Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Day 17 - Math Choice Board - Mrs. Marsh - Francis Wyman Kindergarten

This post first appeared on Mrs. Marsh's Blog 

We started math choice board today during math time.  Students will be able to pick and complete different activities having to do with the different math topics.  During this time, students will also be working in small groups with me to complete the math lesson of the day.  Here are some pictures of today!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 16 - We Have an Overdue Assignment - Dennis Villano - Director of Technology Integration

Educators currently have an overdue assignment. We are behind as a nation with the move to Open Educational Resources (OER). The movement to OER actually began in 2009 and expanded in 2011 but the majority of districts in our country have made little movement towards the goal of leaving behind the overpriced, static, and outdated materials created by unbelievably profitable and stubborn publishing companies.
In Burlington we were actually at the forefront of the OER movement when we led the first regional OER event in 2011 called the Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative (MADPC). The event was directed by Burlington Superintendent Dr. Eric Conti, former Bedford Superintendent Dr. Maureen LaCroix, and former Andover Superintendent Dr. Marinel McGrath. Our outstanding Burlington team at the time included myselfAndy MarcinekPatrick LarkinBob CunhaTim Calvin, and Dan Callahan. We helped develop and lead a productive three day conference that would become an annual event for the next several years. After each event participants left with information about OER, resources, technical training, and knowledge on how to curate, organize, remix, and share content. Teachers would leave each event with units, lessons, and assessments that were open and ready to implement.
The move to OER does have it’s challenges…
What teachers often ask me about OER:
– What’s OER?
– How will I have the time for this?
– How do we know if the resources are vetted?
It is now our challenge to finish the work started at the first MADPC event. We must find the time and resources to support this important work in Burlington and throughout the country. In Burlington we hope to set a goal for the year 2020 when we would like to see all of our resources for middle and high school be open. This challenge will take the training and implementation of new curation leaders to help lead the movement and support teachers. The work will also take the unyielding support of administration and department heads along with perhaps the most critical ingredient of all…time. Time is incredibly difficult to find for our teachers due to the tremendous work that they already put in on a daily basis but it must be our priority to support this movement and help find that time. Teachers often feel that they don’t always have the chance to create their own resources or curate materials for their classrooms. So it’s completely understandable that teachers often find it easier to simply go with the previously created work from the big publication houses. Again that’s understandable but it’s simply no longer the best way to teach our children. We must help our educators find the time and potentially provide the compensation they need to do the work.
Ultimately though the challenges include more than the need for time. We must also convince our nation’s educators of the importance of this work. We must show our teachers how remixing open resources to meet the needs of their classrooms and individual students can create vastly improved learning experiences. We must help our teachers understand that most open resources have value and are of high quality. This is also important for our teachers who often trust the vetted resources from paid content. Teachers must be provided with the support to curate and create open resources so that we no longer rely on the publication companies that have drained our school systems for too many years.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Day 15 - Learning about Burlington: Then, & Now - Mrs. Boucher - Francis Wyman Grade 3

This post first appeared on Mrs. Boucher's Blog 

This week, students have been reading and talking about the town we live in, Burlington. While reading Burlington: Then and Now, we have had some great discussions and shared some great knowledge about what Burlington is like now and what it was like in the 1800s. During the reading, students have been learning how to highlight important information, TTQA answers (Turn the Question Around,) and how to take and organize notes.  Our essential question is "How has Burlington changed since 1799?"

The excitement to learn Burlington history is brewing in 216!

Writing facts and questions

Sharing ideas

Interesting facts

Questions we still have

Highlighting important information

We can even learn about Burlington now

Lots of facts from Burlington history

What we already knew about Burlington

Friday, September 23, 2016

Day 14 - Using Buckets and Top Down Webs for Review - Senora Barkley - MSMS Foreign Language

This post first appeared on Mrs. Barkley's Blog 

attended a workshop in August on using Keys to Literacy in my classroom, and I decided to put some of the techniques to work in my 8th-grade classes.

First, each student received 3 review vocabulary words to sort into topic "buckets:"

Then, we created this Top Down Web as a class using the words in each bucket:

Both activities went really well! Sorting and making the web got the kids out of their seats and helped them focus on each vocabulary topic. It also helped to identify some review words that students were having the most trouble remembering. I am looking forward to using this technique again in the future. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day 13 - Our First Science Experiment - Mrs. Casey - Francis Wyman Grade 5

After reviewing the Scientific Method, we gathered our supplies and began our procedures to test our hypothesis' to the question, What will happen when we soak celery stalks in colored water?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Day 12 - Where do we come from? - Ms. Conceison - Memorial School Grade 5

Image result for the beauty of the world lies in the diversity

I often share with my students that the coolest thing about this world is that we are all different. The first assignment in fifth grade is a way to learn about and celebrate each others' backgrounds and differences. I can't take credit for this idea, as I "borrowed" it from the wonderful fifth grade teachers at Fox Hill and brought it to Memorial. Each fifth grader is responsible for creating a Cultural Identity Quilt piece that showcases the country or countries from which his/her family came. These quilt pieces are then "woven" together to represent who we are, where we came from, and that together we make one unique (and pretty fabulous) classroom community. Today was our first day sharing. I can't wait to learn more tomorrow!  

