Safe Online Talk Question 1

Which story do you feel most connected to? Why?

Safe Online Talk Question 2

What advice did the teens share in the video? Would you add any advice of your own?

Safe Online Talk Question 3

Renee talks about getting a “gut feeling” when she felt something was “off” online. What does that feel like? In which situations have you had that kind of gut feeling?

My Digital Media Week


Computer Lab Assignments for this Week

Things to do this week in computer lab . . .

  1. Complete your digital media life data tables
  2. Create a graph of your data using this cool and easy to use graph maker website
  3. Download your graph as a .jpg file and then paste it into a web post.
  4. paste your graph into the google presentation I shared with you.
  5. Go to and find out what presidential candidate you would most likely vote for (as if you didn't already know!)
  6. Keep working your comparison essay rough draft or any work for Ms. Leuck's class.
  7. Make a survey about digital media in google forms and email it to all the students in your class.
  8. Have fun with some Halloween Games   Frankenbrain  Spelloween  Halloween Memor Halloween Hangman  Stacking Pumpkins


This Week's Computer Lab Assignment

Things to do in computer lab the week of October 9 - 12

  1. Check your email and complete the survey.
  2. Complete your Washington D.C. memorial/monument poster.  You may have to use Google Draw  or Word if Glogster is having issues.  Please share your poster with me or email it too me.  You will also need to print it out in color in the classroom too.  
  3. For Ms. Leuck's class:  Type your writings and share with Ms. Leuck via google docs
  4. Post your Alchemist Journals to your blog
  5. Edit your Whiskey Rebellion video in Movie Maker, you can add sound clips, titles, and transition effects.  
  6. Log into Pixton (ask me for activation code) and try out making a comic strip.


Washington D.C. Memorial/Monument Poster

The planners of the National Capital, which would eventually be named as a tribute to George Washington, never dreamed how many memorials and monuments would be built there over the next 200 years.  Read about the monuments and memorials of Washington D.C. and then pick one to make a poster about.  You may use Microsoft Word, Photoshop (8th grade only), or Glogster to create your poster.  

Content of your poster must include:

  • Name of your memorial/monument
  • date(s) built
  • why it was built
  • what its importance is
  • where it is located
  • how it was built/designed/constructed
  • who is it honoring
  • any other important or interesting facts about it
Design elements of your poster must include:
  • Thematic title
  • at least 3 relevant graphics with caption
  • specific yet simple writing
  • text boxes
  • cohesive and readable fonts
  • appropriate color scheme
  • a balance of creativity and readability 

Posters will be due Next Friday.  You can print them in color in my room or in the computer lab.  You can also save them as a PDF and post it to your blog.


7 & 8 Grade Overview 2012 & 2013

7 & 8 Grade Overview 2012-2013

Emphasis is on real world problem solving, meeting student’s math level needs, high school math class placement, and high school exit exam preparedness.

    2 math groups: algebra & pre-algebra
    daily review warm-ups, direct instruction, group problem solving, and homework practice.
    cumulative exams & concept quizzes.

Language Arts
Focus is on writing clear, organized, and well developed stories and essays with supportive details and clearly documented evidence. We will also examine a variety of written genres including: historical fiction, personal narratives, fables, Shakespeare, poetry, and response to literature.

    writer’s workshops once a week
    literature circles & online discussion forums
    collaborative writing and revision using Google Documents
    publishing to online blogs
    weekly proofreading/grammar/vocabulary/spelling mini-lessons
    independent reading journals
    end of the year poetry slam

Current Assignment: “Fables & Parables” (creative writing inspired by The Alchemist, A Dark and Grimm Tale, and the Six Pillars of Character)
Coming Up: “Personal Narratives” (critical reading & response, Warriors Don’t Cry, writing about autobiographical incidents, and digital storytelling)
Looking Ahead: “Responding to Historical Fiction” literature circles based around novels set in the 19th century.

Emphasis is on scientific investigations, interpreting and displaying data and applying simple mathematical relationships to motion and forces.  Content will also cover the solar system and the life of stars.

    lab investigations
    teacher demonstrations
    chapter reading & outlines

Current Assignment:  “Distance, Time, and Speed” ( energy track experiments, pipe insulation roller coasters, & unit conversion problems)
Coming Up: “Momentum, Inertia, & Friction” (egg parachutes)
Looking Ahead: “Forces and Motion” (students create experiments to prove Newton's Laws)

Social Studies
Geography includes: map skills, orientation, topography, and regional/cultural knowledge.
U. S. History content covers the Federal Period through Reconstruction and the turn of the 19th century.

    analyzing primary source documents
    reading responses & outlining
    historical research projects & presentations
    role playing
    field trips

