Thursday, April 30, 2015

6th grade report from April

At our Building Leadership Team meeting a couple of weeks ago, I asked the staff to provide me with information regarding the "happenings" in their grade level or subject area.  6th grade met this week and provided some highlights of the last few weeks.  They have been doing some creative and engaging things in class and had the opportunity to go on a couple of field trips.  It's great watching them continue to grow as learners and as good people.

  • We have made it through the final projects to be printed in Project Lead the Way. Students created amazing things and we are proud of the work that they did in this first year of 6th Grade Project Lead the Way work. We are excited to see what these students go on to do as they continue in Project Lead the Way.
  • Students completed the 60 day reading challenge on the first of this month. Medals have been ordered and will be handed out soon. Congratulations to all students who participated. Special acknowledgements go to the following students for reaching the Gold level meaning they have read and recorded more than 3600 pages between February 1 and May 1: Erin R., Katelyn K., Lauren V., Jonah L., Brady R., and Cece M.
  • 6th graders headed to Madison on April 16 to learn about the amazing work being done at the college level. Students were inspired by the awesome projects and learned a lot from the displays they visited. Highlights includes watching teachers get lit on fire, eating liquid nitrogen ice cream, wearing virtual reality goggles, playing with ooblek and earth models.
  • We headed to Schaumberg, IL for Medieval Times to experience life in the royal tournament. Students were entertained and fed lunch as we saw jousting, sword fighting, falconry, and royalty.
Look for more stories from our 6th graders in the weeks to come, and thanks for reading.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Merton = Family

There is nothing sweeter than the sound of children singing.  And that's just what we did the last hour of the day before winter break.  It was wonderful. Over 400 5th - 8th graders, gathered in the gym, singing Christmas carols together.  

But wait.  It does get better. Next, the drama group made their debut by performing a wonderful rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  

But gets better!  We have more celebrating to do!  Have you ever done something for 10,000 days straight?  Neither have I.  Christmas Day will mark Jay's 10,000th day of running in a row.  That's over 27 years of running every day (I did the math)!  Next, we watched a video specially made for our principal, Jay Posick.  The video was made by his voxer PLN from around the world! Wait...who are all of those special people waiting in the wings?  Is that Geniene Delahunty from Kentucky?  Why yes, it is! She is from Jay's voxer group and orchestrated this wonderful event that's about to unfold before our very eyes! Geniene came out onto the gym floor (much to Jay's surprise) to present him with gifts from the voxer group.  (Mind you, Jay and Geniene had never met face-to-face before...ahhh...the power of twitter!)

Enter stage left, Jay's family: Jen, his wife, Lauren, his daughter, his parents Mr. & Mrs. Posick, and his sister Priscilla.  All there to join in this special moment. Isn't it a shame that Jay's voxer group couldn't be there to witness this momentous occasion?  Oh, wait!  They could!  And they did!  Thanks to Tina Heizman, our Technology Director, setting up a private Google Hang Out for the event!  So the power of technology brought the whole world together right in the gymnasium of Merton Intermediate School.  Mind blowing!

Wait for it...there's more!  Next, our superintendent, Mr. Ron Russ, got up and gave an incredible speech about the power of perseverance, dedication, and discipline and how Mr. Posick emobodied all of these with his feat, pardon the punn, of 10,000 days of running.

The end is drawing near.  To end this wonderful assembly, we had four students come up to hold a banner/finish line that was brightly colored and said, "10,000 Days of Running."  Jay was presented a Merton blue running jersey, which he promptly put on, and then he "burst" through the finish line while the whole gymnasium erupted in applause!

So you see, Merton does equal family.  We celebrate with each other, we support one another (during highs and lows), and we work together to accomplish goals that enrich the lives of students and staff alike.  

Special thanks to the staff for going along for the ride on this one and keeping it a secret!  Special shout out to: Ron Russ who was immediately on board for this whole event to take place, Jeff See for contacting me back on September 22nd via twitter, Dana Erato for organizing the sing along and drama club presentation, Tracey McGinnis for helping with microphones, sound, and lighting, Jim Binney for video help, Mary Shannon for making the banner and jersey scene come together (great idea!), Matt Pomeroy for organizing the student banner holders, Becky Oppermann for getting the bracelets passed out upstairs, Barb Emmerich for trying to keep a lid on this whole thing in the office, Mike Budisch for his unending support, and to staff members who wrote private e-mails to me offering to help in any way they can and to remind me how "cool" this all was.  You know who you are.  I would be remiss if I didn't thank our students for being so awesome throughout the entire assembly.  

Congratulations to our lead learner, Jay Posick, on his accomplishment.   

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 

7th and 8th grade updates

At our Building Leadership Team meeting last week, I asked the staff to provide me with information regarding the "happenings" in their grade level or subject area.  The 7th and 8th grade team took the first step and provided me with some great activities they have been doing over the last couple of weeks.

  • Many of our 8th graders took the Arrowhead Spanish placement test.  43 of them placed into Spanish 2.  Congratulations to the students on their efforts and more importantly, thanks to Mrs. Oppermann for her diligence and care in preparing our students so well.
  • 7th and 8th graders celebrated the end of the quarter and their positive behavior with a trip to Skyzone (7th grade) or Sussex Bowl (8th grade).  The staff at Sussex Bowl complimented our students as being the most polite students they have ever had visit!
  • Several of our 7th and 8th grade teachers are taking a Universal Design for Learning class with Mrs. Weiland and learning how to design lessons and instruction to best meet the needs of all learners in their classrooms. Universal Design for Learning is based on the idea that all students benefit when given multiple ways to learn new information, express their comprehension and engage in their learning.
  • We have a new student teacher in Math with Ms. Frei. His name is Mr. Guillen and he will be with us for the rest of the school year.
  • 8th grade Spanish students are working on fashion shows to culminate their clothing unit.
  • 7th grade Spanish students celebrated the end of their food and wellness unit by making quesadillas in class.
  • The 8th graders are working on a journalism unit in Language Arts. Mr. Russ, Mrs. Weiland, and Mr. Posick all played a part in kicking off the unit. Ask your child about what happened in Language Arts class on Monday, April 20th.
  • 8th grade students visited Midwest Engineered Systems to experience first hand how robotics and engineering interface.
Thanks to the 7th and 8th grade team for sharing just some of the terrific things they are doing with our kids!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

5th grade takes a chance!

At our Building Leadership Team meeting last week, I asked the staff to provide me with information regarding the "happenings" in their grade level or subject area.  The 5th grade team took the first step and provided me with some great activities they have been doing over the last couple of weeks.

  • On April 16th, author Liesl Shurtliff shared her writing journey with the students in our Little Theater.  She inspired the students to believe in themselves and to look everywhere for ideas.
  • The students will be attending BizTown, a simulated community experience, on April 28th.  They will be working, learning, and playing while in attendance.  The students have been learning about work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy in Social Studies during the 3rd quarter.
  • All of the 5th grade teachers spent a day with our Literacy Coach, Mrs. Weiland, designing the Historical Fiction Unit.  The teamwork of these teachers for the benefit of our students is amazing!
  • Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Stolpa's Science classes researched and presented outstanding food and nutrition projects.  The kids created Google presentations, video clips, and live demonstrations.
Thanks to the 5th grade team for sharing just some of the wonderful things they are doing with our kids.