the order of operations.  The order of operations gave us all a good challenge with some excellent dialogue from our young mathematicians.  There is a very helpful video linked through the Quest website that will walk you through the progression of how students learn multi-digit multiplication.

Math's Mates sheets will be due on Tuesday.  It's never too early to get a jump start on these.  Keep practicing those Math Facts!

Questions to ask:

What service learning project are you working on?
What is the Order of Operations?
What was the main idea of your Sy Montgomery book?
What was your presentation about in ESB?
What was the assembly on Friday about?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Newsletter #7 (10/11/13)

Hello Quest Families!

We are finally through with NECAPS and back to our normal schedule!  Homework will resume this week and you can find the links on the Quest Homework Board. 

Color Groups
Our color groups will be changing at the end of this week.  Students will be with different groups for Language Arts and Math starting the week of October 20th.

Bones and Stones

We started our new ESB unit on Early Humans this week. This unit is an Interact Unit.  Students have been put into cooperative groups called "bands."  In these bands, they will be working on both group and individual projects ranging from research projects to making fire without matches. This week, students worked together to create a group identity, including a group totem, banner, and "stones" bag.  Next week, students will begin to develop presentations on different topics related to Early Humans. 


We are finally back to our regular schedule and well on our way into our exploration of number properties as they relate to multiplication and division.  Students will be getting a NEW weekly assignment called Math's Mates.  This will be due on Tuesdays.  Students who have not passed their multiplication fast facts will still be required to fill in Multiplication Fast Fact Practice sheets.

Language Arts

Students will be finishing up their Sy Montgomery books this week.  Students began their individualized spelling program, and sent off their first epal letters to Germany and Poland!  We are working on non-fiction main ideas / summaries.  The POW for this week is regarding this skill.  Each student received a National Geographic, and can choose from any of the articles to read and to write a summary.

Questions to ask:

What is your band's name for ESB?  Your Stone age name?
What is a square number?
Is your epal from Germany or Poland?
What is one of the words on your spelling list?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Newsletter #6 10/4/13

Hello Quest Families!  

We were glad to see those who could make it to Back-to-School night!  There is so much to cover for fifth grade!  If you were unable to make it, or would like to see the slide shows, you can find them on the Quest website.  The team one is on the front page, there is one for LA, and for math.  The curriculum outline is also posted, so feel free to check it out!

LA: This week we continued our book shares.  Students will be completing a book share once a month about an independent reading book, and will then share their findings with the rest of the class.  Students also completed their bios for their epal.

ESB  This week we will be wrapping up our study of the local ecosystem.  We will also begin a unit on Early Humans.  Our unit will be an Interact Unit, in which students will be divided into small groups to solve problems and complete projects. 

NECAPS  are here! There will be NO Homework during NECAPS.

Tuesday, October 8th from 8 - 9:15
Wednesday, October 9th 8 - 9:15 and 12:45 - 2:20
Thursday, October 10th 8 - 9:15

Please avoid scheduling an appointment for your child during these times.  If your student will be leaving at some point during the day, please make sure we know as soon as possible so we can make other arrangements.   We will not be giving homework during those two weeks.  Good sleep and a good breakfast does wonders for those nights!

We will be starting our new unit, Multiplication and Division Relationships, this week.  Attached is a family letter that introduces some of the concepts that will be covered in this unit.  Success in this unit, as well as many of the units throughout middle school, rely on fluency with multiplication fast facts.  While we will provide students with strategies for studying these facts, we do not set aside class time for fast fact practice.  There are many resources on the Quest website that students can access and use for practice at home.

What was one of the talents displayed at Quest Talent Show?
How did your NECAP testing go?
Tell me about your math project!
What were your results from the crayfish / potato / sunflower lab?  (they chose one of these!)

Enjoy your weekend!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Newsletter #5 (9/27/13)

Hello Quest Families!  What a great week of learning and beautiful fall colors we had here at CBMS.  Here are some notes:

Field Trip
The field trip to the Long Trail this week was a huge success thanks to the great support we had from parents!  We could not have done it without our fantastic chaperones (Bob Garrett, Tracey Towne, Todd Jones, Melissa Semprebon, Kellee Mazer, Marybeth Longo, Michelle Abajian, Gwynne Berry, Lynn Mason, and Steve Odefey)!  It was wonderful for Team Quest to be able to share our learning with all of you on a beautiful morning. 

e-learning and 21st Century Goals

Students have been learning about their Google Docs.  One feature in Google Docs is “sites.”  Students are using this feature to create a portfolio of their year in fifth grade.  We selected categories based on the Harwood GEs and the Common Core.  Students then reworded these goals to become goals for themselves throughout the school year.  This site is called an eportfolio.  Your student began creating one this week.  We intend this to be another venue (along with grades / Powerschool) in which students can show their learning during these middle school years.  Students will share these during their student led conferences which will be held in November.  

