Blitz at the Burg

Teachers at LMS have been busily working this school year to make sure all students have the opportunity to receive everything they need to master the objectives and competencies of their subject area. With the school year winding down and everyone anticipating the much needed summer break, how can we keep our students focused to finish the year strong and to “show off” all the knowledge they have obtained over the course of the school year? Both 7th and 8th grade Math teachers prepared a Blitz day to take place the day before the state test is administered to make one more attempt at reinforcing the knowledge learned in an exciting and fun way. What better way to do this than to focus on math all day long. See below for some of the activities pictured: Linear Equations Jeopardy in one of our English teacher’s classroom, Equations relay and Functions task cards in the gym, and Angles in the outdoor classroom. These are just some of the activities designed for this fun day. Yes, this took a lot of hard work and preparation by our fabulous math teachers and great team work of various subject area teachers all working on math for the day to make this day possible.
I’ll leave you with this Haiku from retired Math teacher, Yolanda Marín-Parker:
Our world without math,
Like dividing by zero,
Exist? – it cannot!

 

 

By: Heather Hood – 8th Grade Cyber Foundations

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MAAP Testing

It’s that time of year again! Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) testing is underway at LMS. MAAP testing is used to measure our students progress on the English Language Arts and Mathematics College and Career Readiness Standards and to provide reliable results to guide instruction through information driven instruction.

Our middle school classrooms have been in gear focusing on preparing students to apply the skills and knowledge they’ve learned throughout this school year, enhancing their education journey. In addition, these tests provide the data needed to identify areas of strengths and weakness in order to aid students on that very journey.

Our 6th grade ELA classrooms have undergone an ELA “BOOTCAMP”! They begin each day with what good readers do when they read. Once they are comfortable reading text they move to a standard based center. They watch videos and work in groups to practice what is taught. When ready they are given multiple choice questions to answer. When focusing on examples of writing prompts, they are encouraged to model their thinking when breaking down the prompt. An example of this is creating a Do/What chart with DO one side of the chart and WHAT on another, explaining their thought process as they complete the chart using the prompt.

Our 6th grade MATH classrooms have implemented a “READY TO ROCK MY MATH MAAAP TEST” review and given Item Sampler test to familiarize students with MAAP format.

In addition, Math and ELA Blitzes have been going on around the building. The Blitz is usually an entire day devoted to that subject. Students go from different rooms or rounds, and work on different skills in each location. Trivia, mock escape rooms and dodgeball are incorporated to make the review FUN!

What are a few things that you can do as a parent to ensure less stress and the best results from your student tester? A good night’s sleep prior to testing is essential. Long testing sessions take endurance and having brain power. A good breakfast with protein wakes up the brain and sustains hunger throughout testing sessions. Quick notes of encouragement in lunchboxes or on binders send positive messages. LMS parents have made personal posters with words of encouragement to cheer their tester on. Students who experience high test anxiety need to be reassured that showing progress is important, but not to stress and to just do their best! Test scores do not define you, but your work ethic does! Most importantly, show GRIT…

Give it your all

Redo if necessary

Ignore giving up

Think positive

Best of luck to all our Lewisburg Middle School students on your testing. You are doing a great job and we are so proud of you!

 

Mary Lesa Barnes-6th Grade Inclusion SPED Teacher

Why is summer reading so important?

As summer is approaching quickly, I think we all need a quick reminder of how important it is to make sure your child is either reading or being read to over the summer break. Summer reading is critical for students to retain knowledge and skills that they have learned throughout the school year. Parents, students and teachers can avoid regression by make sure that kids take time to do some sort of reading during the summer months. Reading over summer vacation may not be a priority for children, but parents and teachers need to make it one. Some teachers will have a summer reading list that they require their students to read but some do not provide one. Even if a teacher does not require certain books to be read, it is still very important for the student to continue to read. When a student continues to read over the summer not only does it help them grow in knowledge but it also helps them to maintain and develop critical thinking skills for the coming year. Reading is likened to exercise for the brain. When a child is encouraged to read, not just over the summer break, it strengthens their reading skills. A University of Tennessee, Knoxville, research study on reading during the summer shows that, “children who do not read over the summer lose at least two months of reading development. This is often referred to as the ‘summer slide’. On the other hand, students who do read over the summer may gain a month of proficiency in reading.” Reading over the summer is not a suggestion to keep kids busy; it’s a critical requirement to help students stay on track for their entire educational career and beyond.

Encouraging students to read during the summer can sometimes be tricky. There are several resources that a parent and child can use to help maintain their reading levels and current grade level skills. One is that Desoto County has several public libraries that you can go to and check out books. There is even a free app on your phone that you can connect your Olive Branch library card to and can “check out” books on the app and read them through there. The app is called Libby and it is free. You only need to have your Olive Branch library card in hand to register. A second free source is Readworks.com. On readworks not only are they reading passages on a topic of their choice but they are also answering comprehension questions after they read the article. The website even offers a set of grade level vocabulary words in the article so the child can learn new words that they might not have previously known. This will continue to help sharpen their reading comprehension skills throughout the summer. You can even select the grade level for the article and questions. So one could start at a lower grade level and work their way up to a higher one as the summer progresses along with their comprehension skills. A third resource is newsela.com which is very similar to readworks.com.

