Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nock Celebrates Flag Day with Veteran's Town Hall

Under the leadership of 8th grade teacher Jen Groskin, the 8th grade celebrated Flag Day today with a Veteran's Town Hall. Eleven local veterans visited with the students in small groups to share their experiences and answer questions. We are thankful to Ms. Groskin and all the veterans for sharing their time with us.

Friday, June 9, 2017

NHS Graduate...10 Things I wish I Knew in 8th Grade

2014 NHS Graduate Drew Bourdeau was here this week  speaking with our 8th grade. Drew is a rising senior at St. Anselm's college majoring in math and secondary education. He is also a member of the Hawk's lacrosse team.

Drew shared his reflections on "What I Wish I Knew in 8th Grade" with Mr. Murphy's 8th grade Wellness classes.

His 10 points included tips on "going all out," supporting your friends at all-school events, staying drug and alcohol free, and remembering that teachers are people, too.

Students enjoyed hearing from a fellow Clipper!

8th Grade I am We Seminars

Hon. José Sánchez discussed juvenile justice with students 
The culminating project for our 8th grade social studies course is called "I am We." Students spend the year studying American government and finish by exploring who they are in the "We" of "We the People."

As a part of this project, students select an issue to study. They examine the issue from the legislative, executive and judicial angles. Additionally, they think about how the issue is impacting citizens. Based on their research, students take a stand on their issue.

Chief Fowler shared his expertise on a variety of topics 

To promote civic engagement and teach students about the different roles of our government, students are required to meet and interview professionals. 

On Wednesday, two groups of students were able to spend an hour learning from Massachusetts Juvenile Court Justice Honorable José Sánchez and Salisbury Chief of Police, Thomas Fowler.

We are thankful to both Judge Sánchez and Chief Fowler for generously giving their time to help our students explore the complexities of the American justice system. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

7 Crimson Students Discuss Bullying

As a part of their ELA and SS classes, a team of five students on 7 Crimson facilitated a text-based conversation on the essential question: How do you think bullying has or can become the new normal?

The students developed the essential question and designed the one-hour lesson. Using an article and several video's, the students guided their peers through a lesson that included an interactive survey, a large group discussion, and reflective journaling.

It was powerful to watch as the students ran their class for close to 90 minutes. The conversation was rich and included comments such as:

  • "I don't think normal is the right word to use. If something is normal then we aren't trying to stop it."
  • "The article talked about the profile of bullies. But I think anyone can be a bully, especially over social media."
  • " Maybe if you have more friends to back you, if you are more popular, it is easier to be intimidating."
  • "Sometimes people bully because of their back story. But does that really matter?"
  • "People think burns are funny, but they really hurt. The person getting burned or roasted may be acting like it's fine but they are actually crying inside."
  • "It's about speaking up. Let the bully know right away you don't like it. We need to stop saying 'it's a joke'."
  • "Sometimes I feel like there are a million different reasons why someone might bully: your friend group, your parents and how they solve problems and treat people, your social status."

The group ended their lesson with a video from UpTV Who Will Stop the Bullying

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cellist Matthew Sharp Conducts Master Class

Matthew Sharp is professional cellist from London who performs all over the world with orchestras and operas. Thanks to the generous support of the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival and the coordination of orchestra teacher Jamie Sokolowski, Mr. Sharp came to the Nock Middle School today. 

He facilitated a workshop with our 7th-grade orchestra--providing students with tips, coaching and inspiration. He closed the class with an engaging and spirited performance. Students were excited to have the opportunity to meet and learn from a professional musician. 

Mr. Sharp will be performing this Saturday, May 13th at  6:30 in St. Anna's Chapel, Newburyport. For show information, visit Newburyport Chamber Music Festival

Happy Ukes!

Orchestra and chorus teacher Jamie Sokolowski has been incorporating ukuleles into her chorus classes.

Students at all grade levels are loving the instrument and we have heard many wonderful renditions of songs come from the program.

Join us tomorrow, May 10 for a live performance (at 6:30 in the Nock Auditorium).

