Middle School Newsletter
February 8, 2019
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, Wednesday was Global School Play Day. You may be wondering why over ½ million students took time out of their school day to simply play with one another. There were no organized events, no specific directions from teachers, just the opportunity to play. Here is a some of the background in how GSPD started. In 2015, a small group of six educators took action and created Global School Play Day because of their concern that adults and technology were encroaching on playtime for children. They were concerned that schools are eliminating recess while teachers are assigning more and more homework. Parents are scheduling every waking minute for their kids and young children are becoming addicted to their devices. They were seeing skyrocketing anxiety and stress, severe mental health issues, and the highest suicide rates in younger and younger children in recorded history. The GSPD team were compelled to take action after seeing the effects in their schools and after hearing Dr. Peter Gray’s TEDx talk. In his talk, he argues the case that today's kids are losing much more than play time and from that the grassroots effort to bring awareness to this problem was born.
At PCS, teachers and staff all agreed that this day could be so powerful for our students. However, there were some hesitations. As educators we are wired to have our days well planned out, accounting for every minute of our students’ days. So to commit to this idea where we would just let the kids have the freedom to plan their afternoon really forced many of us (myself included) to step outside of the box. Once we as a team committed to making this day happen for our students, we shared the idea with them. Through class meetings, teachers explained the rationale behind GSPD and brainstormed what their responsibilities and rights were for this day. We all know that when students have a voice in the process, we typically get their buy in. I am sure it comes to no surprise that the students were very excited about this day. One student said, “Wait, are you saying we just get to play?” And while they just saw it as play, we know that when children play together they are working on their communication and collaboration skills.
As the afternoon of play began, we watched some kids jump right into playing games (many teachers joined in on the fun too), but we were able to quickly see that some kids had no idea what to do. They struggled to “find something to do” even with so many options available. As students encouraged one another to join in games, many did find something to do. However, this did confirm what the research says about children not having enough opportunities to just play with one another.
The following day we asked students to reflect on this afternoon of play and here are some of their responses:
My favorite part was you could do whatever you wanted to do. You could as long as it wasn’t dangerous. Like you could just talk to your friends and just hang out.
Getting to be with friends that I wouldn't normally see because of different schedule or homebase/lunch.
My favorite part of the day of play is that we weren't allowed to be on any screens since we go on those things on a daily basis, especially at home since most kids like to play video games and text friends and watch youtube videos.
While we won’t be having a full day devoted to play very often, we will continue looking for ways to give students more and more voice and choice over their school day. These opportunities will continue to help build their decision making skills. Who knows, maybe next time we do a day of play, no one will say they couldn’t find anything to do.
Thanks to the hard work of three 8th grade boys we have our new vending machine! We have made sure that the machine is filled with healthy snack options. Students may make purchases from 8:10-8:25, during lunch and from 3:25-3:35 daily.
Our Spring Book Fair is coming March 19th after school and March 20th and 21st during conferences. Details to be announced! Mrs. Ramsey is looking for volunteers to help with set up, breakdown, sales, advertising, and special events. Contact her at email@example.com. See you at the Book Fair!
We are so excited to officially invite the PCS community to attend the 3rd Annual Xpress Yourself Spoken Word Poetry Night on February 28th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Intermediate Cafeteria. This is an opportunity for us to celebrate Black history and honor the diverse voices of PCS students. Students who are recommended or volunteer for the program will recite original poetry, read a notable poem, or contribute to the program in some way. Teachers are already working with students to produce great poetry. Next week, students will receive information on how to be a part of the program as well as a parent letter with more details. Get excited about this great showcase of talent at our school. See the attached flyer.
Dear 6th Grade Parents/Guardians,
As we enter the second semester of the year, we want to be able to help students stay healthy and find success! One easy way to help this is by having plenty of pencils, hand sanitizer, and Clorox Wipes! If you and your family are able to send in any of these items, we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your support of our students!
Emily O'Brien, Stacia Berwick, Erin Deason, Stan Graczyk, and Don Orelup
7th grade is in need of Kleenex, paper towels and Clorox wipes. Any donations would be greatly appreciated!
Does your current student have a sibling who wants to come to PCS? Do you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who has a child ready for school?
It is that time of year again…Pre-Kindergarten thru 8th Grade applications for new students in the 2019-2020 lottery are now open!
Families can apply today through Schoolmint. If you do not already have a Schoolmint account, begin by going to premiercharterschool.schoolmint.net and create a secure account with a username and password. From there, you can fill out an application for your student for the grade they will be going in to next year.
Our first-round new student lotteries will be held on the following dates:
Kindergarten: February 1, 2019
Pre-Kindergarten: February 25, 2019
1st – 8th Grade: April 1, 2019
Should you have any questions regarding your student’s application, your Schoolmint account, or the lottery, please feel free to contact PCS admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As it starts getting dark earlier and we are reminded of situations as we watch the news, please have a conversation with your child about being aware of what is going on around them as they walk home from school. If your child has permission to walk to the park, YMCA or QT etc. please remind them not to accept a ride or engage with any strangers. While we are sure you have already had these conversations with your child we want to reiterate the importance so that your child can continue to make smart decision for themselves.
We want to remind you that PCS has safety structures in place if we were ever to be in a lockdown situation because of an outside threat. Please rest assured that we understand communication in these situations are of utmost importance. Parents will be notified through the automated school system; calls texts and emails. We have a very good relationship with the police department down the street and if we hear of or are made aware of a situation where lockdown might be a possibility, we will be in contact with district 2. They will be able to provide accurate details of the situation and from there we can receive their recommendation on our course of action. At all times, student safety is on our minds and we will always communicate with what you need to know. As always please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
On the last Monday of the month any student who has earned 80% or higher on their homework completion grade may dress down. Students can check their grade on Infinite Campus to ensure that they have indeed earned this privilege. Please remember that all clothing must be school appropriate.