One crucial tid bit about reading over the summer is to make sure to try and keep it as fun for the student as possible. Give your child the opportunity to choose books of their own interest. Reading over the summer is a necessity, but it should also be fun!

Candace Cox – Sped teacher

Last Days of School

As I thought about a topic for my blog, I thought that as teachers, we spend so much time and energy planning and implementing our “first days” of school plans and activities. What about the last days of school? Aren’t they important? We focus on establishing our classroom rules, policies, and procedures in those first days, and even work to begin the relationship building process, but are the last day less important?

We’ve had an entire school year to bond with each student that crosses the threshold of our classroom door. Now more than ever, we have great opportunities to make big differences in the lives of our students. With the stresses of the school year winding down, it’s a great time to strike up meaningful conversations and class discussions on making important choices, what to expect as they move to the high school (we know they all are feeling the stress and nervousness), and get to know them as kids away from school. Take time to attend a ball game or a concert, write them notes of encouragement during testing, or strike up a conversation about their summer plans.

It’s also a great time to continue learning with some of the pressure of testing off. Let them get creative. It’s a great time to do the activities and side projects that we thought of after the lesson was over. In science, it’s an ideal time for them to try their hand at some engineering and design, or redesign. Creating TED Talks or planning a community service project as a cooperative group keeps them thinking, planning, and implementing.

This is also an ideal time for our students to provide us with valuable feedback. Create a survey that includes their input about content presentation techniques; what they think works, doesn’t work, or can be improved. Have them reflect on and rate lesson activities in the same way.

When the end of the year approaches, it is easy to keep our sights on summer. However, it is also an ideal time to continue building relationships with students and their families, continue to teach through cooperative projects and activities, have in depth discussions about their upcoming first year of high school, and gain valuable feedback that can only help us to improve our instructional practices and the positive and effective classroom experience we strive to provide.

By: Rebecca Newton – 8th Grade Science

Cinquains, Haikus, and Slam Poems, Oh My!

Mrs. Sowell and Mrs. Keen recently taught a unit on poetry. I will admit, poetry is not really my thing, but this unit was fun. The students watched examples of slam poems and then worked in groups to write and perform their own slam poems. They learned about the history of Haiku and practiced writing “Who am I?” Haikus and having their classmates guess the animal. Cinquains were next, taking us back to those early school years of clapping out syllables. They analyzed “She Walks in Beauty” and wrote a reflection. They also looked at shape poems and narrative poems. Each student completed a portfolio to show all they had learned. They had to include 3 original poems with a visual. They were able to choose published poems for the next section. They had to choose 3 that were related to a set topic list and 1 that “spoke to them”. They had to include their annotation and reflection of “She Walks in Beauty” and a ½ to a full page of concluding remarks about the portfolio and their thoughts on poetry in general. There were some very creative projects and for the most part the students seemed to enjoy this project. I know I enjoyed it!

 

Mrs. Pulse – 7th Grade SPED

National Junior Honor Society

This year’s National Junior Honor Society was a tremendous success. First of all, we had our induction ceremony back in November with fifty-six new members being inducted. All of our inductees had to pass a rigorous application process just to be considered. Each inductee had to have a 94 combined yearly average from the year before, write an essay, and have teacher recommendations to be approved into the National Honor Society. Once in, they have to put in eight hours of community service. This year’s community service hours include: Helping with “Random Acts of Kindness” for the Girl Scouts, Hilton Worldwide Mats for the Homeless, Ronald McDonald House, helped clean up debris from flood victims in MS, worked at a fall festival for church, volunteer coaching, distributed food for needy families at Lander’s Center, put on a fundraiser for Wounded Warrior project, packaged boxes for Operation Christmas Child, assisted cleaning up Conger Park for Clean Up Day, cleaning up trash at Byhalia Event Center, and even serving Cancer patients supper.

In addition to helping outside our school, students also volunteered inside our school. Several students have forfeited their daily study skills period to help tutor children. Some students help clean teacher’s rooms and decorate rooms. Furthermore, members even help the librarian shelve books, check out books, and delete books from the system. Lastly, students even help with the special community classroom.

The National Junior Honor Society had a service project this year as well. The members sold carnations and candy valentine grams. The student body had so much fun getting flowers and candy from their significant others, but the real treat was helping out others in need. The proceeds of the valentine gram fundraiser went to the Healing Hearts Child Advocacy Center in Southaven, MS. Healing Hearts Child Advocacy Center’s mission is to respond to child abuse with a supportive team approach that reduces trauma through advocacy, treatment, education and prevention. They do great work for our children.

