Monday, January 30, 2017

Five Nock Students Audition for Junior District Chorus

From our music teacher Jamie Sokolowski:

The Massachusetts Junior District Chorus is an audition-only chorus for middle school students looking for a challenge. 

Five 8th grade students chose to audition on Saturday: Alex Georgopoulos, Maddie Desimio-Maloney, Nate Hall, Lucy Page and Cam Stetson.

The auditions require students to learn very challenging music and sing with other middle school musicians from around the state. If students are selected for Junior District Chorus, they go on to perform at a weekend-long music festival. 

I am very proud of these five students for taking on this challenge. It was a great experience and learning opportunity! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

3D Printing meets Crowd Sourcing

A small group of students from Brad Balkus's 8th grade engineering course are using their CAD and 3D printing skills to build prosthetic hands. As a part of a non-profit program called e-Nable, this team of students has printed and assembled several prosthetic hands. eNable partners like the Nock, 3D print and assemble the hands which are then returned to the organization for distribution to children around the world.

To learn more about the Nock project, see this recent article in The CurrentGiving a Hand: Nock Students Making 3D Printer Hands

For more on the e-Nable organization, and for some inspiring videos of children using their new hands see Enabling the Future

A completed hand

Friday, January 13, 2017

Earthquake in Grade 6!

Lisa Alexander, grade 6 science teacher, recently shared this update...

Did you feel the earth shake on Thursday 1/12/17?  No need to panic, it was just our sixth-grade science classes creating their own earthquakes. 

As our sixth graders come to the end of their earth science unit, their study begins to incorporate the use our own seismograph. In 2015 the NEF supported a grant to fund the purchase of a seismograph machine to be housed at R.A. Nock Middle School.  

We are an official reporting site, recording earthquakes worldwide.  Our students have spent the last couple of months learning about earth’s structure and the forces the impact earth’s surface and the impact on humans. We are now utilizing our seismograph to monitor plate movements and discover more about the energy waves created.  

Many of our students have added the smart phone app “Quake Feed” to their personal devices.  They are alerted of earthquakes around the world.  The enthusiastic entrance into the science classrooms to see if our seismograph recorded ground shaking in Newburyport is priceless!  

Families can monitor our seismograph remotely from home by accessing the easy to use link.  Special thanks go to the NEF for supporting our partnership with the BECESP Seismology program and Weston Observatory.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Discovering History--Exploring Trench Warfare

Our 7th grade Discovering History Explore class is reading the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. This historical fiction is based in England during WWI. Through the characters and plot, readers learn about life for soldiers in WWI and explore the decision by Great Britain to execute their own soldiers for acts of insubordination.

To help bring the book to life for students who have yet to study WWI in history class, Ellen Menesale and retired teacher Sally Leety created an "in the trenches" lesson. Integrating passages from All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque, visual images from the archives of WWI, and a simulated trench, Ms. Menesale and Leety provided an opportunity for students to understand the setting of the book and begin to connect to the emotions of the characters.

In one part of the lesson students see soldiers from the 132nd Regimental Infantry crouching in a trench. From All Quiet on the Western Front students hear "A shell crashes. Almost immediately two others. And then it begins in intensity. A bombardment..."

Below are some pictures of students as they sit "in the trenches" and reflect on the passages and pictures.

Grade 8 Holiday STEM Lab

Another blog entry from John Sokol:

Before vacation our eighth-grade students partook in a fun holiday STEM challenge. Students were tasked with designing and building a tree and a snowball launcher. Their goals were: (1) design and build a catapult with an amount of force capable of knocking over another group’s tree from a distance of 3 meters and (2) design and build a freestanding tree able to withstand the snowballs being launched at it. The only materials available to each group were a plastic spoon, popsicle sticks, elastic bands, construction paper, toilet paper rolls, cups, tape, scissors, and glue. Students were applying knowledge of the engineering process and experimenting with physics. See below for visuals.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Reducing Stress at the Nock

We have been lucky to have NHS senior John Sokol interning with us this semester. He has been hard at work exploring the hallways of the Nock and gathering stories for our blog. Below is his first post on our Stress Reduction Class...

Over their three-year period here at the Nock, every student has the opportunity to partake in a 6-session stress-reduction-strategies class facilitated by our counselors. The class introduces our students to a variety of techniques and strategies they can employ when feeling anxious or stressed. The strategies & gizmos pictured below include: a Buddha board, coloring, mind jars (made by mixing glitter, glitter glue, and hot water in a mason jar), stress balls & toys, relaxing seating, fidget rings, and yoga taught by our Chorus teacher Mrs. Sokolowski.

Buddha Board
Stress reduction fidgets and toys
Materials for Mindful Coloring
Mind Jars
Acupressure Rings
Relaxing and fidget-reducing seating

Yoga Mats

Interesting article on Instagram, Snapchat and other Social Media

The New York Times has a new article by Devorah Heitner, author of books and articles on teenage screen use. Heitner recognizes that "as parents, we don't want our kids to make a big mistake online: writing something mean in a group text, posting a too-sexy picture or forwarding one of someone else." To help us find ways to prevent these mistakes, Heitner explores student stories, reviews research, and shares her perspective.

I appreciate her recommendation to talk with young people about the "unspoken rules" they are using to guide their interactions and to spend time building common expectations for social media use. If you have a chance, take a look at the whole article:

"The Unspoken Rules Kids Create for Instagram"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Road to the Revolution

Students in 8th grade are practicing "accountable talk" strategies (see picture below). Today those discussion skills were used to examine the causes of the American Revolution. Small groups worked together to make a "Last Straw" clothesline (see picture below) of the events that lead to the revolution. Small and large groups debated and discussed which of the events had the most important impact, and which might have been the "last straw."

Students worked as a class to build norms for accountable talk