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Conferences are next week!

Greetings and salutations from your Cedars teachers!!

It is starting to feel like we have achieved a bit of a rhythm in our digital classrooms. It has been a challenging beginning to the school year for many of you and as teachers we have certainly had our own challenges as well. We appreciate your feedback, grace, and perseverance as we work out some of the bigger kinks. Please know that we are still working to make learning more effective and engaging for all the 7th and 8th grade students. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us if you have any feedback or suggestions.

This message is primarily to convey a few curricular points and provide information regarding conferences.

Language Arts

In Language Arts we are reading the novel “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton and have already moved through the early chapters (1-4). We are completing comprehension questions, studying 1950s American culture, and exploring the role that stereotypes and labels play in the lives of teenagers. We are also utilizing a new writing curriculum from Lucy Calkins. These materials have been implemented at MRA in all grades K-8. I am excited that this program has brought dynamic and authentic writing tasks to our writing workshops.


In Humanities we recently wrapped up a unit on identity, which had us exploring our personal identities as well as connecting to different ideas of American identity. Through our online Edgenuity platform we are studying the American Revolution and the early colonial period of America. We will be moving into the Constitution and the formation of a U.S. government soon. These online lessons are important so much as they help students understand the “big picture” of U.S. history. However, these lessons, by necessity, are augmented through in-class learning designed to help students make better sense of the content.

Election Coverage

In Humanities we will be spending some time next week discussing the election. We all know that this has been a very unique and contentious election cycle. We will be setting some 7th and 8th grade age appropriate ground rules surrounding how we discuss the election in class. The students will have some reflective work to complete and should be approaching you with any questions they may have. We have already been learning about the role of political parties, the way other countries utilize them, and how America’s two party system is actually somewhat unique in the world’s political landscape. Please note that we will be avoiding any type of class debates and will be requiring that students show respect to each other as well as political figures. As we are aware of some of the polarizations existing in the current political climate, we will be asking students to convey empathy with the election results, and we ask that each of you prep your students to be empathic when discussing these results as they may bring on extreme emotional reactions from their peers. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about how the election will be covered in class.


In Math, we are using digital tools to engage with the CPM curriculum online.

  • In the 7th grade group, we have been investigating probability, and what influences the chances of an event taking place.

  • In the 8th grade group, we have been using graphical reasoning to understand proportional relationships.

  • The Algebra group is learning the standard notation for functions, and learning about function families such as the quadratic, absolute value, and cube root functions.


Science class has focused on understanding cells as the building blocks of our own bodies. To investigate those connections, students have been engaging with online lectures through Edgenuity, then applying the basics of cells and organelles to creative projects like Analogies as Models, where students created their own answer to the question “The Cell is like a _____.”


We are looking forward to hearing from you, and getting to talk about how our Distance Learning has been working for you and your student. We will be coming to conferences prepared to:

  • Celebrate some of your student’s successes

  • Discuss any areas of academic challenge or concern

  • Share what we’ve seen from your student regarding behavior and interactions with other students

We are looking forward to hearing your perspective as well, so please come prepared to talk about:

  • How your student is adapting emotionally to distance learning

  • Any issues you have encountered regarding access to lessons or technology

  • Academic hopes or goals that you and your student have discussed for this year

  • Celebrating successes you have seen from your student at home

  • Any other questions, concerns, or comments!

Conference Sign up Links:

Conference Meeting Links:

Conferences will be held online in the East and West Cedars homerooms. These are the same rooms that your students meet in each morning. You can find the links below. Save this message so that you can quickly and easily click on these links at your scheduled time. Thank you!

**Please note that these are 20 minute conferences. We are happy to schedule additional meetings if more time is needed.

***Please reach out via email if you are having any problems scheduling your conference.

Thank you as always for the privilege of working with your young people. Don’t hesitate to contact either of us for any reason.


Mr. Poff

Mr. Mikkelson

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