In closing, the NJHS members have performed many community service hours to the public. The community service hours were volunteering hours where nothing is expected in return. The reward of community service is helping someone in need. Service is just one of our five characteristics of a NJHS member. Last thought, I hear from time to time in my life people say, “If this generation is going to run the country one day, we are going to be in trouble”. Well whoever has said this has obviously not seen the works of our NJHS members and the rest of the Lewisburg middle school student body.

 

Mr. Wiltshire – 7th Grade Science

Review Days

One of the favorite parts of review is getting days like these to get out of the classroom! The students were able to review math problems by completing a scavenger hunt in the hallway.  It makes learning fun and getting their exercise in for the day! This particular review was finding volume of spheres, cones, cylinders, and rectangular prisms.  This concept applies every problem to a real world concept! The week before spring break, the students completed a project on volume as well.  They brought in an edible shape and found the volume of it.  Then, they got to have a party and eat their food item they brought! Bringing math into life is fun!

 

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Mrs. Bruno – 8th Grade Math

Finding Volume

Recently 8th grade math students at Lewisburg Middle measured the volume of numerous items. They were able to bring specific shaped items to class and measure them. The shapes included spheres, cones, cylinders, rectangular prisms, and cubes. Once the students completed their notes page, where  they could record the height, width, and length the students could enjoy their snack while solving the problems related to the item. The students enjoyed a hands on lesson and their math snack. Most of the students brought extra items, and many students were able to measure all of the shapes. Some of the food items included, ice cream cones and a scoop of ice cream for the sphere, rice Krispy treats for rectangular prisms, and cans of soda as cylinders.

 

Mrs. Taylor – 8th Grade Math

Egg Drop Challenge

Egg drop projects teach students to use logic and teamwork to protect their eggs from a fall. There are a variety of ways to conduct an egg drop. We began by explaining the process and handing out instructions to the students. Set the parameters of our egg drop and a deadline when the students must be ready to drop their eggs.

 

Many successful egg drop designs used a sturdy container to protect the contents from the initial shock of the drop. These hard containers may be plastic food containers or cardboard boxes. But the hard container alone is not enough to protect the egg completely. The container needs padding inside. Styrofoam, sponges, cotton balls, bubble wrap or even wadded notebook paper can all make good padding inside the container. Students practiced with a variety of materials before dropping their eggs.

 

We had another design using straws, this was one of my favorites. Straws have firm walls around an empty space. The firm walls act like the sturdy container, while the empty space provides shock absorption for the egg. Students built a shape around the egg with the straws. Held the straws in place with tape. They added padding between the straws and the egg. They place the egg inside an orange then inside a glove and blew it up. The frame absorbs the shock, preventing the egg from coming in contact with the surface.

 

A hard shell is not the only way to protect an egg during an egg drop. Plastic bags are less of a shell, but they provide a structure to hold padding material around the egg. Add padding such as foam, bubble wrap or packing peanuts between the egg and the side of a small plastic bag. Place the small bag into a medium-sized bag and add more padding around the small bag. Place both bags into a large plastic bag with additional padding around the medium bag.

 

We dropped each container from 3 different heights. Each height your egg survived, we moved up to the next height. We had a lot of survivors but more importantly we had a lot of fun. We were able to laugh and support each other throughout the week. This project was definitely a huge HIT.

 

6th grade Science with Ms. Lewis

Making Lasting Impressions

Why did I become a teacher?  There are a number of reasons why I became a teacher. Yes, I do love having my summers off (FYI: we don’t technically have summers off. Teachers lesson plan for the upcoming year. Teachers tutor or teach summer school. Teachers attend seminars, conferences, and trainings to become better teachers.)  Yes, I do love having more time to spend with my own children. But, the reason why I became a teacher is the impact you make on a student’s life. Teachers can make a lasting impression on their students; however, students can also make a lasting impression on their teachers as well.

 

I had many great teachers. However, I remember one distinctively. She was my twelfth grade English teacher. She made English fun and she was excited about teaching English. She was also caring; she took time to get to know you. We did do a lot of work in her class. We did it without protest, because we knew she expected us to do our very best and she knew all of us had potential. She respected us and we respected her. Her name was Mrs. McKinney.

 

Mrs. McKinney inspired me to become a high school English teacher. I taught English for seven years. I did enjoy teaching English. I had many students come back and visit me after they had graduated. I was given several “Thank You” notes and gifts.  However, I wanted to make even a stronger impact, so I made the switch from teaching English to becoming a special education teacher. This is my fifth year of being an English inclusion teacher and I love it. I have a smaller group of children and with this smaller of group of children I get to build better relationships with them. I have time to get to know them, to get to know their interests, and get them to come out of their shell. Sometimes they feel more comfortable with me than their general education teacher. They know I am there to help them in the classes that they are struggling. I hope I am making an impact in their lives like Mrs. McKinney did with me. I am equally rewarded with students making an impact on me. There are some students that you will never forget and that you still wonder how they are doing after all these years.

Teachers can make lasting impressions on students, but students can also make lasting impressions on teachers. Here is one student that will always be in my heart.

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Mrs. Belk – Special Education Teacher