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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

HPE 3rd Graders Connect with Roald Dahl in the MakerSpace

Recently, HPE 3rd graders made a connection between Literacy, Maker Space, and Art.  Students read the book The Witches by Roald Dahl and wrote their own recipe as modeled in the book. In Art, students created a sculpture using maker space materials creating a secret ingredient discovering their own story.  Notice evidence of true inspiration as the students were free to explore their own subject and choose their own materials.  The process was playful, joyful, and full of learning as they revised and developed their ideas. (A portion of the Maker Studio supplies has been generously funded by ACE and the HPE PTO.)

Collaboration: Mrs. O’Keefe 3rd classroom
Mrs. Chaves, DLS
Mrs. Krieger, Art

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Former Bruin, Bob Sweeney, Helps DMS Students Connect STEM with Hockey

On Monday, December 21st former Boston Bruins player Bob Sweeney visited Doherty Middle School Team 6A to work with students on the Future Goals- Hockey Scholar Program. This is an on-line program designed to support STEM learning standards using connections through the sport of hockey. Students to asked Mr. Sweeney questions related to his experience playing hockey and the important role science, technology, engineering and math has on the sport.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

AHS Students Pay a Special Visit to the RISD Museum in Providence

On December 10th, students from Andover High’s AP US History, Drawing and Advanced Photography courses visited the RISD Museum. The RISD Museum in Providence, RI was recently recognized by Architectural Digest as one of the Best University Museums in the country. Students in AP US and Drawing explored technique, context, meaning, and audience through tours specific to their subject area. Students were then mixed to create groups for exploration guided by packets that asked students to take a closer look at their favorite pieces. Photography students had the chance to look at photos specifically chosen up close and discuss before joining the group in the galleries. Ms. Frisk, Mrs. Michaud and Dr. Michaud look forward to reading the student responses and reflections.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

High Plain Student Dive into Coding...

High Plain Elementary students, in Grades 3-5, participated in’s “Hour of Code” this week. Students were eager, inquisitive and problem solvers as they navigated their way around courses in Star Wars, Minecraft and Frozen.  

The excitement and enthusiasm was in each and every classroom!  Username & passwords will be distributed in the coming weeks so students may continue with their coding and make progress.  HPE also has a Scratch program (available through the after school Learning Leaps program), that many have joined or planned to join.  There will be a continuum of online activities as well as some “unplugged activities” for students to complete within their classroom.

HPE’s Grades K-2 will be completing their “Hour of Code” next week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

AHS Chinese Language Students are Looking to Spread their Knowledge

On this past November 19, AHS language students (Chinese 1 and 3) participated in the "Pengyou Day".  

The goal of the day was to:

1. Teach the word “Pengyou” (or any Chinese word or phrase) to a friend, relative, or anyone!

2. Take a picture with that person by holding up the attached sign.

3. Upload the picture to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the following sentence  “I taught ­(name of person) (word taught) in Chinese! WE ARE ALL #PENGYOU #AsiaSociety”.

The purpose of the campaign was to empower students of Chinese to spread their knowledge to others, starting with simple conversations like the teaching of one word in Chinese to a friend.

During these conversations, we encourage students to share their personal stories studying in China and/or learning Mandarin.

By joining in solidarity with thousands of like-minded students across the country, these simple actions become part of a movement to promote Chinese language and constructive China exchanges across the United States.

Monday, December 14, 2015

All Grades Get Involved in Coding Week at Bancroft

Kindergarten- Happy Maps
The kindergarten students learned how programmers have to give clear instructions and use a common language.  The students practice giving clear directions using up, down, left, and right arrows.  Once they understand the language, they begin to "program" one another by giving multiple instructions in advance. They practiced controlling the Flurb to the fruit.

First Grade- Move It Move It

The first grade students learned how programmers have to give clear instructions and use a common language.  The students practice controlling one another using simple combination of hand gestures.  Once they understand the language, they begin to "program" one another by giving multiple instructions in advance.

Second Grade- Real Life Algorithms 
The second grade students learned how programers use algorithms in their work  An algorithm is a list of step used to complete a task. The students talked about the different algorithms they use in school and at home. The students related the concepts of algorithms back to everyday real-life activities by listing the steps to planting a seed.

Third Grade-
The third grade students were introduced to the site.  They were given their usernames and passwords.  They started working on course 1 where students will create computer programs that will help them learn to collaborate with others, develop problem-solving skills and persist through difficult tasks.  By the end of this course, students create their very own custom game or story that they can share.  The students were also introduced to the "Coding Wall of Fame".  

