First Days of 2007 – 2008

We have completed the second full day of school.  I so enjoyed seeing everyone again and getting the chance to meet the new 6th graders and new students to our school.  I also enjoyed visiting classrooms.  Your teachers have already started doing great things with you in class.  Tell me what you thought of the first two days of school.

Excited about 2007 – 2008

Can you believe that school will start back in just about 4 weeks?  We are hard at work finishing scheduling, cleaning, organizing, and getting ready for you to return.  Although many of you are not ready to return, we are very excited about the day you all come back.  The school is quite quiet while you aren’t here. 

Summer Plans

I am sure that you are all very sad to end the school year and will spend the summer missing everything about HTMS.  🙂  I am going to spend the summer getting the school ready for next year, reading, and hopefully finding time to spend with friends and family.  What are your plans for the summer?  Check the blog out this summer as I make posts every week or so.

Stories from Parents

In the April newsletter, I mentioned some stories I heard from parents about times when their children got upset when they had to miss school because they were sick or times when kids got into the car after school and couldn’t wait to tell you about their day. 

If you are a student, you can write about a time when you got very excited about something in school.

Stop Cyberbullying Day

Yesterday was Stop Cyberbullying Day.  I encourage each student to really think about how they treat each other in cyberspace.  You may think that words written on your computer won’t hurt someone, but they really do.

Here are some hints. 

  • When you are angry or hurt, don’t write an email, send an IM, post to MySpace, etc.  Step away from your computer and give yourself some time before responding to something.
  • Write as if the person you are talking about, their parents, or your parents are sitting beside you reading what you are writing.  If you don’t think any of these people would like what you are writing, don’t.
  • Remember, you can’t take back words that you have written. 
  • Don’t write something that you might be sorry for writing in the future.
  • Respect!  Always be respectful of others.  This doesn’t mean that you have to like everyone, but you should always be respectful of others.

We live in a time of great access to tools (Internet, blogs, MySpace, etc) that expand our world beyond Trussville.   There is a great deal of positive information and opportunities because of these tools, but we all must learn how to use them appropriately and for good.

More Great Things From Classrooms

As we all leave for break, I want to take the chance to reiterate the wonderful things going on daily at HTMS.  Laura Reddick’s students have entered art work into a contest sponsored by the National Middle School Association.  I helped cover her class earlier in the week so she could co-teach an activity with Niki Lincoln for social studies.  Her students applied mathematical concepts as they drew tessellations.  I was able to listen to Brenda Graffeo’s students share poems as beatniks in a coffee house.  I sat in on a discussion in Darrell Stovall’s class.  Students read the article from Time and participated in a discussion about it.  Over the past few weeks, all of the 6th graders went to Birmingham Southern to participate in a variety of ecological activities.  Kids came back very excited about what they learned.  Jamey Curlee is kicking off his body systems unit using the movie Supersize Me.  Erin McGuyer’s students taught me some new tricks in PowerPoint as I walked around her classroom.  Sandy Hoffman’s students rotated through different stations during class.  They had choice in working with a partner or alone and to solve a variety of problems. Check the stairwells going upstairs to see great examples of Jan Sterling’s students illustrating solutions to a problem using different strategies.  Go up the stairs in front of the counselors’ offices.  Emily Walsh had students brainstorm using different strategies (drawing a picture, creating a web, using other graphic organizers, or free write.)  Haley Nichols allowed her students to select from a variety of high interest articles.  Students with the same article formed groups and wrote persuasive essays based on their articles.  Anita Dobb’s students celebrated Pi Day (3/14) by doing a variety of math activities that required students to utilize Pi in their solving of problems.  Joy Young’s students used Excel to recreate and fill in their tournament brackets.  They then utilized the program to calculate the winning percentages based on their brackets.  Very high interest way of teaching students the Excel. Ann House’s students created board games to demonstrate their learning.  Tracy Gulledge’s students dissected hearts; I never was able to dissect anything beyond a frog.  Larry Jones’ students had rocket launches to test different principles in physics.  Did you see the article in the Birmingham News the other morning about the cafeteria’s 100 score on the latest health rating? 

Great Attendance!

Every day I look over the attendance report.  Usually, I am pretty pleased with what I see.  We average a daily attendance of somewhere between 94 and 96%.  This past Thursday, I was absolutely amazed at our attendance.  There were 18 students absent Thursday.  That converts to 99% attendance, and there were no special programs, pep rallies, big games, etc.  This is a great indication of the positive things going on at HTMS.  I appreciate the hard work teachers put into designing lessons for students.  Their efforts are paying off!