Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What's the Matter?

Students on the Delta team are in the middle of their chemistry unit. Specifically, they are currently learning about the five states of matter: Bose-Einstein condensates, solids, liquids, gases and plasma. Last week, the students read several different articles and took notes in preparation for a project where they model the states of matter. This work specifically looked at how particles move as thermal energy is added or removed from a pure substance. This week, they are busy making skits and cartoons that show this particle motion in preparation for a performance/presentation on Friday.


Students acting out how a gas fills a container.


Drawing a cartoon showing the states of matter.


Electrically charged particles of a plasma.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Protest Poetry from 8th Grade

Galaxy Team students have vocalizing protest through poetry these last few weeks.
We began our study by first thinking about where contemporary “protest” poetry occurs these days. The answer? In song. After a bit of exploration, examination, and explication of student-collected lyrics from personal playlists, we exchanged our musicologist hats for lyricist pens and drafted some resistance words of our own addressing topics. The topics that had surfaced most frequently during our review: sexism, poverty, war, and racism.
Currently, our poems are undergoing revision and refinement, moving from draft to craft, but here are two sample student pieces-in-process. Enjoy. And thank you, poets.

My Racist Hell
By Jesse R.

Black men end up face down on the street,
Not even God can help these poor souls rise back up to their feet.
All that’s left now is a chalk outline bleeding away in the rain.
Do you feel that pain?

Black top, Black man, White Chalk
Lazareth, might be the only one who can try to carry them back to the top.
If you do get back safe and sound  
better get us postcard from that place down town

666 Nazareth Blvd.  

Racism will never completely go away, but it's worth a shot
That shot is still firing hot,
And it's worth it to stop these shots from piercing through innocent lives
The bullet, from a gun, called racism.
It’s no different then carazisom

No matter how many perspectives you look at it
There is still a dead black man, who was equal as all,
Or so we would like to think.
They don't get the opportunity to visit the White shrink.

Equalization is gonna take a little bit more than a calculator or a pen with ink.    
Honestly, that's what we are all going to go to hell for.

But, what if this hell we speak of,
Is no different from this world we breath on
Every racist crime I see in the news,
Brings us farther and farther away from the place I chose  
It would be a dream to get us closer to limbo,
But this dream, isn't working for us though,
It's going to take all of us hand and hand to fight
This little cancer that is shining so damn bright

So how about now we stop dreaming, and make a sound.
Make that sound so loud that God can’t ignore us now.  


From Hate Buds Words
By Cara V.

Why do people have to hurt others? Why
can’t we all stand united? It
doesn’t matter what color
your skin is. Color doesn’t define
Someone. Fear does.
There is no excuse

for inhumane treatment, verbally
or physically, of another
race. Hurting someone
will never make you feel better.

It makes you violent.

Words slam into skin of all color
and the marks they leave aren’t scars.
Open wounds that can only
be treated with kindness. Kindness
and opportunity for all.

There is no logic
in hating someone because
they look different,
Looking at the skeletons of
every human being on this earth,

you wouldn’t be able to tell
yours apart from any of the others.
The only skeletons that are different
are the ones who were lynched.

What makes people think
that another is superior? A white
person is not better or worse
than a black person. You,
are your personality. That’s what

people will remember.

Racism and hatred stem
from jealousy, from competition
from petty argument. And
most of all, change.
And from there, it buds.
People learn it. Parents
teach their children racism.
Is that the education that should
be given to our future?
Teamwork makes the dream work,
but our dream isn’t worth fighting
for if half the team is missing.

Slavery went on for years and years,
it was a fact of life.
The slaves brought into
America, didn’t have what we have.
The opportunity to work hard, earn
esteem. The chances we take
for granted. They didn’t receive
The American Dream.

I can’t even imagine being taken

out of my home, out to live and work
for someone else in poverty.
But that is what Americans did.
The slave masters didn’t

Stop. Think. Why

did they hate? In our
own constitution it says
that a black man is ⅗
of a white man!
That’s inhumane.

That is not liberty or justice for all.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Helping Hands of Hope fundraising efforts for Relay for Life

Helping Hands of Hope's (H3) is participating in Relay for Life this year and running several fundraising efforts.  Up until the walk-a-thon event on June 17th from 12:00pm - 12:00am, H3 will be putting their efforts into multiple fund raising events. 

