Magnolia Intermediate School

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Jill Massie » Welcome!


I am very excited to be joining the family at Magnolia this year. I have been a teacher for the past 10 years. I've worked at schools in Davis, Sacramento, Grass Valley, Marin and even Utah. Having always worked with middle school students, I really enjoy being a part of such a time of growth. I've taught a number of subject including Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Journalism, and Leadership.
I live in Auburn with my family. I have 2 wonderful children, 2 large dogs, and 1 rather sassy cat. In my free time, I'm usually in my garden or hiking. I love being outdoors. Of course when the weather is bad, my family and I love to play games from board games to video games. I love old school games like Zelda and Mario Kart. (No, I don't play Fortnite.)
This year I'll be working with 8th graders studying US history. I'm also going to be leading the Yearbook/Leadership course and the Drama course! I'm going to be very busy, but I'm very excited to be a part of such wonderful programs!



Distance Learning OH MY!

Hello families, 
I hope you are all well and not too bored in your respective homes. I'm here to cure that boredom with some much anticipated and highly sought after US History Curriculum! 
I will be sending out emails tomorrow, I've posted information on Schoology, I've added information onto a District Wide Distance Learning Google Drive Folder, and I'll be making hard copies for families by Wednesday.
So you have a few access options. 
As always please let me know if you have questions as we move forward into this uncharted territory. 
P.S. If your child is going through school withdrawals you can always instill some of the school traditions at home: Recite the Pledge of Allegiance @ 9 am, give students stiff plastic chairs to help keep them awake, and install a bathroom sign in/out sheet, we don't want any shenanigans in the bathroom now do we? If that doesn't work you can always get a megaphone and randomly call students to the office. You know just to keep them guessing. 

Trimester End

As we near the end of the trimester I'll be updating grades and administering finals. 
All make-up work is due by the 18th. 
Please check out the class pages for more specific information about your student's class. 

Ways to keep your student busy (and learning)

Okay US History parents, we're on our fifth day of school cancellations due to power, and our 11th day in a row out of the classroom, and about now you may be running out of ideas to keep the offspring happy and occupied. After all there's only so much to do when the internet is off right? 
If you're like some families who took my last post to heart, then you've had your student chopping wood and carrying buckets of water to the house. And to you I say, "Well Done!" However, for those of you looking to find other, less 18th century ways of keeping your teenager busy, I've come up with a few new suggestions that will keep them busy, and help them stay caught up in class, sort of.
1. In honor of Halloween, watch "Hocus Pocus" and find all of the historically accurate, and inaccurate, aspects as they relate to Colonial America. (Hint, it's set in Salem, Massachusetts.)
2. Watch "The Patriot," and compare it to what you know about Colonial America. (We're not quite there yet, but hey that's what getting ahead is all about.) Take note of the fighting styles and see how they changed. Remember what George Washington learned in the French and Indian war about fighting with the Red Coats. 
3. For those without power, read the Declaration of Independence (it's in your book) and attempt to translate what you can into modern language. Feel free to summarize. In particular, look at the 27 grievances and figure out why Americans were mad at the King. Can you translate these grievances into more modern/kid-friendly examples? This could make for some interesting campfire/candle light discussions.  (This actually may still be an actual assignment assuming we have class this week.) 
4. Find a Colonial recipe and see if you can replicate it... I mean hey if they could cook without power you can too! 
And if all else falls remind them (or yourselves) that in colonial times, by 13 they would all be sent off to become apprentices or live and train in other households. Just saying. 
If you complete any of these challenges please bring evidence of learning (or tasty samples) to class, whenever that happens, for a bit of congratulations, appreciation, and extra credit. 
Whatever you decide to do I hope you are all safe and warm. And as always please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 

