March 29, 2013

April Showers…

Parents / Students:

CMT’s are done. This signals many things in the world of education. It signals a return to normalcy, the end of March, a return to full periods, less stress, and the beginning of Spring. A lot is made of the value of standardized testing. Many will say that it is bad for kids, bad for schools, unfair to public schools, an unnecessary interruption of learning, as well as many other negative connotations. Most of that may or may not be true, but all I know is that we are required to have our students take them. What value does it have if we complain about them? What value does it show our students if we put them down within earshot of our children? What lesson will we have taught them?

It is our job to prepare our students to do well in life. It is our job to get them ready for their future. Should we teach them to devalue something that they are asked to do? (Okay, enough questions!!!)

The real lesson we should be teaching them is to take pride in everything they do. Take pride in anything that they put their names too. Give their 100% best effort with everything they do. The value in that goes well beyond CMT’s. There is no denying that standardized testing is an interruption of the standard learning process, but that is out of our hands. Let’s teach or children the value of pride.

Three months of learning are left. Don’t let up now. As I mentioned in a previous post, our new curriculum is in full swing in both Mathematics and English. In English you are probably hearing some new concepts from your children. Gone are the days of book reports and simple regurgitation. Now we are asking kids to not only read and recite. Instead we want them to understand the deeper meaning. We want them to be able to understand the author’s purpose. They can this apply this skill to all of their reading. Make sure you ask your children about book clubs/talks/chats/discussions!!!

The 6th grade has a fun trip to the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra on April 26th. Our 7 grade has an assembly upcoming where they will hear from former NFL football player Tim Lester (Steelers). The 6th and 7th grade have their field days coming soon. Our 8 graders have this outing as well as their dance. Between the academics and the extracurricular, we have a lot of school year left. We’re looking forward to it!

If you have any questions, let me know.

March 6, 2013

March Madness & Moran

It is March. That crazy time of year in public schools where everything appears to be at a crossroads. The weather is frustrating, standardized testing is beginning, there aren’t any days off, and the students/adults are getting stir crazy. Student absences tend to increase and academics tend to suffer. What can we do to keep us out of this funk???

Well, how about hold a CMT kick-off assembly???

That is exactly what we did here at Moran last week. On Thursday morning we had all grades cycle through three different activities; a school climate activity focussing on the YouTube clip titled RedRed (click title), a breakfast sponsored by the Moran PTO, and an assembly which ended with a performance by Phil ‘N the Bubbles (Band). All of the activities were very well received by our students. It was great to see parents here cutting bagels and serving breakfast to students. We had a couple of great videos for kids to see in the auditorium. Then it was time for our grand finale. The students loved it.

What impressed me most about the morning was how far above and beyond a lot of people were willing to go. What a fantastic event for everyone to take part in. In that 90 minute time frame we included parents, students, staff, central office administration, and community businesses. In my mind that is a perfect day at a middle school. CMT’s are not the most exciting event in the world, for on Thursday they were. The kids were pumped and as one of our teachers said, “It was a wonderful community event.”

Overall our students are still working hard. Our English and Mathematics classes are in full Common Core State Standards curriculum mode. I have seen some great book discussions going on in the building.

As the year ends we have a lot of upcoming events. 6th and 7th grade students have upcoming trips to local amusement parks. 7th grade students have a former professional football player coming in to speak to them. 8th grade has their outing and red carpet dance to look forward to. March is a tough school month. We ask parents to continue to encourage your children and support the school. We are partners in this.

One last note – the Men of Moran have righted the ship and started a new victory streak for the Faculty / Student Basketball game!!