Gainesville Middle School

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    September 2019 - Posts
    Last week in 1st, 2nd, and 7th periods we finished standards 1-4 and completed the quick checks for each topic.  In addition, we took some retakes for a couple of the standards that we saw a larger number of students not have as much success.  I continue to be available at lunch.  Some students have taken advantage this and have seen significant improvement.  I also had the opportunity to work in a small group with many of the students. The quick check scores have been updated in the Hubb.  On Monday, all classes will be in the library learning how to research.  We will also be learning what resources will be available for research.  Students should have brought home a proposal sheet that they shared and worked on with you for their science fair idea.  I have not approved any projects yet.  That is my goal for Sunday, to go over the proposals.  I will not be handing any back until Tuesday.  The library is a busy experience and I do not want anyone to lose their forms.  On, Wednesday 1st, 2nd, and 7th periods will be taking their tests.  There are numerous resources for them to use.  The enriched period will be finishing up their botany unit this week.  After a discussion I had with students on Thursday of last week, I have decided that this week’s Team Time in science will be devoted to study habits and how to study.  If you have any questions please email me and have a wonderful weekend.
    Posted by armstrem  On Sep 29, 2019 at 3:29 AM
    In class this week we worked on the steps in the scientific method and identifying variables in experiments.  We also practiced writing hypotheses and scientific questions.  All classes have started the Fish Lab Project for this unit.  The final project will count for 3 90% grades each for a different standard. Third period worked on graphs as well and will have their test on Monday.  I have emailed the review sheets answers for practice.  Please remember that all students have the study packet that has sheets for the whole year to study from that should be at home. The packet is also available online in my files and documents.  In addition, I have posted a Quizizz code to help prepare for the test as well.  First, second, and seventh period will continue with graphs as well as work on their projects next week.  We will have their test on the following Wednesday October 2nd.  On Friday September 7 students will be having a lesson by the counseling department and the following Monday we will be in the library to learn about the resources the library has as well as how to use them.  Students were the proposal form for the science fair project.  I ask that they try to come in by Wednesday.  It may take more time than this.  If they have at least the front page and a discussion with you about the topics they are looking into for their projects that will be very helpful.  Students must have a parent or guardian approval before I will sign off on a project, however I will assign a topic if they do not get a proposal in by November 1st. For this project students should be looking at a problem to solve and questions they have.  They are looking at what effect a change has on something.  Therefore, crafts such as the volcano and the activity of making the fruit and vegetable clocks are not acceptable. In addition, we do not accept brand testing or mold and bacteria projects.  The latter is for safety. We also ask that students do not make crystals for these projects often fall apart.  Furthermore, when considering projects, one must understand that students must do multiple trials. In regard to plants, if they do the minimum of 4 independent variables, they will need 25 plants.  I would suggest germinating part of a bag of beans from the grocery store to keep the budget in check.  Students will need a tri-fold board but not until January. Please email me if you have any questions.  As I told the students, the idea is what is most important. I will post past ideas in the files and documents section of my web page.  Students were told not to do an experiment idea they find online, but rather to  come up with a new idea or tweak the idea to make the idea their own.
    Posted by armstrem  On Sep 21, 2019 at 7:37 AM
    Quizizz is 679756  for test review
    Posted by armstrem  On Sep 19, 2019 at 7:13 AM
    This week students have been working on making observations, inferences, and predictions. We practiced differentiating between qualitative and quantitative data by looking at worms and yo-yos.  In addition, we defined what reliability and validity are and will be applying these terms throughout the year toward research and our experiments. They also took their first quick check.  At GVMS, our teachers are working together to have higher expectations in the work that is handed in.  For example, we expect responses that are handed in to be in complete sentences with punctuation and capital letters. I did not lower their grade for not having these requirements, I handed the assignments back and had them fix the questions before I would finalize their grade.  The scores when low, were often due to the student not putting the units in.  Unlike punctuation and capitalization of sentences, if the wrong unit is used for a measurement the impact can be quite profound during an experiment.  This can completely change the meaning of the data and have serious consequences. The students made a chart in their notebook to help them study which type of unit belongs to which tool. I have also worked at bringing up a small group of students on Friday and will continue Monday to provide assistance with skills students struggled with so they may improve before they take their tests.  In my class, if students improve their test scores for a standard, I will change their quick check scores to match.  Thereby, treating the test as the retake.  I am available at lunch for additional assistance. This week we will be working on variables and graphing. Third period will be taking their test on Friday of next week. I am tentatively scheduling first, second, and seventh period to take theirs on October 1.   I also provided a lesson on nature journals.  We went over the different parts of what I expect in a nature journal entry (date, location, weather, a description of what they observed, a drawing of the organism with its name, and a reflection of what they learn about the organism). I explained that the quality of picture, whether they are a skilled artist or not, is not the point but that including detail so that they focus refining their observation skills is.  They were assigned two entries.  They can be done on the same day or on two separate days.  They are due at the end of the first week in October.  I would prefer the observations to be something other than the grass in their yard or their pets.  Plants, fungi, or other animals are fine.  We will use their experiences in lessons in the future.  These entries can go in their science notebook or a separate book if they want. I also discussed the app SEEK! by iNaturalist. This is a free app that helps students to identify the specimen that they are looking at while also taking a picture as reference for the future. The app is not required but can be quite handy. During Team Time this week we continued our discussion of being proactive with circles of control.  This coming week we will discuss paradigms and principals.  Please continue to discuss both our academic topics as well as the topics we are learning in Team Time.  If you have any questions, please email me.
    Posted by armstrem  On Sep 14, 2019 at 7:11 AM
    I forgot to mention the resources that were sent home this past week.  First I sent home the workbooks that students will be expected to work on for homework.  The first assignment, which I will be assigning this week is chapters 1 and 2.  These will need to be accomplished before the test which tends to fall around September 20th.  Please make sure the workbook makes it home.  They will not have to return the book to school.  If they need to do a retake,  they may bring it in, they will be expected to take a picture of it completed and email me, or they can rip out the appropriate pages and bring them in.  In addition, they were given a packet that has study sheets and vocabulary terms for the whole year. I have placed a copy that is broken down in my files and documents section of my web page.  It would be found in class resources.  Please take the time to familiarize yourself with my web page as more materials will be available on them as we progress through the year. Our workbook looks similar to the attached photo except we have a cardinal instead of a crab.
    Posted by armstrem  On Sep 02, 2019 at 8:21 AM
    We have completed our first week of school.  It was good to meet all the students and learn a little about each one. For those who were trying out for sports and activities I hope you did well.  There were two assignments handed out this week that needed to be returned.  The first was the Lab Safety Contract.  I have attached the paper to this post. In addition there was a blue two sheet packet from the team that was asking for confirmation about contact information. I have updated the Hubb with whether these forms were handed in.  If the assignment is blank, I have not received it. In addition, students will need their notebook for my class on tomorrow. Reminder, the notebook needs to be three to five subjects that can fit a piece of copy paper in it without sticking out.  On Tuesday, we will start setting up the table of contents. Their notebooks should go home on a daily basis so that they may study, do nature observations, and more.  Please email me at if you have any questions. This week we start measurement and possibly begin the scientific method. Team Letter Enterprise 2019 20.docx Lab Safety Contract 2019 2020.pdf
    Posted by armstrem  On Sep 02, 2019 at 7:42 AM