Sunday, October 30, 2016

600 Tee-Shirts for Uganda!

Paula Vicenzi shared this exciting update about our on-going relationship with our sister school in St. Bakhita. Paula brought this partnership to HMS several years ago:

Through the generous support of students, staff and parents, approximately 600 tee-shirts were collected for the children at the St. Bakhita School Ugandan UN refugee settlement camp.
Charlie Roscoe, founder of Schools for Refugees, will bring the shirts to Uganda on November 3rd, along with 320 letters written by HMS students as part of our letter exchange program with the 


Thank you for your on-going support of the students of St. Bakhita!


Watt Key Skypes with HMS 8th grade students

Many of you remember last year's One Book One School event, featuring Alabama Moon, written by Watt Key. 

Molly Kilpatrick, our Lead Language Arts teacher, set up a skype session with Watt and our 8th grade students, who have just finished Watt's book, FourMile. Watt talked with our students about his ideas, which led to this book, the writing process, the need for continuous practice, and setting realistic goals. Our students' learned so much about the career of an author, along with essential life lessons. 
Watt Key skypes with HMS 8th graders

Watt's new book, Hideout, will be released January 10. Check out this attached preview!     

HMS Mock Election

HMS 8th graders count ballots for our Mock Election
Megan Rice, 8th grade social studies and science teacher, led the 2016 Mock Election, sponsored by our 8th grade students and teachers. Important information regarding the referendum questions was provided for students and staff, along with election links:

Referendum info:                         
    Question 1                          
    Question 2
    Question 3
    Question 4
    Question 5
“The November ballot also will include a bond issue, which will appear after the citizens’ initiatives. The bond question asks if voters favor spending $100 million for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation for highways and bridges and for work related to other types of infrastructure. The bond would be used to match an estimated $137 million in federal funds.” - from PPH, Oct. 3, 2016

Election Links:
Ballot Ready - Presidential
Ballot Ready - Local
Our students voted on Wednesday, 10.26.16. The 8th grade students shared the results with our school:

Clinton: 306
Johnson: 38 
Stein: 35 
Trump: 76


1: Yes-178 No-265 
2. Yes-214 No-242 
3. Yes-362 No-132 
4. Yes-198 No-214 
5. Yes-201 No-220 
6. Yes-210 No-220 
Our thanks to Megan, and our 8th grade students and teachers for providing our school with this important opportunity.

HMS Civil Rights Team

HMS Civil Rights Team

Civil Right's Team advisors, Laura Mike and Charlotte Agell, provided this update about our students' work on this team:

On October 24th, the HMS Civil Rights Team (CRT) attended a training in Portland, with members of other Civil Rights Teams from area middle schools. This training was sponsored by the Office of the Maine Attorney General and was facilitated by Brandon Baldwin. 

The focus of the day was, "What are the right words to use when talking about race, national origin and ancestry, religion, physical and mental disability, gender (including gender identity and expression), and sexual orientation?"  

Students are excited to bring this knowledge back to school, where they have plans to involve the school community in the CRT mission. That mission is to get schools to think and talk about these seven categories that are protected under the Maine Civil Rights Law. By doing so, we hope to help ensure that all students can learn in an environment free of harassment where they feel safe, welcome, and respected. 

Our thanks to this team of students, and to Laura Mike and Charlotte Agell-CRT advisors. 

The Civil Rights Team is always accepting new members, new ideas and input from others.

Summer Learning shared by Meghan Haugevik and Stephanie Robison

Meghan Haugevik, author Kwame Alexander, Steph Robison

6th grade language arts teachers, Stephanie Robison and Meghan Haugevik, shared their learning from an exciting literacy conference they attended this summer:

The conference, sponsored by Heinemann, was called the Pacific Coast Literacy Institute. It was led by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst (authors of Notice and Note and Reading Nonfiction) with workshops/sessions from Penny Kittle, Linda Reif, Kwame Alexander, and Chris Crutcher :)

The biggest  takeaways were:

From Kylene Beers/Bob Probst

-Creating engagement and fostering independence around reading both fiction and nonfiction by moving from a mono logic, teacher led/created classroom to a more dialogic based classroom

Creating access to nonfiction by using signposts such as contrasts/contradictions and extreme/absolute language. 