Next week we will be starting letters to our epals!  At this time, Mrs. Williams has connected with one classroom from Germany, one from Poland, and a small group of students from China.  Your student will be writing to one of the other students via the epal program.  Eventually, we hope to Skype with the students in these far away countries!  These epal letters will be written during Writer’s Workshop, and sometimes during ESB.

Last week Mrs. Williams met with Geoff Gevalt from the Young Writer’s Project.  The Young Writer’s Project is “An online community of young writers in VT & NH where creativity and civility reign.” They have created a self contained blogosphere for our classroom.  It is a great resource that we will be able to use.  Your student will be able to share his / her work with classmates, and with others in the school.  Mrs. Williams will introduce this platform to our students next week.  Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Williams will both be using this blog in our classes.

NECAPS  are coming! There will be NO Homework during NECAPS.

 The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, October 1st from 8 - 9:15
Wednesday, October 2nd from 8-9:15, then from 12:45 - 2:20
Thursday, October 3rd from 8 - 9:15
Tuesday, October 8th from 8 - 9:15
Wednesday, October 9th 8 - 9:15 and 12:45 - 2:20
Thursday, October 10th 8 - 9:15

Please avoid scheduling an appointment for your child during these times.  If your student will be leaving at some point during the day, please make sure we know as soon as possible so we can make other arrangements.   We will not be giving homework during those two weeks.  Good sleep and a good breakfast does wonders for those nights!

Back to School Night
Thursday, October 3 is Back to School Night at CBMS starting at 6:15.  Come join us to learn about CBMS and the Quest Team!

Picture Day
Picture day is right around the corner.  Friday, October 4th will be pictured day at CBMS.  Picture forms were sent out today, so be on the lookout!

Book Orders
Have been sent out!  They are due Friday, October 4th. 

Questions to ask your student:
What are some of the producers, consumers, and decomposers you found on your hike?
What goes on your eportfolio?
Which student on Team Quest is moving to Oregon?  What did you do to celebrate her last day? 
Do you plan on participating in the Quest Talent Show?
Who is in your Reader's Workshop Group?
What Math game did you play in class?  What is your strategy for this game?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Newsletter #4 (9/20/13)

September 20, 2013

Hello Questers!

We have had a beautiful week!  The enthusiasm of our students is fantastic!  Some notes: 

Field Trip  This Wednesday, we will be going to the Long Trail for a hike.  We will be studying the ecosystem of the Long Trail, as well as looking at maps, and scale.  We have a good amount of chaperones!  We have the following chaperones signed up:
Bob Garrett, Tracey Towne, Todd Jones, Melissa Semprebon, Kellee Mazer, Marybeth Longo, Michelle Abajian, and Steve Odefey.  Thank-you for volunteering!  Please have your student bring a water bottle, a snack, and good walking shoes.  If the forecast is for rain, we will reschedule.

It was a beautiful week for learning here at Team Quest!  We were busy learning about our local land and water ecosystems by exploring the Crossett Brook searching for and identifying consumers as well as researching the importance of local producers.  We will continue with our focus on ecosystems and mapping next week with our field trip to the Long Trail.

NECAPS  are coming!  The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, October 1st from 8 - 9:15
Wednesday, October 2nd from 8-9:15, then from 12:45 - 2:20
Thursday, October 3rd from 8 - 9:15
Tuesday, October 8th from 8 - 9:15
Wednesday, October 9th 8 - 9:15 and 12:45 - 2:20
Thursday, October 10th 8 - 9:15

Please avoid scheduling an appointment for your child during these times.  If your student will be leaving at some point during the day, please make sure we know as soon as possible so we can make other arrangements.   We will not be giving homework during those two weeks.  Good sleep and a good breakfast does wonders for those nights!

Picture Day
Picture day is right around the corner.  Friday, October 4th will be pictured day at CBMS.  Picture forms were sent out today, so be on the lookout!

Questions to ask your student:

What producer did you choose to research?
What consumers did you find in the stream?
Who is in your writing group?
Did you take your DRA?  (not a huge conversation starter though, I'm afraid..)
Can you show me your subtraction strategy?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Newsletter #3 (9/13/13)

Hello Quest Families,

It has been a great week here at CBMS with lots of learning despite the heat and rain!  Here are a few notes on the upcoming weeks on team Quest.

