We’ve Been So Busy, We Needed Another Edition!

topperMiddle

Important Upcoming Dates

  • December 13 – Monthly PIE meeting in the GMS Library beginning at 6:00 pm
  • December 13 – Chorus and Steel Band Concert in the Auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm
  • December 14 – Progress Reports go home to with students.
  • December 14 – School Dance sponsored by the 8th Grade 6:00 – 8:00 pm in the GMS Gym
  • December 19 – Faculty Holiday get together during the faculty meeting. Details to follow.
  • December 19 – Band Concert in the Auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm
  • December 21 – Last school day of the year activities: Music Concerts, team activities and the annual Student/Faculty Basketball game.
  • December 24 – January 1- Christmas Holiday Break

First Lego League Robotics Championships

On Saturday, December 8th, the Gorham Middle School Lego Team, “AllSySTEMS Go”, traveled to Augusta for the First Lego League Championship. 72 teams from around the state made the same journey to compete for the Championship trophy.During the competition the students are constantly observed by the judges and are spontaneously asked to solve problems. The teams are judged on their teamwork, collaborative style and promptness of solutions. The AllSySTEMS Go team placed first of all teams in the competition.

In the Robot Timed Trials, the members of All SySTEMS Go team finished in 11th place, congratulations to team members Sam Roussel, Sam Martel, Teddy Lockman, Avery Arena, Thomas Matthews, Simon Roussel, Felix Morrissey and Autumn Heil. A special thanks to Gorham High School student, Arthur Lockman for invaluable assistance as a mentor and Co-Coach.

For more information on the First Lego League of Maine
FLLofMe

The Concert Season has Begun

I just returned home from a wonderful concert at the Middle School. A full house in our auditorium heard the Gorham Middle School Steel Band perform a couple of great tunes. Maybe it’s just me, but the sound of steel drums has me thinking of sunshine and warm beaches and gentle breezes. A very relaxing state to be in!

After the Steel Band students left the stage our very new and incredibly talented GMS Chamber Singers perform two numbers (one that was a complete surprise to the members!). They were incredible and their voices were almost angelic!

Finally, the full chorus took the stage and sang 4 or 5 songs, some with a distinct holiday feel. They were all terrific and Mrs. Wheeler-Williamson (or, as some of her students call her, Mrs. Will) did a great job of keeping the program moving through three transitions and had the kids in great tune. Well done by all.

Professional Development Day for Teachers

The above mass is called a QR Code, or Quick Response code. These are cropping up in magazines, on TV newscast and in museums. It wasn’t until this workshop day that I now understand what this is for. This allows the author (me) to imbed this code into the post and have it filled with lots of great information, without having to type a lot (I like this!!). The reader can scan the code with their smart phone or IPod and have all of the information at their fingertips. This is what our teachers learned during the workshop on Wednesday.

To say we were busy would be an understatement, also, to say that many of us were stretched beyond our comfort zone, would be making a gross understatement! All of our faculty worked hard at trying to understand this “new-fangled” technology, and they all did a great job. Check it out:

Tech Gurus

Technology Integrators Bob Asselyn and Terri Dawson, who organized this great day of technology professional development.

JW

Middle School Specialists Judy Wuorio and Lori Snow getting the hang of the QR Codes.

Try to imagine a classroom where students can go to anyone of several QR Codes and scan it with their smart phone, laptop of IPod and have a film clip of  Fireside Chat with FDR during WWII, or listen to JFK deliver his Inaugural Address to the world on that cold day in 1961. The applications for this technology is limitless in the classroom and limitless for the students to be able to create the evidence of their learning.

Community Service Day 2012

The school was abuzz with activity on Wednesday, December 12. All of our advisory groups were involved in some sort of community service within our town.

A couple of groups went to the walking trails that surround our beautiful campus and performed clean up duty, picking up lots of broken branches and other forms of litter as well as doing some grooming work on the trails themselves, making them more passable for the many folks who walk those trails daily.

Some students, along with their advisors, picked up all kinds of trash from around the neighborhood and still more went to the Gorham House to help with organizing supply closets and other types of work.

Chids advisory

Mr. Chidsey’s Advisory students perform clean up around the school.

Mr.McCarthy

The Trail groomers from Mr. McCarthy’s advisory

It’s That Time of Year Again

No, I’m not talking about the Holidays, I am talking about the practice schedules for our boy’s and girl’s basketball teams.

Our teams all practice at different times after school, and we try to rotate the schedule so that not one team always has the late practice or the early practice. We ask that if your child’s team is not practicing in the 2:30 or 3:30 time slot, that those students go home as the normally would after the school day and then return about 15 minutes before their practice is to begin. We ask this because we usually do not have any adult coverage for these kids while they are here at school after 4:00 pm.

I am aware that some of our students live quite a way away from the school, and this may cause a hardship. We just cannot provide the appropriate adult coverage and oversight.

Developments at the State Department of Education

There is a whole slew of information coming from the Department of Education in Augusta in these last days of the calendar year. You may be aware NCLBcodethat the state has requested a waiver from the US Department of Education regarding the 2001 law No Child Left Behind. The US DoE has requested some moderate adjustments and our folks in Augusta are working on the plan to meet these requests. For more information about the waiver, you can checkout the the application here: or by scanning this QR Code:

We have talked about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) here in the past, but we haven’t spent a great deal of time talking about how our progress toward to standards was going to be measured. We are now getting some information from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) about the descriptors that will be used. They are seeking public feedback through January 15, 2013. For the descriptions of student performance on Common Core assessments check out the SBAC website. http://www.smarterbalanced.org/

Not to be outdone by the Math and English/Language Arts folks, the Science folks have been busy developing their standards. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will guide our teachers and students in what will be important for the making of a well grounded science student. In January, the second draft of the NGSS will be released and the National Science Teachers Association will be creating a study group to support educators in forming review groups for the NGSS. For more information about this work, you can check out the National Science Teachers Association website.

There will be more standards released in the content areas of Social Studies, World Languages, Visual and Performing Arts and Health and Physical Education in the months ahead. We will try to keep you all informed with as much information as we get on these standards proposals.

Homework, Is it Good for our Kids?

There has been a lot of ink expended on both sides of this argument. Those who believe that it is important stress the need for students to become more responsible and demonstrate the ability to learn independently. Those who believe that it is an unnecessary intrusion into the family life and creates more stress within the home than it if worth.

What do you think?

Over the next month, or so I plan to gather as many of the arguments for both side of this controversy and post them here. Personally, I have feelings in both camps and I really need to sort through all of this. Hopefully we can do this together.

If you have anything you would add to the conversation, please feel free to comment.

Until next time…

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