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Friday, February 27, 2015

Gr. 8 DMS World Language Students Become "Teachers for the Day"

This morning I had the most wonderful experience, as my grade 8 Spanish students taught the class for 30 minutes about an aspect of culture of their choosing. Today's presentation was on a Comparison of Flamenco vs Salsa dancing. Ms. Crowley(Asst. Principal) was able to attend the beginning of the class and it just got better and better from there.

The student work included:
  • A shared Google Doc list of terms for dance moves and body parts that each student accessed during the presentation
  • A PowerPoint with embedded videos from Spain, The Caribbean and New York of dance performances and instructional videos.
  • A spoken summary of the history and origin of the dances
  • They taught (in Spanish) a warm up, which was a series of dance move commands and basic steps
  • They did a performance where they choreographed and accompanied an Enrique Iglesias song on the guitar, having already learned the basic chords
  • They had the class follow along and dance with them to both styles

As a review and closing activity they played a game they devised called Freeze Dance where they
would call out dance steps while playing a song. When the music stopped , if the participants didn't stop, they were out.
They also acted out moves and had the class call out in Spanish which body parts were used during each vignette. ("flamenco- feet, heels, wrists" "salsa- hips, arms, legs")

This was my small class that is piloting the One on One initiative. It has allowed for incredible differentiated instruction during the 6 classes students were working on this project.

The multimedia nature of their "Teacher for a Day" project was engaging to classmates.
Each group saw and heard real world applications of language to view their aspect of culture. This allowed me to individually address questions of grammar or expand on topics as they arose with each small group. I was also able to remediate with some students as well as teach a concept from the 9th grade curriculum to students who stumbled upon the future tense while reading authentic texts.

Our next presentations will be:
  • Baseball in the Caribbean
  • Folklore and Legends of the Spanish Speaking World
  • Art of the Prado Museum in Madrid
  • Cooking shows from around the world

I cannot express how amazing the 2 weeks with this group has been. It's a TON of work, but the outcome is so inclusive of ALL parts of the Curriculum Frameworks and CCO's and so engaging for the kids. I’m sold!

Gr. 8 World Languages Teacher

Ms. Bakshi

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's "Hoops for Heart" Time at DMS

All students at Doherty Middle School participated in a "Hoops for Heart" event during their Physical Education classes the week of February 23rd through the 27th. This has become an annual event at the school to help raise awareness for heart disease and stroke. Thank you to all who continue to help raise funds to support the American Heart Association's efforts to create healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Katie Rurak and Dylan Birch
Doherty Middle School Physical Education Teachers

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Practicing Math in Focus at South

While practicing their addition facts, students in Grade 1 are building number sense and problem solving skills using some very fun math apps on their iPads. 

Ms. Kennedy worked with the classroom teachers to introduce three apps to the students: 

  • Butterfly Math, in which students can capture flying butterflies to solve problems such as:
                      o 1 + 4 = ?
                      o 4 + ? = 9
                      o ? + ? = 7
  • Sushi Monster, in which student fed sushi to a hungry monster by choosing combinations of numbers to create sums up to 24
  • Monster Math, in which student choose answers to math facts to complete a monster bingo board
After the class was introduced to each of the apps, students worked in small groups along with an adult to explore the apps on their own and to increase fluency with their math facts.

Grade 1 students reported:
    • “I like Sushi Monster because you can go to cool levels with different monsters. I even tried multiplication!”
    • “I like using the iPads for math because I like Math Monsters. You can do subtraction and addition.”
    • “I like using technology. I like Sushi Monster. I ordered it on my iPad. The Banana Math is pretty fun too.”
    • “I thought the Butterfly Math was so fun, I downloaded it at home.”
    • “I downloaded them all on my iPad so that I could learn more about numbers at home.”
    • “I love math, so I thought the apps were so much fun!”

