Hello all and welcome to winter. At this time of year there seems to be more to do each day. We work toward getting ready for snow, the holidays and keeping our homes warm throughout the winter. Below are a few things to be aware of during the month of December.
Each year the middle school students put on an event for the kindergarten students in our district. The middle school students decorate the gym, some of our classrooms and halls, and welcome the kindergarteners to our school. While the students are here they meet a middle school “buddy” who takes them through a variety of events and games. They enact a story and complete some artwork and then head back to their own school. This event is a wonderful event that connects our schools and gives our youngest learners a chance to connect with a middle school peer. For our middle school students it provides them a mentoring opportunity to help a child enjoy their day and have some fun. This event is planned by the Messalonskee Middle School Unified Arts Department and has been a success each year for the past 22 years. One of our teachers at MMS can remember going through this event as a student. It is a great tradition.
Morning Reading at MMS
This year we start the day with reading. We are seeing students and staff reading together and enjoying that time. Many discussions have been sparked between students about the book they are reading as they share cool events from their story. Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) is part of our ongoing literacy focus at MMS. Students read each morning for about 20 minutes. Students get to select a book or article they want to read, then we start each day immersing ourselves in these texts. Sometimes I get questions from parents and students about why we do this in our school. Steve Gardiner explains this best in the write up on his book Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading. He states:
“The theory behind sustained silent reading is that if students read more and enjoy it more, they will become better readers, the same theory that drives the basketball player to stand at the free-throw line after practice each day and shoot 100 free throws. By the end of the season, he will be a better shooter, whether he has direct instruction or not. While practicing shooting, he will apply what he learns each day to the next day’s practice. Readers are the same. As they read each day, they encounter new words, usage, sentence structures, and ideas. Each day adds to their total experience and makes the next day better. With increased practice, reading becomes easier and—this is important—more enjoyable. Like the basketball player and his team, readers in SSR classrooms share the reading experience with their classmates and teacher. They talk about their books, trade recommendations, and see fellow students and at least one adult engaged in the reading process.”
Research has shown that students who read for enjoyment each day do better on reading assessments. The SSR time is one part of our strategy to strengthen students’ literacy skills. When it is combined with ELA classes, literacy support in all other content areas, and our argument/opinion writing project, it becomes a key to student growth in overall literacy. Below are a few other links with information on SSR and getting students interested in reading.
If you have a reluctant reader then graphic novels might be a great way to get them started. You can also reach out to our Literacy Coach, Mary Glennon for assistance.
Check out our Library Page to get great book ideas and cool links.
Check out this list of ways that you can support reading and writing at home.
Limo to Lunch
This year we had an incentive for students for our annual magazine drive fundraiser. Students who sold 20 or more items were able to go to lunch at Pizza Hut, and if they sold 30 or more they could invite a friend. The kicker was that they would be transported to lunch in a Limousine. This event is funded through our fundraiser and was quite a motivator as 27 students and three teachers will have their lunch at Pizza Hut on Friday. Thank you all for your support in the fundraiser. The money we raised goes to support the learning at MMS. All of the money is spent on items that are used or experienced by students. In the past we have had guest speakers, lowered the cost of field trips and purchased technology. Each class also leaves with some money to start them off at MHS.
December 4, 2015 – Limo to Lunch – 11:00am-1:00PM
December 8, 2015 – Grade 6 Chorus Concert – 7:00PM @ Messalonskee High School PAC
December 9, 2015 – Grade 6 Chorus Community Service Field Trip – 9:30AM-1:30PM
December 11, 2015 – MMS Grade 6-8 Fun Night – 6:00PM-9:00PM @ MMS
December 17, 2015 – MMS Concert Band and Grade 7-8 Chorus Concert – 7:00PM @ Messalonskee High School PAC
December 18, 2015 – Winter Wonderland Visits
December 22, 2015 – Schools Close for Christmas Break – 4:00PM
January 4, 2016 – Schools Reopen – Welcome Back!