Pari shared an amazing story of obstacles her father had to overcome while in Iran. 

Ava included some words in Italian AND French. 

Evan included a picture of a typical house in Madeira. 

Jack shared a picture of an Irish castle and some popular Italian food. Mangia! Mangia! 

Brody did a great job drawing the Swedish, German, and Italian flags. 

Maddie shared with us an important landmark in Canada. 

Nolan explained the symbolism of cracking red eggs on Greek Easter. 
More to come...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 11 - MSMS New Teacher Spotlights - Mrs. Schauer, Mr. Walsh, Mrs. Eagar - MSMS Blog

These posts originally appeared on the MSMS Blog

Mrs. Rebecca Schauer

This year, Marshall Simonds Middle School gained an additional music teacher, Rebecca Schauer. Mrs. Schauer will be teaching music classes as well as piloting our brand new Strings Program. Mrs. Schauer had this to say about her background, interests, and hopes for this year:
My name is Rebecca Schauer. I’m joining the Marshall Simonds team as an Orchestra and General Music instructor after spending the past six years as the Orchestra Director for the Pentucket Regional School District. Before that, I held a one-year position teaching Orchestra at Phillips Exeter Academy. I hold a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Music Performance from Boston University and a Graduate Diploma in Music Education from the Boston Conservatory.

I am excited to usher Burlington Public Schools’ new Strings Program to Marshall Simonds Middle School. This is the age at which many students choose to distance themselves from music, unaware of the lifelong joy it can bring them. My primary goal is for all of my students to make personal meaning from the music that they hear and make. This means always accessing character and emotions while they work toward becoming fluent in the “language” of music. I also encourage my students to develop cognitive and social skills through music such as citizenship, innovative thinking and dedication to a cause greater than oneself.

I approach everything in my life wholeheartedly. Aside from playing my primary instrument, the viola, my other great passion is film and screenwriting. I have advanced in various writing competitions, judged film festivals and currently serve on the board of Harvard Square Scriptwriters. I am also a passionate cook and all-around “foodie,” as well as an avid runner who has completed two marathons.

Mr. John Walsh 


This year, Marshall Simonds Middle School has a new Latin Teacher, Mr. John Walsh. Mr. Walsh will be replacing Mr. Finnigan, who left last year to take a teaching job at Boston Latin, his Alma Mater. Mr. Finnigan teaches Latin class for teams 7B, 8B, and 8C.

Mr. Walsh had this to say about his background and hopes for the school year:

Salve! My name is John Walsh, and I’m very excited to be the new Latin teacher here at the Marshall Simonds Middle School. I began my own Latin studies as a middle-schooler in Boston and have been using it every since. After graduating high school in 2007, I went on to get a BA in History from The University of Massachusetts (go Minutemen) and an MA in Medieval and Early Modern History from the University of Kent in faraway England.

For the past two years, I was a middle school classroom aide in Brookline, where I became very fond of this age group. I’m very excited to find a school which gives its middle school students an opportunity to study the language and culture of Ancient Rome! Students in my classes will be exploring the history and culture of one of the most impressive empires every built, as well as the language that gave birth to Spanish, French, Italian and many other European languages.

I look forward to getting to know the MSMS community and the surrounding area.
Cura ut

Mrs. Sarah Eagar

When transitioning from elementary school to middle school, it’s always nice for students to see a familiar face. Many of this year’s students have already met 6A’s new Social Studies teacher, Sarah Eagar. Mrs. Eagar, formerly Ms. Hayes, taught at Burlington’s own Pine Glen Elementary before filling the opening left by Mr. Leslie’s departure. Mrs. Eagar had this to say about her background and hopes for this year:
Hello my name is Sarah Eagar and I’m very happy to be joining the 6th grade A team this year as the new Social Studies/World Geography teacher.  I was a fourth and third grade teacher at the Pine Glen Elementary School prior to moving to MSMS. After 20 years in elementary school I am super excited for this new adventure in middle school!
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master of Arts in Education and a certificate in Educational Leadership.  Learning is my passion!
I am looking forward to teaching and learning as I travel the world with the fabulous 6th graders of MSMS!