SMS Room 402
This week in Room 402 (Feb. 15th - 19th)
Students' community activism projects are really under way now!
The 6th-grade team has been tasked with developing a video that communicates their research findings and advocates for student needs! After meeting with Assistant Superintendents Dr. Angelique Nedved and Jerri Kemble and Dr. Jennifer Bessolo, SMS principal, students learned more about the technology options the district is considering and were able to share the results of the school-wide survey the students developed, distributed, and documented. At the conclusion of the meeting, Ms. Kemble asked the students to develop a video that the district could use in making its decisions surrounding an iPad or other technology-related initiative. This initiative might put devices into the hands of ALL USD 497 students and would help our sixth-graders to address their community activism project problem: How do we get devices and internet access to ALL South students who need them? Moving forward, we see ourselves as partners with USD 497! The sixth-graders did a fantastic job of communicating their findings, advocating for their peers' needs, and expressing their interests. I am very proud!
Our 7th-grade team has established a potential solution to their essential question: How can we prevent distracted driving in our community? Students are exploring the possibility of an auto insurance company partnership that would offer discounts to teen drivers in exchange for distracted-driving education. Students are currently researching how much the development of an app might cost, which companies we might be able to partner with, whether anything like this already exists in our community, and how to market such an offer. The plan would be to eventually set up meetings with area auto insurance companies to see if any of them might be interested in a partnership. Before that happens, though, students need to become experts that are able to sell their idea! They are on their way!
Our two 8th-grade teams are also making fantastic progress. Team #1 is tackling: How can we help the underserved in Lawrence with their finances? Students are planning a free event, possibly at the Lawrence Public Library, that would depend on the donated time and services of area financial advisors/planners. Students would like to offer a presentation on managing money and then individual sessions where families can sit down with financial advisors to discuss their current situations and their financial goals. Students are currently working to establish a date so that they can begin to recruit professional volunteers for the event. If you know of anyone who might be willing to help, we'd love to make contact!
8th-grade Team #2 is hard at work in the research phase of their project. The students are researching plastic alternatives that might help to answer the question: How can use of plastics in Lawrence cafeterias be reduced? This team hopes to be able to present plastic alternatives that are affordable and biodegradable in an effort to cut down on major waste of plastics across Lawrence. So far, their research has been impressively thorough, and I have no doubt that they will make waves before the semester is over!
Up next for each of these teams... We need to design our action plans and actually implement them! This will likely require some fundraising and some time outside of school. I will be in touch as we make our way through our creative problem solving!
KU ENGINEERING EXPO
The KU Engineering Expo will take place during the school day on Thursday, Feb. 25th! I will plan to take students to campus, but parents are welcome to attend as well! This event has crept up on all of us quickly! I have registered all students who have indicated interest, but if students plan to work in teams -- especially teams of students outside of gifted guided studies -- they will need to let me know that this is the case. Because of our activism projects and the time that they require, we won't be spending a lot of in-class time on the engineering projects. I have told students that I am willing to stay late on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays if they want to begin bringing materials and using that work time. Please let me know if you have questions!
See this link for more information on the various competitions:
Kansas History Day
I'm so proud of these sixth-graders who have chosen to dive in to a new activity they have no experience with! I am positive that it will be a great learning experience, and I anticipate much success in the future! I am willing to stay after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays if students would like to use my classroom as a space to work!
Model United Nations
Two of our Model UN students' resolutions were accepted, which is fantastic news! These students will be responsible for composing authorship speeches and being prepared to answer questions about their resolutions. Authorship speeches should be about two minutes long. I will be providing MUN students with copies of all accepted resolutions from their councils so that they can also compose affirmation and negation speeches in response to proposed resolutions from other delegates. Remember: All delegates are representatives of their chosen country and should respond as such.
I am willing to stay after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays if students would like to use my classroom as a space to work or get assistance!
A Model UN practice night will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23rd from 7-8:30 p.m. at Central Middle School. This will be incredibly informative for all participating students, as well as for me. High school MUN officers will be present to coach and answer questions, as well as more experienced MUN teachers who can provide the same. This should alleviate anxieties about the Model UN event and help all participants to feel prepared for their roles as delegates. We just need to make sure we are prepared with authorship speeches and affirmation/negation speeches in order to receive feedback and assistance!