Sunday, December 15, 2013

Get Ready. Winter (Break) is Coming...

Quote of the Week: "Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think." -Dale Carnegie



The Week in Review

There are cool things happening at Hilsman this week! Many students worked on finishing up their science fair projects. The Hilsman science fair will be held next Tuesday, December 17th. If you would like to view the science projects, they will be set up in our cafeteria. Parents and community members may visit the Science Fair Monday 12/16, from 2-4 PM, and Tuesday 12/17, from 11-2 PM. Here are a few photos of students working hard:





Additionally, several Hilsman students  participated in an Hour of Code in the media center and in their classrooms! (http://code.org/educate/hoc) Several students designed their own animated holiday cards using Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/). One student designed his own computer game and others learned processing (http://hello.processing.org/). Everyone should try out the free online tutorials for themselves! (code.org/learn)



Benchmarks: December 10-17

Our Quarter Two benchmark assessments began this week and run through mid-next week. The schedule is below:

Monday, December 16th: Make ups
Tuesday, December 17th: Math
Wednesday, December 18th: Make ups
Thursday, December 19th: Make ups


Student Incentives

Over 200 students earned "uniform free day" incentives for performance in Quarter One. Today, we recognized these students and gave them wristbands good for Uniform Free Days during this last week of school before the break. The wristbands are color coded as follows:

Monday - Perfect Attendance: Orange
Tuesday - A/B Honor Roll: Yellow
Wednesday - A Honor Roll: Green
Thursday: Pride of the Panther: Festive

If your student did not receive their wristband today, or their name wasn't called and they believe they earned one, please have them email Dr. Blankenship or see Mrs. Brinkley on Monday morning. We are human and sometimes make a mistake, so if that happens we will make the correction!


December- Acts of Kindness Month

Throughout this month, we encourage the Hilsman community to commit intentional acts of kindness toward others. Sites like Random Acts of Kindness and Kindspring have lists of ideas to help you get started. You might even want to take the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge from Kindness.org.  At Hilsman, each classroom will have a Grinch, and the goal will be to fill the Grinch with hearts that have our acts of kindness written on them. Please join us in helping to make our community a kinder place during the month of December.

Pax Panther is Coming to Hilsman!

The Hilsman administration and athletic program have had as a goal over the past several years to start a tradition of having a costumed mascot to attend sporting and other Hilsman events. At the same time, the Hilsman community has been searching for a way to remember our beloved Coach Paxson, who passed away two years ago November 4th. I am happy to announce that the PTO has graciously offered to help us raise the funds to purchase a top quality panther mascot costume! Additionally, we have decided to name our mascot Pax, to honor Coach Paxson's memory. Coach Paxson was a true Panther, and an avid sports fan. Not only is Pax a part of Coach Paxson's name, but also it is an international name that means "peace." As an IB candidate school, this name fits our mascot perfectly, and as a Hilsman family, we are honored that Coach Paxson's family has given their blessing to our naming Hilsman's mascot as a tribute to him. I hope you will join us in welcoming Pax Panther to Hilsman when he makes his debut, hopefully sometime early next year.

Update: The PTO will be selling wristbands that say "I support Pax Panther" when we return to school in January. The faster the wristbands are sold, the sooner Pax can take up residence at Hilsman!

Athletics

Basketball season is here!  Our next game is Wednesday at home against Gainesville. Game time is 4:30 for girls, with the boys game immediately following.

Announcements

Our announcements are now a daily Google Presentation, which can be viewed by clicking here. In these announcements there is information regarding sports tryouts, club meetings, etc. Our weekly news show can be viewed by clicking here.


Not Seeing Enough News?

If you have Hilsman related news to share, please send it to me for inclusion in the blog.

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!


December 10-17                 Quarter 2 Benchmark Assessments
December  17                      Hilsman Science Fair
December 16-19                 Incentives for students Making Honor Roll, Perfect 
                                                Attendance, or Pride of the Panther
December 18                       Basketball vs. Gainesville
December 19                       Quarter 2 Ends/ Hilsman Your Pie % Night
December 20-January 5   Winter Break

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's That Time Again...

Quote of the Week: "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children." - Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa



The Week in Review

What a great week we had at Hilsman this week! First, we began rolling out the pilot for the next phase of our 1:1 initiative. Students and teachers alike are very excited about students having digital access in every class. I have also noticed that students are being very responsible with their devices. I am including a link here to our guidelines for acceptable use; additionally, here is a link to the Technology Standards we teach, and a link to resources on the guidelines for digital citizenship that we are using with our students.

