Thursday, June 8, 2017

May's top readers, top books in The Hub

May was a busy month at Wood Hill with 239 books checked out from The Hub. The Hub's star readers feature sixth graders in seven of the top ten slots -- go sixth grade! Our top reader was Alix T. from team 8East. Congratulations to these students who exemplify what it means to enjoy the love of reading. The top books in The Hub are all fiction titles for the month of May, with the Selection series taking three of the top five slots. 

May's star readers in The Hub:
1. Alix T., 8East 
2. Siham B., 6West
3. Irene C., 6West
4. Matthew K., 6East
5. Manavi V., 6West
6. Inhye K., 8East
7. Sunjae K., 6West
8. Aidan L., 6East
9. Sarah Z., 6West
10. Sophia N., 7East 

May's top books in The Hub:
1. The Elite by Kiera Cass
2. Harry Potter and the goblet of fire by J.K. Rowling
3. The One by Kiera Cass
4. The Selection by Kiera Cass
5. Between shades of gray by Ruta Sepetys
6. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's library by Chris Grabenstein
7. Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon
8. The fault in our stars by John Green
9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
10. Th1rteen r3asons why : a novel by Jay Asher

Friday, June 2, 2017

WHM Book Fair coming June 9-16

Wood Hill Middle School will be hosting a Scholastic Book Fair beginning Friday, June 9 and running through Friday, June 16. Students are encouraged to come by during the school day with their classes, including during open library at lunch, and after school from 2-2:30 each day. The book fair will be open each day from 7:30-2:30 in The Hub.

Parents are encouraged to swing by The Hub during Celebration of Learning on Friday, June 9 as the book fair will be open for shopping. It's a great chance to pick up some books for summer reading. Teachers will have wish lists (as well as a wish list for The Hub).

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Wood Hill celebrates THINK Week

While the majority of the seventh grade was at The Leadership School at Kieve last week -- about a dozen students stayed behind and participated in THINK Week at Wood Hill. Curriculum focused on two areas -- digital citizenship & online safety, and how to unplug. Thanks to all the staff who helped make the week such a unique and fun experience for the students.

Each day focused on one letter of the THINK acronym -- T: Thoughtful, H: Honest, I: Intelligent, N: Necessary and K: Kind. On Monday, the seventh graders were introduced to the THINK acronym and discussed today's digital culture. Each day activities and assignments were posted in Google Classroom and reflections on their learning were recorded using Flipgrid. 

Students brainstormed ideas of citizenship, what makes a good citizen, communities they are citizens of, and how these qualities apply to their digital world. They shared their answers on large poster paper. Many words kept coming up -- like respect, trustworthy, helpful, and honest. The vocabulary was turned into a word cloud using Tagul by Sophia and Hafsa. 

On Tuesday, students read about fake news and learned about evaluating sources as part of H is for Honest day. On Wednesday, the day began by planting pear trees in front of Wood Hill with Mr. Tisbert. Deputy Director of Public Works Marc Fournier, who is an arborist, visited to teach students the best way to plant trees. 

Students learned about the rules for being safe on social media during I is for Intelligent day. Sophia, Sophie and Nyree created a Kahoot quiz on these tips and other information learned throughout the week. Drew, Richie and Owen created a student user agreement rules poster using Google Drawings.

Throughout the week students participated in mindfulness activities with school nurse Mrs. Canavan and Social Worker Mrs.Casey. 

On Thursday, students unplugged with Mr. Soffron drawing and creating crafts in the art room. They also watched a movie with Mrs. Billings, relaxing on comfy furniture from The Hub. Other teachers in the school also participated with unplugged activities throughout the week.

For K is for Kind day, students looked at examples of others using social media for good deeds including the @westhighbros Twitter account created by students at Iowa City West high school.  As a final project, the THINK Week students created a Twitter wall bulletin board outside The Hub with positive tweets about others in the school. The rest of Wood Hill is getting involved by submitting a tweet to @WHM Positive Vibes in the box inside The Hub. Thanks to Sophia for choosing the great name! One tweet is shared each day during morning announcements. 

As another final project Tom put together a movie featuring students and staff sharing how they unplug. The movie will be shared during the next school-wide Community Meeting.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Hall Librarians visit The Hub

The teen room librarians Anna and Renata from Memorial Hall Library visited The Hub on May 8 to share with students this year's summer reading program and book talk some great young adult literature. With the sixth graders, they book talked In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Amina's Voice by Hena Khan and Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond.

With the 8th grade classes, they talked about Noggin by John Corey Whaley, Road to Riverdale edited by Mark Waid, Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince and Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older.

The summer reading kick-off party is Monday, June 26 at 2 p.m. To participate in Memorial Hall Library's 2017 Teen Summer Reading Club students must read any five books (or read for 10 hours) and track them in their reading log. They then talk to a librarian to receive their first prize -- coupons for free stuff from local Andover businesses, a raffle ticket, a free book and a pencil. Then they choose which raffle they want to enter. The grand prizes include everything from a "date night" package of a Casa Blanca and Orange Leaf gift certificates to a ukulele. For each additional five books students read, they get another raffle ticket to win more prizes.

Andover Public Schools has required summer reading for each grade level. The Andover middle school librarians also put together a list of suggested reads this summer. They include:

6th grade
Small as an Elephant, Jennifer Jacobson
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Chris Grabenstein
A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park
Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson
Fish in a Tree, Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Outcasts, John Flanagan

7th grade
The Thing About Jellyfish, Ali Benjamin
Soar, Joan Bauer
Cinder, Marissa Meyer
The Iron Trial, Holly Black
The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded, James Ottaviani
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, Jazz Jennings
Garvey’s Choice, Nikki Grimes
Dogs of War, Sheila Keenan
The Night Gardener, Jonathan Auxier

8th grade
The Crossover, Alexander Kwame
Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
Shadow & Bone, Leigh Bardugo
We Are All Made of Molecules, Susan Nielsen-Fernlund
North of Beautiful, Justina Chen Headley
March, Books 1-3, John Lewis
The Nazi Hunters, Neal Bascomb
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman
Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys

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.