Update from the Dark Ages

And we thought that we've moved beyond candles and campfires... yet here we are.
US HISTORY: Parents - This is all actually an elaborate plan to have your students relate to the Historical content they are studying: Living like a colonial settler. This has all been staged in order for students to gain valuable insight for our upcoming test regarding life in the colonies and the beginnings of an American Identity. Hopefully as you've been huddled around candles you've been discussing the struggles of life as colonist and not just how difficult it suddenly is to use a bathroom in the dark. (Colonists had to go outside!) And as your student complains about lack of internet and other modern conveniences, I hope it leads to a discussion on how children as young a 3 were expected to help around the house, and as young as 6 were going to work in Colonial America. And when you all get really bored, remember there is always rowdy philosophical debates to be had thanks to John Locke and Charles-Louis Montesquieu regarding balance of government and natural rights. 
I know what you're thinking... and you're welcome. :) 
In all seriousness, students - we do have an upcoming test on Chapter 5. We haven't finished the reading yet, so the test will be pushed back until the reading is done. Monday at the earliest. In the meantime feel free to finish Chapter 5 on your own, and/or study quizlet and flocabulary (once the power comes back.) 
Student Government: We had a great board meeting on Tuesday - great news for all who presented. I realize that this whole no school thing is a bummer (for our timelines and planning) so we'll have to roll with it when we get back. Don't stress about the deadlines - just keep planning! If you do have internet I recommend working on your yearbook pages. One finished page is due by 11/15. 
Drama: Hopefully you have your scripts, and a flashlight. You should be able to come back to class completely off script (have all your lines memorized!). Directors: come back with your blocking and scenes decided! We may need to push back our dates a bit... but we'll make that call when we get back. Until then... keep working on your parts. I'm excited to see your final productions!
I hope you are all safe, secure, surrounded by loved ones, and a comfortable temperature. See you soon. 

Updates from the Trenches

Hello again!
This week's update is coming to you from a precarious position. For many of us it is conference time when parents and teachers meet up to discuss accomplishments and challenges of our students. This means that grades are under scrutiny and it's a time for students to hunker down to finish any remaining assignments, and while there possibly handle an onslaught of questions from concerned parents. 
It's also quite literally an update regarding our current US History content: The French and Indian War. As we make our way, wading through the muck of Chapter 5, we'll be discussing the forming American Identity and preparing ourselves for a battle between England, France, Spain and Native Americans (pretty much anyone who wanted a piece of the North American Continent to call their own.) Students should have already versed themselves in the first two sections and be working on those trenches using Quizlet, and in class graphic organizers as the Chapter 5 quiz comes into view this week. 
Don't worry, we're not leaving all the fun to the history classes, in Student Government we are hunkering down as well as the halfway point of our committees flies by. Students are starting to feel the pressure as deadlines loom on the horizon and they prepare for pivotal moments like budget approvals, and board meetings. Fret not, there is a safety net, so while it may be starting to feel a bit overwhelming, remember that this is a learning scenario. In fact this is much more of a simulation than a true fire fight. Take a deep breath, analyze what you have learned and try anew. The lesson here is truly in the journey not in the outcome. 
Finally, Drama students are in on this whole charade as well. (There's no leaving these students out of the action.) This week marks the final week of preparation before the "Small Play" productions next week. These students are under a different sort of barrage. Instead of muck and mud, these thespians are under a mental attack of memorizing lines, coordinating stage movements and dealing with the whims of directors. 
Hopefully with the shortened days, and a bit of grit, our students will make it through and live to see another weekend. (With any luck one that is free of restrictions following these conferences.) Take a deep breath comrades, it's going to be a big week!

Grades are Updated

Good afternoon. With the lovely weather outside, I hope you are reading this after a wonderful weekend enjoying the outdoors. 
I too was outdoors working in the garden and updating grades on my patio table. With the exception of a few stragglers, grades are updated in US History, and Grades in Drama and Student Government will be updated by tomorrow evening. 
US History - Next week has us exploring life in the 13 colonies. Each student will tasked with reading a section of the chapter about one of the three colonial areas and preparing us for the end of unit assessment through a group presentation. Each group will be given specific categories and topics to cover, as well as creating a study guide using either Quizizz or Quizlet (or something equivalent).  Class time will be provided for everyone to finish as long at that time is used wisely. We will finish the unit with a short quiz. 
Student Government - Projects are progressing well. Groups are starting to get approval and we even have our first dance this FRIDAY! I encourage students to share their projects and challenges with their families. The more these ideas are discussed the more creativity and problem solving will occur. 
Drama - It's hard to believe but we are starting to think about Trimester Finals! For Drama were going to put together small/short plays, get our second year students to direct, and present to the class around Winter Break. This next week year one students should be prepared to present an audition monologue, one we've already done or one of their choosing, for the upcoming casting call. Second year students will be choosing from a list of plays, and assigning roles. Grading will be based on student effort, commitment and involvement, not on their assigned role. Additionally, year two students will be graded on their leadership and directorial choices. I will of course be available to help problem solve and resolve conflicts as they arise. 

Quiz retakes, ten second plays, and froyo! It's been a week!

