Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Home For Annie

First Wind Energy Project:
Find a home for "Annie" - the orphaned wind turbine.

7th grade HMS students have been presented with an exciting, real-life challenge.  Teachers, Morgan Cuthbert and Mark McDonough worked with Kurt Adams, a parent and Chief Development Officer of First Wind, to pose a problem to all 7th graders: find a site in Maine for their "orphaned" wind turbine.  Kurt talked about the specifications to finding an appropriate site for a wind turbine keeping in mind the ecological and human impacts.  Students must use the technology of Google Maps and online wind charts to explore possible sites.  The ideal site will be near roads and transmission lines, but away from homes, lakes and wetlands.  Some students decided to take on the challenge; they will write a proposal of their top 5 sites and present it to Kurt and First Wind.  Top sites will be recognized in April.

Wind Turbine Simulation

Youth Art Month

In celebration of Youth Art Month, we have a number of “featured artists” with work on display in several places.

Each March, the PMA hosts a display of artwork by students from throughout Maine. Each school is allowed only ONE representative piece. This yearʼs selected artist is 7th grader Anneka Murrin. Her lovely tempera painting titled “Cosmic Abnegation”, is HMSʼ show submission (see photo). The show runs throughout March.

Cosmic Abnegation by Anneka Murrin


Oil Pastel by Mary Kate Gunville
Along with Mrs. Fletcher, two HMS 8th graders will present the art unit “Artistʼs Choice/ Artistʼs Voice” at the March 14 meeting of the Yarmouth School Committee. Mary Kate Gunville and Conner Pearl will share their exemplary artwork and writing from the lesson. Mary Kateʼs piece is an oil pastel painting, and Connerʼs is an acrylic.

Acrylic by Conner Pearl

It is also HMSʼ turn to display artwork at our Superintendentʼs office on McCartney Street here in Yarmouth. Many student artists have work on view there throughout March and April. The following eighth graders have metal sculptures on display:

Will St. Amour, “Lobster” (copper)
Mary Kate Gunville, “Hidden Mystery” (mixed metals)
Wells Flanagan, “A Single Rose” (copper)
Ava Seid, “Lucky” (mixed metals)
Hannah Van Alstine, “Watch the Garden Grow” (mixed metals)
John Lane, “Surf at Sunset” (silver aluminum relief)
Bobby Murray, “Wale” (silver aluminum relief)
Johanna Hattan, “The Circle of Life” (copper relief)

The following 7th graders have abstract tempera paintings on display:
 Iliyan Pelletier
Dan Latham
Stephen Rich
Rhiannon Himes
Julia Richards
Anneka Murrin   

The following 6th graders have pencil portraits on display:
Elias Rich
Emilie Estabrook
Philip Bock
Caroline Chittum
Page Reinfelder

And, as always, student work is rotating through our display spaces at HMS.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jiu-Jitsu competition

Roya Best, 7th grade student at HMS, won the Bronze medal in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Pan Kids 2013 tournament, in California. This is the largest international Jiu-Jitsu competition for students (age 15 and under) in the world!


Colonial Craft Day

The fifth grade students at HMS had a chance to experience what life was like during colonial times by participating in Colonial Craft Day. The students dressed in colonial clothing, and spent the day learning how to make candles and wooden toys, knit, create spice hangers, and make butter.

Our fifth graders found all of these activities fascinating, and learned a lot by having the chance to go back in time for the day. Thanks to the fifth grade teachers for creating this opportunity for their students. Special thanks to Nini Emmons for her integral role in making this event possible, and to all of our parent volunteers for donating their time and expertise!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Boy, Girl or Both?

In an earlier HMS News article we blogged that the focus of the HMS Civil Rights Team for this year would be behaviors motivated by bias. For example, was the name-calling motivated by race and color, ancestry and national origin, religion, physical and mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, personal appearance or family status. Other behaviors that we will focus on are teasing/mockery, jokes, stereotypes and exclusion. Again, through the lens of bias.

We have used lunch time to feature a bias around this question: How might someone treat another person differently because of (fill in the bias)? To date we have asked our students to think and share thoughts at the lunch table for the following bias's: ancestry and national origin, religion, and today, gender. The question for thought today was: How might someone treat another person differently because of gender?

To encourage the conversation members of the HMS Civil Rights Team led an activity at each lunch. Each table had one of the following words prominently displayed:

  • Dirt-Bike, Motorcycle
  • Hunting
  • Baseball, Football
  • Truck
  • Shopping
  • Perfume
  • Fishing
  • Dance Class
  • Purse
  • Superheroes
  • Dolls
  • Jewelry
  • Wallet
  • Make-Up
 Civil Rights Team members stood on the stage with a Boy, Girl and Both sign posted on the stage curtain. They asked the students at the tables where they would place their table word. For example, if you were sitting at the table with "superheroes" would you place it under Boy, Girl or Both. 

It was a successful activity, the students engaged and had a lively discussion of where to place each word. As expected there was agreement and disagreement within and across the lunches. All in all, the students have a solid grasp of what stereotyping means, how too easy it is to fall into it, and how harmful that becomes. 

We will continue with other bias's using the same question to encourage our students to think about treating everyone with respect and dignity while being tolerant of our differences.