Current Assignment: "Understanding the Challenges of a New Nation”
Coming Up: “Lewis and Clark Interpretive Signs”
Looking Ahead: "19th Century History Detectives” (historical research and digital story documentaries)

Focus on skills in competitive sports, rules and regulations, fitness, coordination, and team building.

    stretching & strengthening
    rules and procedures
    positive and safe play
    non-competitive skill games and team building activities
Current Unit: Cooperative Games
Coming Up: Flag Football
Looking Ahead: Golf, Floor hockey, Nike training


      “Garden to Table”  with Ms. Leuck
      African drumming and percussion with Laramie Paxton
      Spanish I with Mrs. Strasser
      Spanish II with Mr. Vack

Health & Wellness
       School counselor, April Klingonsmith, will facilitate bi-monthly activities on:  bullying, drug prevention, body image, dealing with stress/anger
       Career counselor, Susi Huschle, will teach about higher education opportunities and career exploration a couple times throughout the year. 
       Reproductive Health Week:  Taught by Planned Parenthood educators in late April.

Class Trips
    Family Theater Night Out:  The Tempest (end of March at North Coast Rep)
    local History Fieldtrip to Potawat Health Village, Blue Ox Mills, and Fort Humboldt:  April or May
    7th graders visit CR/ 8th graders visit HSU in spring
    8th Grade Ski Trip:  early April
      7th Grade Aquatics Camp: First Week in June


Dear Family Members and Friends,

Here’s wishing you a warm and sunny welcome back!
I hope you found some sun this summer rested up for the studies and adventures that lay ahead this school year. 

Class Configurations and Schedules
In response to the large class size this year, (40+ students) the school board approved a motion to add a half time teacher in the afternoons.   With her strong science background, third grade teacher Ms. Stephanie Strasser-Goldstein, (“Ms. S”) will be teaching physics and pe/computer lab.   I will be teaching social Studies and also pe/computer lab.  Students will be split into two, mixed grade groups for afternoon class rotations, including one elective.

The 7th/8th grade class will meet each morning in the gym for attendance and announcements and then break into language arts groups, with all of the eighth graders and a majority of the seventh graders (34 students) attending my class.  Seven seventh grade students will go to Ms. Leuck's class.

For math, students will be grouped into pre-algebra and algebra classes with Laramie teaching the smaller algebra group as I take on the larger pre-algebra group.

Also note that the board approved extending instructional minutes for the upper grades by 10 minutes a day, thereby shortening morning recess by 10 minutes.

I am very excited about this dynamic schedule and looking forward to working with an upper grade team of teachers

School Supplies
Because students will be sitting at different desks throughout the school week, all school supplies and personal belongings need to be kept in a backpack.  There will be bookshelf space available for work portfolio folders and some textbooks, but students will be bringing their backpacks with them when they move to different classes.  By next Monday, all students need to bring to school the following school supplies:
pencil sharpener
single subject spiral notebook
three 1” floppy vinyl binders
composition book
one 2” binder
colored pencils
solar scientific calculator
subject dividers
pocket folders

Weekly Progress Reports & Homework Assignments
In order to ensure the success of your child and keep you well informed, weekly progress reports, along with class/school news and reading records, will be sent home with your child every Tuesday. Progress reports reflect grades and assignments we have covered in the previous two weeks. Please sign the progress report and send it back with your child the following day (Wednesday). This is also a good place to write me any questions or comments.  You can also access your child’s grade report online through

Homework is generally assigned daily, Monday through Thursday, with occasional weekend work for projects. Weekly homework assignments are always written on the chalkboard and posted on Jupiter Grades, which you can access through the class website, Expect your child to spend around an hour on homework each day, independent reading included. If absent, students have one week to make up missing assignments before the grade becomes a zero. Otherwise, 10% will be subtracted from the homework assignment each day that it is late.  Unexcused missing assignments cannot be made-up and will be scored as an “F.”  An hour long “Homework Club” is also available after school in room 12, Monday through Thursday, for any student that needs academic assistance, access to computers and the internet, or just a focused place to work.

8th Grade Ski Trip and 7th Grade Aquatics Camp
It may seem like a long way off now, but these epic adventures will be underway before we know it, and now is the time to start planning and, most importantly, fundraising. The eighth grade trip costs around $450 per student and aquatics camp could cost $150, so begin talking with your child about fundraising opportunities such as: mowing lawns, babysitting, recycling, car washes, bakes sales etc. Because of the high level of maturity and motivation present in the eighth grade class this year, I’m putting much of the fundraising into their hands. I think in this way, students will develop a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation of this, once in a lifetime experience. Of course I’m happy to help organize events any way I can. Let’s brainstorm ideas soon.

