Coming Up...Malone Middle School Students team up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenAg to pilot the latest in Agricultural Technology - a "Food Computer"
From March-June 2017, 8th grade students at the Malone Middle School will take part in a pilot project with MIT that will give students an opportunity to build and use a "Food Computer" hydroponics system, and in the process promote self-esteem, communication and teamwork skills, goal setting and problem solving skills, conflict resolution, and healthy risk-taking. Students will be working in teams to construct a food computer that will successfully grow a crop of lettuce at school using a technology invented by engineers and scientists at MIT Media Lab's Open Agriculture Initiative. In addition to building and using the food computer, students will also investigate the impacts of this agricultural technology on society in the future, and take a close look at how this technology may be used by both for-profit (Target, Inc.) and non-profit (World Food Organization) organizations around the world.
The Malone Middle School will be one of three schools nation-wide to pilot this new technology alongside MIT & the Boston Science Museum. For more information about this project and the Malone Middle School please see this cross-curricular project website - be sure to check back often as pictures and information will be posted as we proceed through the project. This project will be a continuation of a project in Mr. Botto's 8th grade science classes last year that focused on hydroponics systems supported by a grant through the Air & Waste Management Association Eastern New York Chapter. The 2017 "Going Green with a Food Computer" project in collaboration with MIT OpenAg is supported by grants through New York State Computers & Technologies in Education (NYSCATE) and the Adirondack Teacher Center (ATC).
In October 2016 I had the opportunity to present at the New York State English Council Conference in Albany, New York. While at the conference I learned about the many ways to hone in on literacy skills with students at the middle school level. One of the take-aways for me as an educator was to remember to continue to use picture books to engage students in learning - YES - even at the middle school and high school levels. Picture books can serve as a great source of historical perspective, not to mention that the illustrations are great for engaging students in historical topics. So...to celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February, students in 8th grade social studies learned about two perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of children in two separate picture books.
On January 12th, 2017 - Students at the Malone Middle School had the opportunity to go on a virtual field trip to NASA Kennedy Space Center to learn more about NASA's SwampWorks Project. Students communicated with NASA Digital Learning Network experts and educators from Mrs. Hesseltine's classroom as they 'walked' students through SwampWorks. Students had an opportunity to ask questions and gain information about the future of NASA.
Once again this year, students in 8th grade social studies classes communicated their knowledge of U.S. westward expansion throughout the 1800s by creating animations! Below are some of the student animated gifs...
Second Annual Malone Middle School Entrepreneur Fair: In November-December 2016, 8th graders at the Malone Middle School honed their entrepreneurial skills by teaming up with their peers to form a business and sell a product/service to the community! Students conducted market research prior to deciding on a business venture by surveying students and faculty at the Malone Middle School. After the Entrepreneur Fair, students gave feedback and advice to next year's class!
Each year, 8th grade students at the Malone Middle School gain an understanding of college through two college visits. In October 2016, students visited Clarkson University to experience college-life for themselves! While there, Clarkson students gave the 8th graders a tour of classrooms, athletic facilities, labs, dorms, and dining halls.
In October of 2016, 8th grade students in Mrs. Hesseltine's U.S. History lab represented various aspects of the U.S. Civil War by building a working foosball table. They did a terrific job, and had some fun as well! Please see the project description below, along with some pictures.
Skype with Virginia Historical Society: Prior to building their foosball tables, students Skyped with the Virginia Historical Society to learn more about the Civil War through experts (and primary source documents) at the museum.
Each week in Social Studies class, students will start class with these activities:
Mystery Monday--each Monday when students enter class they will begin by investigating and pulling evidence from a "Mystery Monday" image. Images will be provided by The New York Times, "What's going on in this picture?" Students may also bring "mystery pictures" in to Mrs. Hesseltine to be included in Mystery Monday. (NY State Social Studies Framework Practice: Investigating primary source documents to find evidence of what is going on in the image!)
