Week of Feb 8th

topperMiddle

Upcoming Important Dates

Feb 10 – Chasing the Rabbit, Community Presentation, GMS Auditorium 6:30 pm
Feb 11 – Grade level assemblies on digital citizenship
Feb 12 – Mid-Winter Break begins at dismissal of students
Feb 26 & 27 – Honors Chorus Festival at Westbrook Middle School
Mar 1 – 8th Grade Parent Night at GHS Auditorium 6:00 pm
Mar 1 – Principal Visitation and Observation session (info below)
Mar 2 – Read Across America Day
Mar 2 – Leadership Team meeting 2:30 in Melanie’s room
Mar 3 – Presentation of School Musical for students during the school day (schedule to follow)
Mar 4 – 6th Music Honors Festival
Mar 4 & 5 – Public presentation of School Musical GMS Auditorium 7:00 pm
Mar 5 – EdCampME at Waynflete School, Portland 8:00 am
Mar 7 – Southern Maine partnership Assessment Webinar 4:00 pm
Mar 7 – Public Forum to discuss the Gorham School District Re-Visioning GMS Library 6:30 pm

Chasing the Rabbit

On Wednesday evening, February 10, in the GMS Auditorium, Derek Volk a Maine Businessman, and husband of State Senator Amy Volk, and co-author, with his 24 year old son Dylan, of the book Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum, . The book highlights the Volk family’s significant challenges and heartfelt triumphs as well as the various coping strategies they have employed throughout Dylan’s life.

The reviews indicate that this book is not just for parents, grandparents and siblings, but should be read by any professional who wants to increase their understanding of just what it means to have child on the spectrum.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Grade Level Assemblies

We will have 3 grade level assemblies on Thursday, February 11 covering digital citizenship. Terri Dawson has created a wonderful presentation that will include the students needing to bring their laptops to the auditorium.

So, I am not sure if we have ever had more than 300 people trying to log onto our network, at the same time, in the same large room! We have asked that there be placed in the Auditorium, a few more access points to the network. This may work, or it may not work, in any event, we’ll find out on the 11th.

Since we’d like to have all grades hear a similar message, and we’d like ti not have to break up the 8th grade presentation, we will change the lunch schedule around and have the 6th grade eat at 11:28 (second lunch) and the 8th grade eat at 11:55 (last lunch).

Thanks for being flexible.

Laptops Over Mid-Winter Break

Please have the students leave their laptops in their charging stations over the break. We don’t have any real plans for maintenance of the devices, but we usually do some spot checking the devices for damage and missing laptops. I know we’ll hear a lot of groaning from the kids about not having them over the break,  but I think we’ll have more parents enjoying the “quiet time”.

Principal Visitation

We will have the honor of having all of the Principals from across the district visiting GMS on Tuesday March 1st. The purpose of these visits, we are the 3rd school to host a visit, is to help create a culture of collaboration among our team. Far too often, Principals can get caught up in the day-to-day work within their own building and lose focus of the larger picture of educating our young people. The intent of these visitations is to open our doors to the building leaders across the district and share our strengths and our challenges.

As we get closer to the day of the list, I will send out more details about what to expect.

Read Across America Day

March 2nd is Read Across America day. Now we all know that everyday should be Read Across America, but, in honor of Theodore Geisel’s birthday, we celebrate a day of intentional reading for and with our students. I will be going to the Narragansett School in the morning to read to 5th graders, but Susie and I would love the opportunity to join you classrooms to read a chapter or a poem or even a Dr. Seuss book to your class. Please just let either one of us know when to be there and if you’d like us to select and bring our book or if you have something you’d like us to.

School Musical Presentation

ON Thursday, March 3rd, we will develop a special schedule so that all students and teachers will get a chance to view the entire presentation of this year’s School Musical Legally Blond, Jr., as we have done for the past two years. This prevents the “teaser effect” of getting to the good part and having to cut the show and leaving the audience hanging. Our goal is to make a schedule that will allow all students and teachers to see the entire show.

The public performances of the show, and I do encourage all to take in at least one of the showings, will be on Friday and Saturday, March 4 & 5.

EdCamp Professional Development Opportunities

Over the weekend of Jan 30 & 31, I had the opportunity to attend a free (there’s that word again!) professional development opportunity at South Portland High School. In attendance were about 250 educators of all stripes. There were lots of classroom teachers, specialists, special educators, library media specialists, ed techs and, even a few administrators.

There were sessions in everything from Minecraft and Coding to Using Effective Formative Assessment. There was even some great discussions about Proficiency Based Learning and no one got angry or even frustrated. One session had a great discussion about the Teacher Evaluations systems that different school systems are using. In all, it was a great day of learning.

I have noted in the Important Upcoming Dates the date of the next EdCamp to be held at Waynflete School in Portland. This will be more of an EdCamp format meaning that it will be more free flowing than the one I attended on January 30, but it will also be far more directed by the attendees.

An Interesting Read on Interventions

This past week I had to opportunity to read a blog post by a wonderful 7th grade teacher that I follow on Twitter. She lives in the midwest and, I am of the opinion that she teaches at a school very similar to ours. Her town is a University town and probably has many of the same demographics that we have.

I was struck by how she writes about our attempts to provide for our kids who struggle. I will leave the opinions with that and let you draw your own conclusions.

Here is the link: http://pernillesripp.com/2016/02/06/when-we-harm-rather-than-help-some-thoughts-on-reading-interventions/

Terri’s Link to SpellCheck to GMail

At our faculty last week, Terri showed us all how to spellcheck our emails before we send them out. I  know how much I hate to have misspellings in my emails, and boy, do I have quite a few, so this will be a help to me…if I use it.

So, in keeping with the idea that if I don’t use, I will forget about it, I am reminding myself, and all of us, about the Google Classroom that Terri set up for our Professional Development. The video on Spellcheck is right at the top., but here is the link to the video as well:

Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale

It is that time of year again that the good folks at Scholastic Books open their warehouse to educators in Maine for some great deals on books and other items for our classrooms. These books are all current titles, and some old favorites and they are reduced by 50 to 80 % of the regular price. IN addition, they are also offering a $50 coupon that can be used on sales of $100 or more. It really does add up to a great deal.

Here is the link to the registration information and to the coupons: http://registration.scholasticbookfairs.com/events/warehouse/?eml=sbf/e/20160207/email///CAWSE_DollarDays_2016_3_MIM//register//28773//////

The warehouse is located in the Industrial Park in Saco, just off Route 1 south by the VacationLand Bowling Center.

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