Fourth Grade- Conditionals
The fourth grade students learned how coders use conditionals to help program games.  A conditional is a statement that only runs under certain conditions.  Students learned that condition can be used to help machines select the correct choice depending on the situation.  They practiced using conditionals in a card game.  They used the following conditions for Round 1: If card is RED, award your team 1 point or else Award other team 1 point. and Round 2: If card is RED, award your team 1 point or else if card is higher than 9, award other team 1 point or else award your team the same number of points on the card. 

Fifth Grade- Binary Bracelets
Fifth graders learned about how binary is extremely important to the computer world.  The majority of computers use all sorts of information in binary form.  This lesson help fifth graders to translate information into a series of ons and offs.

Friday, December 11, 2015

DMS 8th Gr. "Flex" Students Get into Coding !

Since September,  Ms. Shenker's  DMS 8th grade flex students have been learning to code. Many students have progressed through's Course 2, an “Introduction to Programming” with problem solving and interactive game development.  During the 2015 Hour of Code week, students are using Blockly to program games such as Minecraft, Frozen and Flappy.   After mastering Blockly many students switched to Code Academy where they are learning to program in Java, Python and Html.   This Flex opportunity will continue throughout this academic year. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

West Elementary Students Explore Computer Coding via the "Hour of Code" Kickoff Event

Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.

West El. students participated in the hour of code along with 150,000 other schools and organizations around the world! 

Kindergarten and 1st grade students at West El. learned to code with Daisy the Dinosaur. The students had fun making Daisy dance across the screen and completed other challenges designed to introduce the concept of coding to a young audience. 

Students in grades 2 & 3 participated in the
Star Wars Hour of Code. They used blocks of code to take BB-8 on an adventure and program their own Star Wars adventure game.

Students in grades 4 & 5 participated in the
Minecraft Hour of Code. They used blocks of code to take Steve or Alex on an adventure through a simulated Minecraft world.

Activities used by all students use the blocky programming language. While students were dragging and dropping simple blocks of code on the workspace, they were able to see those blocks translated to Java. Java is just one of hundreds of programming languages used by programmers to code.

All students learned important vocabulary words used in coding. Words such as algorithm, functions, conditionals and loops were part of their learning experience.

Learning to code has many benefits for students. It encompasses the 4 c's: creativity, communication, collaboration and most importantly critical thinking!

The Hour of Code was a kickoff to coding experiences for students at West El. As the school year unfolds more opportunities for learning to code will be shared by the Digital Learning Specialist to facilitate a more complete understanding of coding.


Monday, November 9, 2015

What's Happening “Digitally” at West Elementary?

Students in Grades 3-5
  • Will receive three introductory lessons to typing on
  • Once they have had  three sessions and have demonstrated proper technique  and how to use this program, they will receive a letter to take home with student user name and password. The practice now becomes something they do at home. This program tracks their speed and accuracy and Ms. Fowler(Digital Learning Specialist) can see who needs support and who has taken off!
  • All students in grades 3-5 are learning about digital citizenship and being co-taught this lesson by Ms. Kaplan(Media Specialist) and Ms. Fowler (modeling working well with others) 
  • It's Digital Citizenship Week! What does that mean? This week is a perfect time for families to reflect on the role technology plays in their lives. Start a conversation about digital safety and responsibility with your child. Focus on building positive online habits. The attached family tips sheet will help you get the conversation started.  Throughout the year, our Digital Learning Specialist and Media Specialist will keep the conversation going by teaching lessons in responsible digital citizenship to students in all grades. Stay tuned for updates
  • k-5-familytip-digitalife.pdf

All Grades K-5

  • In December all students will all participate in coding. Coding is basic computer programming. We have a school-wide week of coding.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Grant Brings “Makerspace” Resources to West Elementary

We are very excited to create a “Maker Space” at West Elementary. In anticipation of this space we wrote a mini grant to get supplies through Donor’ We know that students learn best when their hands are as busy as their brains. We are proud to announce that we have been selected as a grant recipient as part of the "Smarter, Together!" grant opportunity. We want to thank Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany for their generous contribution of $1467.00. 

With this grant money, West will receive a collection of LittleBits brand DIY electronics kits as well as supplemental materials. These materials will provide unique learning experiences for our students that encompass the 4C's (Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Creativity). In addition, these materials will be used to support the district’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) initiative.

