The student above is engaged in evaluating her essay. One of the best ways to revise and edit writing is listening to your writing, reading it aloud. It isn't easy when there are 20 or more students in the classroom working together in groups. It can get noisy, and not to mention, we want to be sensitive that some students are shy about reading an unfinished piece of writing aloud in front of their peers. Read & Write, a Google extension, solved that problem for us. In the photo above, Read & Write is reading the girl's essay to her, allowing her to hear what she wrote privately. She pauses the reading to revise and edit as needed.
Those pesky punctuation marks like to take a vacation, so we found an app for that. Professional writers have editors, a fresh pair of eyes that provide great suggestions for improving sentence structure and grammar. The student above may not have a professional editor, but he does have GradeProof, a Google Docs extension, to help him polish up his grammar and spelling.
In Google Classroom, we have the ability to engage in online discussions. Lately, we have been reviewing grammar and discussing the rules and how to effectively break them. Who would have thought that grammar could inspire engaging discussions among preteens? Grammar discussion boards make a great sandbox for practicing online etiquette, so we don't unintentionally offend our classmates.
We also learned how to share online documents with our classmates, so they can provide constructive feedback, suggestions for improving a friend's writing.
Retaining vocabulary words to use them later is a common struggle. Students often learn them for the moment, to pass a quiz, but the knowledge slips away if they don't review. Now, we engage in friendly online competitions. Students eagerly study vocabulary words using Quizlet, an online app. Periodically, we meet in class and work in teams to race to the finish line using Quizlet.Live, a component of Quizlet.
Newslea is a library of newspaper articles, current and historical event, that integrate into all subject areas. We transfer our reading skills learned in class to digital reading. Students read online articles at their independent reading levels. We are fortunate to have this resource to meet the needs of all our students using this resource. The more informed our middle school students are of our world, the more motivated and engaged our classroom discussions become.
Once again, Lowville Academy Middle School applauds sixth graders for their outstanding writing. Anna Exford and Kyra Reali placed first and second place respectively at the sixth-grade level of the 2017 Annual Greater Thousand’s Literacy Council Young Writers’ Contest. The annual contest required students to write about a theme: If I were invisible I would…and why. Nine school districts from the region participated in the competition. Winners were selected at each grade level, kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Anna is a gifted writer who has the ability to succinctly articulate her ideas. She has a way of capturing people and the world from a surprising perspective. Anna uses sentence structures to create engaging stories like musicians use notes to play different tunes. We are proud of her hard work.
Kyra, too, is a gifted writer with a distinctive voice, revealing bits of her soul with each story she tells. She uses words to take readers on an engaging journey beyond their imaginations. Kyra, aspires to be a published author, a dream that will very likely become reality. We are proud of her dedication to writing.
Participants, winners, and teachers are invited to attend a celebratory author’s reading at Case Middle School in Watertown on April 11, 2017. First place winners will participate in an author’s reading. During the celebration, the participants will receive ribbons and gifts.
Anna's journey was not easy. There were 24 participants in the Spelling Bee at Lowville Academy Middle School on Friday, February 10, 2017. Anna competed against many gifted speller, including Colden Pyke (grade 7, #7), our 2015 spelling bee winner who represented Lowville Academy at the 2016 regional competitions. Anna claimed victory after 13 nail-biting rounds of back-to-back battles between her and Deon Rollock (grade 8, #18), becoming the Lowville Middle School champion speller on round 21. We are proud of all the sixth through eighth grade participants who worked extremely hard to participate, and in the process, make our school shine.
Many thanks to out to our middle school students Anna Western, Hugo Zabielowicz, Robert Farney, David Fayle, Landen Moshier, and Nicholas Hetzner who attended the Lowville Academy Board of Education on February 13 to showcase how technology enhances their education. The students took board members on a tour of the many Google apps, extensions, and add-ons that allow them to learn in ways they never imagined before. Their time and efforts earned rave reviews from the board members and administration.
The beginning of the 2016-2017 school year marked a pivotal moment for our middle school, the 1:1 Chromebooks implementation. Students in sixth and seventh grade each received a Chromebook to use during and after school hours. Eighth grade students have access to Chromebooks for classroom use, and are expected to receive their own computers in the second stage of the roll-out in the fall.
Our digital natives appreciate that many teachers have adopted a hybrid classroom, moving some assignments online to Google Classroom, thereby, providing the ability for students to work on and submit assignments from home.
State tests are scheduled for the week of March 28-31. I am offering after school review classes to help you prepare. You can sign up for either Tuesday or Thursday state test review classes that run from February 14 to March 23. Classes start at 3:20, so you have a little time to visit the snack bar, take a short walk, or get homework help from a teacher. Classes end at 4:20, at which time you can walk home, go home with a parent, or go to the library and wait for the 5:30 late bus. Students in the Connections program should report to the learning center.
EngageNY.org has released sample questions from past tests if you want to review on your own.