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

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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..