The "Innovation Station and Science Integration” grant proposal is designed to encourage both busy hands and inquiring minds. We are looking forward to introducing our students to the littleBits electronics kits made possible by this generous funding! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

AHS Film/Video Students "On-Air" with WHDH's Urban Update

Recently, AHS film/video Students Fiona Jungmann and Peter Meltsakos sat down with Ashley Krebs, Director of the Child Nutrition Outreach Program and Byron Barnett, host of WHDH’s program Urbane Update to discuss the importance of eating a healthy breakfast as well as the process behind creating the winning video.

Here is that episode, which aired on October 11.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Andover's Young Entrepreneurs

Last year I was invited by my son's math teacher, Deb Freilich at West Middle School, to be one of the 5 judges to judge the class's Shark Tank competition.  Twelve groups/individuals of 7th grade boys and girls made it to the finals. 

The students had to come up with an idea/product and present it to a panel of judges.  They used Powerpoint presentations showing their cost/profit analysis and did skits to present their products. A few even made commercials.  There were so many amazing ideas. The top 2 Shark Tank Winners were 4 girls.   

I met with the girls along with their mom's and teacher this summer to discuss packaging, display and marketing. They worked on perfecting their products to have them ready to sell in the store this month. 

I am happy to announce that Aroma Therapy ($7/bottle) and 
M&S Dogelicious Treats ($6/pkg) are available for purchase at SoleAmour.
All proceeds from sales go directly to the girls who have decided to donate a portion of their sales to Great Dog Rescue and The MSPCA

Article: Stephanie Sipley (owner of Sole Amour)

Photo Credit: Gabriella Cruz (Townsman)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

8th Grade DMS Students "Showcased" at MassCUE

Eighth grade Doherty Middle School students attended the Student Showcase at The MASSCue Teachers Technology Conference on Weds. October 21st at Gillette Stadium with the Digital Learning Specialist Barbara Murray and math teacher Wendy Kuda.  Parnav Abbott, Frank Qian, Tegan Carr, Max Karlberg and Suran Maheswaran presented their 3D “Castle” projects created with two different software programs, Google SketchUp and Minecraft.  All students had many engaging conversations with teachers from around the state.

Friday, October 9, 2015

AHS Film/Video Students Featured on WHDH’s Urban Update

On Wednesday October 7 Andover High School seniors Fiona Jungmann and Peter Meltsakos traveled into the WHDH Studios for an interview on the program Urban Update. In May of 2015 Fiona and Peter, along with their classmates in Advanced Film/Video Production took First Place in the School Breakfast Video Contest sponsored by the MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s Child Nutrition Outreach Program for their video “Breakfast Hero”. Their classmates included: Mohib Azam, Kaegan Casey, Joseph Crowley, Cameron Hallinan, Stephen Herman, Wyatt Rothwell, Dean Smith, and Timothy Sorota, all of whom graduated in 2015. Being featured on Urban Update was part of the First Place prize, along with winning $1000 for the AHS TV program.

Fiona and Peter sat down with Ashley Krebs, Director of the Child Nutrition Outreach Program and the shows host Byron Barnett to discuss the importance of eating a healthy breakfast as well as the process behind creating the winning video.

The show will air on Sunday, October 11, 2015 immediately following Meet the Press at 11:30am on WHDH (7 News).

The winning video can be viewed here:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Way to “Pay it Forward!”

Second grade students at South School show their appreciation for the bottles of water sent to them during our recent heat wave. Thank you Superintend Berman and the APS food and nutrition services department for their thoughtfulness. –Way to “Pay it Forward!”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Art Department Welcomes New Faculty...

The PK-12 Visual & Performing Arts Department met for their first meeting of the year.  New faculty were welcomed, the whole group reconnected, the year’s focus was discussed, and everyone created and discussed accordion books for collecting professional reflections and for application in the classroom.  Here is a photo of the department, hamming it up for Dan Brennan, TV Studio Teacher, who graciously photographed the entire team.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Recorder Flash Mob Surprises All at Bancroft

Third graders across the district receive two music classes a week, one that focuses on musical theory and pedagogy and the other where students get to explore with musical recorders as instruments.  This year Bancroft had the pleasure of having Mr. Joseph Wright teach our third graders their weekly recorder classes.  For our spring musical performance, Mr. Wright worked with Bancroft's music teacher (Ms. Evelyn Loynd) to organize a "Recorder Flash Mob" right in the middle of the concert.  Third graders surprised the whole school playing a rendition of "Centuries" accompanied by Mr. Wright on the electric bass and Ms. Loynd on the piano.  It was a huge success, as the whole school even joined in clapping the beat as the third graders performed.  Great job to all the Bancroft musicians!