Monday, May 8, 2017

19 Students Participate in Project Bread's Walk for Hunger

On Sunday, May 7th eighth grade teachers Jen Groskin and Bridget Lesage continued a Nock tradition of bringing a group of students to Boston for Project Bread's annual Walk for Hunger. It is a 20 mile walk designed to raise awareness and support for local issues around hunger. 

With a small but mighty group of 19 students (10 from the Nock and 9 from Newburyport High School) the Nock team raised over $5000 for Project Bread. 

Congratulations to our student participants! And many thanks to our teaching staff for spending a Sunday sharing important lessons with our students. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Nock Students Support another Water Well in Sudan

We recently received confirmation from the Water for South Sudan Project that a second Rupert A. Nock Middle School water well has been drilled.

Many thanks go out to Nock students and staff whose community service and curriculum projects have explored issues of water, geography and the history of Sudan. It is exciting to see students and families in Sudan benefiting from our studies.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Shoe Collection Still Open!

We are still collecting gently used shoes for the Shoeman Water Project...

make our work easier by tying the shoes together in a pair with an elastic band 😊

It's Duck Season in the Courtyard

Our mallard family enjoying a sunny afternoon

Literature Circles

Grade 6 Literature Circle Choices
In a literature circle students choose to read a book from a collection that has been selected to address a theme. This teaching strategy allows teachers to provide reader choice and address the varied interests and abilities of students in their class. Beyond the skills associated with reading and analyzing a text, the big goal is to create a passion for reading.

Students meet in small groups with peers who have chosen the same book. They set a reading schedule, explore themes, discuss characters, and share their experience with the novels.

Grade 7 students explore themes
Many of the Nock literature circles culminate with a writing assignment.

Right now we have literature circles happening at all three grade levels. The 6th grade theme is self-awareness, 7th grade is human resiliency, and in 8th grade it is social injustice.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Renewable Energy Wind Turbine Project

Thanks to the help of Ryan Edwards and Eamonn Sullivan seventh grade science students will be starting their wind turbine project with three completed turbine units.

The boys built the units that will be used by students to test various blade designs, learn about wind energy production, and further their understanding of the engineering process.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Evening Quiz Review with Ms. Alexander a Hit!

Ms. Alexander is piloting a flexible after school help schedule. Last night she offered an evening quiz review session. Over 40 students were able to come and, according to all accounts, it was a successful tutorial. The results of the quiz will be in soon!

Cell Division Music Videos

Students in Ms. Delacey's 7th grade science class were filming a music video today to explain mitosis, meiosis and other concepts relating to cells.

We will have to stay tuned for the final reveal...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Grade 8 Visits the State House

Last Thursday our 8th grade traveled to Boston to tour the State House and the John Adams Court House.

They were received by Representative James Kelcourse, who allowed them to sit in the representatives' desks and gave them a peak into the Governor's office.

Students were also able to sit in the two primary courtrooms used by the Supreme Judicial Court which allowed for some nice connections to the To Kill a Mockingbird unit.

We send our thanks to the PTO who fully funded the transportation into Boston.

Grade 6 Consumer Products Investigation Expo

Our 6th grade students culminated their Consumer Products Investigation unit with an exposition of their work. Students learned to design, run and analyze an experiment by testing a consumer product of their choice (e.g. toothpaste, nail polish, laundry detergent, batteries).

The final phase of the project was to create an exhibit and share the results orally. Project boards included data graphs generated using a spread sheet and a formal written lab report.

All our 6th grade scientists spoke articulately about their products and were thoughtful about the experimental process.

Many thanks go to our 6th grade teachers and our many parent volunteers who supported students in preparing for the final exposition.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Grade 7 Science Students Build Cells

To continue their exploration of animal and plant cells, students in 7th grade were at work "building" cells. Using baggies, jello and other assorted items (gummi bears were the Golgi bodies in this group's model) students were focused on understanding and identifying the parts of animal and plant cells.

RAN Track Off and Running

Yesterday was the first day of the Spring track season. Over 100 students in grade 6-8 are signed up. This instructional program is a great way for students to learn about track and field events, practice some new skills, and spend time with their peers.