Field Trip
Another reminder about our upcoming field trip.  We are still looking for some help from parent chaperones, so if you are able to join us on our nature hike please email or send in a note.  The permission slip will be attached to this newsletter for your students to return to us.  Field trip details:  On September 25th, we are planning to take a field trip to the Long Trail (the Duxbury Window hike off of Camel's Hump Road).  This field trip will be culmination of our unit on Interdependence.  We will be hiking (about 1 mile in) to a stream to do some place-based studying.  Field trip form

Homework in planners
Now that we are well on our way to becoming full time middle school students we must consider the responsibility that comes with this.  Homework will be assigned weekly in 5th grade and each student is responsible for bringing their completed work to and from school.  Each week we will make sure students write their assignments in their planners.  The planners are a great place for you to check to see what assignments your student is responsible for each night.  There is also a homework link on the Team Quest webpage that will help you and your student stay on top of homework.  A suggestion to keep the planners in good shape is to have your student keep it clipped into a binder.  A homework folder can also be used in conjunction with the planner.

Math Log
 Starting this week students were assigned a Math Log to track their practice with math facts at home.  These logs will be handed out and collected on Tuesdays.  There is also a link to the log on the Quest Math webpage.  Students will complete math fact practice 4 days a week, 10-20 minutes a day.  This practice can include flash cards, website games, card/dice games, or any other unique way of practicing.  As students demonstrate mastery of multiplication facts, they will be given different week long assignments to meet their need. 

Everything with a side of bacon
Our interdisciplinary studies class's new name is..."Everything with a side of bacon."  The students felt that this title represented the many subjects that this class entails.  On PowerSchool, students will receive two grades for this class (Science grade and Social Studies grade).  Which grade an assignment will fall under will be determined by the standards that best fit that assignment.  These assignments will be graded by both teachers.

Questions to ask your students
What is your POW for next week?
What are some plants that grow near the Crossett Brook?
What have you done in your GoogleDocs?
What games can you play for your Math Facts Log?
Did dissect a flower or play a game for your ESB choice day?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Newsletter #2 (9/6/13)

 Hello Quest Families,
It has been another excellent week of learning here on Quest!  A few notes for the upcoming weeks:

Field Trip
On September 25th, we are planning to take a field trip to the Long Trail (the Duxbury Window hike off of Camel's Hump Road).  This field trip will be culmination of our unit on Interdependence.  We are putting the plug in now because we are hoping to have some adult chaperones (drivers) join us.  This will not only save us money by not having to rent a school bus, but will also give you a chance to see your student in action!  We will be hiking (about 1 mile in) to a stream to do some place-based studying.  Please email or send a note if you have any interest in joining our excursion.

This week in Math, we discussed factors and multiples.  We learned how to play 2 new games (The Product Game & The Factor Game), which you can access from the Quest website under the Math section.  These games are great way to practice working with multiplication in a fun way.  This Tuesday, we will have a short quiz on factors and multiples, so practice away over the weekend!

Next week, students will be taking a Multiplicative Reasoning Assessment.  This is a district assessment that will have no impact on your student's grade.  The purpose is to guide instruction around student need.  The assessment in 7 questions and will be taken on Monday and Wednesday.  The second half of the week will be the start to our work in the Investigations Math Program (same as Thatcher Brook).  The focus of our first unit is Addition, Subtraction, and the Number System.  Parent information can be found at this web address:

Humanities gets a new name
Upon further reflection, we found that the title "Humanities" didn't cut it when it came to all of the different subjects we will be learning first thing in the morning.  In teacher school it is called "interdisciplinary studies," which might not mean a whole lot more to your student.  We asked the students their opinions on what we should call this class!  We had ideas ranging from "Everything and a side of bacon" to "Ready to Roll"   We picked three out of a hat for them to vote on this afternoon.  During this time block we learn about a topic from the lens of all subjects.  More on how that will look on the report card in next week's newsletter!

Getting to Know Your Student 
Please take a few minutes to fill out the attached survey.  It will help us to get to know your student better.  If you are receiving this via email, please click here to access the survey.  You can email the results back to one of us.  If you are receiving this by paper, please see attached.

This week, your student received his / her gmail account for middle school.  This account is to be used for school work.  We will primarily be using Google accounts for the features offered in Google Drive.  They will not often use their email, although they can use it to contact me if they have a question.  We discussed appropriate use of technology, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us, or Tom Drake.

We are working on setting up some electronic penpals for your student from around the world!

Questions to ask your student:
What is the new humanities name?
What is the logo contest?
 What map are you drawing in class?
Do you have a Google account?

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Newsletter

 August 30, 2013

Welcome Quest Families!