Message from the Nurse…
Please see the attached flyer for 7th grade families regarding required vaccinations prior to starting 8th grade.
This week in 6th Grade Social Studies we have finished our Ancient Egypt unit with some homemade review games (see @pcs_ancient_orelup on instagram for pictures) and a test. Monday will begin our unit on Ancient Greece! Students should already have access to the materials via google slides if they want to get a weekend jumpstart. We will be doing 2 debates that will replace a "traditional" project. If you have anything Ancient Greece related please send Mr. Orelup an email!
7th graders are finalizing Unit 4 this week! This unit centered around the Founding Fathers and the development of our new nation after gaining independence from Great Britain. Students analyzed important documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to determine their importance in our world today. Once George Washington gets elected as our first president, our nation flourishes westward and we flourish into unit 5!
We are currently finishing up our unit on Europe! The 8th graders have researched and presented about a European country of their choice and we also learned the role and purpose of the European Union. . We have really been using our critical thinking skills and creativity in this unit. We had to decide if we agree with Brexit decision and the students displayed their view in a creative way. Some students wrote poems, made commercials, made political cartoons etc. I was very impressed with their effort.
Here is your Math Department problem of the week!
You know 2 + 2 comes to the same as 2 x 2. Now find a set of three different whole numbers whose sum is equal to their total when multiplied.
Solution from last week: There are 47 cards.
PCS has been taken over by Fashion Week. Explorers have been working the runway to model their sustainable fashion pieces. The runway has been filled with headbands, scrunchies, scarves, and masks that were all created using recycled materials. Many explorers are getting the word out about how the fashion industry negatively impacts workers and the environment. They have created their own informational comic strips that will be displayed at the end of this week. Next week, we will begin a new unit on Child Development.
This week, the students have been discussing the benefits of practicing music on brain activity. They have also been taking their assessment on the first chords they learned (G and Em), and practicing their newer chords. It has been awesome to see the improvements that all the students have made on guitar.
Do you want:
to discuss and celebrate ideas with fellow students?
to make an impact with your words?
a platform and opportunity for your voice to be heard?
to give your own TEDEd Club talk?
Then is for YOU! Meeting Day and Time: Wednesday’s 3:30 - 4:30 pm,
Feb. 6-May 22nd
Club Members will engage in a series of Explorations designed to help them present an amazing Club talk on an idea that they are passionate about. Along the way, Club Members will become experts in: • Identifying the elements of a great idea • Researching, developing and presenting an idea • Creating visuals to tell a compelling story • Using best practices for camera, lighting and sound!
Print and return the attached permission slip. Space is limited and open only to Middle School students.
Leader contact information:
Mrs. Wohlgemuth (ext. 417) email@example.com
Mrs. Rutan (ext. 119) firstname.lastname@example.org
Girls on Fire:
Girls on Fire is seeking professional women to participate in our 5th Annual Networking Event on Tuesday, April 16th from 5:30 - 6:30. This event provides an opportunity for the girls to practice networking skills while receiving advice and learning more about various career paths. See the attached flyer for details. Email Mrs. Daugherty at email@example.com for more information.
The girls will have their next game against Bayless on Wednesday, Feb 13 at 4:15 pm.
Cheerleading practice will continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Middle School Trip…
The date is getting closer! I am so excited for our trip to Colorado this year. Please remember to stay on top of those monthly payments as our departure date gets closer. If you have any issues or questions please reach out to Adventure Student Travel. The toll free number is 877-397-5700. Please say that you are with the Premier Charter School Group and you can ask any general questions you have about payments. If you need specific help you can reach out to Denise Matthews, firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you have the dates in your calendar: Depart Sunday, April 28 - Friday, May 3. We will be departing in the evening and returning in the morning.
The students will be attending a rooming meeting next Thursday, February 14. This meeting is only for students attending the middle school trip. It will allow them to choose who they would like to room with while on the trip. We will have a parent meeting at the end of March. The date for this parents only meeting will be in next weeks newsletter.
Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns!
Melanie Rhine ext. 426
Dear PCS Families,
As the weather starts to turn colder we want to take a minute to remind everyone of our morning drop off and Before Care procedures. All students must be walked into the building and signed in at the office if they are dropped off prior to 8:00 am. If any student is at PCS prior to 8:00 am, we will bring them to before care and will charge the regular $5 drop in fee. In order to maintain a safe student/adult ratio and ensure we have adequate staffing in our BAC program, students are only allowed 5 drop ins over the course of the school year. The safety of our children is our highest priority and we thank you for your adherence to these procedures.
It is time to start thinking about getting your group ready for our Annual Trivia Night. This is night you don’t want to miss out on. We are looking for donations for our silent auction as well as volunteers to help run the event. Please see the attached flyer for more information or email Terry Brogan at email@example.com or Lisa Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fun Around Town…
Important Upcoming Dates
2.14 & 19.19-7th Grade Field Trip to Courthouse
2.20.19-Field Day T-Shirt Order Due
2.22.19-Yearbook Order Due
3.20 & 21.19-Conferences
3.23.19-PCS Trivia Night
4.8-12.19-8th Grade MAP Testing
4.15-16.19-6th Grade MAP Testing
4.17-18-19-7th Grade MAP Testing
4.27.19-Family Night at Panda Express
Panda Express Flyer
Poetry Slam Flyer
February Lunch Menu
Girls on Fire Flyer
Vaccinations Flyer for 7th Grade Families
TEDEd Permission Slip
Trivia Night Flyer