Here is a bit of additional information worth sharing. We have a mixture of devices. About half of our devices are Netbooks, and the other half are Chromebooks. Both devices allow students to connect to the internet and access the resources they need for class. The district has hired a Director of Instructional Technology to support schools in the move to a 1:1 environment. Mr. Balbed began work this week, and visited many schools. He spent part of two days at Hilsman listening, observing, and speaking with both students and faculty members about how things are progressing and what we need in terms of both infrastructure and support. I am excited that Mr. Balbed is committed to helping us have the smoothest transition possible.


We also kicked off our Month of Kindness with an assembly featuring kindness letters written by some of our students and a guest speaker, former UGA Bulldog football player, Aron White. Mr. White talked to the students about the role that kindness and respect plays in both academics and athletics, and about the importance of both. Now we are filling our Grinches with hearts!

Aron White, with Student Council VP Zac Holland

Finally, we got our Makerbot 3D Printer!

Hilsman Middle School just received a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer from a campaign initiated by MakerBot http://3dprintboard.com/showthread.php?493-Announcing-MakerBot-Academy-3D-Printers-Supplies-and-Curriculum-for-Schools and DonorsChoose to strive to get a 3D printer in every public school in the U.S.

We were able to have our project approved during the first wave of this initiative and it was fully funded through a combination of corporate sponsorship and local support in just a matter of days.This 3D printer will be a vital component of our new media center Makerspace http://makerspace.com/. Makerspaces are becoming more commonplace as an educational STEM initiative to move learning into design, engineering, and creating. We believe that Makerspaces and 3D printing will play a huge role in helping to bring STEM education into all facets of our students' education and are excited at the possibilities that 3D printing provides.






Benchmarks: December 10-16

Our Quarter Two benchmark assessments will begin this week and run through mid-next week. We did a practice assessment last week to allow students the opportunity to become familiar with the new, online format. We had very few issues and those that we had are in the process of being resolved by the time we test on Tuesday. We have extra time built in should we need it. The schedule is below:

Tuesday, December 10th:  Reading

Wednesday December 11th: Science
Thursday, December 12th: Humanities
Friday, December 13th: Make ups
Monday, December 16th: Make ups
Tuesday, December 17th: Math
Wednesday, December 18th: Make ups
Thursday, December 19th: Make ups

December- Acts of Kindness Month

Throughout this month, we encourage the Hilsman community to commit intentional acts of kindness toward others. Sites like Random Acts of Kindness and Kindspring have lists of ideas to help you get started. You might even want to take the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge from Kindness.org.  At Hilsman, each classroom will have a Grinch, and the goal will be to fill the Grinch with hearts that have our acts of kindness written on them. Please join us in helping to make our community a kinder place during the month of December.

Pax Panther is Coming to Hilsman!

The Hilsman administration and athletic program have had as a goal over the past several years to start a tradition of having a costumed mascot to attend sporting and other Hilsman events. At the same time, the Hilsman community has been searching for a way to remember our beloved Coach Paxson, who passed away two years ago November 4th. I am happy to announce that the PTO has graciously offered to help us raise the funds to purchase a top quality panther mascot costume! Additionally, we have decided to name our mascot Pax, to honor Coach Paxson's memory. Coach Paxson was a true Panther, and an avid sports fan. Not only is Pax a part of Coach Paxson's name, but also it is an international name that means "peace." As an IB candidate school, this name fits our mascot perfectly, and as a Hilsman family, we are honored that Coach Paxson's family has given their blessing to our naming Hilsman's mascot as a tribute to him. I hope you will join us in welcoming Pax Panther to Hilsman when he makes his debut, hopefully sometime early next year.

Update: The PTO will be selling wristbands that say "I support Pax Panther" when we return to school in January. The faster the wristbands are sold, the sooner Pax can take up residence at Hilsman!

Athletics

Basketball season is here!  Check out the Spotted Gallery in the Banner-Herald this week!

Announcements

Our announcements are now a daily Google Presentation, which can be viewed by clicking here. In these announcements there is information regarding sports tryouts, club meetings, etc. Our weekly news show can be viewed by clicking here.


Not Seeing Enough News?

If you have Hilsman related news to share, please send it to me for inclusion in the blog.

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

December 9                          Joint Orchestra Concert @ Cedar Shoals  6:00 PM
December 9                          Hilsman Band Concert  7:00 PM  in New Gym
December 12                        Hilsman Holiday Chorus Concert 7:00 PM in Old Gym
December 10-17                  Quarter 2 Benchmark Assessments
December  17                       Hilsman Science Fair
December 16-19                  Incentives for students Making Honor Roll, Perfect 
                                                Attendance, or Pride of the Panther

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Have you been kind to someone today?