Quotation Tuesday--each Tuesday when students enter class they will begin by translating a quotation. Students will be asked to read the quotation and put it into the context of the time and place in which the quotation was stated/written. I will be listening for inspiring student quotations, and will occasionally include a quotation from a student (with the student's permission) on QUOTATION TUESDAY! (NY State Social Studies Framework Practice: Contextualization)
Wednesday Meme Madness--each Wednesday when students enter class they will begin by viewing a MEME related to the content of the course. Students will be asked to answer the question..."Why would we start class with this MEME?" (NY State Social Studies Framework Practice: Cause/Effect and Compare/Contrast)
Throw-Back-Thursday--each Thursday when students enter class they will begin with a fun and/or interesting (quirky) fact from history. Students may bring facts to Mrs. Hesseltine to be included in Throw-Back-Thursday! (NY State Social Studies Framework Practice: Chronological Reasoning and Causation)
Current Events Friday--each Friday when students enter class they will begin with a study of current events using CNN Student News and/or NEWSELA. Our student will also include an occasional focus on bias in the news! Students will take a current events quiz based on our study. (NY State Social Studies Framework Practice: Civic Participation)
Welcome back to school, everyone! This year in social studies class, students will interact with U.S. History using a variety of digital and traditional resources. In addition to learning social studies content, students will also learn skills such as the ability to understand perspective or point of view, contextualization (understanding people and events in the context of time and place), and global communication and understanding. As a part of an 8th grade team, students will also be learning such life-skills as collaboration, leadership, team-work, empathy and compassion, and overall self-awareness. Students will have opportunities throughout the school year to construct and document their own learning through the continuation of a digital portfolio, and an Individual Vision Plan (IVP).
Please reach out to me throughout the school year! I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Malone Middle School telephone number at 518-483-7801.
8th Grade U.S. History
Students have been working hard this week on an iPad Quest that prompts students to explore the many issues of the Progressive Era in the United States. Students have studied:
1. Reformers of the time period
2. Muckrakers & Photojournalism
3. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
4. Conservation and the National Parks
As a final project students used ZeeMaps to create individual maps of Progressive Era topics. See examples of student work below.
Animating U.S. Expansion to the West
While attending the TEDYouth Conference in November, I had the opportunity to spend a day of professional development with the TED-Ed animation team at the TED offices in New York City. I was so excited to bring everything that I learned about animation back to my students at the Malone Middle School. Over the past few weeks students have been learning about the movement of people to the Western United States throughout the mid to late 1800s, and the consequences of that movement. Students have focused on historical topics while learning about cause and effect and compare and contrast. While learning about this period in U.S. History students have also been learning about the art of animation. Student groups in each 8th grade U.S. History class have been creating gif (short stop-motion) animations to share with the class, and the world! Below are some examples of student work:
Malone Middle School--8th Grade--2015-2016 School Year
So far this school year students have participated in numerous academic activities in and out of the classroom! From the beginning of the year, students have focused on individual vision plans--exploring career and post-secondary options. Students have had an opportunity to explore programs at Clarkson University, and Paul Smiths College. In addition, students have been keeping a data notebook to track their own learning throughout the course of the academic school year. Students have taken part in many hands-on activities while at school including the collaborative marshmallow challenge, investigation of evidence challenge, catapult versus cannon data collection and competition, Skype communication with the Virginia Historical Society and students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Most recently, students were visited by students from one of the country's top Entrepreneur Programs, Clarkson University's Entrepreneur Program. On December 1st, 8th grade students at the Malone Middle School took part in their own Entrepreneur Fair, learning what it is like to start a business and sell products and services. In the coming weeks, students will be experiencing activities related to the world-wide Hour of Code taking place from December 7th-11th in the Malone Middle School Library Media Center. Students will also have an opportunity to talk about protecting business ideas with a patent lawyer via Skype on December 18th in all 8th grade social studies classes. Stay tuned for more as we move through the holiday season and into a new year!
