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High Stakes Testing Season Begins

24 Feb

The actual test doesn’t start until April, but it’s not too late to start gearing up. I don’t mean gearing up to learn material. Hopefully that’s a year long process. It’s time to get excited, buckle down and get the work done. (Anyone else see the dichotomy in that sentence?)

At my school, we’re going to start with a poster contest and an award per grade level. Other ideas are floating around including pep rallies, prizes, and broadcasts.

What ideas do you have for helping the students and the teachers (!) focus on learning and preparing for the big test? How do we apply enough pressure to get results but not too much?

Share your thoughts. I’ll let you know how we’re doing and what ideas we come up with to promote – in a positive way – a very stressful test.



7 Aug


It’s time for the 2013-2014 Sneak-A-Peek at Woodland Middle School!

So what happens at “Sneak-A-Peek”?  You can meet your child’s teachers, get the bus schedule, sign up for lunch and much more!  This is your opportunity to see the school and get the paperwork out of the way.  Join us for an exciting day!  Please be aware that your teachers are only available during their timeslot – we’re still busy getting the rooms set up!

6th Grade: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
7th Grade: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
8th Grade: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.


7 Tips To Help You Succeed in Middle School

8 May

Here’s a recent example of Animoto.

How Does Google Work? A Really Simple Explanation

7 Nov

How does Google work?  Is the top of the search page the best?  Here’s some help.

Google has a Googlebot (think of a spider crawling on the internet web) that asks web servers to send their pages.  It puts these pages in a database.

Then Google needs to rank the pages in order of importance.  They do not rank by information or accuracy.  Instead Google has a complex formula that looks at how many web sites link to a certain page and how many times the web site is searched.  If the world wide web sees a page frequently then Google thinks its important.  “PageRank” is the value Google assigns to a webpage and it determines where a webpage shows up on your search.  It may be the first entry or the twenty-first entry depending on its PageRank.

When you hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” you don’t get the best informational page, just the most popular.  And the most popular may be too superficial for your needs.

For more information on how Google works, try these references:

Google Guide’s Explanation (Not associated with Google)
HowStuffWorks’s Explanation

And, my personal favorite, direct from Google:
PigeonRank (hahahahaha!)

Happy, safe surfing!

Plagiarism to a 6th Grader

1 Nov

Can you remember being assigned to write a report in 3rd grade?  You went to a book, found a paragraph about the person/thing/place you were supposed to write about, and copied it.  Easy.  Maybe even an easy “A”.  Even easier is the way you can copy and paste from the Internet directly to Word.  But it’s not yours.  It never was.

Some students will define plagiarism as the “cutting and pasting”.  Yes, that’s correct, but only partially correct.  Plagiarism isn’t just stealing someone’s words (or music or art), but stealing their ideas.  When you make notes from a reference – a books, a website, a newspaper or a magazine – you usually paraphrase or rewrite the words into your own voice.  But using those notes in a paper can also be plagiarism, if you don’t credit the originator of the idea.

The key to staying honest in your work is to cite your sources.   Let your teacher and the world know that you looked at several different sources.  Show them the effort you put in to your work and be honest.  Plagiarism isn’t an easy “A” in high school.  It’s an easy zero.  Cite your work.  Include a bibliography.  Making the effort to put it in your words will help you far into your future.  Really!