Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day 148 - Student Day of Poetry Inspires Imaginations - Callie Graham - BHS English Dept.

This post first appeared on the BHS Poetic Ramblings Blog

BHS students attended Mass Poetry’s Student Day of Poetry on Friday, April 29 in beautifully historic Salem, MA. The event kickstarted the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.
Students were able to select and attend two writing-generative workshops. Workshops attended by BHS students and staff included:
BEAST MODE: BE A BEAST Jamele Adams aka Harlym 1two5 | Salem Five Community Room
By the time we are done, we would have moved the world a little bit and reimagined the lines by which poetry is defined. Writing is the spark that ignites flames of thought; thus your poetry leaves a trail of blue flames-the core of any fire. A kaleidoscope of creativity unleashed and unveiled “write” from you. Let us begin.
GREAT NEWS! Jennifer Jean | Hawthorne Library
“It is difficult/ to get the news from poems,” wrote poet William Carlos Williams, “Yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there.” In this workshop we’re going to make it easy for folks to get the news from poems—we’re going to write our own “poem-responses” to items featured in the global news. Not only will you learn about free-verse- poetry-writing- basics in this workshop (about how to write poems containing:  potent language, vivid imagery and powerful lines), we’ll also discuss example poem-responses, various approaches to the poem-response, as well as the biggest news items of the day.
GET YOUR ODE ON Laurin Macios | Hawthorne Ballroom – Room 1
There are few things more satisfying than talking about what we love. Writing about what we love might be one of them! Whether it’s a person, possession, food, or a value, cause, or moral you hold dear, let’s explore and glorify it together in this workshop on odes. We will read poems by Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, and more, for inspiration.
POETRY AND POP CULTURE M.P. Carver | Hawthorne Essex
This workshop will focus on contemporary poets dealing with contemporary issues.  We’ll discuss what makes a “good” subject for a poem, and read and discuss a variety of poems by poets writing now incorporating all kinds of modern references from Ke$ha to the war in Syria to twitter.  At the end of the workshop, we’ll try and write some poems of our own!
From painters and musicians to inventors of ancient sports and third generation video games, play and experimentation has always been an energetic core at the center of any creative work—it leaps and throws, laughs and dives, all while trying to keep up with the speed of our imaginations. In this workshop we will look at and try out a handful of different games and obstacle courses that poets have played and ran through to craft wonderfully adventurous poems.
“It was very educational and taught me a lot about writing and the writing process. I also enjoyed the opportunity to express my creativity,” freshman Sasha Festi said.
The event also offered students a chance to hear poets read and discuss their work.  The culminating moment of the day was an open-mic session during which students could read poems they had begun drafting throughout the day in front of a large audience. Senior Timmy Sullivan, freshman Julianna Grossman, senior Lorraine Kanyike, and senior Gabby Goullette were selected to share their original pieces.  Bout organizer Tony Toledo bestowed each one with a coin to commemorate the experience.
Attendance at the event also guaranteed students a free pass to attend all of the weekend’s festivities. A full schedule of events can be seen here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Day 147 - Ladies in Leadership Workshop at BHS - Mark Sullivan - BHS Principal

This post first appeared on the Principal Sullivan's Blog 

Deb Hult, a nationally recognized presenter delivered a powerful and dynamic workshop to over forty young women at BHS inclusive of interactive, hands-on group activities, helping them to identify their leadership skills!  

Our students were empowered to learn and understand the ‘pay it forward’ mindset that reinforced collaboration and service to others as an effective tool of leadership. The workshop focused on building self esteem, recognizing and celebrating their individual self worth while promoting character through the power of nice!

The workshop focused on developing women of character who are now ready to strengthen our school and community. The activities stressed the importance of building relationships while creating a platform of understanding in an effort to reduce potential conflicts. Fostering self esteem and helping our students recognize their self worth while encouraging their development and promotion of their hidden talent.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Day 146 - 6th Grade Assembly Encourages Differently-Abled Awareness - MSMS Blog

This post originally appeared on the MSMS Blog
BHS students Josh Carroll and Marissa Marciano share their experiences with Marshall Simonds’ 6th Graders. Josh’s younger brother Caiden 
This afternoon, Marshall Simonds’ 6th Graders attended an assembly on disability awareness. Burlington residents who were differently abled as well as some of their family members spoke to our students about their everyday challenges and stories. Among those who spoke at this assembly were Maura Mazzocca who is legally blind due to complications from diabetes, Joe Stordy who is paralyzed on his left side,  MJ Fietze, who uses a hand cycle due to multiple sclerosis, and Kenny Tigges, a quadriplegic man who attended Burlington Publics Schools as a child and currently has children attending our schools.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Day 145 - Lord & Taylor Charity Day - Mr. Mistler - BHS Art Dept.

