Studying Can Be fun!

You have a history test coming up, you dread studying for it. Is it really that bad? I can honestly say when I was in school, I thought it was. History was my least favorite subject and I thought it was boring! I of course did it, because that was the way I was raised. I should also probably mention that my mom worked at the school, so she would have KILLED me if I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do!

I moved to the 7th grade for the 2018-2019 school year. This year we divided up subjects within the Special Education Department. I was tasked with science and history. I have had the pleasure of working with Coach Taylor and Coach Acevedo in the history department. They have played some exciting, interactive review games and I can honestly say they have made learning history fun! Now I am by no means saying you don’t need to study the old-fashioned way by reading your notes, but these two teachers have tried to make studying a little more appealing.

For instance, both play a game called Kahoot! ©. They type in questions and the students have 4 choices. If they get it correct, they get points. The faster they answer the more points they receive. I’ll be honest, the first time I played in Coach Taylor’s room I didn’t use my real name, I mean I couldn’t do bad in front of the students! Side note…I was 4th, I didn’t realize you got more points for answering quickly until half way through the game. Coach Acevedo likes to send a code to play the game at home the night before a test. Their incentive…they can earn two free answers for playing, the only stipulation is they must use their real name to get credit. He has approximately 170 students and about 120 students played it. That is 71% of the students studying for a history test. I think that is impressive!

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All Star Hoops Review is another fun history review game.  The class was divided into two teams.  If they get the question correct, their team gets points. Was it worth it?  The kids thought so, the winning team could use their notes on the test for 5 minutes.  Bonus for the teacher, they actually had to study for the review game to earn the reward!

 

Studying is not always fun and games, but teachers are always trying to find ways to get students to study more.  In one of the science classes, you could earn 7 points on your test for writing out flash cards for each question on the study guide.  Let me explain, there were 70 questions, so you could earn one point for every 10 questions you wrote.  One student said, “I’m not writing 70 flash cards for 7 little points!” I explained that 7 points on a test was HUGE and I highly encouraged him to write them.  He took the test and made a 93, with his 7 bonus points he received a 100!  He told me after the test, “thank you for making me do the flash cards”.

LMS has truly amazing teachers and they do everything they can to encourage the students to study and do well in school. They even try to have fun while doing it.  That is one of the reasons why Lewisburg Middle School is the #1 school in the state of Mississippi, 3 years in a row!

Lisa Lewis – SPED Teacher

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Proud to be an American!!

We have rights! Yes, we do!

We have rights! How about you???

I am so proud to live in a country where we can cheer about that.  We are so blessed with the freedoms and rights that we have……and I absolutely love sharing that with my students.  It’s so exciting to begin with how our country was founded and show the students how all the hard work of our forefathers benefited those of us after them more than it benefited them at the time….And boy, can these kids come up with the questions. (Of course, many of their questions I can’t answer.) But it always amazes me at how their minds work.  It’s also fun to notice how the boys are much more interested in history than the girls, so they really come up with the questions.

Fast forward to the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (which is what we have been studying the last couple of weeks).  While learning the Bill of Rights the students ask tons of “what if” scenarios. Like I said, they keep me on my toes.

Last week we finished our unit. The students were asked to work in groups and brainstorm a way to present one of the rights to the class. I got even more excited because they were really fired up and coming up with creative ways to present for their group using props, accessories, skits, raps, and dramatic readings.  Here are a few of the great presentations.

Mrs. Fisackerly – 6th Grade Social Studies

 

Random Acts of Kindness Week 2019

       The counselors are excited to bring to Lewisburg Middle, Random Acts of Kindness Week this school year. Random Acts of Kindness day is observed on February 17theach year. This year the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation decided to extend the day into a week-long celebration. Since this falls on our short week in February, we decided to stretch out Kindness week over the last two weeks in February.

      We will kick off Random Acts of Kindness week with our Mix It Up lunch on February 14, 2019. Our Mix It Up lunch takes students in each grade and randomly mixes them among their peers in hopes of encouraging students to reach out to a different group of peers. During this Mix It Up lunch, teachers will talk with students about what kindness means to them, what it looks like, and how we can show one another kindness. Teachers will introduce our Random Acts of Kindness QR Scavenger Hunt for the following week and our family book read, Wonder.

