PLCs: Don’t Teach Alone 

Take a moment to reflect on what it takes to plan a lesson- a unit with bell work, scaffolding, differentiation, assessments, intervention then REPEAT. Educators know firsthand about this ongoing process of teaching.

But have you ever considered how this ongoing process could be less daunting?

Answer: PLC-Professional Learning Community

Think about it. You with your colleagues meeting to support one another, to share ideas and to discuss what is working and what is not working in your classroom.

While attending the PLC At Work Summit in Phoenix, Az, many researchers and other pioneers in education endorse improving schools through PLCs, and with good reason: PLCs save precious planning time, thanks to the power of collaboration that leads to better teachers.

The hard part is changing our mindset about letting go of some control. A PLC encourages us to become interdependent on one another to ensure that ALL students learn at high levels. As we swap best practices and work to reach students in new ways, we make commitments to continuous personal improvement which leads to continuous learning for ALL students.

As a team, we decide collectively what students must learn, how we know when each student has learned it, and what kind of intervention and support we will provide for students who are not learning the material. You don’t have to make all of these decisions alone.

Gone are the days of working in isolation, when asking for help branded a teacher as the weakest link. Instead, we find common ground, sharing ideas and teaching strategies, and working together to give our students the best education possible.

I challenge each teacher at Lewisburg Middle to not see this as just “the next big thing” or “something else from central office”, but see it as a continuous opportunity to become better at this science of teaching.

Wendy Sharp – 8th Grade ELA

 

Owning Their Learning

Students have been getting down to the root of things in B17 with their ELA class! Recently we did a study on non-fiction texts and learned to summarize and find the central idea from our standard RI.6.2!

These students here are ENTHUSIASTICALLY (and respectfully) arguing about which index card presents an IMPORTANT idea versus a NON IMPORTANT idea from a passage they read. They had to put the details in order and choose four out of nine to create a summary! Not an easy task, but they rocked it with their logic and thinking! It was so cool to hear them talk out their ideas and come to the right conclusions, without teacher input! When students take ownership of their learning, amazing things happen. Give them the opportunity and they can shine!

 

Mrs. Lacey – 6th ELA

“Fight for Your Rights – with Evidence”

Teaching pre-teens and teenagers can definitely be a challenge on a daily basis because they all have very specific opinions, but in 8th grade, we’ve been challenging our students to not only have an opinion but to back it up with evidence! And our students have risen to that challenge.

Late in the second semester, students dove into this challenge by reading Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Students then acted as lawyers and determined whether the narrator was guilty of 1st degree murder or not guilty by reason of insanity, found evidence to support their side, and argued their court case in front of their class. What started as a simple exercise turned into mental battle worthy of any courtroom. Students passionately debated each class, using different points and evidence from the text in a way that blew me away, and they begged for the opportunity to do it again.

 

This past week, we gave students another opportunity to flex their argumentative skills by asking them to debate whether Lewisburg Middle School should participate in a “Shut Down Your Screens Week.” As teenagers in the 21st century, our students absolutely had an opinion on this question, but we wanted them to support their ideas with real evidence. Again, our students eagerly ran with the idea, wanting to make sure that when they wrote the administration discussing their ideas, they could convince them to believe in their side.

After writing their arguments in an essay format, students then debated this hot button topic, and I for one, was amazed with their discussions. As a teacher, my proudest moment is when I can step back and watch students maturely tackle a subject and skill without my guidance. I was honored to simply sit in the back of the room and watch my students have a true discussion of a very complex idea in a way that showed true thought, reflection, and maturity. As our 8thgraders will soon become those brand new high school students, I hope they take the lessons they learn now and apply them to the next phase in their lives, remembering what it feels like to really believe in themselves and work hard to defend their important ideas.

 

Mrs. Hart – 8th ELA

 

How to embrace and sometimes avoid the “Winter Blues” in the classroom.

Coming back from an extended break is hard enough, but trying to keep students motivated in the classroom after a long break when winter sets in can be a difficult task.  Some ideas we use here at LMS is to get students moving! No, not exercise in the classroom, but allow students to participate in activities that allow them to get out of their desks to do their work.  Some good activities are gallery walks, Scoots, or board work races.  Students find these activities fun, and it allows them to burn off some pent up energy.

Another idea to use in the classroom, you have to mix up the normal routine.  When we get stuck in the same routine day in and day out, we as humans typically get a little depressed this time of the year.   So, teachers have to get creative and change that routine up on a weekly basis.  Smiles are always a great indicator of whether or not the routine is a great idea.