Song Artist: Fall Out Boy

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Tradition Continues!

The tradition continues this month as Shawsheen 1st and 2nd graders receive their published books from the Publishing Committee.  Students write all year and select one manuscript to be typed and bound into a published book.  This year, the Committee was headed by parents Claire Gilbert & Jennifer Srivastava.  These books are a treasured mementos for all the students!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

South's Community Service Committee Spring Projects

The Community Service Committee at South has had a busy spring! This committee, comprised of civic-minded students in grades 3-4-5 with supervision from staff members Jordan Caruso and Gretch Detora, meets approximately once a month to implement projects that will help out a local community organization. In the fall, students brainstormed a number of projects and then mapped out the year. Two of their spring projects are highlighted below:

The South School Community Service Committee chose to support "Veterans Helping Veterans" by sponsoring a Pasta and Sauce Drive, which was donated to the Northeast Veterans Outreach Center in Haverhill, MA. Northeast Veterans Outreach is an organization that houses and feeds over 75 veterans 365 days a year. Our generous school community contributed roughly 50 one-pound boxes of pasta along with cans/jars of pasta sauce.  The pasta/sauce collection project was a result of a letter from a volunteer from the Northeast Veterans Outreach Center. The staff contacted the group and a veteran came to South to speak to the kids and tell them what their organization is all about. The students enjoyed speaking with this representative.

For their May Community Service project, the committee partnered with AHS students Caitlin Buggy and Angela McNamara, Co-Presidents of the Birthday Wishes Club of Andover High School. The club is affiliated with the Birthday Wishes Organization that provides birthday parties to children in homeless shelters across New England. The national organization helped over 28,000 children last year.
At South, we collected numerous birthday presents for children of many ages, all in the spirit of our Pay-It-Forward theme this year. 

The Community Service Committee reflects a true spirit of generosity and kindness at South School!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Muppet Show entertains at Shawsheen School

June 4th was the final grade level performance at Shawsheen Elementary School performed by the second grade.  "The Muppet Show" was a great way to end the school year featuring singing, dancing, drumming, and even a little chicken squawking.  The show ended with "Rainbow Connection" reminding us all to keep dreaming, keep imagining, and keep creating.
Three Column HTML Layout

Monday, June 1, 2015

“Breakfast Hero”

Andover High School students in Advanced Film/Video production recently won first place in the Fifth Annual School Breakfast video contest, School Breakfast: Eat. Film. Screen. sponsored by The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (ESE) Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) at Project Bread. 

The “Breakfast Hero” video beat out nearly 100 other entries for the top prize: a $1,000 gift card, an appearance on WHDH-TV’s “Urban Update”, and a celebratory event hosted by the ESE and CNOP earlier this morning. The winning video features a distracted main character being haunted, figuratively and literally, by a sugary donut during class time. The distracted student runs away from the classroom being chased by the sugary donut, eventually tripping and falling into the cafeteria. A school nutrition worker kicks the donut out of the scene, handing the now focused and excited student a healthy school breakfast.

The winning video can be viewed here:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Andover High Show Choirs close out their year with style !

The Andover High School show choirs performed their final show of the season at North Reading High School’s ‘Sing Fling’. The concert featured choirs of all types from many other schools in the area. All three of our show choirs (Back to Bass-ics, Nothin’ But Treble, and From Start to Finish) performed and were well received. This performance marked their 36th performance of the year. Next school year, the Andover High Vocal Music Department will be raising the bar even more – stay tuned for more details!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's Jump Rope for Heart Time once again at Bancroft

Bancroft students once again participated in raising money for the American Heart Association through the Jump Rope for Heart program.  Bancroft's wonderful physical education teachers, Mr. Rex and Mrs. Graham, helped motivate the students as they worked with all grade levels to have the students "jump" for a good cause.  Bancroft students raised an incredible $19,700 for the American Heart Association!!  We celebrated this wonderful event with a Jump Rope for Heart Assembly and a guest speaker from Jump Rope for Heart.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring into the Love of Writing !