      We are encouraging families to read Wonder together and then join us at a later date for a family movie night at the school. The QR Scavenger hunt will be set up around the school during the week for students to participate. The students will scan a QR code that will give them a random act of kindness to complete before the week is over. Throughout the week, ten QR codes will be located around the school. Once the student has documented at least five random acts of kindness, they may turn in their challenge card to the Counselors’ office.

      During the last week of February, we have planned a different activity each day to encourage the students to think of others. These days include High Five Monday, Band Together, Post a Positive Comment, Bookmark Kindness, and Happy Feet Friday. Our hope is to help spark kindness as the students walk through the doors and help them continue to spread kindness throughout the day. Positive posters will be displayed and videos about kindness will be played during this week to encourage students to spread kindness. Mr. Meadows will even join in the fun with daily announcements about kindness during the morning announcements.

      We hope this sparks the kindness flame in students this school year. We would love to see random acts of kindness carried out throughout their lifetime!!!

What makes a “Good” coach?

Initially, I wanted to make this blog post about our middle school’s soccer seasons, regardless of the outcome (congratulations to our girls’ team for winning their 5th consecutive county championship!), but after a week full of coaching, playing, and watching sports, I decided to take this in a different direction. I’ve been lucky to have been given the opportunity to do what I love for the last five years at LMS, and each one of those five years, I have learned just as much from my athletes as they have learned from me. I firmly believe that a good coach knows that there is so much more to this job that goes far beyond just the playbook. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy winning just as much as the next guy, but I believe that as a middle school coach, my priority is to grow our players and get them ready for high school, and to teach them about themselves along the way. Coaches should use athletics as an opportunity to teach life lessons. For example, I am passionate about what I do, and this is the first step to having our student athletes care about what they do. We must model as well coach; however, at the same time, we must also be aware and in tune with our players’ feelings, be able to push our athletes further than they’ve been pushed, teach them about adversity, keep our feelings out of the game as best as possible, and most importantly, make sure they never lose their passion and love for the beautiful game. I’ve even had a couple of them tell me that they had never considered doing anything other than playing until they saw how much I enjoyed doing my job, and now they’re even considering coaching in the future. While I have been lucky enough to help lead the boys to two soccer titles, I think seeing them grow into fine young men means so much more than any trophy. Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to coaching: whose kid we should play, what the starting lineup should be, the tactics we should have used, and ironically, most of these comments will come from people who don’t know the first thing about the coach or sometimes even the sport. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my job, and I love watching my athletes mature in the great people they’re destined to be.

Coach Acevedo – Social Studies

Turning and Spinning into 2019 with LMS Dance

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What a whirlwind this school year has been! This year, at Lewisburg Middle, a dance team was formed and reinstated from years past. The co-sponsors, Heather Sowell and myself (Ariel Keen), along with Coach Mandy Little and the support of the amazing administration of LMS, took on creating this team with their combined years of experience and love of the sport.

 

LMS has allowed these girls the opportunity to express their talents through dance, create lasting friendships, and build a work ethic that will last a lifetime.

 

Throughout the year, LMS dance has done some pretty amazing things. We have a wonderful group of girls who have hearts bigger than their love for dance, and decided to begin a Kindness initiative that has lasted though the year. From promoting BeKind at the beginning of the school by passing out bracelets and candy in the mornings on the first week, all the way to coming together to create toiletry bags for the homeless, these girls have shown their love of kindness though actions.

 

 

The hard work and team support these girls have exhibited throughout the year is top notch as well! Each individual has worked with the effort to be the best team they could be, and we could not be more proud of them. The long hours, sweat, injuries, and lots of practice led to two 6th place wins in competition this year. Once at the NDA Nashville Classic in November, and again against many other middle schools at the State Competition in Jackson, MS in December.

 

What a successful first year this has been and we are looking forward to many more to come!!

 

Tales from “B Hall”

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The holiday season is always one for the books, but one of my favorite stories happened right before we got out for break.  I was addressing some behavior problems (I mean, it was almost Christmas, so naturally we…I mean they…were a bit antsy), and I saw one of my students just smiling away in the back of the room, not taking my lecture seriously in any way.  I said, “Can you please stop.”  Their response was, “I am resting my lip on my top bracket.”  I’m sorry, but you CANNOT argue with that.  I had been roasted.