Cell phones, i-pods, & hand held video games
Despite my love for technology and all things geeky, cell phones and other gizmos can be a source of great distraction for some students. For this reason, all cell phones brought to school must be turned off and stowed away while your child is at school. A failure to follow this rule will result in your child’s phone being confiscated for the day and possibly banned from school. Personal music players and hand held games can be used in class at my discretion (rainy day recess for example), but cannot be used outside of room 12, and risk being stolen or broken if brought to school.

Independent Reading
Nothing bolsters the brain better than reading books.  For full credit, students need to read at least 30 minutes a day, including weekends and vacations. Students are also responsible for writing, at home, a one-page independent reading journal response that will be due every Friday. These may be typed or neatly written, and remember, spelling counts!  More on this in the weeks to come.
Best regards and have a joyous school year,

Tyler Vack

If You Liked the Hunger Games


This Week's Assignment

  1. For Ms. Leuck's class:  keep working on your "Significant Person"  essay, digital story, and speech.
  2. For Mr. Vack's class:  keep working on your position paper rough draft.  Be sure you share it with Ms. Walters, Mr. Gledhill, and Mr. Vack, along with two other students for peer editing.  You should also peer edit at least two students essays.
  3. If you are done with the above assignments, or are waiting to peer edit, you may start researching a topic for your Ocean Science Fair Project.  I've shared two documents with you already, "polar seas websites" and "polar seas project summary." That you will use to start your research.  Once you have an idea fill out your project summary page, print it, turn it in,  and you can get started.

This Week's Assignments

1. Finish up any previous assignments, don't forget Grammar Blast!
2. If you are in Ms. Leuck's language arts class keep working on her writing assignments.
3. If you are in Mr. Vack's language arts class go to
On this site you can:

  • read the current "Learning Network" article and write a comment
  • take the daily news quiz
  • answer the "6" questions about the news.
  • fill out the student crosswords puzzle
  • write a "fill in" 
  • or you can just peruse the news.
4.  To receive credit, be sure to write on your blog what activities you did and what you thought about them.  


This Week's Assignment

1.  Finish your American Revolution Timeline.  It is due this Friday!   Be sure you email me and Ms. Walters your link.
2.  If finished,and you are in Vack's Language Arts class, revise your persuasive essay.  This is also due, printed out with your outline and rubric in Friday.
3.  If all this is complete go through Grammar Blast starting in 6th grade Unit One.  Look up anything you don't know as you go, Keep track of your score from each unit on the "Grammar Blast Tracking Sheet" I shared with you.   You will need to copy and paste the document, so you can rename it and modify it.  Print this out when you are all done.

This Week's Assignments

This week you will be making an interactive timeline about the American Revolution using the website timetoast.  You will first need to sign-up for an account.  Make sure your user name includes your real name.  Once you have activated your account through the email link, you may create your timeline using the following criteria:
  • Appropriate title with dates represented
  • Correct dates for events
  • Historically accurate descriptions in your own words
  • Try to use historical quotes and images whenever possible
  • An event related image per event
  • Link to website where you found the info (please try to use other sites besides Wikipedia)
  • When you are finished, email me and Ms. Walters your timeline web URL and embed your timeline into your blog.
  •  1774 - 1781
A list of events you'll need to include in your timeline (in no particular order), plus six more of your own choosing.

  • First Continental Congress
  • Coercive or "Intolerable" Acts
  • Benjamin Franklin goes to France to ask for their help
  • Boston Tea Party
  • Second Continental Congress
  • Washington captures Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey
  • Lexington and Concord
  • Battle of Bunker hill
  • Battle of Yorktown
  • Washington defeated at Brandywine
  •  Intolerable Acts
  • Arrival of 30,000 British Troops in New York Harbor
  • Peace treaty signed between Great Britain and United States, Treaty of Paris
  • Charleston, South Carolina falls to British
  • Elizabeth Freeman sues Massachusetts for her freedom
  • George Washington takes command of Continental Army
  • Common Sense is published
  • Articles of Confederation adopted
  • Battle of Long Island/Battle of Brooklyn
  • Declaration of Independence is ratified
  • Americans lose Fort Ticoderoga
  • Philadelphia is lost to British
  • Washington's Winter at Valley Forge
  • American's win a Saratoga
  • France signs treaty of alliance with United States
  • John Paul Jones captures Serapis


This Week's Assignments

  1. Be sure to complete your two Wanted posters and print them out.  Be sure you really explain in detail what they would be "wanted" for.  If you can't find out, try a different firebrand.
  2. Finish language arts assignments for Mr. Vack and Ms. Leuck.
  3. Check out the Elements PowerPoint I shared with you.  Choose two elements that haven't been picked and make a slide for each of them using my Hydrogen slide as a template. Be sure to put them in order by their atomic #1.  Use the following websites for info about the periodic table and elements.