Ongoing Education for Teachers!
From November 13th-15th I had the opportunity to learn about innovation now and in the future at the TEDYouth 2015 Conference in New York City. I was invited to attend the conference as a member of the first cohort of TED-Ed Innovative Educators--a worldwide professional development program for educators. While attending the TEDYouth conference I learned a lot about innovation, but I also learned a lot about myself and my role as an educator worldwide. Having an opportunity to collaborate with 27 other educators from around the world really gave me some perspective regarding life for educators and students world-wide. While attending this conference, I also shared information about life in our region--northeastern New York state. While representing the students and teachers at the Malone Middle School I intended to bring back as much information about innovation, global awareness, and the future of education as I possibly could! When I returned from the conference on November 19th I delivered a very passionate lesson to students about the importance of opening ourselves up to the perspectives of others in our world--we talked a lot about stereotypes, kindness and love, global awareness, and hate crimes/terrorism. I asked students to think about our role in these global topics--I challenged students to think about the small things that they might be able to do on a daily basis that would contribute to love and kindness in our world. After all, one of my biggest take-aways from TEDYouth was the ability of 28 educators from around the world to come together--without judgement, putting stereotypes aside, to understand eachother, learn from eachother, and contribute to our world--together. Below are some pictures from the TEDYouth Conference.
8th Grade U.S. History
This week in U.S. History students will be wrapping up their learning of the pre-Civil War era in the United States. Students will evaluate evidence from the time period--including hearing stories from slaves themselves via, "Voices from the Days of Slavery" at the Library of Congress. Students will then work on a cross-curricular writing piece including ELA and U.S. History. Students will use their evidence to support the claim that African American rights were limited in the time period leading to the American Civil War. Students will use the primary source evidence to support the claim in an extended response writing piece. Upon completion, students will share their thoughts on slavery by creating word cloud using ten of their own descriptive words--with 70 students working on this, that will give us at least 700 words to look at when we are finished! Stay posted for a copy of our word clouds, and sample writing pieces.
TODAY WILL BE OUR LAST Day of the week using the laptop carts! By the end of the week we will be exploring the start of the Civil War. Students will be given a Social Studies folder with workbook including the homework assignments for the school year, and a Civil War, Chapter 16 workbook.
This week in 8th Grade Social Studies students will be learning about the the United States involvement in stopping the spread of communism via the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today in class students will read about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and reflect on the folk song below.
7th Grade Social Studies
Students in 7th Grade Social Studies this week are learning about U.S. westward expansion during the early 1800's. Students will focus on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark's exploration in the west. Students will be learning from numerous online and print resources available on the class iPad Quest. Students will share their knowledge a variety of ways--with LEGO creations, drawings, and other 'show what you know' activities. Below are some pictures of students creating knowledge to share with others in the class!
8th Grade Social Studies
This week in 8th Grade Social Studies, students will be engaged in an iPad quest about the Civil Rights Movement. Students will be working with a variety of information--including documents from the National Archives, video footage from the time period, and other resources to learn about the this era in American history. Students will show what they know by taking part in five self-directed/self-paced tasks. Students will be encouraged to dig deeper into the content at their pace and leisure as they proceed through the quest. The Civil Rights iPad Quest is below, along with some "Breaking News Stories" created by students today in class.
About the Author
Mrs. Jennifer Hesseltine teaches United States History at the Malone Middle School in Malone, New York. When not at school, Mrs. Hesseltine can be found researching innovative ways to peak student interest in learning. Mrs. Hesseltine was recently accepted into the first cohort of TED-Ed Innovative Educators, the education initiative of TED Talks. Mrs. Hesseltine is also a contributing author of the Teaching Channel Blog, and has also contributed ideas to the TED-Ed Blog and Education Week Teacher with Larry Ferlazzo. Contact Mrs. Hesseltine via email at email@example.com, or via Twitter @jenhesseltine.