Quote of the Week: "When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace."
- The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)



The Week in Review

On Thursday, November 21st we held our social studies curriculum night and our annual Hilsman Middle School Geography Bee. Throughout the first semester, students have worked hard on completing a Social Studies Fair project. This project is similar to a Science Fair project in which the students select a topic, formulate a question, collect research and data, and then draw a conclusion. The Social Studies Fair project fits in perfectly with our International Baccalaureate program as it fits the Design Cycle model that all students must go through at least twice a year.
Our social studies students were able to pick their own topic that fit one of the fields of the social sciences (civics/government, economics, psychology, sociology, history, anthropology, geography) so this project was really geared to the student and their interests. We had topics this year ranging from "Can You Pass the United States Citizenship Test" to "The Economic Impact of Coca-Cola on the State of Georgia" to a comparison of the Olympic Swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and the History of Softball. The topics are endless and our students did an OUTSTANDING job. We had just over 60 tri-fold boards presented on curriculum night. This is just our first stage of the project. From now until the winter holidays, students will have time to finesse their projects and complete their research paper component. The actual Social Studies Fair will take place in January and we expect many of our students will move on to the next stage of the competition which will take place at The University of North Georgia - Gainesville Campus this winter. All of our students deserve a hearty congratulations for all of their hard work!
The second part of our curriculum night involved our final rounds of the National Geography Bee. This is a national competition put on by the National Geographic Society. Each grade level selected students to represent their grade at our school wide bee. Our final round started out with 20 students which we had to narrow down to 10 students. Each grade level did a fantastic job representing both themselves and their grade levels. Once we narrowed down the students to 10 we then continued to ask questions until we had only 2 students remaining. This year our final two were John Oates (8th grade) and Zach Holland (8th grade). Both gentleman are outstanding social studies scholars and our final competition went through many questions. In the end, returning champion, Zach Holland narrowly defeated John Oates. Zach will now take a test to qualify him for the state competition held in April at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA. We wish Zach good luck and know that he will represent Hilsman well!
All in all, our curriculum night was another outstanding event for our school community that showed off our Social Studies scholars!!!







6th grade Green Team and Science & Energy Team members toured the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Center, Landfill, and Compost Facility on Friday, November 22.
The students learned how the waste they are recycling at school is recycled and reused. Students toured the compost facility to learn how organic matter is recycled and reused to enrich the soil. The students visited the landfill to see where the waste that cannot be recycled is taken and how it is stored. Finally, students saw a brand-new methane gas collection station at the landfill site that is used to power 1,500 homes in the Athens-Clarke County area.





December- Acts of Kindness Month

Last year we began a tradition at Hilsman of making December a month of kindness. Throughout this month, we encourage the Hilsman community to commit intentional acts of kindness toward others. Sites like Random Acts of Kindness and Kindspring have lists of ideas to help you get started. You might even want to take the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge from Kindness.org.  At Hilsman, each classroom will have a Grinch, and the goal will be to fill the Grinch with hearts that have our acts of kindness written on them. Please join us in helping to make our community a kinder place during the month of December.

Technology

This week several of our teams will pilot the next phase of our 1:1 technology roll out, which will involve students taking devices with them from class to class. Teams involved are 6-1, 7-1, and the entire 8th grade. This pilot will help us make any revisions necessary before we roll out the plan to the entire school after Winter break. Teams that are not participating in the pilot will still have the same level of access to technology as they do now. We look forward to taking this next step in our 1:1 initiative.

Pax Panther is Coming to Hilsman!

The Hilsman administration and athletic program have had as a goal over the past several years to start a tradition of having a costumed mascot to attend sporting and other Hilsman events. At the same time, the Hilsman community has been searching for a way to remember our beloved Coach Paxson, who passed away two years ago November 4th. I am happy to announce that the PTO has graciously offered to help us raise the funds to purchase a top quality panther mascot costume! Additionally, we have decided to name our mascot Pax, to honor Coach Paxson's memory. Coach Paxson was a true Panther, and an avid sports fan. Not only is Pax a part of Coach Paxson's name, but also it is an international name that means "peace." As an IB candidate school, this name fits our mascot perfectly, and as a Hilsman family, we are honored that Coach Paxson's family has given their blessing to our naming Hilsman's mascot as a tribute to him. I hope you will join us in welcoming Pax Panther to Hilsman when he makes his debut, hopefully sometime early next year.

Athletics

Basketball season is here!  Our next basketball game will be this Wednesday at home vs. BHL. Tip off is at 4:30. 

Announcements

Our announcements are now a daily Google Presentation, which can be viewed by clicking here. In these announcements there is information regarding sports tryouts, club meetings, etc. Our weekly news show can be viewed by clicking here.


Not Seeing Enough News?

If you have Hilsman related news to share, please send it to me for inclusion in the blog.

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

December 9-16                  Quarter 2 Benchmark Assessments