Lord & Taylor is having their annual Charity Day on Saturday April 30th where Fashion Design students are exhibiting their dresses in the store.

Charity Day is a day of events, raffles and refreshments. Proceeds from any $5 shopping passes purchased benefits local Habitat for Humanity chapters. The fashion design class is exhibiting their recycled dresses on the first floor.

If you go to charity day, hashtag your favorite dress with #MyDesignLTburl on Twitter. The winner will get a prize. Follow Lord and Taylor on Instagram. 

Thank you to General Manager Rose Meade and Visual Merchandising Manager Terri for this opportunity for my students. The designs will be up for about a week.

Below is a visual preview of the exhibit:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 144 - Magnet Show With Mr. Musselman - Mrs. Duncan - Francis Wyman Kindergarten

We enjoyed participating in a Magnet Show by the Burlington Science Center this morning.  Mr. Musselman taught us all about different kinds of magnets and how their poles can attract (pull together) and repel (push apart).  The students enjoyed learning about the materials that will and will not stick to magnets and enjoyed making predictions about how many paper clips different magnets will attract!  We are looking forward to exploring the push and pull forces and other magnetic explorations in our classroom.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Day 143 - Podcasts are Essential to Learning! - BHS Help Desk Students

This post, co-authored by Caroline Akerley, Chandler Joyce, and Adam Princiotta, originally appeared on the blog of Adam Princiotta.
A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

Reasons to use Podcasts

Podcasts allow students to follow along with engaging explanations and lessons while thinking critically and analytically. A worksheet with paragraphs of explanations dulls down the content, and students are less motivated to understand it. The emphasis is not on understanding, but rather on getting through the worksheet and mindlessly memorizing facts and information. Unlike traditional teaching methods, podcasts grab the attention of the listener and maintain it. Because the students mind is freed from the task of reading through every word, they are able to analyze and conceptualize what is presented to them in the lesson. The emphasis moves from memorization of material to understanding, and thus more effective learning can take place. In a study done at the George Washington University, students found that listening to podcasts instead of traditional techniques improved their understanding and motivation, and resulted in higher test grades.

Podcast Apps!

Opinion Outpost, SoundCloud, and iTalk are three, free podcasting apps for the iPad. iTalk is a great app for recording podcasts. It is very simple to set up. There is no need to sign up for an account because it saves everything directly to the app automatically. To record, there is a big red button that says “Press To Record”. Also, it lets you choose the name of the recording and the sound quality. The three choices are Good, Better and Best for the sound quality. While recording, it displays how much time has passed which is great if you want to fit it under a certain time limit. In the free version, however, it only lets you email the file. In the premium version, which is $1.99, it will let you upload it to Dropbox or SoundCloud as well. If you accidentally delete the wrong file, it gives you the ability to look at the recently deleted files and restore them. iTalk is a great free podcasting app.
For SoundCloud, it is a mixture of two apps, SoundCloud and AudioCopy. Similarly, this app is easy to use. When the app is loaded, at the bottom, it says Make a Recording. After clicking that, a new screen pops up with the word “Ready” blinking and a red circle at the bottom. To record, just click the red button. Once the recording has started, a timer that looks like a stopwatch appears. It also has an orange bar that goes across showing the levels, or how loud the sound is. After that, you can go to your recordings, pick the recording and it gives you some options. You can edit, share to SoundCloud, export to Garageband, sent it through a text message, email it, and even send it to your Notes app.
The last app is Opinion Outpost. Once you open the app, there is not much to see. The middle is completely white space, and the top and bottom portions with graphics take up about a tenth of the screen. However, it does make everything more simple. The top left has a little red record button, the top middle has a music icon where you can import sound, and the top right is the export button. The options for exporting are Classroom, Notes, Message, Mail, and Soundcloud. There is an “Open in” button, but it crashes the app. The free version has a maximum of a ten minute recording. However, if you can pay $3.99 to get unlimited recording. In the bottom right, there a settings tab. In this, you can change the title, description, picture. Also, you can change your account settings and open the podcast in Safari. All of these apps are great and easy to use, I hope you check them all out!


