Friday, January 27, 2017

Team Cascade's Poetry Slam

Recently, the eighth grade Cascade team finished a poetry unit. They found the themes of different protest songs and figured out their meanings, such as Amanda Lyon. She reviewed the song Better days by Victoria Monet, a song about the inequality for black lives in light of recent shootings. She believes that the artist’s claim is, “That there is too much violence and unfair treatment. We need to come together to create peace.” Alison Stevens also reviewed a song called Sit Still Look Pretty by Daya, a song about women’s rights. She claims that the artist is saying through the song, “That girls can be powerful and do important things and it doesn't matter how pretty we are.” After researching current event topics, Cascade Students also wrote inspiring protest poetry/songs, which contained a stance about an issue along with evidence of supporting and opposing views.
These poems lead to a slam poetry performance that took place in the very own Mrs.Pawlusiak’s room on January 13th. Students brought their poems to life through adding poetry slam elements such as hand motions, background music, and changes in volume to enhance and make their poem stand out. There were two emcees from each core who hosted and announced the different poems. The experience allowed students to learn about important topics in a fun and interesting way.

Blog Post Written by: Kaitlin Chapman and Kiera Marcotte, 8th Graders on Team Cascade

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Peer Leaders

The Essex Middle School Peer Leaders are a group of students who actively work to educate their peers on combating bias, prejudice and discrimination by assuming leadership roles to create respectful and inclusive school environments.  They recently wrapped up a series of workshops facilitated to 6th and 7th grade homerooms targeting topics of diversity, identity, and examined bullying and cyberbullying.  The next round of workshops to be held in February will continue to focus on identity and how to combat discrimination by becoming an ally.  The Peer Leaders are completing their first round of workshops with the 8th grade homerooms with topics on bullying, cyberbullying, the many roles people assume in bullying situations with a focus on how to become an ally, and an examination of microaggressions people experience based on their identities.    

Friday, January 20, 2017

Carnival Night at EMS

Mark your calendars, Friday March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, for the EMS Carnival Night. There will be games, activities, DJ, snacks, prizes, etc.. throughout EMS from 5:30-8. The event will be a fundraiser for the Youth Green International Group’s efforts to support sister schools in Senegal and Bhutan. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It Takes a Village to Raise a Middle School Child

EMS has been buzzing since returning from the holiday break two weeks ago. Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and text messaging the students are communicating to each other and to the outside world all the time. It’s not all positive though and I want to share some ways to best monitor your child and their use of social media.  

Know their passwords:  News flash to some of you…...Some students have more than one account.  They have one for grandma and one for friends.  Know them all!

Check your child’s privacy settings.  Make them as limiting as they can be.

Don’t be afraid to limit the use:  Have an agreed upon contract of when to use it, where to charge it and how it’s going to be used. A wonderful tool is a website The Smart Talk. It's an interactive website that allows kids and parents to work together to create a set of personalized rules for their electronics. 

Check out what pictures are being posted:  What’s interesting is I’ve seen pictures of students that give away their identity by what’s in the background.

Know who they’re chatting with: Each year I hear about students chatting with someone they don’t know.  Ask questions and demand to know the answers.  

Listen to your gut: The old analogy is a lioness listen to her gut when protecting her young. We need to do the same.

It takes a village to raise a middle school child. We are in this together.  We owe it to each other to be on the same team.  If you see, hear or suspect something…..say something.  If you feel uncomfortable about making the call…..Let me know and I’ll make it.  I’ve made many phone calls not as the principal but rather as a father.  If I’d want to know as a dad… deserve to know.  

A couple of Apps to help: Teen Safe, Secure Teen, Net Nanny
ADL, Westford and EMS will be working together to provide parents an opportunity to learn more about Social Media.  Be on the lookout for an evening of learning over the next few weeks.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Phoenix Raises Money for Local Families

Students on the Phoenix Team worked together this holiday season to raise money for local families in need. They planned and implemented the selling of Candy Cane Grams at lunches for two weeks before break. Students at EMS could purchase these Candy Cane Grams for a friend for $1.00. These were then delivered by the Phoenix Students to their recipients the day before break. In all, the team raised $354 to support those in need for the holidays. 

Pictured are the students in Mrs. Baker's homeroom giving the money they raised to Mrs. Lynaugh, a guidance counselor at EMS, who then delivered the funds to local families.

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