I Can’t Believe We Do This All in Just One Week!

topperMiddleImportant Upcoming Dates

  • May 10 – MEA Science Assessment for all 8th graders
  • May 10 – School Dance sponsored by 8th grade Physics day
  • May 11 – Gorham’s Got Talent 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
  • May 15 – Leadership Team Meeting Melanie’s room 2:30
  • May 16 – MLTI Student Conference in Orono
  • May 17 – Funtown Physics Day – 8th Grade
  • May 27 – Memorial Day – No School
  • May 28 – GMS Chorus performs at St Joseph Pavilion

Dress Code Reminder

“Tis the season of Spring, when we break out our warm weather clothes and revel in the idea that we can once again wear shorts, T-shirts and flip flops. I know that I am excited to see my flip flops again after their winter hibernation.

Unfortunately, we still have about 25 days of school left and our dress code still applies to all of our students, and yes, our teachers too! Please remind your kids about our dress code. I am putting the actual section from the GMS Handbook that covers our Dress Code for your reference:

Students are to dress in a manner that will not distract, disrupt or be hazardous to their safety and well-being.  Parents should be involved in setting standards of dress and grooming for their children.  However, if the student, by dress or grooming is interfering with the educational process or is not dressed conducive to the activity, appropriate action, involving the parents will be taken.

The following will not be permitted in school:

  •  Shirts, tops, and dresses should cover the entire back and midriff and should be buttoned appropriately; students wearing spaghetti straps should have no exposed undergarments, as exposed undergarments are considered inappropriate for school.
  • Suitable footwear should be worn at all times.  Socks, bare feet, or slippers are not considered safe or suitable footwear.
  • If students wear shorts they should be worn at the natural waistline, be of a length no higher than mid thigh, and should not expose underwear.
  • All pants should be worn at the natural waistline and belted if necessary to keep them at natural waistline.
  • All skirts and dresses should be of a length no higher than mid thigh.
  • Hats, caps, chains, headbands, and bandannas cannot be worn in the building.
  • Students may not wear clothing or jewelry that depicts obscene, vulgar, or sexual, promoting illegal activity (tobacco, drugs, or alcohol), libel, fighting words or other expressions that could cause a disruption.

Note: Administrators will make the final decision regarding clothing/accessories of a questionable nature. 

Zero Waste Challenge Students Present to The School Committee

Emma Cousins, Abbie VanLuling and Garrett Higgins presenting to the Gorham School Committee

Emma Cousins, Abbie VanLuling and Garrett Higgins presenting to the Gorham School Committee

Three representatives from the 7th Grade Little River Team presented to the School Committee a review of their work that led them to be the winning team in the Chewonki Foundation’s Zero Waste Challenge. The Zero Waste Challenge was sponsored by the Poland Spring Bottling Big CheckCompany, Pine Tree Waste Services, EcoMaine and Chewonki Foundation to help schools and school children understand the importance of recycling. The students also brought the “BIG” check for $2000 that they received as the winners of the challenge.

Spring is Springing (Huh?!)

KathyAll around our school Spring is beginning to, as they say, “Spring up” and we couldn’t be happier. One of the sure signs of Spring are the announcements by middle schools and high schools everywhere reminding students and parents about the school’s dress code! It is also the time when our flower gardens and flower boxes begin to come to life with Danbeautiful colors and our school garden becomes a hotbed of activity.

Our Maintenance Department (that means Kathy and Dan) have been busy getting the planters at the front of the school looking good and making sure that our perennial gardens have a fresh bed of nice, rich mulch.

Also, Dan has been busy during the winter building new frames for our raised beds in the school garden. In the next few days, Heather Whitaker and our students in the alternative Education program will begin filling Gardenthe frames and getting them ready for the new seedlings.

One major addition to our garden this year will be the installation of a Deer Fence to keep our local herd of “Bambis”  away from those delicious plants. This Deer Fence is new to us and very expensive, almost $3,000 for complete installation.