There are a few tips I have for making podcasts. First, make sure that you have a script. It does not have to be full complete, it can even be an outline. You want to have something that you can refer back to in case you lose track of what you were talking about. Second, DO NOT be afraid to do more than one take. It is very likely that there will be a few mix ups while speaking. If there are multiple mix ups and you feel as though it is necessary to restart, go ahead. Third, make sure that you stay on track. Do not let your mind wander too far from the subject you are talking about. It is okay to get a little bit sidetracked, but make sure that it is related to the podcast. Fourth, make sure that you have a quiet place to record. It would be very frustrating to record a half hour podcast to realize that the background noise overwhelms the recording. It is important to have a quiet space where the sound quality will not be negatively impacted. Lastly, have someone listen to it before you post. Having a second opinion is great. Not only will they catch mistakes you make, but they can also give more advice on top that you may not have thought of. For more tips, check out these three websites, herehere and here

How to Share

Podcasts are easily shareable and accessible, allowing students to reach a broader audience with their work.
Soundcloud is one of the largest platforms to share podcasts on. With 40 million registered users, the possibilities for sharing are endless. Although many people use Soundcloud primarily for posting and sharing music, many educators and students use it for academic endeavors. Amazon S3 is another great site for posting podcasts. Although the free version is limited when compared to the features of the subscription version, paying for a subscription is much less expensive than on other podcast sharing apps. Podomatic is one of the most user-friendly podcast sites. You can create and upload easily from the site, and connecting with other users is simple. Students could also take to social media to post their podcasts. By Tweeting or Instagramming links to their podcasts, they would broaden their reach and be able to connect with many more students and teachers. Students could also design a cover page and upload their podcast to Youtube. Many students and teachers use Youtube to find educational videos and information, thus they would be able to connect easily.


Recommendations on microphones to use for podcasting with an iPad

iPads come with microphones already installed in the device, but a good additional microphone is the Apogee MiC Digital Microphone. Although it is expensive, it is the highest rated microphone and has the most credibility.
For a cheap and easy to use microphone that you can carry around easily, I would suggest the iRig MIC Cast. At $40, it is a compact microphone that is around the size of a quarter. It is easily plugged into the audio jack of an iOS device. On top of its easy use, it has great sound. However, it does echo if you have your volume up to high. This applies to people who record voice overs mostly. If this is an issue, all that is necessary is to turn down the volume.

Recommendations on headphones to use for podcasting

Apple headphones are easy, comfortable, and cheap. Headphones I would recommend, especially for podcasting, are any headphones from Beats By Dre. They have a variety of styles of headphones, ranging from earphones that are small and fit into your ears, or headphones that are bigger and fit over your head. There are even wireless headphones available. The best Beats By Dre’s headphones to use would be those from their “Noise Cancelling Collection”. With these headphones, you can cancel out any outside sounds and avoid being distracted from your podcast.

Recommendations on the types of connectors, cables, and adapters that would be needed when podcasting with the iPad

Not much is needed to create a podcast on an iPad, because everything needed is already in the iPad.
You can check out our podcast here, or listen to the embed below, where we talk about digital citizenship.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day 142 - MSMS 7th Graders Attend IDEAS Conference - MSMS Blog

This post originally appeared on the MSMS Blog
MSMS 7th Graders get ready to attend the IDEAS conference
On Thursday, April 14, 10 MSMS 7th grade students, chaperoned by Ms. Eovine and Ms. Fay, traveled to the EDCO Collaborative facility in Bedford, MA for their annual IDEAS Middle School Leadership Conference.  Student who attended were Princess Sawyer-Rodriguez, Rachad Mesnaoui,  Marwan Kiswani, T.J. Brosnan, Badr Hakim, Matt Tengtrakool, Shashank Uthappa, Angie Minichiello, Winnie Sukyaya,  and Jensine Wagner.
EDCO sponsors the IDEAS program: Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students.  The conference focused on how students can develop connections and alliances with each other as they focus on understanding and appreciating diversity and ways to promote respectful school communities.  
Our Marshall Simonds student representatives had the opportunity to work with students from 6 other middle schools, including Bedford, Lexington, and Needham.  Activities were designed to inspire discussion on issues relating to diversity, such as playing a scrabble game highlighting discrimination and equity, discussing how we identify ourselves, both privately and publicly, and competing at charades illustrating achievements of different racial and ethnic groups.  A highlight of the day was having time at lunch to share and learn about other middle schools.