On Friday, April 17th, all Bancroft students shared a piece of their own writing with their classmates. The goal of this activity was to allow our students to understand that their writing holds a purpose. Students shared their writing in a variety of ways: in pairs, groups or whole class. Many different writing pieces were shared:
drafts, works “in-progress”, published pieces, work on iPads, poetry, etc. It was a wonderful day to celebrate our learners as budding authors!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Engineering is Elementary for these Bancroft 2nd Graders

Bancroft second graders worked hard to build bridges for their Engineering is Elementary unit on technology and design.  This curriculum, designed by the Museum of Science, has students understand and apply the design process: ask, imagine, plan, create, improve.  Students listened to a story about building bridges and discussed how that could be done both literally or figuratively (with friendships).  They then were given the task to work with peers and certain materials to design and build a bridge.  The final bridge had to hold a certain amount of weight and be able to have a matchbox car drive over it.  Students enjoyed building and testing their bridges, learning from each other's ideas, and cheering on their classmates!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Techsploration: Simple Machines Made Fun

5th graders at South recently had the opportunity to explore a variety of simple machines when the curriculum enrichment program Techsploration came for a day-long visit. 

During the Simple Machines Made Fun presentation, students used a twelve-foot long lever, three-foot tall gears and pulleys, a catapult, and a hand crank music machine to demonstrated how all simple machines help us do work by trading distance for effort.  Afterwards each class had a hands-on workshop using gears, belts, and pulleys to build a transmission system for their motor driven cars.  Students tested their cars on up hill and down hill slopes, experimenting with different gear combinations, to get the fastest, most efficient car possible.

Techsploration used a wide variety of methods mixed with lots of humor to teach technological and scientific concepts. In addition to being fun, students reported that they really learned a lot. The activities in which the students participated reinforced our science curriculum and illustrated how concepts are applied to real life situations.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

AHS Poetry Club Members Advance to the Poetry Slam Semifinals

The Andover High School Poetry Club made it to the semifinals in the 4th Annual "Louder Than a Bomb" youth poetry slam competition.  There were 32 teams competing this year, and the AHS team was one of 16 to advance to the semifinals.  Team members write their own poems, as well as a group piece, and perform for the judges.

The team members are: Abby Daggett, Michael Weber, Nick Wackowski, Charlotte, Gutterman, and Huzefa Mandviwala, who was asked to recite his poem at the finals last year.  The team is coached by High School English teacher Eric Pellerin.

Monday, May 18, 2015

West Middle School 7th Graders are National Finalists in the 13th Annual eCYBERMISSION Competition

The following is a Press Release from the ARMY EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH PROGRAM

[MA] – Thursday, May 7, 2015 – The U.S. Army today announced “THE JAYS”, a 7th grade team of students from West Middle School, as a national finalist team in the 13th annual eCYBERMISSION competition – one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). The group members are Yasmin Gulbas, Jolene Pern, Armaan Vasowalla, and Sebastian Zhu. Sponsored by the U.S. Army and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), eCYBERMISSION, is a web-based competition designed to cultivate student interest in STEM by encouraging students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities.

THE JAYS” along with 19 other national finalists were chosen as a regional first-place winner and will now head to the National Judging and Educational Event (NJ&EE). A panel of judges consisting of U.S. Army scientists and engineers, educators, and STEM professionals selected “THE JAYS” based on criteria including innovative ideas and a questioning and answering session with the judges. As a national finalist, each team member will receive a $2,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond and an all-expenses paid trip to NJ&EE in Maryland to compete for the first-place national award in their grade.

“The U.S. Army is constantly amazed at the level of talent these winning teams possess during the eCYBERMISSION competition,” said Louie R. Lopez, Program Manager for eCYBERMISSION. “We want to continue doing our part in encouraging students to excel in STEM. Congratulations to all regional winners and I look forward to meeting each team at the National Judging and Educational Event.”

After selecting their mission challenge, “THE JAYS”—under the guidance of their team advisor Kelly McDonald, a 7th grade science teacher at West Middle School —applied the engineering design process to propose a solution. “THE JAYS” then submitted a mission folder, the official write-up of their project, via the eCYBERMISSION website.

“THE JAYS” project focused on helping to save the Kemp Ridley turtles, and endangered sea turtle, that beach themselves on Cape Cod Bay each fall.  They designed a carrier for the turtle that protects them as well as insulates them using a radiant barrier to maintain the turtles’ current body temperature until it can be brought to the New England Aquarium Rescue Center in Quincy, MA.

