Friday, May 26, 2017

8East students analyze contemporary propaganda

Eighth graders in Mr. DiGloria's class on 8East spent time last week analyzing contemporary propaganda and using their critical thinking skills to determine who created the message, looking at bias, what message was being sent and to what audience, and rating the propaganda from beneficial to harmful. Working with Mrs. Downs, students used Mind Over Media's curriculum and site to delve deep into recognizing propaganda and techniques used like activating strong emotion or simplifying information and ideas.

Examples of propaganda on the website ranged from news advertising, public relations, entertainment, advocacy and education. Mind Over Media explains that even though the term ‘propaganda’ may have negative connotations, it found nearly everywhere and is present in all aspects of contemporary life. After looking at examples of propaganda on the site as a group and practicing our skills of interpretation and critical analysis, students were asked to define communism using a Google Classroom question post. They then worked in teams of two to watch a propaganda video on communism and answer questions about the video in a Google Classroom assignment. The goal was to shift from passive receivers of information to critically engaged participants.

We then looked at six different definitions of propaganda from Walter Cunningham's, "Propaganda is indifferent to truth and truthfulness, knowledge and understanding; it is a form of strategic communication that uses any means to accomplish its ends," to Neil Postman's, "Propaganda is intentionally-designed communication that invites us to respond emotionally immediately, and in an either-or manner." Students were asked to choose which definition most closely reflected their viewpoint and then share examples of propaganda from six different categories. 

The Media Education Lab's Mind Over Media website has great resources on contemporary propaganda that can be used by students age 13 and above.

Friday, May 12, 2017

April's top readers & books

Wood Hill students and staff really got their reading on for the month of April. A big thanks goes out to Ms. Wilson for filling in while I was on maternity leave. In April, 302 books were checked out from The Hub.  Congratulations to these students who exemplify what it means to enjoy the love of reading. If you're looking for a book recommendation, don't hesitate to ask these students for advice, or our star staff reader, Mrs. DeFusco! 

April's star readers in The Hub:
1. Siham B., 6West
2. Shreya M., 7West
3. Alix T., 8East 
4. Miranda F., 7West
5. Matthew K., 6East
6. Xerxis P., 7West
7. Dhriti M., 6West
8. Nikita P., 6West
9. Sarah Z., 6West
10. Inhye K., 8East 

April's top books in The Hub:
1. Girl v. Boy by Yvonne Collins
2. Th1rteen r3asons why : a novel by Jay Asher
3. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's library by Chris Grabenstein
4. The fault in our stars by John Green
5. Bone. [1], Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith
6. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
7. El Deafo by Cece Bell
8. Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon
9. Free verse by Sarah Dooley
10. Homecoming by Cynthia Voight

A great year for the Wood Hill Gazette

For the last three years the Wood Hill Gazette staff has written, edited, photographed and published a variety of news stories impacting life at Wood Hill Middle School. These stories are published each week to their news website. They've also filmed, edited and shared news reports on their YouTube channel.

The online presence has thrived with 43 stories published this year alone. With over 42,000 page views, this year students found two new features, an advice column by Professor Fix-It and comics by Jaden to be real attention grabbers.

The staff features students from all three grade levels and is led by Digital Learning Specialist Mrs Downs and 7th Grade science teacher Ms. Kouletsis. This year's crop of 8th graders are certainly going to be missed. The group meets Tuesdays after school in The Hub.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Research skills demystified

Students on team 8East last week were introduced to a variety of best practices as they wrap up one research project and begin another with English teacher Mrs. Veznaian. Information literacy skills such as researching, note taking and citing sources are important skills that will help students be successful throughout their years of education.

Working with Digital Learning Specialist Mrs. Downs, those best practices were clarified with tips on how to be a good note taker, tools to take notes, how to cite sources, and how to identify plagiarism. Helping students identify what plagiarism looks like in their own and others' writing is the first step to helping them eliminate it from their work. This video (below) highlights the 10 types of plagiarism.

