March Madness in the classroom

As a 6th grade Special Education teacher, I try to come up with fun and creative ways to make learning fun for my students. During the month of March we worked on putting math into real world situations. We did a March Madness activity which combined math and sports into one lesson. The students were separated into two teams where they had to visit different stations set up around the room. At each station there was a specific math skill they needed to know in order to solve the problem. The different math skills that our activity focused on were finding area, comparing fractions, decimals and percent’s, adding/subtracting/multiplying and dividing decimals and real world problem solving.

At each station they worked as a team to solve the problems. When they completed that station, they brought the work to me so I could look over it, if they got them correct their team received 2 points on the board and each student shot a ball into the basket to gain an extra point. The students really enjoyed this activity. This not only worked on their math skills but also team building skills. They really enjoyed incorporating “trashketball” into the game also. It was a close game but Team 1 ended up pulling out the win.

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Mrs. Cox

More Than Just Test Scores…

How do you really measure growth in students? Do you measure it by how well students score on a benchmark test? What about the grades on their report card? Does that really tell you how far these kids have come since August? I think growth is hard to measure with a number. There’s so much to miss.

Test scores don’t tell you how the anxious boy in the front row finally has the courage to say THIRTY words in his group presentation. They don’t tell you how hard those two dyslexic students have been working and how much their writing has improved. You don’t get to see how inspired some of my students have been with their locker book chat as some of them present their book (in a costume) in front of their classmates. They don’t show you how they are implementing figurative language so beautifully into their journal writing on Free Topic Friday…taking us on adventures with Banana Man and personifying a pair of tennis shoes.

I am celebrating these milestones (and many more) on the 6th grade hall at LMS. These students…my students…have grown leaps and bounds since August. I couldn’t be more proud to be their English teacher. They probably won’t remember what their score is on Case 21 a few years from now. But—I hope they remember the things that inspired them. And I will remember how much they grew…

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Lucy Greenslade—6th grade English Teacher

Starry Night and Case 21

The 7th and 8th graders had their Starry Night semi-formal dance. This dance is many of the student’s favorite all year. They get to wear formal dresses and the dance is at night! All proceeds from the dance are going to Will Farris’s fight against Leukemia. Will is one of our 8th grade students who was recently diagnosed! We are all supporting him in this battle to end cancer. Here are a few pictures from the night. Everyone looked so amazing and it was a great success.

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The last thing I’d like to blog about is Case 21. Case 21 is coming up. I’ve really tried to motivate my students to do their best. Mrs. Green had a great idea of displaying her students first Case 21 scores. I took her idea and made a racing track for my classes. My students are Racing to the Finish. Their goal by the end of this case 21 is to be all 5’s. We have been talking all year about what I wanted their score to be by the end of the year. I have a lot of confidence in them and can’t wait to see how they do! Here is a picture of our case 21 display.#7

Meet our new Choir Director

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We are excited to introduce Mr. Christian Feazell as our new Choir Director at Lewisburg Middle School.  Mr. Feazell is excited about this new opportunity and is looking forward to building one of the top middle school choirs in the state.  He is transferring to us from Center Hill Elementary where he has been for the last eight years.  Mr. Feazell finished his BA at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and a Master of Music at the University of Mississippi.  He currently performs with the popular men’s group BealeCanto, where he also serves as their president, booking manager and web master.  He is tenor section leader for the Rhodes Masters Singers in Memphis and sings in the choir at Hernando United Methodist Church.  He also serves as the North MS Chair for All-State Honor Choir.  Mr. Feazell resides in Olive Branch with his wife Catherine who is the Choral Director at Center Hill High School.

Recognizing African-American Mathematicians

During the month of February, Desoto County Schools celebrated the contributions of African-American people in America. In sixth grade math, our students learned about African-American mathematicians and their influences in society. In our class, we paused a few minutes daily to learn about our ‘person of the day’.

One person highlighted was Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes, who was the first woman to earn her PhD in mathematics. She also was the first woman to chair the D.C. school board and taught in the public school system for forty-seven years. Another person we discussed was Dr. Elbert Frank Cox, who was the first man to receive his PhD in mathematics. He taught for forty years at West Virginia State College and Howard University. We also featured Benjamin Banneker, Kelly Miller, Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr., Evelyn Granville, Percy Pierre and a few others.

We began our study with the three women featured in the movie ‘Hidden Figures’; Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn. A few of the students had seen the movie and were really excited about learning more about them. All three of these women made great contributions to the space program at NASA. What really impressed the students was the fact all three of these women and most of the others we discussed, graduated from high school between 12-14 years old and started college and went on to graduate school. The students were enlightened to hear about their struggle and how they did not have civil rights; and in spite of those obstacles, they achieved their goals.