“We are incredibly proud of all the projects that came through this year,” said Dr. Juliana Texley, NSTA President. “The national finalists were incredibly inventive and thoughtful. We applaud the students on their projects – the quality and ingenuity of their work is phenomenal.”

The NJ&EE is a week-long event—June 15-19, 2015— that focuses on educational opportunities and team building exercises. This year’s event features a STEM Challenge, where students will participate in STEM demonstrations and hands-on activities. In addition to the national awards, the AEOP is funding $5,000 STEM-in-Action grants to selected eCYBERMISSION national finalist teams to implement solutions in their local communities based on the results of their projects. A grant will be awarded to five teams across all grade levels in the competition.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

AHS Warrior Way Visits South School

Over 50 AHS Warrior Way students returned to South in April to continue sharing their message of good sportsmanship, responsibility and respect.

High school student athletes are nominated for participation by their coaches based on their strength of character and academic skills as well as their athletic ability. These Warrior Way students then come to the elementary schools to assist with academics, model good behavior in physical education classes and play games with the students at recess.

As part of their visit, the Warrior Way students presented a student-produced video featuring numerous AHS students talking about respect, hard work, teamwork and good sportsmanship. Some of the athletes in the video shared these thoughts:

  • “If you’ve put in your best effort, you’ve already won”
  • “Hard work, plus a good attitude, always equals success.”
  • “Respect means treating others the way you want to be treated.”

This video presentation was followed up by a variety of student-led activities designed to help the younger students try out some of the skills they saw in the video – teamwork, persistence, being a good sport, etc. A question and answer period about being a high school athlete is another component of the program.

After their presentation, the Warrior Way students participated in all of the regular elementary school day activities including language arts, math, lunch, recess, computer lab, PE, music and art. The AHS students read with small groups of students, assisted with math instruction, helped out with cutting and gluing projects and even opened a stuck thermos or two at lunch!

This is a very popular program with both students and teachers. Many South students asked if the Warrior Way students could come every day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

HPE 2nd Graders Model Clay Penguins in Art

High Plain second graders created clay penguins in Art as part of an interdisciplinary study of penguins in the classroom. Interdisciplinary instruction involves the integration of principles from multiple academic areas as a means of examining issues, questions and topics. Two Column HTML Layout

Monday, May 4, 2015

HPE Student Teacher Encouraging his Students to Take Risks and Try New Things

Students in Mrs. Chaves’ class are playing Hungry Hippos with Mr. Stephens during his last week with us here at High Plain. He has been a student teacher from Salem State since January and has taught our students many new skills, incorporating the classroom into the gymnasium and encouraging students to try new things.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AHS Students Create Video as part of Boston Chinatown Fieldwork Day

This video was made at the completion of the Boston Chinatown fieldwork day, which is part of AHS Chinese language and culture curriculum.  Students visited local businesses such as bakeries, art craft shops, pharmacies, and bubble tea shops.  In addition, the students dined in an authentic Chinese restaurant, which is quite different from the popular Chinese restaurants in the U.S.  In the process, students interviewed some of the owners and employees at these businesses.

In preparation for the fieldwork day, students worked in groups drafting their action plans, which included deciding the aspects of Chinatown they were going to focus on, the different roles for each student, the kind of questions they were going to ask and why, etc.  The goals of this video project was for students to experience firsthand the Chinese culture in Boston Chinatown, use Chinese language in an authentic context; and develop their social skills in the target language during the whole process.

The video was then entered in the International "Language in Motion" Video Contest. To see Andover's Team Dragon video see below. To see all the entries go to this link.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rainforest Reptiles Visit South School!

Kindergarteners at South had the opportunity to meet some reptiles “up close and personal” when Rainforest Reptiles came to visit.  Joaney M. Gallagher and Michael K. Ralbovsky of Rainforest Reptile Shows have over 200 exotic reptiles, ranging from iguanas, Burmese pythons, boa constrictors, lizards, turtles and American Alligators. Their animals are the stars in an interactive show that travels to many schools. Rainforest Reptile Shows, a Massachusetts, family-based business, was established to educate and entertain people of all ages about reptiles, animals and the importance of preserving the natural habitats of the world. The kindergarteners at South learned about rainforest reptiles, their habitats, and specific reptile characteristics such as vision and defense mechanisms. This visit was a huge hit with our youngest students and one about which they are still talking!
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Monday, April 27, 2015

WHMS Sixth graders visit Memorial Hall to learn about Andover History

The Hub: Wood Hill's Digital Learning Commons: Sixth graders visit Memorial Hall to learn about A...Students from 6West visited Memorial Hall Library on March 23 and 26 to learn more about Andover history. The students will be writing research papers and creating digital presentations on historical topics ranging from the town seal, town departments, historical figures like Pompy Lovejoy and historical places like Frye Village and Abbott Academy.