Students are looking forward to learning about some more math apps in the next few weeks!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DMS Students Participate in the 19th Annual Model Bridge Competition at Northeastern

On Saturday, February 7th, Doherty Middle School students, Maya Jensen, Akshay Godhani, Alex Rickards, Ben Winkler, Jake Costello and their Engineering teacher/mentor Anthony Helinski, traveled to the Curry Student Center at Northeastern University to participate in the 19th annual Model Bridge Competition. The competition, sponsored by the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES), Massachusetts Pre-Engineering Program (MassPEP) and the Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway) challenged students across the commonwealth to design then build a sturdy, efficient and aesthetically pleasing bridge from specified materials. In past years, students have used plastic forks, foam, spaghetti and manila folders. This season’s supplies included two key components, chopsticks and hot glue. Through a generous grant, needed supplies were mailed to participating teachers.

Guided by newly appointed and highly skilled Engineering teacher Mr. Helinksi, students enthusiastically embraced the challenge, rolled up their sleeves and began construction in November 2014. Following strict parameters and employing the engineering design process, the team met weekly to experiment with different models, discuss strategy and problem solve in the DMS engineering lab. In addition, students actively employed Andover’s learning philosophy the 4C’s - collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.

As the contest date inched closer, the team met more frequently, putting in “overtime” to make up for snow days. While constructing, Grade 6 student Alex Rickards, who’s favorite subject is engineering, commented, “I love to figure out how things work”.

On the morning of the competition, students, together with their dedicated mentor, roamed the Northeastern campus in wonderment; they were thrilled to participate in a very professional and official competition. The energy in the building that day was palpable as students from Grade 3 through high school presented their bridges to a panel of local experts. Doherty students finished strong. More importantly, the hands-on competition offered students both a unique opportunity to experience real world problem solving and exposure to the engineering profession. The Doherty bridge building team is already planning for their second season. Let the games begin!

Monday, February 23, 2015

HPE 2nd Graders are Building Bridges

The second graders at High Plain wrapped up the Engineering Unit: Building Bridges with a successful bridge building event. Working with a partner, second graders worked through the Engineering Design Process. They planned, created, tested, and improved a bridge with a 15” span. The bridge needed to support the weight of 50 pennies, allow a 5” wide barge to pass through, and carry toy car traffic in both directions. Virtually all bridges were a success after the two hour event. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

"Explain Everything" App Helps HPE 3rd Graders Explain their Learning

Mr. Harkins helped 3rd grade out by sharing with us how to use the “Explain Everything” app on the iPads. All the

3rd grade students used the app to “explain” how they made their Gingerbread Man traps from our December Engineering Project. The children recorded video, audio, drew diagrams, used clip art. It was awesome! 

We are also diving into our Materials Engineering unit from the Museum of Science which will begin our work on the Water Cycle in Science. :) 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sanborn's Snow Day Challenge

With the number of recent snow days, our students were starting to get cabin fever.  Each snow day, they were provided with a different Snow Day Challenge.  Between eighty and one hundred children, some with help from parents, grandparents, and siblings submitted responses each day.  The challenges included logic puzzles, riddles and word games.  All who submitted correct responses were entered into a drawing at this week’s School Meeting.  Prizes included free Spring Explorations classes and gift certificates to our upcoming Scholastic Book Fair.  It was nice to see such enthusiastic participation!  

Monday, February 9, 2015

HPE 4th Graders Document their Learning as they Investigate our United States

The study of the United States (States and Regions) are well underway.  We are completing a variety of projects including letter writing to other schools (using Google Docs), research using Google (as a search engine) and various online sources.  Also, reference books in our Media Center are providing a wealth of knowledge.  We are creating flip books and plan to create Prezi presentations to showcase our new-found interest in the states.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snowshoeing at South!

Although many people may not be happy about a blizzard, the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students at South School are very excited.  This past spring, the Physical Education Program at South School received grant money from the Andover Fund for Education and the Andonna Society to sponsor an innovative educational activity – snowshoeing! Snowshoeing provides students an outstanding cardiovascular workout, an introduction to a wonderful lifelong activity as well as an opportunity to get some fresh air in the winter months. It is a lifelong skill that can be shared by families.

During one of their PE classes per week, students dress warmly with snow boots, snow pants, gloves, mittens, hats and warm jackets and venture out into the wintery wonderland with Meghan Matson or with Dave Giribaldi. Some snowshoe games and activities include: relays, hikes, obstacle courses and snowshoe baseball.

The students will continue to take advantage of Mother Nature’s gift of snow throughout the next few months!

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