Archive for June, 2013

Dear Students,

June 11, 2013

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The faculty, staff, and administration of Middlesex Public Schools thank you for an amazing school year. We hope you all have an exciting summer, filled with family and friends. Remember that learning doesn’t end when you leave the halls and classrooms of MES, SCW, or MHS. Every experience and activity in your life can increase your knowledge and skills. This summer, pause when you’re about to utter the words, “I’m bored.” Decide to try something new. Put down your iPhone and iPod so you can look at and listen to the world around you. Take a hike in the woods, examine the shells along the beach, watch fishermen bring in their catch at the end of the day, read a book, visit a museum or an aquarium, or sit with a grandparent and soak up some wisdom. Whatever you choose to do, continue learning and growing, and we’ll see you in September!

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School’s ALMOST Out for Summer

June 4, 2013

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Although the end of SOL testing is near, school continues until June 14th. This presents a challenge to teachers because many students “check out” after testing is over, but each member of the innovative MCPS faculty is using his or her creative genius to keep the students engaged. Here are just a few of the activities planned for the last days of school:

Next week, Eileen O’Brien’s students will visit the second grade to read books they are creating in class. O’Brien asked her students what they would like to learn about that hadn’t been covered this year. Students researched their chosen topics to create shape books, which included at least three paragraphs of five sentences each. After they illustrate the books, O’Brien plans to laminate the covers and bind the books. The books will include an ‘About the Author’ page featuring the student’s picture.

In Robyn Stein’s Algebra I classes, students are designing games based around one topic they learned this year.  They are using familiar board games and card games, such as Monopoly and Go Fish, as examples. Students will create a game board or playing cards and write a rules manual. Players of the game must use algebra skills to compete. After the projects are graded, students will have a competition day in class to play the games.

Elizabeth Blackwell’s eighth grade art students are searching for pictures or phrases that describe their goals and dreams for the coming years. After collecting them, the students create and decorate a box in which to keep their pictures and phrases. Some students choose to seal their boxes until later in the future and some keep them open. The project encourages focus on goals for the future and emphasizes individual creativity.

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A variety of activities will keep students engaged in Kim Aliff’s second grade classroom. Her students will be learning stitchery, writing stories, and beginning to learn cursive writing. They are also participating in a math fact competition called Gumball Math.

Janice Parker’s high school English students will be busy with two activities. The “Around the Room Short Story” project involves multiple students writing one short story. Each student contributes one literary element, such as setting, characters, dialogue, conflict, or resolution. Each phase of the writing is timed, and then the story is passed to the next writer to complete their part. The story eventually returns to the original writer who develops a title and completes any revisions necessary for the finished story. Parker is also challenging her students to teach a 10-minute lesson. Students can teach a dance step, a magic trick, how to braid hair, how to make bird calls, or another school-appropriate topic of their choice.

Students in Annie Somerville’s civics classes will view the reality entrepreneurial show, Shark Tank¸ and design a good or service to enhance the economy. In teams, students will create a prototype of their good or service and explain their target group based on age and gender. Students will also determine in which types of economy they would sell their good or service, what business type they would organize with, and any kind of advertising or promotions they would utilize. Teams will earn incentives for creativity, organization, and resourcefulness.

Each middle school grade level in Matt Short’s technology classes will have a specific project. Sixth grade students will work with LEGO Robotics. Seventh grade students will create bottle rockets and have the opportunity to launch them outside, while eighth grade students design wood plaques and carve them using the CNC router.

photoStudents in Linden Barrick’s language arts classes are honoring those who inspire them by creating a booklet featuring ten people who inspire them the most. Each page in the booklet includes the name of the inspirational individual, a drawing of the person or of something that symbolizes him or her, and a short paragraph briefly explaining how the person influences the student’s life. Barrick’s students will also be researching fifteen idioms and creating a presentation. Each slide of the presentation will feature one idiom, a brief explanation of its origin, and an illustration depicting the figurative meaning of the phrase.

Staying engaged is difficult this time of year for students, but the dedicated teachers of MCPS are diligently working to make the last few days of school fun AND educational.  Encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn in the stress-free atmosphere, and if you’re interested in educational summertime activities, please visit the Virginia Department of Education website at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/summer/index.shtml.


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