Resting Up for the Big Finish!

Middle Schoolers Hear How Advertisers Entice Them to Try Alcohol

Based upon the reaction of our students on Thursday, I would say that they were definitely ready for vacation time. The kids heard a great presentation form students from Dover Youth to Youth, a group of middle school and high school students from the Dover, New Hampshire Schools.

This is the image I am most comfortable inserting here. The others were a little "less appropriate" for a family friendly blog!

The 7th and 8th Graders heard a presentation on alcohol and how the alcohol industry markets to our young people. The group from Dover showed the kids several commercials that play on TV and radio and pointed out, very clearly, how the industry makes it a point to entice our youngsters with puppets and other toys. One promotional display the showed the kids was one I think we all know very well. The Halloween display with Elvira, you know, the one with the witch-like looking woman who has the plunging neckline and the slit all the way up the there. The group walked the display around the auditorium and asked our kids to look at it carefully. When they finished showing it around the auditorium, the group turned the display around and asked several questions about it. What beer did it advertise? What holiday was it promoting? what did the safety warning say?

That was really a trick question because the safety warning was about the size of a postage stamp in the lower left hand corner (away from the “leg shot” and the plunging neck line) and it read “Drink Safely”.

The 6th grade student saw a similar presentation on the tobacco industry. Speaking only for myself, I am insulted and offended by both of these industries. Believe me, I am not the second coming of Carrie Nation, and I am not promoting a return to prohibition, but this kind of blatant and obvious attempt to attract pre-pubescent youngsters is just plain offensive!

8th Grade Celebration Update

I think we are getting closer to a solution for our dilemma about when and where to hold the event. As of now, we have reserved the High School Gym and Auditorium for the actual parent portion of the celebration and the Middle School Cafeteria for the student portion of the night (the Dance). Our last question to resolve is how to move the kids from the High School to the Middle School for the dance and whether to have the parent portion in the Gym or the Auditorium.

The date will still be June 12 (unless, of course, we have another snow day!).

5th Grade Parents are Invited

We will be holding an informational evening for he parents of our incoming students on Tuesday, April 24th beginning at 6:30 in the GMS Auditorium. We will have Administrtaion, Support Services personnel (School Counselor, Nurse, Instructional Strategist), and teachers in attendance to help answer any questions you may have. We will also being giving you a look at what a “Day in the Life of a Student” is like at the Middle School, courtesy of Mrs. Hanley’s Advisory group.

So, come on over to the Middle School on Tuesday armed with lots of questions for us and we’ll try to calm all of your fears about Middle School.

Update on the Documentary Bully

About a month ago I wrote about this documentary that was to be released to motion picture theaters on march 30, but that many of our kids would not be able to see it because it was to be given an “R” rating by the MPAA. I am pleased to report that the MPAA has reconsidered their decision on the rating and have now rated this as PG-13, there by allowing middle and high school students to view this very powerful film. I am not sure where in Maine it will be shown, but when I find out, I will let everyone know.

PIE Meeting

Our next PIE meeting will be Thursday, April 26th at 6:30 pm in the GMS Library. In one of my recent posts I asked about planning a community Pot Luck Supper next year at the Middle School with everyone who brings a dish also share their recipe that we could turn into a Cookbook. I haven’t had anyone jump up and say “I think that’s a great idea, I’ll organize that!” yet, but I am hoping.

In any event, there are always things we can talk about to help make surviving Middle School easier. Join your fiends and neighbors and get involved.

GMS Night at the Sea Dogs

We still have plenty of tickets available for our GMS Night at the Sea Dogs on Friday, April 27th. If you’d like to order some tickets for this fun night at the ballpark, give Kristen or Laurie a call at the Maine Office 222-1220. The price of the tickets is $5.00, $1.00 off the normal General Admission price, just for us.

We have lots of activities going on at the game beginning with our GMS Chorus singing the National Anthem, seven of out teachers will be honored before the game for their contributions to our school community and 7th grade ELA/SS teacher, Jason Lambert will be thowing out the first pitch to start the game.

Save the date and join all of us for a fun night with the ‘Dogs.

Spring Testing

’tis the season for our annual spring testing sessions, the NWEA’s and the MEA Science tests. Beginning April 30, we will administer the NWEA’s to each grade level, one grade level per week. The NWEA’s measure the growth of our students year-over-year from last spring’s tests. We do expect to see growth in each of our students and this is an excellent way for us to quantify that growth. You will receive, sometime before the end of the year, a printout of your child’s progress.

On Thursday, May 10, all 8th grade students will be administered the MEA Science assessment. This is given to all 5th graders and 8th graders across the state. Unfortunately, we will not get these results until sometime in October, so, we’ll have to wait to send those to you.

We do try to limit the disruption in the school routine, but these are good tools for us to see how we are doing and if we need to adjust any of our curriculum or instruction.

If you have any questions about our assessment schedule or why we do this, please give me a call.

Technology and Your Kids (part 4)

I have written quite a bit about how technology has changed our lives, from working to keep our kids safe to things that can, and should happen in the classrooms. Never in the history of mankind have we been as connected to each other. We can instantaneously communicate on the opposite side of the globe at little or no cost (which is very good for me since my son is on the other side of the globe!). Not only can I communicate with my son, I can see him, and that makes his mother and me very happy!

This has really started a conversation with some of our teachers. Has technology changed the way we have always taught, or has technology just made it easier to do the things we have always done.

What do I mean by this?

Our teachers have a program that will allow them to see the desktop of all of the students in their class. Teachers can pass out work sheets in a nano second, really! They can watch as the students work on the worksheets, see where some students may struggle, others excel. Then, they can collect all of those papers in a nano second. Pretty cool, huh? Let me ask this though, with the exception of the time taken to pass out and collect papers, what’s the difference between this and what we used to do?

Back in September i showed the faculty a video of a teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who proposes that our students need to learn from their mistakes and that teachers need to create those conditions where students can recognize their errors and how to correct them. The teacher’s name is Dianna Laufenberg and she has taught middle school and high school. She graphically demonstrated that the locus of information has changed dramatically over the years. In her demonstration she used the idea that 20 years ago a good classroom had a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica on its shelves and that information came from the teacher and the textbooks. Now our students have all of the available information in the world right at their finger tips.

What does this mean for how we teach?

I think there is a lot more to come on this subject…

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