Baseball, Bullies, Mascots and Technology…

Time is short to get your tickets for GMS Night at the Sea Dogs

You have one more day to get your tickets at the very special price of $5.00 (they are usually $6.00). As I have said many times prior to this post, we have lots going on at the game. Several of our teachers will be honored, on field, prior to the game. Our Chorus will sing the National Anthem and Jason Lambert, 7th grade English/language arts teacher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. This is going to be great night for our teachers and our chorus. Come on down and join the fun. If you want tickets, please call Kristen at 222-1220.

Speaking of the Sea Dogs

For full disclosure, I need you all to know that my daughter has worked for the Portland Sea Dogs for 6 years, so what I am about to write falls into the category of shameless family promotion, so here goes some shameless promotions!

The first Saturday of April Vacation, my wife and I attended a Sea Dogs game and we were treated to a concert on the plaza that was quirky, fun and not surprisingly very professional.

If you have an opportunity to take in a Saturday game all season long, get to the park a little bit early to hear a great bans called the Kastaways. The Kastaways are made up of former professional mascots, all of whom wanted to be the mascot of the Sea Dogs when the team first moved to Portland. While they were not successful in capturing the title of Slugger the Sea Dog, the banded together and used their considerable musical talents to form a great group that has been touring the country for the past twenty years. They have triumphantly returned to Hadlock Field to entertain the Sea Dog loyal fans prior to each Saturday home game. Give them a listen some Saturday, I think you’ll be very surprised.

But, don’t take my word for it, check out this feature story in the Portland Phoenix

Update on 8th Grade Celebration

At this point, since we probably won’t get anymore snow days, we plan to still hold the event on June 12th (Tuesday). We have both the High School gym and the Auditorium reserved for the parent portion and we have reserved the Middle School cafeteria for the dance portion of the night.

In conducting an informal poll of the 8th graders, most of them wanted to have the dance portion of the night at the Middle School,  where they all said they would feel more comfortable. We also have to be aware that the High School will have many students attending Wednesday morning to complete their final exams.

We are currently working on how to get the kids from the High School to the Middle School after the parent portion for those students who will need a ride.

We will keep you informed on any updates.

The Documentary Bully Update

To date, I have not found a theatre in Maine that has scheduled a showing of this very powerful, yet disturbing movie. It is in limited release across the country, so I expect it is only a matter of time before it comes to our local theaters. You may remember that there was considerable controversy about the rating for this movie. The MPAA, the agency that places ratings on these movies, originally had this movie rated “R” because of some strong language and because of some extreme scenes with very graphic descriptions of menacing behaviors.

The MPAA has since reduced the rating to PG-13 and this will allow most middle school and high school age individuals to gain access to the movie.

When it comes to a theater locally, I will try to let you know, however, if any of you hear anything about a local theater showing it, please let us know.

Technology and your Child (Part 6)

As I write this this morning, I am attending a workshop on the MLTI devices and how they are used in our schools. There are several school districts represented here and they are from many grade levels, High Schools, Middle Schools and Elementary schools. We are discussing the successes and the challenges of the MLTI program over the ten years since its inception (hard to believe that it has been ten years!).

During this meeting we have been traveling “down memory lane” with the MLTI devices and all of the successes and challenges we have encountered.

I am really amazed, now that I have had the chance to look back, at how much a typical classroom has changed in the past ten years, and especially in the last five years. We have increased all of our technology capabilities significantly at Gorham Middle School in the past five years.

We have added interactive whiteboards to many classrooms, and teachers are actually using them to enhance the learning of the students. These interactive whiteboards make that “old Blackboard” that we were used to seeing in classrooms actually come alive with images, text and videos, that allow for primary resources to be used in a class.

A far cry from that old Film Strip with the “beep” and the dial that forwarded or reversed the images. (I am ashamed to say that I could never get that done correctly. I usually had the film backward!).

Document cameras have been a recent addition to the repertoire of many teachers. These document cameras allow teachers to project items through their projectors onto the screen in the room. Some of these camera allow for magnification to an incredible degree to allow students to see things not visible to the naked eye.

It used to be that the teacher in a classroom was the center of all knowledge and that the teacher would “dispense” this knowledge in some kind of orderly fashion to the students and then they would be tested to see how much of that knowledge “stuck” with the student. Each classroom may have had a set of dictionaries or an encyclopedia that the students could reference. If you were really lucky, and your teacher was old, you might also have a collection of National Geographics that you could use for research (with the pictures of the naked people cut out!).

Now, our students have the “entire wealth of all human knowledge” virtually at their finger tips. Any possible question a student might have could be answered in milliseconds by just asking the computer.

Teachers today have to help students learn how to evaluate the information they get from the internet. They have to be able to discern fact from fiction, which sources are reliable sources and which are offered only as opinions or perceptions. We appreciate the resource called Wikipedia, but, trust me, there are many more resources for our students to learn about that offer far greater depth of knowledge and far greater range of perspective.

So, while I spent part of the day strolling down memory lane, I also spent some time looking into the future of our schools and what they will look like for our kids. To say that the coming years will be interesting would be a minor understatement.

Until next time…

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