At Andover Public Schools we have students use EasyBib to cite sources. Looking for ways to have your students  practice identifying plagiarism so they can avoid it  in their writing? This game from Lycoming  College is a great extension activity.

 For students struggling with how to paraphrase  what they've read, a great tool is Purdue's Online  Writing Lab site.

 Directing students to go beyond a simple Google  search and use databases is another tip that leads to  success. The Hub has a variety of databases for  researching any topic.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hour of Code around Wood Hill

Wood Hill students and staff celebrated Computer Science Education Week by doing activities as part of the Hour of Code. The students joined millions of other students and teachers in over 180 countries in doing one-hour tutorials designed for all ages in over 45 languages.

Working with Digital Learning Specialist Mrs. Downs, students in Mr. Tisbert’s engineering class tried out two different coding activities including Khan Academy’s drawing with code program.

Students in Mrs. Hamilton’s science class experimented with coding including an activity creating an ecological pyramid as well as creating their own animated character using three types of coding language.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Feeling chilly? Warm up with these holiday books

Looking for a great story to check out during holiday break? Look no further than these 10 titles that feature holiday stories, classics with a twist, thrills and chills, snowbound adventures and more. Come check them out from The Hub today!

My true love game to me : twelve holiday stories edited by Stephanie Perkins 

Collects twelve holiday-themed romances featuring relationships that blossom during Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice, and Kwanzaa by such young adult authors as Jenny Han, Holly Black, and Myra McEntire.

A Christmas carol : the graphic novel by Charles Dickens

A graphic novel adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel in which a miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future.

Marly's ghost : a remix of Charles Dickens's A Christmas carol by David Levithan

The spirit of Ben's girlfriend Marly returns with three other ghosts to haunt him with a painful journey though Valentine's Days past, present, and future, in a twist to the Dickens classic.

Trapped by Michael Northrop 

Seven high school students are stranded at their New England high school during a week-long blizzard that shuts down the power and heat, freezes the pipes, and leaves them wondering if they will survive.

Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley

Syrah Chen, the fifteen-year-old daughter of a Chinese-American business tycoon, wants to be a professional snowboarder, but after an accident and the painful breakup of a relationship, she struggles to overcome fears about her identity, her sport, and her family.

After the snow by S.D. Crockett

Fifteen-year-old Willo Blake, born after the 2059 snows created a new ice age, searches for his family, who mysteriously disappeared from their frozen mountain home, and encounters outlaws, halfmen, and an abandoned girl along the way.

The princess present by Meg Cabot

In a series of diary entries, Princess Mia describes celebrating Christmas with her friends in Genovia.

Dream soul by Laurence Yep

In 1927, as Christmas approaches, fifteen-year-old Joan Lee hopes to get her parents' permission to celebrate the holiday, one of the problems belonging to the only Chinese American family in her small West Virginia community.

Blizzard! : the storm that changed America by Jim Murphy

Presents a history, based on personal accounts and newspaper articles, of the massive snow storm that hit the Northeast in 1888, focusing on the events in New York City.

Thames doesn't rhyme with James by Paula Danzinger

While spending Christmas in London with her family, her boyfriend, and his family, fifteen-year-old Kendra finds herself roaming the city in another scavenger hunt, like the one in New York the previous summer.

Friday, December 9, 2016

November's top readers

Wood Hill students and staff really got their reading on for the month of November --  328 books were checked out from The Hub.

The sixth grade really shined taking 7 of the top 10 spots for top readers. Congratulations to these students who exemplify what it means to enjoy the love of reading. If you're looking for a book recommendation, don't hesitate to ask these students for advice! 

November's star readers in The Hub:
1. Irene C., 6 West, 31 books
2. Bori K., 6 West, 7 books
3. Meiling C., 6 East, 6 books
4. Manavi V., 6 West, 6 books
5. Shreya M., 7 West, 5 books
6. Bhavya S., 6 East, 5 books
7. Luke B., 8 East, 4 books
8. Siham B., 6 West, 4 books
9. Adeem J., 7 East, 4 books
10. Nikita P., 6 West, 4 books