 

Another Tale from  “B Hall”

 

When my Social Studies classes were studying the five themes of geography, they were asked to randomly choose a country to research. Each student was responsible for researching the five themes (location, place, human environment interaction, movement, and region), create a flip book, and then present their project to the class. On the last day of presentations, one of my very creative students began presenting the country of Venezuela. For movement, many students chose to research products their country imported and exported. This student proudly told our class that Venezuela exported biscuits! After his presentation, I  had to ask him what type of biscuits Venezuela exported. He happily informed me that Venezuela exported regular biscuits, just like the biscuits that are served here! Don’t worry, there were no points deducted for his creativity!

 

– Mrs. Weaver

-Mrs. Haslip

6th grade ELA and Social Studies

 

Should we reward bad behavior? 

This is a very simple question, with a resounding answer of no.  However, a more complex question is: Should we be nice to students that commit bad behavior?  Should they be given nice gestures, even though they sometimes make bad judgment calls?  This is the educational equivalent of which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Who should show respect, kindness, or generosity, first, the teacher or the student?

Educational scholars agree that bad student behavior is a symptom of a much larger problem.  As a group we understand that students are faced with many issues: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, missing parent(s), and poverty, etc.  Students use the bad behavior to mask the problems in their lives. Historically behavior is addressed in a punitive manner with very little concern for the root of the behavior.

When students don’t respond positively to this approach we begin an educational downward spiral.  It looks similar to this:

  • The student resists
  • Teacher becomes agitated
  • Student becomes more apathetic
  • Teacher writes student up
  • Student spends a day out of class for ALC
  • Student is now a day behind and more apathetic
  • Teacher’s anxiety is going high because she’s held accountable for student’s success
  • Student becomes more agitated and completely refuses to work and he/she becomes disruptive to the class
  • Because of the disruption the teacher is not able to adequately instruct the other students.
  • The class productivity goes down/teacher’s stress and anxiety reaches an even higher level.
  • Student is sent to ALC for three days and will never catch up, because he/she couldn’t careless about the class or teacher

Beginning in January of 2018, Lewisburg Middle School decided to try an experiment to help answer those problems.  The administration began picking one teacher each week to nominate four students from their class to have a sit down meal with on Fridays.  The students were chosen simply because they were Lewisburg Patriots, no other reason.

Each Thursday the students were personally invited by the school administration and told which teacher nominated them.  On Friday, the students were given Chick Fil A and each student and the teacher were served their meal by the administrator.

During the meal the students were asked simple questions: What was your high moment and low moment for the week?  What do you want to be when you grow up? What is one thing you would change if you could be Principal for a day?  These questions were meant to provoke conversation and build relationships between staff and students.  This was a time of acceptance and friendship, not chastisement or discipline.

The teacher and administration began to see a different side of each student.  The inviting atmosphere allowed the students to let their guard down. One student admitted that their bedroom had so many leaks in it that the sheetrock was falling of the wall. Another student shared with the teacher that this was the first time he had ever eaten Chick Fil A because it is too expensive for his parents to afford.  I have to admit that the next week he ate his second Chick Fil A sandwich ever!

One hundred and fifty students were able to participate in this experiment of kindness.  In almost every case the student’s attendance went up, their discipline went down, and their class performance went up.  The students were able to connect with their teacher in a way they never had before.  They had an advocate in the building they felt comfortable with.

The educational environment is rigid and stressful.  Expectations are at an all time high for both student and teacher.  Convincing students to perform at their best is paramount. Wouldn’t it be awesome if students looked forward to working hard for the teacher?  The results of this year long experiment proves that building a positive relationship with students will encourage students to take pride in their work. Once the students begin to take pride in their work the teacher’s stress will go down.  The teacher’s morale will go up and then they will become a more effective teacher.

I believe the answer to our initial question is that the teacher should be the first to show respect, kindness, and generosity.  I have had an awesome time over the past year proving it.  I have gotten to know and understand the students at Lewisburg Middle School on a much more in depth level.  I have also become more understanding of the stresses and struggles the teachers have to live with on a daily basis.

(I would like to recognize BankPlus of Olive Branch and B and H Insurance of Hernando for financially supporting this experiment. I would also like to thank the teachers at Lewisburg Middle School for embracing this “new” way of addressing student issues.)

 

Shane Wigley

Assistant Principal

Lewisburg Middle School

Creating a Growth Mindset

 

 

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Research shows that successful learning outcomes happen when children believe that intelligence grows with effort. While helpful in all subjects, this idea is especially powerful in math class, due to the prevalent belief in society that people are either good or bad at math. If one cannot solve a difficult math problem quickly, then one is not a “math person.” Research suggests that adopting this belief can actually make it come true. This idea that, by believing in it, people may actually be at risk of confirming a negative stereotype is called stereotype threat. Those who successfully combat the stereotype are often those who refuse to identify with it in the first place. In other words, simply by stating “I am a math person,” a child is more likely to perform like a “math person.”

