The Lip dub That Wouldn’t Die!
If someone had said to me that we could have an entire school full of kids, lining the hallways with crazy hats and crazy costumes all holding outrageous signs, umbrellas, whiffle ball bats and lacrosse sticks and not have at least one episode of inappropriate student behavior, I’d have told them they were nuts! But, trust me when I say this, this is exactly what happened on our last early release day.
After we completed filming the lipdub we had a steel drum band give a concert to the entire school in the Gymnasium. The band was made up of students from the Blue Hill area and they travel around the state and New England giving concerts and conducting workshops on the origins of the Steel Drum. The concert was excellent and, as you might imagine with a band that evokes thoughts of fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas in them, they were very laid back. They actually invited the students to dance to the music saying it helped them play better.
To my absolute and utter horror, our students took up the offer to dance. They danced and pranced around the gym floor, everyone with a smile on their face and a jump in their step. My horror was, how do I get these kids back into the stands when the music ends and regain control over the “mob”.
I didn’t have to. They did it themselves. Once the music stopped the kids all returned to their seats and waited for the next song. It was absolutely amazing, something I would never had thought I would live to see. A true testament to the work that our community has done to instill in our kids our Code of Conduct.
The kids never cease to amaze me and always make me proud to be their Principal.
National Autism Awareness Month
The World Heath Organization has declared the month of April to be Autism Awareness Month. Throughout the world people are celebrating the great gifts that we have and suggest that we should exercise our understanding that, while those who have been identified on the Autism Spectrum face tremendous challenges in their life, they also offer to all of us a perspective that would should embrace and celebrate.
There are some very interesting facts that are presented by the organization Autism Speaks.
New research estimates that autism’s costs to the nation have reached $126 billion per year. The figure expands on previous estimates by including indirect costs such as lost family income and productivity in addition to the direct costs of autism-associated care. For perspective, this national expense surpasses the individual gross domestic product (GDP) of 139 countries.
Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its estimate of autism prevalence in the United States to 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls). By comparison, this is more children than are affected by diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome – combined.*
As educators, we need to realize that this is affecting our kids and we need to become more knowledgeable in helping these kids reach their true potential. I think we all have a lot of work to do.
April 12th Early Release Day Activities
Your child will be bringing home a letter from me about the activities of our next early release day. The theme of this day is Substance Abuse and Healthier Living. As part of the activities we have a presentation for the students by a group from Dover, New Hampshire called Dover Youth to Youth. In the letter we talk about what topics will be discussed and how the day will look when thet are not attending a presentation. Mrs. Weber, GMS School Counselor and Ms. Emerson, GSD Substance Abuse Counselor, have worked long and hard to make this day engaging yet informative for our students. It should be great day!
We are taking orders for General Admission Tickets to the April 27th Sea Dogs game versus the Reading Phillies. The Portland Sea Dogs have designated this as GMS Night at the Sea Dogs and the Sea Dogs will be honoring several of our teachers for their contributions to our community. Our GMS Chorus will be signing the National Anthem and one lucky teacher will get to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to start the evenings contest. It should be a great night of fun for all, save the date and join your friends for a great night of fun and baseball.
You will receive an order form for purchasing tickets, just complete the form and send it in with your child or, call our office at 222-1220. The Tickets cost $5.00, one dollar off the regular price.
In past posts I have referenced this TV show and the work that they have done with bullying. I have posted some videos of the program that looked at bullying situations and how kids react to certain situation and how the kids parents react to the kids reactions.
In the coming weeks they will be running a series called My Kid Would Never Do That Where students are put into certain situations and then a hidden camera record their reactions. I am not sure how enthusiastic I am about this premise for a show, but I mention it to you in the spirit of full disclosure about what is going on in the public media.
Technology and Your Kids
If there ever was a hot button for conversation, at least at the middle school level, it is the idea that our kids spend too much time on-line, plugged in and texting. I think I received the first standing ovation any Principal in any middle school ever got when I announced during our annual MLTI nights, back in September, that the laptops would be programmed to shut down at 10:00 pm and would not turn on until 7:00 am. It was nearly a unanimous sentiment from the parents in the group in favor. As well, the sentiment was equally opposite from the students attending the event. One thing is abundantly clear, technology of one kind or another, is here to stay. In fact, it will only get smaller, faster and more powerful in the years to come.
As an old (yup, very old!) social studies teacher, teaching 6th graders about ancient civilizations, students had a very hard time understanding that the only forms of communication before the written word was invented was word of mouth. When the written word was invented, people had the ability to write down what they wanted to say and pass that along. No need to travel great distances via horseback, by foot or along the river in a canoe to communicate, just let the parchment and the quill do your talking for you.
All of this took time, in some cases, lots of time depending upon how great the distance was.
I was watching an episode of Downton Abby, and a distant memory came back to me about adding a telephone to the household when my Grandmother was a young girl. My memory of this is rather vague, in fact my brothers and sister (who are far older than I, and who read this on occasion so I am creating some family strife here!) can probably recall this better than I, but my Grandmother could not understand why anything so ridiculous could have any necessary use within the home. This was just another way that the world was uselessly being changed by people who had nothing better to do!
Now, we all, or almost all, have that same capability in our pockets! I can’t imagine what my Grandmother would think!
I do know what my children’s grandmother thinks of technology. This happened just last week.
My son, who is completing an internship for his Masters in International Policy, is stationed in the United Sates embassy in Beijing, China. His 86 year old Grandmother (God, I hope she doesn’t read this!) lives in a small town in the Lewiston-Auburn area. We were visiting her last weekend and I brought along my computer to finish up some work for school (between games of cribbage, don’t ever play cribbage with a cut throat 86 year old cribbage player! Just sayin’!). While I was working on something probably very important, I noticed that my son was online. So I “Skyped” him (another noun turned into a verb by technology!). The very idea that we were sitting in my mother-in law’s kitchen and having a conversation with her grandson, in Beijing, China, was almost too much to comprehend. When his image came on the screen and she found out that he could see her… well, let’s just say that I do not have the skills as a writer to be able to adequately describe her astonishment.
Like anything in life, there are good and positives sides to technology and there are dark and negative sides. The challenge is to maximize the good.
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll explore what some of the people who examine the societal impacts of technology have to say about what works and what doesn’t work. Raising adolescents in any era has been a universal challenge for all parents that only becomes more complex and complicated as we progress with technology. Hopefully we can find some happy middle ground that will inform the decisions we make involving technology and our kids.
Until next time…