In the past, our student garden would produce more than 1000 pounds of fresh vegetables for our local food pantry, but last year we were only able to contribute about 400 pounds because of the damage the deer would do. We are in the process of raising funds for this fence, so, if you would like to contribute, you can call Heather at the school and ask her how.

The BIG Night at the Telling Room

Earlier this Spring, we held our first annual Encourage the young Writer Day at GMS. On this day, we asked authors and publishers to come to our school and speak to our kids about writing and to lend them some encouraging words about this task that some kids find difficult. One group, The Telling Room from Portland, was incredibly supportive of our efforts and came to our school with three of the most dynamic and engaging young people who had our kids sitting on the edge of their seats with their presentations about writing.

On Thursday evening, May 16, the good folks at the Telling Room will be holding their annual event called BIG NIGHT on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine in Hannaford Hall. The event opens to the public at 7pm. Their newest anthology, A Young People’s Encyclopedia of Wonder, will be available for the first time, and we’ll have lots of fun, engaging activities including live printmaking from Fast Food Prints, live music from Connor Garvey, a photo booth, and giant scrabble!

This video, courtesy of The Telling Room will give you an idea of how much fun attending this evening will be.

Lots of Students Doing Lots of Good Things

Egg Drop1Mr. Palmer’s 8th grade science class had the Annual MDI Egg Drop Competition. This is a competition where small student groups work to design special packaging for one, poor little egg, so that it can be dropped from a height of about 20 feet… and survive. The students have to be able to collaborate effectively with the design process as well as the experimentation.

This is a fun way to understand several concepts in the science discipline of physics while getting really gross results at the end of the drop (for the unsuccessful drops!)

On the 6th grade Sebago Team, students have spent the year studying ancient civilizations. Trojan HorseThey have studies the Ancient Greeks, the Egyptians, Mesopotamia and the Romans. This week, the students presented something from their year of studies that really resonated with them in the form of a 3-D project.

There were some great representations of lots of the buildings of these ancient civilizations, but, it appears that the Trojan Horse was the most popular, I think  there were 4 interpretations of the “worlds greatest fake out” on display, each one an excellent representation.

Bullying Behaviors

I mentioned above that it is Springtime and we begin to see Mother Earth bring about her natural changes, warmer, longer days, flowers and trees begin their cycle of life, we need to review the dress code for our students and the not so nice behaviors of students being mean to their fellow students!

I wish that this were not true, but everyday we deal with students who choose not to think about the power of their words or actions and how they may impact their fellow students.

Over the past four months, we have come across several articles from newspapers, magazines, journals and individual blogs from the internet that deal with these behaviors in schools, online and in the workplace (yes, even the workplace has bullies!). Most recently, I have begun reading a book by Emily Bazelon called, appropriately, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.  Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate, a contributing writer at The New York sticks and stonesTimes Magazine, and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. Before joining Slate, she worked as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

Sticks and Stones is an engaging look, by someone who is not necessary close to education, into the hallways and classrooms of our schools. She has painstakingly spent time with students from all sides of this issue. She has spoken to the victims of bullying, those who perpetrated upon the victims, the folks who sat by idly while these behaviors went on. Her look into this world is with a clear lens, the heart of a mother and the dogged determination of an award winning investigative reporter. I strongly suggest that this book be part of your summer reading… if not sooner.

One other very interesting person I have “discovered” in the recent months is Danah Boyd. Hanging outMs. Boyd is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research as well as on the faculty, in some fashion, at Harvard Law School, the Berkman Center at Harvard, New York University and the University of New South Wales. In other words, she is pretty smart!

She has focused her research on how young folks use social media as part of their everyday life. I had the opportunity to hear her make a presentation last month in Boston, and she absolutely stunned me with what I didn’t know about how our kids are using social media today.

Ms. Boyd is the co-author of a new book entitled Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. I have not yet read this book, but it will definitely be on my summer reading list. If you would like to follow Ms. Boyd on twitter she is at @zephoria and her blog is here: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/

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