Trash Blog II

1.  Make sure you posted last week's blog questions and posted your Trash found poem.  Make sure your poem has a title other than "Trash Found Poem."

2.   Print out your poem, (you will glue this in your journal).

3.  Read the paragraph on pg 149 that begins with, "I learned more than any university could ever teach me."  What do you think about Olivia's perspective about money?  How do you think her experience at the Behala dumpsite has changed her?

4.  Read the four newspaper articles on pages 186 - 189.  Which one has the most liberal or anti-Zapanta perspective?  Which one has the most conservative or pro-Zapanta perspective?  Use examples from each article to support your opinion.

5.  Describe the scene at the cemetery during day of the dead. Why do you think the author, Andy Mulligan, would end the book in this setting?


Firebrands Wanted Poster Project

Someone who sparks a revolution is called a "firebrand."  Where does this name come from?  There were many important firebrands that sparked the American Revolution.  Once Declaration of Independence was written and signed, many of these firebrands would have been considered traitors by the British.  For this assignment, using Word, you will be making two "Wanted" posters for two firebrands.  You need to include the following information on each poster:
  •  Name of your firebrand
  • Wanted for (put the reasons in here, these should be specific to this person, what did they  actually contribute to the Revolution. this is the main part of your poster.)
  • approximate age during the 1770's
  • Place they were born and where they currently reside
  • Photo of firebrand (If you can't find one, use another graphic that could represent them)
  • The reward for their capture
  • Vary your font size type based on titles, and other information

List of Firebrands:  Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Martha Bratton, Prudence Wright, Penelope Barker, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, John Adams, Benjamin Rush, John Hancock, Crispus Attucks, Dr. Samuel Prescott.

Research at least 4 firebrands before you choose your two.  Try to choose one well known one along with one you may not have heard of. 


Trash "Found" Poem Directions

Using the words from the shared word depot document, write a poem that expresses any themes from the book "Trash."  The poem could be from one or more character's point of view of could just be your own voice.  Make sure it has a title and uses some elements of poetry


Trash Response Questions

  1. Describe the conditions in the prison.  Why do you think children would be locked up there?
  2. How were Olivia and Gardo able to get a visit with Gabriel Olondriz?
  3. What were the few things that Raphael learned about Rat that he "had never known and never asked about?" 
  4. What does the gardener tell Raphael and Rat?
  5. What would you do with six million dollars?


Abstract Noun Poem: Freedom

Freedom looks like my two daughters cartwheeling across the beach on a blue sky day.
Freedom smells like chocolate chip cookies just baked, filling the house with sweetness.
Freedom tastes like the last bite of a a rocky road ice cream cone.
Freedom feels like the icy waters of the salmon river on a hot August afternoon.
Freedom sounds like the alarm clock wails of Jimi Hendrix screeching the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock.


Assignments for Jan 12 & 13

  1. Finish your Solid Matter graphic organizer and print it.  Make sure it is well organized and fonts are sized according to hierarchy.
  2. Please finish any writings you're working on for language arts.
  3. If you are completely finished with the above work you may begin researching Martin Luther King, starting at The King Institute website.  You will then make a Glogster poster about one aspect or event in King's life.  Topics could include:  non-violent resistance & Gandhi, Birmingham bus boycott, letter from a Birmingham jail.,  march on Washington, "I have a dream" speech, family life, Nobel Peace Prize, ????.  Whatever you decide, be sure to have a thematic title, graphics include quotes, dates, and other main ideas.  You can also audio and video clips.  When you are done you can post it to your blog. 


This Week's Assignment

This week you will be making a graphic organizer using your science notes from 5.2:  "Solid Matter."  You will be using the free online mind mapping software,, to create your organizer.  First you will need to sign-up for an account (it doesn't require much more than an email).  Below is an example of one I started for you.

You may start by copying mine or make your own from scratch, but either way, your organizer should begin with "Solid Matter" and include all of the most important details for each main idea.  For example, what concepts would you attach to thermal conductivity?  Where would crystalline solids and polymers connect to?  Think about the relative size of each bubble and how it relates to the one above it.  You can also use color to show relationships.

Once you are done be sure to save it in your account and export it a jpg. file to save in your folder on the network.  You can then insert the image into a g-doc or word file and print.  You may have to use "landscape" in you page layout to get it to fit.  Also remember not to use background colors that are too dark, as it may be hard to see when you print in black and white. 


Happy 2012!

I hope the new year finds you rested and ready to dive in to another fun-filled class.  Assignments and homework will now be posted, exclusively, on Jupiter Grades.  So you'll need to log in with your username and password to see what's due.  If you're having trouble accessing your account let me know and I'll reset your info.  I'll keep using the google calendar on my site for class and school events.