Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Fair Next Week Monday - Friday

It's Beach Book Fair time! Let's Dive into Reading and get some good books for summer reading!

Family night is Tuesday night! Come grab and cookie and browse. Support our library by purchasing books, pencils, and bookmarks!

Sign up for Summer Reading! Did you know that children who read in the summer score better on tests overall?

Art night is also Tuesday night from 5:00 - 6:30. Beautiful artwork created by students lines the IMS hallways. The talent of the students is amazing - cartoon characters, sunflowers, and everything imaginable is here to feast your eyes on.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Research Projects in the Library

Students in 7th and 8th grade are busy researching using one of the Alabama Virtual Library's databases - Ebsco host. They are becoming experts, too! They have learned to click on full text articles and not just look at the abstracts and they have learned what "hyperlinks" are. We tirelessly try to add to their technology vocabulary in the IMS library.

Here are just a few of their projects:

7th graders - Research on a problem in an African county and at least three causes of the "problem"

  • They have learned about infant mortality and what that means in so many African countries
  • They have learned about HIV Aids and the serious consequences of the causes of that disease (poverty, war migration, etc.)
  • They have learned about illiteracy in other countries and compared it to Alabama's literacy rate
  • They have learned about poverty and its causes
8th graders - Research on CNN heroes mostly done on the CNN website

  • These students have learned what goodness can come out of tragedy, such as The Josh Project that sprang out of a woman's grief for her son who drowned -
  • They have learned that one person can make a huge difference in the life of a community
  • If they had started this Monday, they would surely be reading about all of the heroes in Boston...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Education Hot Topics: The Flipped Classroom and Videos

One of the hottest topics in education is the flipped classroom which I have seen in use the last couple of years.

Instead of the usual teacher lecture model, students are given videos to watch at home. Most often I have seen math teachers offer this which I would have loved as a student. The best way I have seen flipped classrooms work is to give students a video one or two times a week - not as a daily lesson. It would be too much for anyone.

Khan Academy is one of the best websites for students to get some extra teaching help and anything can be searched in there.

Here is an article to read on this topic: Flipped Classrooms.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Poetry and Other Contests for Students - Enter here!

Roses are red, violets are blue,
If you have a prudent student,
then poetry contests might be for you!

Perhaps your student is more creative than I am at the moment, but did you know that some poetry contests award either money or even college scholarship? Here is a list of contests that are open this month.

Cyclamens and Swords - no money involved for this one

U. S. Mint Coin Design - for 13 and under

Let us know if you win!

Monday, April 8, 2013

April is National Poetry Month - How Can We Forget Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken?

April brings a flood of memories for me because it's National Poetry Month.

Years ago in sixth grade I had to memorize Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. It gave me lots to think about. It has remained one of my favorite poems thanks to Mrs. Formby's class. Here's a copy:

The Road Not Taken

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

The took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no steps had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two road diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Then in fourth grade my son had to memorize Jack Prelutsky's Homework - his choice, not the teacher's. It is hilarious and is also a favorite. Here are the first three lines:

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Homework! Oh, Homework!
I hate you! You Stink!
I wish I could wash you away in the sink!

And then there's Ode to Mrs. Hester from my first substitute teaching job at another local school. Yes, fond memories, all!

One poetry website allows you to rate poets and poems by creating an account and I encourage you to read a few poems this month yourself! And read some of the biographies. Apparently Jack Prelutsky hated school and flunked English three times in college. He grew up to be a great poet anyway.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Movie Resources for Middle School Parents

Planning on seeing The Host this weekend? Here is a website that you can check out for reviews: Common Sense Media not only assists with digital literacy teaching, but parents can get real deal informationa on whether a movie is appropriate for their child or not.

Enjoy the movies!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Kids Have to Say about Cyberbullying

As much as we try to teach kids something new about the cyber world and how to conduct themselves and set privacy buttons, they are always one step ahead.

Yes, there are the rare moments in 8th grade when the lightbulb still goes off and the lone student or two realizes that, yes, colleges will search Facebook pages before granting a scholarship. On the whole, though, it's more like "heard that".

Teachers can learn much from students and so can parents!
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