As a physically active way to learn more about the roles that dance and music play in culture, the students participated in a Latin dance and music unit. The CMS students are researching and teaching one another basic dance steps to a number of Latin dances, including the merengue, the tango, the cumbia, and the bachata. A highlight of this unit featured Salsa dancing with the help of instructor E. Victoria Moore of SalsaLina Dance Studio. Ms. Moore’s instruction was funded by a grant from CMS’s Partners in Education (PIE) group.
In addition to the dance lessons, the classes have been listening to music from around the Spanish-speaking world.
“Nationals is going to be unlike anything we’ve done so far. We’re really going to have to spend a lot of time getting ready for that level of competition,” Lauren said.
“Being good isn’t going to be enough. We’re going to have to be perfect in everything—research, presentation, cross-fire …” Summer added.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, cultivating excellent debating skills is excellent preparation for life beyond high school. “For my money, debate is one of the best activities for college and life preparation,” said CHS’s Guidance department chair Bob Hall, who was recently named the Vermont Debate Coach of the Year. “Students develop many valuable twenty-first-century skills in debate, including research, collaboration, communication, public speaking, critical thinking, and problem-solving, rigorously tested by their peers in authentic settings.”
How does this relate to your school district’s mission? The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners. We are working hard to provide powerful learning and growing opportunities for each and every student.
Fundraising efforts are under way to send the students to the national competition. If you are interested in helping these students to meet their fundraising goal of $5,000, checks can be made payable to CHS Debate c/o Colchester High School and sent to:
Colchester High School
131 Laker Lane
Colchester, VT 05446
Many, many thanks to the following organizations for their funding assistance in sending the students to the regional competition:
Part of the unit involved creating scrolls—written in Greek—and sharing and translating them with their peers.
The students did a great deal of reading and comparisons of versions of the same myth and also discussed how Greek mythology has been incorporated into many current books, including works by Rick Riordan and JK Rowling. Students also had a Greek spelling and vocabulary lesson, incorporating mythology into their own writing and creating writing pieces upon which handmade puppets were based.
Ms. Buswell wrapped up the mythology unit with a bit of Greek theater. The students offered performances on Midas, the story of Hermes, and the kidnapping of Persephone—dressed in togas and laurels.
As part of the technology integration of their work, students used iPads to conduct a short, focused research project on the Greek city-states and ancient Greek life. As part of this research, they argued and defended why they wished to live in a particular city-state.
Ms. Buswell feels strongly that the study of mythology is a particularly important component in the study of classic and modern literature. It is also helpful in the study of ancient culture as well as the study of the beginnings of Western civilization. “Besides exposing children to classic literature, I use the unit to reinforce the concepts of theme, conflict and resolution, and inferencing,” Buswell said. “We have three differentiated guided reading groups, but all students learn the major Olympians and their identifying myths, as well as the stories of Perseus, Theseus, Odysseus, Persephone, and Orpheus. Of course, no study of Greek mythology would be complete without Midas, Narcissus and Echo, Prometheus, or Pandora, just to name a few!”
The Heritage Gallery is the culminating event of an extensive project in which all tenth-grade students take part. Beginning with creating personal and historical timelines of events during their lives and conducting intergenerational interviews, the students write three vignettes after reading examples from Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. In addition, the students most choose from other possible project components, including family recipes, town histories, heritage maps, and more. A scrapbook compilation of their work designed to be handed down in the future rounds out the students’ experience.
Among the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways are Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway B: Technology Infrastructure and Integration; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Pathway G: Town + School = One Vision. We invite the community to share in student work that encompasses all of these pathways.
Sharing the results of their exploration with the community is an important aspect of the project. Please join us. Snacks, juice, and coffee will be served.
Community members are invited to create a work of art in any media depicting the Colchester Reef Lighthouse—or any lighthouse—and deliver it to Anne Cummings at Colchester High School by April 17, 2013. (To view a photograph of the lighthouse and to learn more about its history, click here.)
And are you cleaning out your attics and garages to get ready for spring? Maybe you can help Colchester Middle School’s art department give new life to old wooden chairs that you no longer want!
Students are studying the works of Monet, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Grant Wood, René Magritte, Picasso, Kandinsky, and many others, and art educator William Albright is seeking folding wooden chairs that will be repaired and painted using techniques mimicking the styles of many of these famous artists. The chairs will be auctioned off at the Colchester School District Art Show later this year, and all proceeds will benefit CMS arts opportunities. Anyone wishing to donate chairs may drop them off at CMS during school hours, and Mr. Albright can be reached at (802) 264-5800 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions. (To view some examples of ideal wooden chair donations, please click here.)
This incredible artist-in-residence program opportunity—culminating with a school-wide performance on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the community theater at Colchester High School—offers students an introduction to a creative outlet, is designed to further their understanding and appreciation of other cultures, and has been a long-anticipated and proud school-wide interdisciplinary effort. In addition to the weeklong work with Stuart Paton:
classroom teachers have been working with the students on Japanese vocabulary;
It is that time of year again—time to register for kindergarten! This registration is for children who will attend public kindergarten in Colchester during the 2013/2014 school year. Children must be five years old before September 1, 2013.
Nearly a month of planning went into the carnival extravaganza. Principal Julie Benay and the MBS physical education teachers organized carnival-style games, including Ramp-O-Rama, Pin the Hat on the Leprechaun, bowling for leprechauns, a bean bag toss, a leprechaun costume contest, and more. Eleven members of Colchester High School’s National Honor Society students ran the games for the MBS Ospreys, while Sheila Clark’s fifth graders demonstrated Irish dancing that they learned in music class, and Jenny Bittner organized face painting and crafts. The MBS PTO provided decorations, music, prizes, and a snack bar.
It was an evening of physically active, tech-free fun for the students, which also speaks to the district’s wellness initiatives (you can read the district’s wellness blog here).
We talk a great deal about the many ways in which our school communities and our greater community support one another, and it is really important because community spirit has a snowballing effect; when our community members see our students making substantial efforts, they are more likely to support our students … and when our students feel supported, they are more likely to give back. The entire community benefits when everyone commits to making ongoing positive contributions. For many people, the term community simply boils down to a feeling—a feeling of camaraderie, of shared vision, of similar desires for the present and hopes for the future.
Do you like CSD Spotlight? If so, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe! We are working hard to engage our community and keep everyone informed. Please help us spread the word!
Since the PPS Pandas have been participating in the national Jump Rope for Heart annual event, which not only promotes physical activity and heart-healthy living but also raises money for the American Heart Association—supporting research and public education about heart-related health—Mr. Pecor thought that the mystery panda might be able to help inspire the students. After all, the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 includes Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners and Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.
It may come as a surprise to some, but jump roping is a competitive international sport, and there are demonstration teams all across the country and around the world. Just a few examples include the Ohio-based Comet Skippers, the Colorado-based JumpNRope, Ltd., the Washington-based Ropeworks, the Texas-based USA Jump Rope, the West Virginia–based Jump Company USA, World Jump Rope, FISAC–IRSF, and many more. There is even a jump rope demonstration team right here in Vermont … called the Vernon Tornadoes at Vernon Elementary School. In addition to all of that, jump roping—especially synchronized jump roping or collaborative jumping with multiple ropes and props—teaches clear communication, sportsmanship, excellent cooperation, trust building, and how to function as a collective unit in which every participant is vitally important. (There are some great videos on these websites if you would like to see some truly fancy footwork—footwork performed by those who do not need to be coaxed with the promise of tasty bamboo and by those who actually still actively jump on a regular basis.)