Good afternoon! 
It's been a busy week for all of us, and it was only 4 days! 
Us History - We had a quiz retake, discussed slavery and the first English settlements on American soil. 
Let's all take a moment to ponder the mystery that is the Roanoke settlement... 
Ok, now onto business. We had a quiz retake on Friday, and for most of those that took the time to correct and retake the test, grades improved! Unfortunately, some students opted to not retake the test... For those not loving their grade so far, the good news is that we are onto a new unit and EVERYTHING is posted. As in, you can review the assignments, pre-read the chapter, and get a head start. I've also posted the requirements for the next assessment, so you can start thinking about how you're going to tackle it. Of course, my intention is not for you to try to complete everything in advance. Rather, I'd like you to use the resources as a way to help you prepare and plan as we progress as a class. 
I believe all grades are updated and in Powerschool now. (If you see something funny, or incorrect, please let me know.) Most low scores are due to a low quiz score :( and/or missing journal assignments. Since we've already taken the quiz I won't take late work from the first unit. BUT it's a new week and a new unit so PLEASE keep up on the assignments! You'll need them for our grade and your next assessment. 
Also, please remember to finish your New World Ad (if you didn't already) and prepare to share with us on Monday. Details for everything is on Schoology. 
Student Government - Congratulations on another successful Froyo sale and good job on the progress I'm seeing in your committees. Monday I will be conferencing with everyone to check progress, goals, timelines and plans for completing your large trimester project and yearbook duties.
With the help of Zach, we should also have your yearbook page assignments up next week for you to start working on your layout plans. Thanks to those who are already thinking pictures and cameras! It'll be June before we know it! 
I am working on updating grades this weekend, so please check Powerschool Sunday evening for updates. 
Drama - Phew - Our ten second plays were wonderful! Everyone took their roles to heart and gave their performance their all! Ten seconds may seem quick, and it was, but don't let that lead you to believe that they were easy. We had costume changes, drama, intrigue and death defying climbs. A special shout out needs to go out to the two gentlemen that managed to recreate the entire movie of Moana with just 4 arms, 4 legs, and shockingly fast costume changes! Excellent commitment and creativity to both of you! 
Next week is monologues and memorization! 
I am working on updating grades this weekend, so please check Powerschool Sunday evening for updates. 

Sensitive Topics and the American Colonies

Good afternoon families! 
I wanted to check in again and keep everyone in the loop. 
In US History we are working on finishing Chapter 2 (the background before the 13 colonies) and starting Chapter 3 (the 13 colonies). Today we talked a bit about slavery and how the European explorers used slaves to help build nations on both the North and South American continents. This of course is a challenging topic and a bit sensitive. Today we discussed origins, treatment and longterm effects of slavery. We had a good class discussion and students were able to share their thoughts after the reading. I hope they went home today with the understanding that while slavery helped build a number of nations, it was a definite scar in the history of the USA and had a long lasting impact that many still feel today. 
I know this is a sensitive topic for many and I want to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to work through any feelings that may have come up, or continue to come up as we talk about the good and bad parts of American history. I encourage you to engage in a dialogue with your student about slavery and the US this week.
Please feel free to contact me if you or your student have concerns. 

First Week is Done!

Congrats on making it through the first week of school! Here are a few updates and reminders for those following along at home: 
US History: 
Please bring the following to class on Monday (and daily from now on.)
  • Composition notebook or equivalent (you may need 2 this year.)
  • Pencils/pen (no neon colored ink please.)
  • A positive attitude. :) 
Also I've graded your first assignment (It's due by midnight tonight in case you forgot.) 
Be sure to bring a signed syllabus to class Monday if you haven't already.
Also please take a moment to sign up for Schoology and Remind. Schoology is where we will be be turning in any written assignments, and taking quizzes, please sign up using your school email and password. Schoology class code is: PTPC-CQF7-7TX7P. If you have trouble, I can happily assist you this week with the login process. Parent Schoology access available upon request. 
Remind is a great way to communicate outside of school. You can sign up with either your email or phone number. (optional but recommended for both student and parent.)
Student Government/Yearbook/Leadership: 
See "Drama" post.... BUT use this code: B87M-Z6F5-RG7GS and this Remind link. Parent Schoology access available upon request. 
If you want to help out this year as a volunteer for dances, plays, field trips, editing a yearbook, and other activities, please shoot me an email. We can't do all of these wonderful things without you. I can use help in many ways; time and talent is valuable. Volunteering is also a great way to stay involved with your student's life, even when they may not be super excited about you doing that. :) I look forward to hearing from you.