Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seventh Grade Students Study Invasive Species

Seventh grade students at Harrison Middle School will be expanding their knowledge of local invasive species by connecting with Kyle Warren, Head Steward for the Royal River Conservation Trust.

On Thursday, September 27, Kyle and a fellow environmental educator will be guest lecturers in all seventh grade science classes. On the following Thursday, our students will travel across town to the Spear Farm Estuary Preserve to get a firsthand look at the multiple invasive plant species there. They will be charged with the task of identifying and even removing some of these species while “in the field”. Mr. McDonough and Mr. Cuthbert are also looking at the possibility of adding a service component to the project by organizing a student-involved trail maintenance outing in the coming weeks.

We'll keep you posted on this exciting project!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hello HMS Library

Our fifth grade students say "hello" to the HMS library in a meaningful way during the first few weeks of school. During the first six weeks of school, fifth grade classes meet with Ms. Stuhr to become acquainted with their new library.  They are given opportunities to explore major sections (fiction, nonfiction, and biography), as well as hone their search skills using the library's web-based online catalog.   Pictured: Students pore over a sampling of books from the nonfiction section of the HMS Library.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How Did They Do That?

How Did They Do That?
This is a group project by Elaine Fletcher's 8th grade Art classes. Each student received a 2" square with a portion of the larger picture on it. Each student enlarged their square onto a 9" piece of white drawing paper, carefully observing the values within it and the location of the values. No one knew what the picture would be until it went up, and all the pieces came together to form the whole.

Each student had a responsibility to the group to do his/her best work, and every square was important in its own way.

Why Did They Do It?
This lesson reviewed the Value Studio (learned during the 7th grade Still Life Drawing Unit), and introduced the grid enlargement technique, which will be used by individual students later in the semester.

It also was a great way to begin discussing artistic vision, individual style, and the viewpoint many artists use. The viewer (those walking by, as well as, the student artists themselves) can note the difference between viewing this work up close and standing back from it. The Viewer's eye makes connections that our drawing doesn't quite make.

Student Pledges

In our continued efforts to create a safer school environment for all students, to help all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims, and to encourage students to help their classmates who are being teased, bullied, or harassed, we began the year asking students to "pledge to do my best to treat ALL my peers with respect and dignity in person and online."

Pictured above are the pledges from each Advisory Group. During the school year we will do activities in Advisory Groups that reinforce zero indifference to any unkind behavior. The theme of "zero indifference" - how do we help students not to be indifferent to these types of behavior, to be willing to say to those who are using these behaviors "not here, that's not us" - is the climate at HMS that we value and diligently work to preserve.

To address the online behaviors we also have a school-wide focus on Digital Citizenship with the Core Value of Responsibility the main focus. This "curriculum" will be shared in an upcoming blog.

Creating a safer school environment for all students.
Helping all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims.
Encouraging students to step in to assist the victim.
Encouraging students to stand up for their classmates who are being teased, bullied, or harassed.
Being part of the solution and not the problem.

Zero indifference.
A school with a conscience.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Black and White or Color

Whether it's the first day of school or the fourth day of school when you ask your child how school is going you might get a black and white monosyllabic reply - "fine", "great" etc. What you may not get is a lot of color (descriptive language) about their school day.