-Using common questions across content areas: What surprised you? What did the author think you already knew? What challenged, changed, or confirmed your thinking? 

Meghan Haugevik, Bob Probst, Steph Robison and Kylene Beers
 From Penny Kittle

-Asking ourselves: What is essential? What is important? What is nice to know? We want our students to be independent and empowered readers, writers, listeners, and speakers in the world, so we need to make our curriculum tie directly to what is essential.

-Choice!!!! We can't have text complexity without engagement and choice is directly related to engagement in reading 

Meghan Haugevik, Penny Kittle and Steph Robison

Linda Reif

-The importance of modeling for students in both reading and writing as well as writing alongside students.

-There are so many ways to get students to write! We spent each morning writing to quickwrites/prompts led by Linda Reif and she used a lot of mentor texts/visuals/poems to spark thinking. 

-In one quickwrite, Linda Reif had us sketch a spot that was special to us and then label it. The labeling actually led to so many more memories and topics to write about.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

HMS Student Leadership celebrates our bus drivers

Our Student Leadership Team and advisor, Nini Emmons created a wonderful celebration to thank our bus drivers for all they do! With signs and cheers, our students welcomed our drivers to HMS, and expressed their appreciation for their work and support!

Farm to School-thank you PTO!

Blair Currier, Yarmouth School Nutrition Director, shared this exciting update about a recent Health Sciences field trip. Our thanks to Blair, Kelley, and Cheryl for creating this learning opportunity for our students. 
 Kelley Damboise and Cheryl Lambert's 7th grade students have been busy learning all about eggs! A visit to Wolfe's Neck Farm taught us about the diverse diet and environmental needs to have healthy chickens that produce healthy eggs. In class Mr. Currier worked with students to create their very own frittata recipe. Students then gave impressive presentations (even rapped!) on everything they learned then taste tested their two favorite recipes with other classes. 

 Students were able to vote good, not good or awesome. The winning recipe with 64% of tasters voting awesome and 31% voting good is the Pottata with potato, roasted garlic and cheddar cheese. Pottata will be featured on the school lunch menu in November. 
 A very special thank you goes to the Yarmouth PTO for supporting this field trip!

Louisiana Book Drive-thanks to our community and our PTO!

Merry Stuhr and Charlotte Agell had the wonderful idea of inviting the HMS community to send books to schools that were destroyed in the flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As always, we had an amazing response and quickly gathered many boxes of books (19 to be exact)!

We then needed to find a way to get the books to Louisiana. Huge thanks to Melina Roberts, who did a tremendous amount of work and research to find shipping options, and to Jess Smith who connected us with a great way to send the books. We're grateful to both of them, and to all of you who made this book drive possible! The books are on their way!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Barbara Ellis is named a PAEMST Finalist

Barbara Ellis
We're thrilled to share this announcement from Dr. Dolloff regarding our colleague Barbara Ellis:

 Good morning -  

I'm pleased to announce Barb Ellis, our colleague at HMS, has been recognized by the Maine Department of Education as a finalist for 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science (PAEMST)!  

Below is a partial press release from the Maine DOE:
The state finalist in mathematics is Barbara Ellis who teaches sixth grade at Frank H. Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth. The three state finalists for science are Kirsten Gould who teaches first grade at Buxton Elementary School, Susan O’Brien who teaches fifth grade at George B. Weatherbee School in Hampden and Tonya Prentice who teaches fifth grade at Woodstock Elementary School in Bryant Pond.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the nation’s highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, an inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.
The four state finalists have been forwarded to the national level for review by the national selection committee. The White House will announce which of the state finalists will become Maine’s next PAEMST Awardees.

Congratulations to Barb!