On Thursday, February 23rd, our sixth graders went to see the movie ‘Hidden Figures’.   The students enjoyed the movie and couldn’t wait to get back to school to ask questions and discuss some of the scenes in the movie. During the movie, there were plenty of applause and cheers as those women attained their aspirations.

I challenged the students to continue to research people of all races and cultures and share with the class what contributions were made to our country, society and especially in math!

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Valory Thomas

6th Grade Math

Literacy in Science

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend training on literacy in Science. Being a first year Science teacher, I didn’t understand the whole argument that students should be reading and writing in Science.   This class opened my eyes to a whole new way of teaching Science in the classroom. From my experience and education in Science, we would learn a chapter, go to lab, and take a test. It seemed simple enough until I was the one teaching. Today’s tech savvy students read and watch videos on everything under the Sun. Therefore, I found myself teaching to a classroom full of students who had already watched several videos online about the subject material I was teaching. However, when it was time to take the test, they couldn’t understand the questions of the concepts taught.

Texts enriched in Science concepts that relate to real world scenarios seem to not only hold my students attention, but it explains the Science of those real world scenarios in a way they can understand and relate too. As I began to introduce more and more articles, I noticed the students related the Science concepts learned to the real world relations of the materials read. Next, I had to tackle the problem of getting my students to write about what they read. My students constantly asked, “Why do we have to read and write in Science?” I typically answer with, “it will help you become a better student in all of your subjects not only Science.”

Why is pairing science and literacy instruction important?

“In an age fueled by information and driven by technology, understanding the concepts and process of science is as indispensable as knowing how to read, write, speak, and listen…Adults in the twenty-first century…will need to be scientifically literate-to possess a set of skills that marries knowledge of science concepts, facts, and processes with the ability to use language to articulate and communicate about ideas” (Thier & Daviss, 2002).

Research supports that:

  • Reading to explore science topics, combined with firsthand investigation and discussions, can help students acquire reading strategies even better than direct instruction in those strategies can.
  • Science inquiry is a powerful motivator for learning to speak, write and read effectively. Students find compelling occasions to use writing in the context of scientific inquiry.
  • Science texts offer numerous opportunities to expand student vocabularies, an important benefit given the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading achievement.
  • Content-oriented instruction and writing yield higher gains in reading comprehension than does most strategy-oriented instruction.
  • Class discussions, writing, and read-aloud opportunities increase students’ skills in using science vocabulary and in describing and understanding science concepts.
  • An inquiry approach to informational science texts helps students learn to question and be critical of texts rather than to always defer to the text or use texts simply for finding answers. (Hapgood & Palincsar, 2007)

As a Science teacher, I hope that all of my students will learn and remember each and every concept taught, but I really hope they can remember some of the interesting articles we read that related to the Science concepts to share with others who are interested. I plan to continue providing interesting Science reading materials and assigning writing prompts related to such material because I truly believe it makes our students better academically.

References and Resources

Hapgood, S., & Pallincsar, A.S. (2007). Where Literacy and Science Intersect.. Education Leadership, 64 (4), 56-60.

Thier, M., & Daviss, B. (2002). The New Science Literacy: Using Language Skills to Help Students Learn Science. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Mrs. Ferrell – 7th Grade Science

Animals are More than Companions

I have written before about how blessed I am to teach Science at LMS and have animals in my classroom. I’ve seen many examples of how interacting and petting an animal can help calm students and help me connect with them. The benefits of caring for an animal are well documented. There are countless examples of how caring for an animal builds empathy for humans even in those with the hardest of hearts. Today I’d like to focus on how animals can be more than companions.

In my class I think it’s important to keep up with the latest scientific discoveries and pass these along to my students. I admit I cannot resist reading studies and stories about how animals have contributed to the health and welfare of us humans beyond being superlative companions. One amazing example of this is about how scientists have trained dogs to sniff out the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma. Most of us have heard how a dog’s sense of smell surpasses humans by leaps and bounds. Cancer cells give off different waste products than do healthy cells in the human body. In fact, the difference is so dramatic that dogs are able to identify cancerous cells even in early stages of cancer. Studies have proven that some dogs are able to identify cancerous lesions simply by sniffing a patient’s skin. Researchers have proven that some dogs can detect prostate cancer by simply sniffing a patient’s urine. In addition, researchers have shown dogs to be able to sniff out cancer from a patient’s breath.

Recognizing an impending seizure is another way dogs contribute to human’s health. Even untrained family pet behavior has been documented to change and become protective before a family member has an epileptic seizure. Many people, who suffer from seizures, have a trained dog in their family to alert them of an oncoming seizure. Scientists believe that is it mainly a dog’s advanced sense of smell that allows them to detect something is wrong. The human body is believed to give off different odors before seizures. Of course, as humans, we cannot detect these differences but our canine friends can. They are also better at detecting subtle changes in human’s faces and behavior that occur before a seizure.