We would like to provide you with some HMS color:
  • In a 5th grade classroom - students put three personal artifacts in a paper bag to share with their classmates -  classmates begin to know some interesting facts about each other
  • In a 7th grade classroom - teacher and students establishing classroom rules, expectations and procedures; sitting together to determine how to work better together
  • In a 5th grade classroom - visiting  the library to be introduced to all the new books
  • In 7th and 8th grade classrooms - the smiles as 7th and 8th grade students are assigned or re-assigned the laptops and the next day students learning how to use technology to graph data with GraphIt.
  • In an 8th grade classroom - drawing large-scale maps to represent the great state of Maine
  • In the Physical Education classroom - boundless energy in "capture the chicken" and the same amount of energy for sportsmanship
  • In STEAM - building and preparing rockets to fly
  • In General Music - beginning guitar lessons, students putting together several notes that begin sounding like a song
  • In Health Science - understanding what behaviors impact physical, emotional and social health
  • In Art class - comparing how art and artists changed over time
  • In an 8th grade classroom - students learning what's on the Teacher's Page and how to navigate to all the books in the classroom library
  • In an 7th grade classroom - students learning how to write a constructed response with an introduction, supporting detail and a conclusion - knowing this is the expectation in language arts, mathematics, science and social studies
  • In a 7th grade classroom - students understanding that communication and work will be shared for feedback with students and teacher using google docs
  • In an 8th grade classroom - students mathematically solving how to package an object with in the most effective and efficient way
  • In a 7th grade classroom - students learning about history through a grandmother's wedding dress - understanding that the dress represented a moment in time that has its very own history
  • In a 5th grade classroom - students seeing how a novel is put together so that the reader is engaged - how the author crafts a story using specific techniques
  • In a 5th grade classroom - students learning how to use the Student Planner to organize school and homework
  • In the 7th grade - students participated in a variety of team building activities designed to help students get to know each other, and hone their collaboration skills. The students were totally engaged in field activities like "Stepping Stones" "Arena", and "The Pipeline", designed with a focus on working together effectively, creative problem solving, and higher order thinking skills.
  • In the cafeteria - staff members supported our new 5th grade students during lunch by helping to familiarize them with the cafe and reminding them of their new pin numbers.
  • The 5th grade students met their 8th grade buddies, and toured the building by participating in a Scavenger Hunt. 
  • In 6th grade - students met the "Recess Queen" who provided them with a review of the rules to keep themselves and their peers safe on the playground.
  • In the 7th grade - students received their laptops, along with a complete rundown on the rules governing computer use. They'll participate in a "Google" Seminar, facilitated by Mike Arsenault, to continue their learning next week.
  • In the 8th grade - students played a staff trivia game to get to know the staff members in the building they can use as resources. 
And with 171 more days we can only imagine the kaleidoscope of colors that are coming and for this we thank our students and teachers.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fall Sports Information

 On Tuesday evening at 6:00 students, parents and coaches met to kick off the fall sports season.
The sports offered are 6/7/8 Field Hockey, 6/7/8 Cross Country, 6/7/8 Tennis, 7/8 Boys' and Girls' Soccer. Approximately 155 student-athletes attended - this represents about 70% of the 7th and 8th grade students and a lesser number of 6th grade students.

"Numerous authors and organizations have cited the potential benefits of participation in sport and physical activity programs. A representative list of such benefits, developed by the World Health Organization includes the following:
  • Improvement of motor skills and physical fitness;
  • Enhancement of normal physical and social growth and maturation;
  • Improvement of socialization, self-esteem, self-perception and psychological well-being;
  • Establishment of a basis for a healthy lifestyle and lifelong commitment to physical activity.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control lists the following benefits of physical activity, specifically for middle school students:
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints;
  • Helps control weight, build lean muscle, and reduce fat;
  • Prevents or delays the development of high blood pressure and helps reduce blood pressure on some adolescents with hypertension;
  • Appears to reduce depression and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance the ability to perform daily tasks throughout the lifespan;
  • May contribute to a physically active lifestyle and may continue into adulthood.

Schedule Star
    Go to the HMS Webpage:Athletics:Upcoming Events:
  1. Select Team(s) Be patient as you will need to slide directly across.
  2. Level
  3. Gender

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Student and Parent/Guardian Meet and Greet

HMS welcomed students and parents/guardians who are new to Yarmouth at a Meet and Greet on Monday, 8/27.

Laura Mike and HMS student volunteers grades 5-8 welcomed our new students and provided them with a fun, informative agenda. Our new students played games with the HMS student volunteers, went on student-led tours of the building, and learned about HMS as they enjoyed their lunch together. This experience will support our new students' transitions to HMS, and ensure that they feel more comfortable at the start of the school year.

The HMS PTO held a New Parent/Guardian Meet and Greet at the same time the new students were settling in; we had a great turnout for this event! PTO members along with other parent volunteers met with new parents/guardians to provide them with information about life at HMS, and answer questions. The new parents/guardians also went on a tour of the building, and received information about contact people, and resources they can access during the school year. 

Thanks to everyone who helped to welcome our new students, and their families!