The groups met with Teen/Reference Librarian Clare Curran-Ball and Local History Librarian Kim Lynn to learn more about the research process. They explored the Andover Answers wiki and examined primary sources, books and digitized material from the Andover Room. Many groups also interviewed prominent figures in the town, including the police chief and library director.

This week I will be helping students to create an iMovie video on their topic. When we finish them I will share them on The Hub's site and students will present to their parents and peers at Memorial Hall Library.

Credit: Sarah Menesale

Friday, April 17, 2015

W.E.R.A.W.C. 2015

West Elementary School had their twentieth annual readers’ and writers’ conference (W.E.R.A.W.C.) in March. The week began with opening ceremonies, which consisted of six performances by the student council and students at each grade level first through fifth. During the course of the week the children saw twelve authors, illustrators and storytellers. Some of the presenters the students saw were Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil (soon to be a movie by Universal), Kathleen Duble, Rob Buyea, AJ Smith, Jen Chapin, musical artist daughter of the infamous Harry Chapin, Rob Surrette (Hero Art) and more!  In addition, over one thousand parents came to school to hear their children read their own published book and receive an official W.E.R.A.W.C. ribbon. This action packed week was generously sponsored by the West Elementary School P.T.O. and the teachers at West!

Monday, April 13, 2015

West Middle School 7th Graders Win Statewide eCybermission Competition

The U.S. Army just announced the state winners of the 13th annual eCYBERMISSION competition, one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). The competition is an online learning competition designed to cultivate student interest in STEM by encouraging students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities.

Under the direction of 7th grade science teacher Kelly McDonald, two 7th grade teams from West Middle School placed first and second in the state. One team, Grip Tech, completed a project, which focused on improving traction for runners in the snow and ice. The members, Ashley Hardock, Bryce Herald, Nina McKone, and Foster Rose placed 2nd and each won $500 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity. The other team, the “Jays”, completed a project on improving the rescue techniques of the Kemp turtles on Cape Cod Bay. This team placed 1st in the state and qualified for the regional competition to be held April 20-24th. The members, Yasmin Gulbas, Jolene Pern, Armaan Vasowalla, and Sebastian Zhu each won $2000 in U.S Savings Bonds, valued at maturity!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Recognize Three AHS Students

Andover High School students, Jenny Jung, Mary Kuan, and Fiona Jungmann all received recognition from the National level of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards because of their accomplishments in writing and art.  

In recent weeks, the girls received recognition on the state level, receiving many Silver and Gold Key Awards. In addition, Jenny Jung received an American Voices Nominee award for a dramatic script and Mary Kuan received an American Vision Nominee for a drawing titled “Washed Out.”  

Both Jenny Jung and Mary Kuan then received college scholarships for $5,000 each because of their American Voices and Vision Nominee awards.  The Boston Globe Foundation chose both girls from more than 15,000 submissions for demonstrating the highest level of achievement in craft, creativity, and writing. 

The state awards moved all three girls work to a national platform.  Recent notification came to Fiona Jungmann who won a National Silver Medal for her art.  Jenny Jung won a National Silver Medal for one of her pieces of writing and a National Silver Medal with Distinction medal for her portfolio as a whole.  Mary Kuan won three National Silver Medals and the American Visions Award at the National level.  Only one other art student in the state of Massachusetts received the American Visions Award at the National level.  

All three girls are to be congratulated for their esteemed honors.  They have been invited to a National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in NYC on June 10th and June 11th.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shawsheen 1st Graders Learn the Art of Pinch Pot Creation

First grade students at Shawsheen had the opportunity to explore clay while making pinch pots in art class. A pinch pot is a simple technique that has been used since ancient times by cultures all over the world. It is still a common process used today by many ceramic artists. We started by discussing clay and where it comes from. Many students were excited to hear that it is a natural material found in the ground. We imagined what it was like for ancient people to have to dig up their own clay! We also read a great book titled The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel, illustrated by David Diaz. The book tells the story of the Mexican ceramic artists Juan Quezada and how he creates his beautiful artwork from scratch. Once the students created their clay vessels and let them dry, we were able to add some color with tempura paint. With this step, students build on their knowledge of the color wheel and were asked to split up their warm and cool colors on their pot. Finally, after some Mod Podge and glitter, of course, their beautiful pots were completed!Three Column HTML Layout