  1. Yankee Candle fundraiser. Candles can be purchased at this link: link Please use group number 999966153 for your sale to be connected with H3. 
  2. Bottle drive. There is a collection box in the main lobby at Essex Middle School. In the Spring, teams will go door-to-door to collect, so please save your returnables.  
  3. Spare change collection. There is a collection bucket at the main office.
Please look for updates on future efforts including Melanoma skin cancer awareness, luminary sales, and a fund-raising dinner at a to-be-determined local restaurant.

Any questions, to join, or to donate please contact Melissa Gallup at
As with everything, make sure you do your own third-party research. 
Related image

Friday, February 10, 2017

What’s Happening in Physical Education

    We are in the middle of another Vermont winter… one that doesn’t include SNOW (we should say much snow).  With each new dusting, hope rises and students repeatedly ask …..   “Are we skiing today?”  We will venture outdoors to cross country ski (xc ski) once snowflakes sufficiently accumulate (teachers can’t wait either).  Students were sized for boots in December (optimistic that lots of snowflakes were coming).  When the opportunity arrives, students will have an orientation on dressing for cold weather as to be prepared for the conditions.  During the XC Ski unit, 7th and 8th graders will work on a diagonal gait, kick turn, traversing up a slope, skiing downhill, braking and touring.  6th graders will receive instruction on choosing/returning equipment, getting in/out of their bindings, getting up from a fall, gliding, skiing without poles and then progress to skills the older students are working on.  All students will learn about XC Ski etiquette while touring.  
    We keep hope, an optimistic attitude and an eye to the sky while we wait...and wait...and wait…….  
Strength Training
    Students are currently in the midst of a Strength Training Unit.  Each year students engage in these classes to learn the finer points of exercise technique, programming, weight room etiquette, setting them up to be skilled future consumers of the fitness/gym industry.
    Strength training is a basic fitness component that allows an individual to increase physical work capacity and decrease the incidence of injury.  Those who partake in a strength training program have secondary benefits, such as increased aerobic fitness, flexibility and improved body composition due to increased muscle mass.


    7th and 8th grade students were divided by ability during the Basketball unit so as to provide a challenge and opportunity for success with skills and strategy development.  More experienced students worked at a quicker pace on advanced dribbling skills (spin and change of speed), passing (side, skip) and shooting from varying distances and angles.  These students also worked with more complex basketball strategies during modified games. Less experienced students focused time and energy on reaching proficiency with basic dribbling, passing and shooting skills.  In addition, beginners worked on using basic defensive strategies consistently during modified games.  All 7th and 8th grade students were responsible for and assessed on an academic piece which included fitness vocabulary and Basketball terms.   

BBall6th2017 (2).JPGBBall7th2017.JPG     BBall6th2017.JPG                 
    6th graders in the Basketball unit learned about suitable equipment/size based on gender and experience level (junior, girls’ boy’s), ball handling skills for eye-hand coordination (around the waist,figure 8,flip/flop and spider), dribbling, passing and proper shooting technique.  Students worked on their skills through a variety of low key and fast paced activities including shooting races/contests.  
    6th graders, during a portion of one basketball class, used their Chromebooks to enter their 2016-17 fitness assessment data into a Google form.  The form is connected to the student’s individual Google spreadsheet which contains a formula that automatically updates when new data is entered into the form.   Over the course of their career at EMS, students will readily be able to access their performance results so they can monitor their fitness level, growth and development.    


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An Update from Eighth Grade Science

It has been an exciting few months for the eighth grade science students on the Cascade Team.  Students started the year learning about genetics and the important role that genes play in organisms. As part of this unit, we watched the new documentary from PBS called “9 Months that Made Me.” This three part documentary follows the development of a baby in the womb, showing important genetic milestones in the offspring's maturation.  Next, we shifted to our unit on Natural Selection and Adaption. This provided the opportunity for them to apply what they learned from our genetics unit, focusing on how some organisms are able to adapt in order to survive and reproduce.  