Mathematics is an intrinsic part of a young child’s natural environment. Math learning develops naturally when children are enthusiastic and curious about their environment. Using the following mathematical mindset strategies, parents and teachers can help motivate children to be successful and confident in math.

How can teachers help?

To encourage a mathematical mindset, teachers need to provide children with an opportunity to discover mathematics on their own before the teacher introduces strategies and methods. This develops a child’s intuitive number sense and problem solving abilities. Teachers can also ask children for multiple strategies to solving real world example problems. Teachers can encourage children to discuss the strategies they used and compare the different approaches they tried. This ability to explain one’s work and reason through to a solution is a skill that will serve children greatly as they grow up and enter the work force, as well. Mathematicians often propose theories and need to justify the logical steps to their ideas.

How can parents help?

Parents can also encourage a mathematical mindset in their children with some simple activities. Parents should always be encouraging and excited about math. Provide kids with lots of math puzzles and games to develop solid number sense. Focus on a child’s persistence in problem solving and never associate math success with speed. This should minimize math anxiety. To avoid stereotype threat, parents should never say things like, “Oh, I’m just not good at math.” Instead, encourage a growth mindset by letting children know that math is all about hard work. Use growth praise like, “Fantastic problem solving!” or “Great job! You worked so hard on that!”

Remember, mathematical learning grows naturally when children are enthusiastic and curious about their environment. Keep the learning fun and make the growth mindset a part of children’s everyday routines.

 

Source: https://minds-in-bloom.com/encouraging-growth-mindset-mathematics/

Mrs. Barker – 7th Grade Math

Holocaust Unit

What do an old-maid watchmaker turned leader in the Dutch Underground, a teenager’s account of daily terrors of survival, a four year old’s perfectly timed illness, and a fifteen year old girl who documented life experiences in her writings and art all have in common? Each of these different perspectives and individuals’ lives was impacted by the Nazi invasion during a historical period called the Holocaust.

Students in eighth grade AP English classes read novels from these perspectives and made presentations to teach their classmates about their novel.  Presentations included acting out pivoting chapters or presenting the plot diagram through PowerPoint. It started with a book tasting where they could read the first few pages of each novel and select their top 3. Then, each literature group spent the next four weeks discussing and analyzing the plot, conflict, character development and the effects of figurative language.

 

The books referenced are The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, Night by Elie Wiesel, The Survivor’s Club by Michael Bornstein, and Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys.

Mrs. Sharp – 8th Grade ELA

LMS Choir

The LMS Choir has been hard at work for the Christmas season. We came together as a group and decided we wanted to find ways to spread more Christmas cheer and joy this year. A couple of the ways we did that were with an outreach project to four nursing homes and a Solo Dessert Christmas Celebration.

 

The students all expressed positive feedback about our outreach to four nursing homes in our community.

We started at Silver Creek because it is a spacious and inviting building where most of the residents are independent. The children can get a good warm-up and become comfortable with the process. We have selected students who act as ambassadors for us. They come in with me and while I set us up, the ambassadors talk to the residents and wish them a happy holiday season.

From there we went to Wesley Meadows in Hernando, MS. This was our first time to go there. I become aware of a new area they had built and while I was there with my church choir, I became aware it was spacious enough to hold us. The residents were delightful and so responsive. We loved this place and we will definitely return.

Hermitage Garden and DeSoto Health Center were the last to homes visited. I was able to visit with a resident in Hermitage Garden who was a teacher in DeSoto County Schools. We taught together at CHES for the eight years I was there. It was an awesome experience for me to share the choir with her specifically. The children really feel the love and joy of sharing at DeSoto Health Center where many of the residents are bed ridden and in need of consistent nursing attention. This is always everyone’s favorite place to share the Christmas Spirit.

 

Our Solo Dessert Christmas Celebration was an opportunity for LMS students to attend a Christmas social where choir students sang Christmas songs as solos in the cafeteria and our parents served Ice-cream Sundays. There were several sing along songs and many students jumped up to do dances. The Christmas break was set into motion and surely will spread throughout our community. Over 250 students attended and choir students grew a little as they braved the fears of singing infant of their peers.

 

 

Merry Christmas

Christian Feazell

LMS Choir