Spring 2016

7th Grade Otto Middle School

Make the Difference

The 7th Grade Team hopes that everyone had a fun and relaxing break. We look forward to getting back into the routine as we focus on growing all students academically and inspiring them to think differently. Our goal is for Otto students to be innovative, bold, and creative problem-solvers, so we will be introducing Critical Thinking Zone during Bobcat Academy. Students will participate in brainteasers, logic puzzles, and how to solve problems. Watch the video below and see how a group of boys didn't give up easily on their dreams, and how they dared to think differently.
TMB Panyee FC short film

Growth Mindset


One of the leading researchers on growth mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck, gives a TED talk about the power of “yet”. When a student fails, it is not the end. They just haven’t learned it YET. The Otto staff has been adopting this notion by letting students try again and by praising their efforts and strategies. Research shows that students respond positively from being told that they haven’t accomplished something “yet”. They process the error, they learn from it and they correct it. Click the link below to watch the video:

Otto Events Available to Parents

otto events available to parents

Help! A Teenager has Moved into my Child's Body!

As our children mature, we are often caught off guard by the rapid changes they experience. As the pull of peer pressure becomes more intense, and interest in clothes, music, or the opposite sex takes on more importance, we may struggle with our emerging adolescents. The strategies that served us well with younger children must be refined as we deal with more complex challenges. Join other interested parents as we discuss such topics as normal adolescent development, effective communication, and workable boundaries for our young teens.

Otto Middle School from 12:30 - 1:30 PM

Friday -- January 15, 2016

Friday -- February 19, 2016

***Different topics each session

For more information contact: Krishna Upadhyaya at (972) 672-7221 or krish605@gmail.com. Visitwww.pisd.edu/about.us/departments/familyservices.shtmlfor a complete list of parent education classes.

Alice and JavaScript

UTD Coding Club for Otto! Starting January 21st


In English, the students will be starting their Journey and Passages unit. In this unit, students will be reading and analyzing stories that send the character on a physical journey in which they are challenged to grow and mature mentally and emotionally. In a few weeks, the students will start their first class novel, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. The students will use their understanding of Crispin's journey to explain how specific themes fit into the story by crafting expository essay responses.

In Honors English, the students will be starting their Journey and Passages unit. In this unit, students will be reading and analyzing stories that send the character on a physical journey in which they are challenged to grow and mature mentally and emotionally. In a few weeks, the students will start their first class novel, The Hobbit. The students will use their understanding of Bilbo Baggin's journey to explain how specific themes fit into the story by crafting expository essay responses.

Contact Information:

Kristin Ernst



Erin Kerry



Anna Mackey



Tara Browning



Niki Matasso




Texas, our Texas! This six weeks in Texas History we will begin the Unit with the founding of the Republic of Texas. We will look at all the decisions and difficulties that the Texans had to face as they create their own government. We will then move into the annexation of Texas into the United States. Why would the United States not want the great state of Texas?! After annexation, Texas will be faced with deciding which side to be on when it comes to the Civil War. We will end this unit with Reconstruction after the Civil War.

In PACE, the unit takes students through the progression of Texas as an independent republic, to a state in the United States, and through the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Students will see the challenges Texans faced as an independent nation, in attempting to join the U.S., as a state during the Mexican War, during the Civil War, and in gaining re-admittance to the Union during Reconstruction. They will learn how various people held vastly differing opinions on what they believed was best for the country, both in Texas and in the United States.

Contact Information:

Miriam Carpenter



Daniel Moman



Brent Truitt



Zeshan Khan




Math 7

  • Identifying scale factors between similar figures.
  • Finding missing measurements given two similar figures.
  • Using ratios to describe relationships between the dimensions of similar figures.
  • Using angle relationships in triangles and quadrilaterals to solve problems.

Honors Math 7

We will begin the 2nd semester by exploring proportional and nonproportional relationships. This will include:

  • Analyzing linear equations
-rate of change on a graph, table, equation, and context
-intercepts on a graph, table, equation, and context
  • Intersections and Inequalities

Math Rocks 7

We will continue with Algebra I concepts with exponential relationships. This will include:

  • Squares, cubes, and their roots
  • Simplifying Radicals
  • Laws of products and quotients
  • Laws of negative and zero exponents
  • Rational Exponents

Contact Information:

Fern Johnson



Cindy Ramirez



Alex Rosenfield



Caresir Gonzales



Elizabeth Jacobsen




This six weeks we are covering the vast topic of human impact. We are starting a class compost bin that students can contribute to and see how easy and fun going green can be! We will also study watersheds and how water flows easily through our cities and rural areas picking up whatever we discard.

Contact Information:

Jamie Bell



Maritza Bradshaw



Ron Ohlig



Elizabeth Jacobsen



Meet the Science Department

Jamie Bell

Jamie Bell is in her 10th year of teaching. She has been with Otto for four years teaching 7th and 8th grade Science. Jamie believes the goal of an educator is to help students realize their potential and how to learn from mistakes. Every student can be successful when they take ownership of their education and understand what makes learning best for them.

Jamie has also written curriculum for the district for the past 8 years. Her favorite part of being a curriculum writer is the planning and collaboration that occurs with other 7th grade science teachers across the district. Jamie is also the Science department head. She loves looking after the needs of the department and helping each science teacher have what they need to make learning the best for all Otto students.

When not at Otto, Jamie enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She likes to stay active by practicing Iyengar Yoga. Jamie loves listening to podcast, like Serial, and reading in her free time.

Maritza Bradshaw

Maritza Bradshaw is originally from McAllen, Texas and although she is far from her family; she loves Plano and adores her students at Otto Middle School. She has been teaching middle school science for 17 years and has been at Otto for 6 years. She enjoys helping students reach their full potential by instilling confidence, creating a safe, fun learning environment and helping them overcome barriers. When Maritza is not at school, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, two boys, and German Shepherd. She also enjoys watching football, Fixer Upper, and Dancing with the Stars

Ron Ohlig

Ron Ohlig teaches 6th grade science and 7th grade Honors science. This is his 2nd year at Otto but has 16 previous years in Plano ISD. This includes eleven years teaching Health, four years in high school Biology, and this is his third year of middle school Science. Ron has been married for 35 years (to the same wonderful woman) and has three grown children and three grandkids. Activities outside of school are running, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, cooking, yard work, and just about any other outdoor activity.

Elizabeth Jaconsen

Elizabeth Jacobsen teaches basic science to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. This is her 2nd year at Otto and her 5th year teaching. She comes from a long line of educators and has taught 1st and 3rd grade as well as Middle School. She has a Business degree from Marshall University in West Virginia and a Master’s in Education from Houston Baptist University. She and her husband Steven are expecting their first child (it’s a boy!) in December. She loves sports, especially soccer, which she played in college, as well as football, baseball and hockey. Her other interests include reading, hiking, rock climbing, camping and traveling. She has visited almost every U.S. state and 14 countries. She is very excited about all the great things happening at Otto this year!