We have had a nice three days of warm weather to get to know each other!  Students have participated in group activities, forming rules, and learning the ins and outs of CBMS.  Next week we will begin our Core classes.

This is our blog / newsletter.  This newsletter is probably the longest one, as there are so many ideas to cover!  We want to make sure you received this first newsletter, and you know where to find it.  Please either sign the bottom of the newsletter and return the very bottom of it (where the dotted line shows where to cut it) or email us back to let us know you received this note.  If you would like a paper copy each week, please indicate that on the bottom, or in your email.  If an email reminder works better, let us know that too.

Each one of your students received a Quest Planner this week.  Planners will be used everyday to record homework, schedules, and to stay organized!  Each week Team Quest will go over the weekly schedule so that students can plan both their school and home responsibilities.  We encourage you to use these planners with your student to discuss weekly happenings and organization.  There is a Quest glossary in the back of these planners that includes words used at CBMS and on Quest.  You can check this out for lexicon you might not be familiar with such as "Powerschool" (more about that next week) and "The Happening."

First week / general schedule
As you have probably heard from your student and maybe have seen in their planners, this week's schedule is a bit out of the ordinary.  We have been busy getting to know each other, the school, and what it means to be on Team Quest!   The daily schedule, which you and your student can expect most of the time, is linked above where it says 'general schedule'.

You might be wondering what "Humanities" is on your student's schedule.  Humanities is a combination of science, social studies, literacy and math.  We are teaching these together during this block to help students understand that learning does not always fall on subject area lines.  Students will study specific standards in the traditional science / social studies curriculum (scientific method, interdependence, geography, Greece and Rome), and they will see how these connect with each other.  If you would like to help out, or if you are aware of service learning opportunities, please let us know!  This is a good class to incorporate working with community partners.

Quest Plan of Action
Our Quest Plan of Action (attached above) is our discipline policy.  You will find the steps that the teachers on Team Quest will take to address any discipline issues that may arise in the classroom. 

Homework may be a new afternoon activity for your student.  Our intention with homework is for students to continue their learning outside of the classroom day. 

Studies have shown that the best way to ensure your student succeeds, is to have your student read.  Therefore, we require 20 minutes of reading a night.  Each week, we will require students to write the name of the book they are reading, and the page numbers they have read.  These pages will be a part of their LA grade.

 Your student will have 20 - 30 additional minutes of homework each night.  If your student is working for over an hour on homework each night, and it is becoming stressful, please let us know via an email, or written note.   We will follow up and have different strategies to make the homework time less stressful.

To make it easier to remember, we have set aside specific due dates for each week.
Due dates:


If your student does not have his / her homework on the due date, your student will fill out a homework notice.  This notice will go home with your student.  Please sign this notice the day you receive it and have it returned to the school, preferably, stapled to the completed assignment.  If we do not receive the notice back the next day, we will either call home, or email you to let you know there is work that is owed.

We will suggest times to the student to finish this assignment.  Guided study on a Tuesday or Friday might be the perfect time to make it up.  We will accept a late assignment up to a week after it is due.  At that point, it will become a 0, and that will be recorded in Powerschool (electronic gradebook).  These can affect an average pretty quickly.

If a student receives three homework notices, we will ask that the student stays after school to work on an organization system that will help facilitate getting homework done and in to the teachers.  If there is still a problem, we will ask for a conference to create a plan that will remedy the problem.

We intend for the homework to be based on learning.  Therefore, we will be grading the homework based more on progress than on how much is correct.  We expect our students to work hard, and we want them to progress.  If you find you are needing to provide too much assistance to your child, please let us know and we can help figure it out so homework works for everyone.

On Fridays, you may have noticed, there is a "POW" due. POW stands for "Paragraph of the Week."    Students will be assigned a topic on a Friday, and will have the week to complete it.  I will assign the first POW next Friday, and it will be due on the 13th.  The first POW will be answering questions in complete sentences.  We'll move up to paragraphs later in the month. I will include more information about this assignment next Friday.

If you would like to know the week's assignments, they will be written in your student's Quest planner.  We will also have a link to all the homework on Quest from the Quest home page.  The link is in the "nuts and bolts" toolbar on the left of the home page.

Quest Webpage
If you click the link above you will be sent to the Quest Webpage.  You can also access the Webpage from the CMBS website.  We will update our webpage throughout the year.  You can find helpful tools, homework information, assignment information, practice websites, references, and much more!   

We will wrap up our first newsletter here, so as not to overwhelm you with information!  Please let us know if you have any questions.  Our email has changed.  It is now under the wwsu domain, so feel free to email either Curtis or Melissa using these addresses:

Enjoy your long weekend!

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