A great way to shake off those winter blues in the classroom is to allow students to teach the lesson.  Kids love to be the teacher, and they usually do a great job. We all have fun learning from others.  Usually a lesson taught from your peers with a little friendly competition makes for a fun classroom and memories to talk about later in the year.

Adding color to your classroom can definitely brighten the mood of your students.  Sometimes adding vibrant colors can make students feel like spring is not that far away.  It will definitely boost their spirits as well as changing up seats on a regular basis.  Music playing softly in the classroom helps with uplifting moods as well as engaging in an activity that helps others such as random acts of kindness.

Here at LMS, ELA teachers love to have book tastings that allow students to walk around the room, engage in class discussion on a certain book, and enjoy a room decorated like a fancy restaurant.  Students find these types of activities joyful and entertaining….while learning.

These are just a few of the many activities you may find happening throughout Lewisburg Middle.  Just a simple stroll through the halls of LMS you will find all kinds of “mood boosting” activities to keep students motivated on a daily basis to help fight those winter blues.

Misty Ferrell

Why is LMS #1? How have we maintained being #1 for 4 years in a row?

The answer to both questions is the STUDENTS.  The administration, faculty and staff, also contribute to the accomplishments of the school as well.  The students of Lewisburg Middle School are intelligent, perceptive, kind, astute and best of all, teachable.  It is necessary, vital, crucial, imperative and fundamental to build relationships with our students in order to achieve the educational environment needed to maintain the success we have had in the past few years. Each teacher and each principal make an intentional act of creating a bond with the students of LMS so each student will feel wanted, needed, and a part of the LMS family.

The following quotes are from current LMS Patriots giving reasons why it is enjoyable and fun to attend Lewisburg Middle School:

“It’s the number 1 middle school in Mississippi.”

“By the end of the school year you have a family”

“I have a lot of friends and can make new ones.”

“The bully free environment”

“Even though I am new here, people don’t treat me differently”

“Lewisburg pushes you to do your best.”

“Mr. Meadows allows fun privileges”

“…don’t give a lot of homework and the bus drivers are nice”

“Numerous events and clubs, wheel barrel of fun, field trips, break, Pep rallies and the dodgeball tournament”

“The friends I get to make”

‘Break in the morning”

“…activities that are fun, such as Field Day, color guard, dances and blitzes to prepare for tests”

“Teachers work hard to make school day enjoyable and teach with pizazz by adding games and stations to class”

“Teachers really strive to help students by having fun activities in the classroom”

“Teachers are nice and respectful and will help if you are struggling”

“Everyone is treated with respect”

“The counselors are great”

“The coaches are great”

“The band teachers are fantastic”

“…the Library”

“…the ladies soccer team is great”

“If you go to get help, you get it”

“All the teachers push you to do your best”

Another essential reason STUDENTS enjoy attending Lewisburg Middle School is because TEACHERS genuinely appreciate and enjoy working/teaching at Lewisburg Middle School.

Lady Patriots Win 6th Straight

Coach Taylor’s Blog

Our lady’s soccer team finished yet again with a fantastic season. They finished the season at 11-2 (9-0) in district play. The patriots set a school record, recording a total of 86 goals in just 13 games. The final average margin of victory was 6.6 to our opponents scoring just an average of .3.

With much delay because of weather, the district county championship was ready to play, and yet again on the line. LMS lady Patriots have won district 5 years in a row and counting. We entered the tournament with a very convincing number one seed scoring 83 goals for and only 2 against in district play.

First round matchup: Your lady Patriots took on the fourth seed (Centerhill) in the semifinal match. LMS got off to a hot start and maintained the momentum all game. Taking control from the beginning and never looking back. LMS cruised to a 7-0 victory to move on to the Championship.

Championship: LMS would face off yet again Hernando (for the third year in a row) in the county championship. Needless to say, Hernando was not going down without a fight. After a much hard battle and a tight game our girls pulled through with a 1-0 victory to secure our 6th district championship in a row. Now time to go get that 7th.