Sunday, October 16, 2016

HMS Library Hosts Teen Read/Literary Cafe Week

Merry Stuhr shared this description of the HMS Literary Cafe:

During October 12th -14th the HMS library was transformed into a literary cafe for the 7th and 8th grade students. The library was decorated and the lights were dimmed as students listened to soft music and ghost stories. They read to their hearts' content while enjoying home made treats, apple cider and hot cocoa. The students truly love this event and look forward to experiencing it when they 'finally' get to 7th grade. 

Our thanks to Merry Stuhr, Tracy Weinrich, and all of our parent volunteers for their time and support creating this event and providing the wonderful homemade treats that accompanied this special experience!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

SketchBook in STEAM

Randy Dehetre shared the latest from the STEAM lab:

Olivia Bailey
 Eighth grader Olivia Bailey is learning how to use a program called SketchBook in her STEAM class. After trying out some basic drawings that I provided for her she decided to draw a masterpiece of her own. She chose a crow for her subject and has been working on making her drawing as accurate as possible. She spent a lot of time just on the eye and although you can't see it in this picture, the crow's eye looks very real. Along with learning SketchBook, the 8th graders also learn how to use SketchUp, which is a 3D modeling application, and spend some time learning how to do computer program using the Python language.

8th Grade Students visit the Yarmouth Historical Society

Ira Warshaw outlined our students visit to the Yarmouth Historical Society:
On September 20, a gorgeous late summer day was complemented by the newly tie-dyed shirts of HMS eighth graders, as they made an excursion to the Yarmouth Historical Society. 

Guided by Katie Worthing's engaging and erudite descriptions and explanations, students enjoyed a detailed photographic journey into the history of Yarmouth, with Main Street as the primary focus. 

This activity will be followed up next week, with a walking tour of our beautiful town. We extend our gratitude to the PTO, for their support and assistance in providing tie-dye shirts that will be used and appreciated all year long! 

Morgan Cuthbert and HMS students featured on MPBN

MPBN will feature five stories of innovative, student-centered, teaching and learning in Maine in a half-hour program that will be aired on Sunday, November 6th, at 10:30 AM, and Thursday, November 10th, at 11:30 PM.

 The stories include a Spanish immersion program at the Lyseth Elementary School in Portland, a first-year student academy for Telstar High School students, an interactive local history bike tour which is part of the Presque Isle Middle School eighth grade experience, efforts by Yarmouth Middle School students to restore the clam population, and a set of intensive, experiential science opportunities offered for high school students at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and Colby College.
 The program is sponsored by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. The program will also be featured within the next few weeks on the Maine Education Project website at /term/maine-education-project 

Thanks to Allison Flowerdew for these wonderful photographs!


Elena Miller-Adventures in Reading

The Merrill library has added Elena Miller, 7th grade student, to the MSBA Star Student website for reading all 42 of the nominated books this summer. 
Elena Miller

Congratulations, Elena!

Mr. C.'s latest work

Brad Ciechomski

We're pleased to let you know that Brad Ciechomski's work has been published-again! 

Please enjoy his latest composition (volume up!)

Congratulations Brad!

8th Grade Coastal Cleanup

The 8th grade team shared this update on a special 8th grade event:

On Friday, September 23, the eighth grade participated in the worldwide event, Coastal Cleanup. Walking around the fort, beach, and parking lots at Popham Beach, we collected 2,438 cigarette butts (!), abandoned lobster traps, rubber bands, bottles, cans and miscellaneous pieces of plastic. The park ranger and several beach goers were very appreciative of the work. Data from the cleanup has been sent to the Coastal Cleanup organization which will be added to a world wide data base. 

Thanks to our students for their commitment to this work, and to our PTO for funding the colorful team, tie dye t-shirts in the photo!

100 Maine Educators to Follow-Yarmouth Staff Included

Mike Arsenault

Keith O'Neal has been conducting a 50 day challenge to list the top 100 educators to follow on Twitter in each state. He released his list for Maine in September.

Mike Arsenault, HMS Instructional Technology Integrator, and Alice Barr, YHS Instructional Technology Integrator are both on the list.

Congratulations and thanks to Mike and Alice for their on-going inspirational practices and support!

100 Maine Educators to Follow