Monday, February 11, 2013

HMS Blood Drive

HMS held their annual, American Red Cross blood drive, first started by Mark McDonough in 2008, on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013. 
In total, 77 usable units of blood were collected, and 97 donors participated; of these 97 participants, 15 were first time donors.  Each unit of blood collected helps 3 people, so the HMS drive will end up impacting 231 lives!  
A big thanks to the 7th grade Life Science Classes for their wonderful work, and their informative, engaging projects on display at the drive, (see a sample below) and to Mr. McDonough and Mr. Cuthbert on a tremendous effort!

Scholastic Writing Awards

The Southern Maine Writing Project in conjunction with the Department of Literacy, Language and Culture at the University of Southern Maine is this year's host for the Scholastic Writing Awards Maine Region.
For 2013, Maine students sent 205 submissions to The Scholastic Writing Awards.  Of those:
  • 19 Gold Keys were awarded to the most accomplished works.  Gold Key writing will be forwarded to the national-level of The Scholastic Writing Awards.  National judging occurs in mid-March.
  • 35 Silver Keys were awarded to distinguished works from Maine.
  • 52 Honorable Mentions were awarded to notable works from Maine.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have an impressive legacy dating back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past winners including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.

The Awards are an important opportunity for students to be recognized for their creative talents. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual and literary-arts focused organizations across the country to bring The Awards to local communities. Teens in grades 7 through 12 can apply in 28 categories of art and writing for the chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited or published.

Submissions are juried by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

To date, the Awards have encouraged over 13 million students, recognized more than 9 million young artists and writers, and made available more than $25 million in awards and scholarships. They continue to be the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers.

Gold Key
Clare Walsh, 13, Short Story, The Violet Fair, Frank H Harrison Middle School, Teachers Lilly King
& Charlotte Agell
Silver Key
Isabelle Christie, 13, Poetry, The Death Of An Ipod And My Golden Treasure, Frank H Harrison Middle
School, Teachers Ira Warshaw & Charlotte Agell

Gracie Griffin, 13, Poetry, A Race With The Wind, Silent Guardian, Hidden in the Eyes, Frank H
Harrison Middle School, Teachers Ira Warshaw & Charlotte Agell

Madison Lindahl, 12, Poetry, Like Poison,My Friend,Popcorn,The Past, Frank H Harrison Middle
School, Teacher Amanda Blaine

Kacie Middleton, 14, Poetry, Dark Dark Days, Frank H Harrison Middle School, Teacher Ira Warshaw 
Honorable Mention
Gracie Griffin, 13, Personal Essay/Memoir, Superhero, Frank H Harrison Middle School, Teachers Ira
Warshaw & Charlotte Agell

George Jutras, 14, Poetry, Hunting For Sea Glass, Frank H Harrison Middle School, Teachers Steve
Simonton & Charlotte Agell

Julia Kitonis, 13, Persuasive Writing, Consider Your Vote, Frank H Harrison Middle School,
Teachers Ira Warshaw & Charlotte Agell

Andrei Lougovtsov, 13, Personal Essay/Memoir, Death by Music, Frank H Harrison Middle School, Teachers Ira Warshaw & Charlotte Agell 

Anna Parker, 13, Poetry, Diamond Cove, Roof Laying, The Last Moment, Frank H Harrison Middle
School, Teachers Mark McDonough & Charlotte Agell
Emilia Ruth, 12, Poetry, Think Of A Slingshot, Burning Kites, Kings, Frank H Harrison Middle School, Teacher Mark McDonough

Monday, February 4, 2013

Award for Legenda

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has informed us that Legenda, the school's literary magazine, has been selected to receive a rank of EXCELLENT in the 2012 NCTE Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines. A total of 417 schools entered the 2012 program. The National Council of Teachers of English congratulates us and the students who produced this exemplary literary magazine.

NCTE's Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines (PRESLM) recognizes students, teachers, and schools for producing excellent literary magazines. The program's mission is to encourage all schools to develop literary magazines, seeking excellence in writing and school-wide participation in production. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Student Contests and Activities for 2012-1013.

Legenda is the literary magazine of Harrison Middle School. Fifth through eighth graders may submit creative writing and pictures for consideration. Fifth through 8th grade students may submit creative writing and pictures. Eighth grade students compose the editorial staff.

We are fortunate to have our Talents' Communication teacher and author, Charlotte Agell, as the Legenda advisor.

Being Prepared

Recently the 5th Grade students at Frank Harrison Middle school received a presentation from the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Cumberland County EMA office on emergency preparedness through a program called the STEP program. STEP stands for Students Tools for Emergency Planning. The program aims at preparing families for multiple hazards by educating and energizing students in school who go home and act as leaders in implementing key preparedness strategies with their families. Students were actively involved in learning the processes of developing family emergency plans, communication cards, pet care and planning in emergencies and were given the basic starter materials – including a backpack - for their very own Go-kits.

History Comes Alive

Ms. Blaine and Mrs. Newick's 7th graders learned about the events leading up to the American Revolution and then created Eyewitness Interviews as if they were live on the scene. They selected historical figures (often choosing people with differing perspectives), wrote scripts, learned how to use a green screen to create realistic backgrounds, and filmed their interviews. Then they shared the interviews with their classmates to teach each other about the steps to the American Revolution.