It was great to see the team on the beautiful new 8-lane track-now we just need a little sunshine!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Memorializing History, A Grade 8 Civil Rights Project

Today was the kick-off to our 8th grade Civil Rights Memorial Project. Students have been studying the Civil Rights Movement and will begin focusing in on one area of the history.

As a culmination of the research, students will design and build a prototype monument that documents and memorializes the people and the movement.

The lesson today introduced students to the idea of a memorial through a study of several national monuments including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Students explored the differences between abstract and realistic memorials. They learned that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial artist, Maya Lin, designed the wall to look like a wound that cut the earth. They were challenged to think about why Lin chose black granite, and this lead to an interesting conversation about the word reflective. The shiny granite is reflective literally, allowing each person to see him or herself among the names, and figuratively, providing a simple backdrop for reflective thought.

Students will have the opportunity to think about how to memorialize the moment in history they are studying. Final projects will require students to think both literally about the history and figuratively about the lasting legacy of the Civil Rights movement.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Grade 7 Holocaust Studies

Students in 7th grade are working to complete their "We Promise to Remember" fold-out book project. This project is the culminating activity for a unit on Holocaust Studies that is anchored to a book entitled I Promised I Would Tell by Sonia Weitz .

Ms. Weitz's beautiful memoir and poetry recount her experiences as a young Jewish girl living in Poland during the second world war. In past years, the Nock was lucky to have Sonia visit to speak with students and view their reflections and projects. She was an inspiration to me, each time she visited we were pushed to think carefully about the power of hate. Sonia passed away in 2010, but her memory is kept alive at the Nock through the incredible art, research and writing of our students.
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Friday, March 10, 2017

Young and Budding Artist Show Opens Today

The Newburyport Art Association's Young and Budding Artist Show opens today. We have a number of Nock students exhibiting their work. Work will be on display until April 1. Join the artists for a reception on Sunday. March 12 from 2-4.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Resources for Parents on Social Media

Image result for social media

Since there are a variety of apps that students are using, and each app has a different approach to communication, it is important for parents to learn about these new tools and decide if, when, and how your child will use them.

Commonsense Media ( is a good resource. I especially recommend their Teens Q&A section. This page offers some concrete advice on some of the questions parents and schools face when teens use social media use. For example:

"How can I explain why teens shouldn't create fake profiles to tease their friends and/or peers?

Kids might be tempted to do this as a prank, without realizing the implications. But thinking through the consequences of one's online actions is an important part of digital citizenship -- and a great thing to talk to your kids about as soon as they begin to connect online, create social media profiles, or even simply text with friends. A few things to ask:
  • How would you feel if someone used your name in a public forum without your permission?
  • What if you found out the person you thought you were talking to was someone else?
  • What if you were duped into helping someone because they impersonated a friend?
  • Can you ever be sure that something you think is funny will be funny to others?
  • Creating a fake profile violates companies' terms of service. Do you think that's a strong enough deterrent?
  • Are you aware that a handful of states actually have laws against online impersonation? Think about the circumstances that might call for legal punishment -- for example, the fake profile triggering depression in the target."

Learn about the apps your children are using, have honest and on-going conversations about safe use, and pay attention to the messages your child is sending and receiving. Middle school is a critical time for parents to help children learn how to manage social conflict, build friendships, and build awareness of the effect their words and posts may have on others. 

Model UN Delegates Present at Conference

Members of Shawn Flaherty and Luanne Wilczynski's Nock Model UN team participated in a Model UN conference at Newburyport High School today. The conference was hosted by the NHS Model UN team under the supervision of high school teachers Matt Lachapelle and Wendy Crofts. It was fun to see the high school students running and chairing the process. They were great role models and teachers for the middle school students who came from several North Shore schools.

Students on the middle school team are assigned a country and spend hours researching and preparing for the conference. At the conference, students were in both Security Council and World Health working groups. As the day progressed, "crises" were introduced and the delegates learned to think on their feet, represent the expectations of their country, and broker deals with other sovereigns. 

Below are some pictures of the teams in action..