Of course, sniffing out changes in a human’s health is not the only way that a dog’s fantastic sense of smell can contribute to our well being. Consider all the bomb sniffing dogs in war zones, dogs that work at public events to detect bombs before detonation, and even the drug sniffing dogs that visit our school occasionally. I certainly don’t want to forget our feline friends. While they do have a stronger sense of smell than humans, it can’t compare to canine abilities.

I marvel at the abilities of the animals we interact with on a daily basis. Our canine friends especially enrich the lives of those of us who are blessed to have them. While not every critter detects cancer as far as we know, most do provide a invaluable aspect of unconditional love to our lives.

Pet Therapy

Many people have experienced first hand and believe strongly in the bond between animals and humans, but current research is beginning to show special impacts from pet/human relationships. Children who have challenges developing relationships with other children and adults have been shown to behave differently with pets. It has been demonstrated that they show improvements in the areas of self-confidence, becoming aware of the needs of the pet, and the ability to take initiative to satisfy the pet…in other words, establishing relationships! Sometimes this even improves abilities of children to transfer these behaviors to people. Very cool!

LMS Community Based Classroom students partner with Mid-South Therapy Dogs this year and receive monthly classroom visits from therapy dog team Hunter, Keeper, and Steve and Laurie Goldman.

Mid-South Therapy Dogs and Friends is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to providing all people the opportunity to experience the special human-animal bond. They are an organization of volunteers providing animal-assisted interactions in health care facilities, schools, libraries, and youth facilities throughout the Mid-South.

Hunter and Keeper are two very special golden retrievers who are certified therapy dogs, and have become valuable classroom friends, providing a calming and educational addition to the classroom experience for our students this year. Our therapy dogs have been a comfort and joy to students and these students are able to feel the love that they provide. The students have been able to connect with these dogs in a relaxed setting, and are learning to read the dogs’ posture, teach them to respond to commands and do tricks, and are gaining pet care and grooming tips and techniques. The social and functional growth we are seeing in our students involved in this program is a very exciting tool assisting them in their quest toward success.

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Allie Thomas-Special Education teacher

Lewisburg Champs Again!!

Lady Patriot and Patriots bring home 5 championships in 3 years!

Boe Frazier takes a touch to settle a high pass.

untitled1After an undefeated season to bring home their first title last year, the Patriots made another great run to earn back-to-back championships. The Patriots finished with a 12-1 record on the season. These included a 3-1 win over Oxford, 12-0 win over Lake Cormorant, and two penalty shootout wins in the tournament against Desoto Central and Center Hill.

Lady Patriots bring home 3rd championship

The Lady Patriots started the season with a large bullseye on their backs. Other teams in the county were fired up about trying to take down the two-time defending champs. With only 5 returners from last year, it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to rebuild this team. The season had many ups and downs, but the girls finished 5-2 in the regular season games with losses to Hernando (overtime) and Center Hill (1-3). Parents and coaches in the county started to talk, thinking there would be a new champion this year

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The county tournament finally arrived and the Lady Patriots were ready to defend their title. Game one went by with ease. The semi-final was a little more difficult, but the Lady Patriots pulled out a 2-0 win against Hernando. The final arrived and the girls were nothing but ready to redeem themselves for the loss to Center Hill during the regular season. The Lady Patriots beat the Lady Mustangs 3-1 to become the DeSoto County champions for the third year in a row. With at least 6 injured players, these girls played with more heart for each other than they did in any other game this season.

Leading Scorers

This year saw more boys earn their way on the score sheet than previous years. Players found the back of the net 47 times in 13 games.

-Logan Coker – 11 goals   (also led the team in assists), Boe Frazier – 11 goals,

Cam Heinze – 8 goals.

Braylon Kettler battles a Center Hill player for possession.

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Inspiration Station

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Motivational quotes can be fundamental in several aspects of our lives. “Waking up on the wrong side of the bed,” can sometimes be reversed by a simple note left on your desk or a few kind words spread when passing by. These notes or “tickets” get us to our next destination stronger than would have otherwise.

“Remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!”   – A.A. Milne

There are several quotes or even stories that motivate people to grow in a positive direction. Sometimes it is the motivation of success that helps a student keep trying. They want to be in the top of their class or they want that perfect score on the ACT. Here at Lewisburg Middle School, we give out “tickets” to one another, students and teachers alike. We are not only educators but motivators because the destinations are critical.

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Mrs. Newsom – 7th Grade Special Education Teacher