Friday, March 13, 2015

Shawsheen Holds an Open House for Prospective Preschool Students and Parents

On March 13th our Preschool Staff welcomed prospective parents and students to Shawsheen School for an informational meeting and tour. Our staff enjoyed sharing all of the qualities that make the Shawsheen School so special and enjoyed showing off our wonderful building. We will be holding another Open House in the spring and are hoping the snow will be gone so that we can also “show off” our playground.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

South Cooperative Theater Presented Peter Pan Jr.

South Cooperative Theater, comprised of over sixty third, fourth and fifth graders from South School, presented Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. during the first weekend of March at the West Middle School auditorium. Under the direction of many South School staff and local theater professionals, students worked as a team throughout the winter to create a heartwarming production that was enjoyed by huge audiences of all ages. Pirates, indians, fairies, mermaids, Lost Boys and of course a ticking crocodile joined Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and Wendy, Michael and John in their adventure in Neverland.

During rehearsals, students learned about stage direction and blocking, developed their solo and group singing skills, learned choreography and built new friendships across grade levels. Students and families have commented that this theater experience has helped the cast members to build self-confidence both on stage and in the classroom; to take risks and stretch their abilities in a safe and nurturing environment; and to find a place where they really feel they can express themselves.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sanborn 5th Graders Keeping Water Clean

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, the fifth grade at Sanborn Elementary participated in the North Shore Greenscapes “Keeping Water Clean” program. Coordinated by Steve Sanborn, our students rotated through six activity stations with hands-on water quality related activities led by Greenscapes educators and parent volunteers.

In one of these stations, they learned about their local watersheds and about the reservoir that provides all of their drinking water; Haggett’s Pond. They watched public service announcements and learned how to conserve and use water efficiently. Two of the stations used dyes and objects to represent pollutants that when added to scaled models of the outdoors, allowed students to observe what happens when fertilizers, chemicals, and toxins enter our environment and affect our water supply. In yet another station, the students taste-tested samples of tap and spring water while learning about the amount of energy and resources used to produce the plastic containers to bottle water. 

Lastly, they learned about the role of the Water Treatment Plant and looked at samples of water in the various stages of the treatment process. All of these stations delivered a clear message on the importance of keeping our water clean.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

WBZ-TV Meteorologist Danielle Niles Drops in on 1st Graders at Shawsheen

What’s the weather going to be like this week?

Well, if you are curious, you will need to check in with our First Grade meteorologists who have
been very busy tracking the wind speed for the month of March. Every morning the students are collecting data by observing the flagpole and keeping notes about the flag’s movement. The First Grades excitement for the study of weather was recently increased by a visit by Danielle Niles, Meteorologist for the WBZ-TV Weather Department. The children even became television stars on Channel 4 News.

During her visit Danielle talked with first graders about the water cycle, the various types of precipitation, and different kinds of clouds. We took a weather quiz, and also learned that the city of Boston  was ready to break the snowfall record  (the snowiest winter of all time).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shawsheen Students are Reaping the Benefits of In-House Professional Development

Shawsheen feels so fortunate that we have been able to have in house professional development provided by Jen Barresi. It has been so exciting to learn more about the "Units of Study" writing program that was developed by Lucy Calkins. Our students have been learning about strategies that real authors and illustrators use and then incorporating these strategies into their own writing. We have also been discussing that writers do not give up, and it has been amazing to watch our students' writing stamina increase so drastically.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

HPE Students Create the "Social Detective Newsletter"

There are times when some of the best student work shines through when they work together. That can certainly be said about this group of "Social Detectives" at High Plain Elementary. HPE Speech Pathologist, Cindy Olendzenski, recently invited a group of her students to undertake a project targeting Social Thinking skills. Through this project the students work together in cooperative groups, sharing their interests, as well as learning about the activities and interests of other people in their classes/school/community (perspective taking skills).

Being a student reporter for the newsletter is a fun and engaging way for these students to work on these important skills and they are eager participants.  They chose the topics that they would like to include (along with some teacher suggestions as well).  Of course, the best part is reading the newsletter when it is finished and seeing their work “in print”.  We also share this newsletter with their teachers and parents.
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