The Smithsonian Institution called Exploring Human Origins traveling exhibit is coming to Burlington! This presents a great learning opportunity that you can share with your student. The exhibit will be at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street in Burlington, from February 18 to March 17 and will explore some of the concepts that have been covered in class using interactive kiosks, displays and video. These demonstrations illustrate important evolutionary milestones such as walking upright and the development of the brain.

Below are the links to the Fletcher Free Library site and the website from the Smithsonian Institute for more information on the exhibit. I hope you will take the opportunity to go visit the exhibit.
Fletcher Free Library: Click Here
Smithsonian Institute: Click Here

We continue studying in the theme “change” as we start our current unit on the History of the Earth. In this unit, we have been exploring the Theory of Plate Tectonics and how the surface of the Earth is continuously changing.  This unit involves lots of lab work and simulations and ends with students studying different geological time periods from billions of years ago to present day.  From here, we will learn about Chemical Reactions and finish our year with our physical science units on Waves and Forces of Motion.

Above: Cascade students performing NECAP release task, Colliding Plates, as a part of the Earth and Space Science unit, History of Earth.

Friday, February 3, 2017

February Eagle News

Eagle News
February 3, 2017

Music is Everywhere:  Congratulations to the 28 EMS students who were invited to attend the annual District Music Festival this past weekend.  A couple of nights ago, the 8th graders performed at EHS with ADL, Westford and EHS.  In a few short weeks,  the annual concerts will be beginning. 2/16 Orchestra, 2/19 Chorus, 5/18 Orchestra, 5/25 Band, 5/2 Jazz Festival on Church Street.

Senior Luncheon:  In conjunction with the Essex Junction Senior Center (EJSC), EMS is hosting a monthly Senior Luncheon for our community seniors.  Each month a group of students support, dine and entertain the seniors.  With a different activity per month, the goal of providing a dining experience for the young and old has been met with enthusiasm. If you know of someone or would like to join us on the third Wednesday of the each month, contact Lou-Ann Pioli at for ticket.  Cost is $2.00 if you’re a member of EJSC.  $3.00 if not a member.

Social Media: Want to know what’s happening?  Consider being a follower of our social media.  Each week there are two blog posts highlighting a teacher or a specific activity.  Each day there are pictures that are posted on both Instagram and Facebook.  

Facebook:  Essex Middle School

Attendance:  I want to remind everyone to please call the Main Office if your child is going to be tardy, dismissed early and/or absent.  You can either call 879-7173 and press 3 or email EMS at  Contact Kayla in the main office if you haven’t received a magnet with this information on it.  

JumpRope:  A friendly reminder to check out JumpRope to see how your son/daughter is currently performing at EMS.

      Wings Up!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Community-Based Projects this Trimester in DTE

We are certainly in the midst of another frigid Vermont winter and the 7th grade DTE (Design Technology Education) classes have been staying busy (and warm!) with four different community based manufacturing activities.

Through engaging and interesting projects students have been developing and practicing many problem solving skills:
·        Resourcefulness. Using what materials are readily available.
·        Meeting human needs by learning about the materials and process that help to do that.
·        Identifying projects. Seeking out and brainstorming projects to solve a problem.
·        STEM concepts.
·        Mathematical Skills. Practical application of mathematical skills include calculating material requirements and costs.

One group is producing 21 honey bee queen bee incubators. Students have adopted a commercial queen incubator made of styrofoam to be made using Vermont pine (a renewable material!) This project also includes a component printed with our 3D printer. Students pictured above work together to build the pine enclosure. 

Another group (below) is working on producing two STEM Carts for Founders and Elementary student STEM activities. This project calls for plywood as the main manufacturing material.

A third group is producing STEM activity ramps for the EES kindergarten Motion and Forces STEM activity. They are producing four sets of ten ramps comprised of two different lengths and widths. These ramps will be brightly painted.

The 4th group is producing twenty-four Pickleball Paddles for the EMS PE program. Acquiring the proper material to manufacture the paddles was one of the hurdles we overcame. When all else fails - check Amazon!

All these activities have kept the DTE work lab busy! All images represent works in progress. What’s next for DTE manufacturing? We are always open to ideas. It could even be some classic Adirondack Chairs!