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Over the holidays, the Lewisburg Middle Cheerleaders found many ways to spread Christmas cheer to people in the community. Christmas is a time of celebration but can also be a struggling time for some families. The LMS cheerleaders were determined to help everyone have an amazing Christmas. The girls met and planned ways to encourage some struggling families by lifting spirits during the holidays. One of the ways the cheerleaders helped spread Christmas Cheer was to collect and provide food to families in need. The girls gathered food items and donated the items to a local food bank. This was helpful and the donations were incredibly appreciated!! The girls reflected on the experience at their annual cheer tribe Christmas celebration.

Picture1

Mrs. Taylor – 8th Math – Cheer Sponsor

Exciting times!

Half of my first year as a Middle School Teacher is completed! What an exciting time it has been!  In reflecting over my time here so far at LMS, my anxiety and fears have been relieved.  With 9 years of elementary experience I was truly nervous about being in a middle school classroom.  Although this was a challenge and a goal I had set for myself, it still made my palms sweat and my heart beat faster as I walked down the LONG B hall for the first time to enter a classroom with bubbling middle school students. In the first weeks, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect with them or that they wouldn’t accept me being new and all, (it helped that they were tooJ) along with learning middle school math. I quickly realized I was going to survive and your child was going to succeed in 6th grade math, and I LOVE being a middle school teacher!  I have been surrounded by an exceptional group of teachers not only in the math department, but in this school as a whole.  Everyone here has made sure I had what I needed and knew what to expect every step of the way.  Your students have helped make the transition for me much smoother than I expected.  Their kindness and willingness to be patient with me as I learn right alongside them have been very helpful.

Some enlightening moments so far include:  LOCKERS, my oh my!! I didn’t realize the extreme emotion surrounding lockers; Back to School Dance – to dance or not to dance, that was the question of the evening… then it was just run around the room time; Homecoming week – I didn’t plan on giving up an entire day of instruction for the parade and activities, but what a GREAT way to show support for your schools while developing strong community bonds.

Thank you for your support, your kiddos are an amazing group of students that I get the privilege to inspire and teach each day!  Looking forward to our journey together as we begin our second half of 6th grade!

Blessings ~

Mrs. Payne

Almost Christmas Break……..

December is such whirlwind month for 6th graders.  Our 300+ students had such an adjustment from elementary school.  So many changes……lockers, schedules, more freedom, more work, band concerts, choir concerts, chess club competition, basketball & soccer games to attend,  Tacky Tinsel Dance, dodgeball Friday, and semester exams …….Whew!  These girls and boys are doing a fabulous job navigating the halls and the ways of Lewisburg Middle.  Not only are they surviving this year; they are thriving!

Our 6th graders have whole heartedly participated in all our school activities!  They generously supported the LMS cheerleaders food drive and brought in food for other students in need. The 6th Grade Spotlight Bizworld Bracelet sale was a resounding success!  Mrs. Roehm reported that the bracelets actually sold out which enabled the Spotlight students to give to charity. The students are working hard to continue the tradition of giving set forth by the preceding classes.

As exam time draws near, our dedicated 6th graders are studying and preparing to end their first semester here at LMS on a strong note.  Lots of studying, quizzing each other, and flash (study) card making is occurring during study skills classes.  Having these high expectations, strong work ethics, and a desire to grow will help them succeed not only in 6thgrade but beyond.  I am excited to see all the many ways that our students grow and contribute to LMS.

After this busy successful first semester they have earned Christmas break.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to our sweet 6th grade students and our former 6th grade students (our sensational 7th & 8th graders)!!!

 

Mrs. Ramsay – 6th Grade Math

 

Memories of Classroom Pets

     The other day I ran into a former student and she had some words for me that made my day! She asked about the animals in our classroom and said that coming to my Science class was the highlight of her school day! She loved petting Thumper, our rabbit who passed away several years ago, and seeing the geckos and guinea pigs. This sweet student has some physical disabilities that created difficult situations due to her differences from the other kids. No doubt, she endured some comments from a few uncaring kids, but mostly she felt accepted by the other kids. She went onto say there was something special about interacting with our class critters that really put her at ease. I just love that!

     It has been a blessing to be allowed to have animals in my class my entire 13 years of teaching! The best part is that my students are making memories every time they interact with them. I love it when a student overcomes a fear or hesitation they have towards an animal-usually a lizard- and holds them for the first time. They realize how cool they are and their hesitation disappears. It’s a real confidence booster for them! I try to teach my kids the differences between the animals (cold or warm blooded), where they live in the wild, and what a responsibility they are. But best of all, my students are making pleasant memories of our class pets!

 

By: Laura Creager