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February 2016 - Staff Edition

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"50" Trivia

Westview will have its 50th graduating class. It's also Super Bowl 50 this year. But did you know all of the other "50th" events this year? Feel free to use these bits of trivia with your classes. I have found one intriguing "50 years ago" event for each month of the year.

January 12, 1966 - "Batman" premiers starring Adam West

February 3, 1966 - First soft landing on the moon (Soviet Luna 9)

March 24, 1966 - The Selective Service announces it will allow college deferments based on performance

April 18, 1966 - Bill Russell became the first black coach in NBA history (Boston Celtics)

May 12, 1966 - St. Louis' Busch Stadium opens

June 10, 1966 - Janis Joplin performs her first live concert (Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco)

July 1, 1966 - Medicare goes into effect

August 14, 1966 - The 1st lunar orbiter is launched by the U.S.

September 5, 1966 - Jerry Lewis' 1st Muscular Dystrophy Telethon raised $15,000

October 15, 1966 - President Lyndon B. Johnson signs a bill creating the U.S. Department of Transportation

November 6, 1966 - NBC launches its first entire lineup televised in color

December 16, 1966 - Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas airs for the first time on CBS.



The Boys in the Boat

Out of the depths of the Depression comes the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler.

-Author Daniel J. Brown

Turnaround Tools for the Teenage Brain

The achievement gap is widening and more teens than ever are struggling in school. The latest research shows not only that brains can change, but that teachers and other providers have the power to boost students' effort, focus, attitude, and even IQs. In this book, bestselling author Eric Jensen and co-author Carole Snider offer teacher-friendly strategies to ensure that all students graduate, become lifelong learners, and ultimately be successful in school and life.

-Authors Eric Jensen & Carole Snider

Beyond Championships

In less than ten years, Dru Joyce II went from someone living a dull middle-management existence to being one of the most visible high school basketball coaches in the country. Despite having virtually no background in the sport, Coach Dru became mentor and coach to one of professional basketball's biggest names - Lebron James. In this book, Coach Dru will inspire you with the same foundational principles he promotes to his players and follows in his own life. Far more than a sports book, Beyond Championships is a blueprint for anyone looking to make better choices, reach their full potential, and become winners in all areas of life.

-Author Coach Dru Joyce II with Chris Morrow, forward by Lebron James



The Junior High students are doing well with the program. They have to read 5 books in order to vote in April. We currently have 17 students eligible to vote and many more are very close. There must also be a bit of a competition going on in one of Mrs. Wesling's classes with 3 students who have 13+ books read from the list of 20 nominees. They still have 3 months to go in the program. Way to go!!

So far the top books tested are:

-The Heartbreak Messenger by Alexander Vance

-Hidden Summer by Gin Phillips

-The Right Fight by Chris Lynch

-Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

-The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

-Infestation by Timothy J. Bradley



The High School students continue to amaze me with their reading habits. We have had 77 students turn in votes for 176 books read. Many more have read the Eliot Rosewater books based on AR testing. The sophomores hold the lead for the most students voting. However, we have a couple of juniors who are in the lead for the most Eliot Rosewater books read. Way to go!!

The Rosies with the most votes are:

-The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram

-Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Chen

-Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

-Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

-Six Months Later by Natalie Richards



Do you need some current nonfiction primary sources? Newsela might be just for you. Articles can easily be adjusted to various reading levels. You can also find articles tied to standards and then have your students take a quiz over an assigned article. Articles are taken from well-known sources and are also offered in Spanish. Simply sign-up for their free site. You can choose to subscribe for more options, but I thought the free option offered a substantial number of news articles. To give you an idea of what they offer, here are a few articles currently on their site:

-Panthers' Newton wants to send black quarterback issue to the sidelines - Associated Press

-(Pro/Con) Amid climate change, should we use more nuclear power? - Tribune News Service

-White House tells states to give students fewer tests - Associated Press

-Have violin, will travel: Students find new paths with N.C. music program -Charlotte Observer

-Mayor proposes raising tobacco-buying age to 21 to curb teen smoking - Chicago Tribune

-Chemistry group offers seat at periodic table to 4 new elements - Los Angeles Times