Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And the Winner is...

Our champion, Zach, with Clare and Noah
On Wednesday November 21, 2012 SEMS-East concluded their 2012 spelling bee.  Students felt the pressure of standing on stage and speaking into the microphone.  Many teachers brought their classes to witness the contest and provide an audience.  Around 70 students completed the pencil and paper spelling bee and 30 were chosen to compete live on stage.  
After 13 rounds we were down the the final five.  Round fifteen began with our final three, Zach Anderson, Clare Boone and Noah Leftridge.  At the end of the day it was Zach and Clare left on stage. By spelling p-o-s-t-m-o-r-t-u-m  correctly,  Zach was crowed the SEMS-East spelling be champion.   Clare and Noah finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.  The top 3 will continue on to the regional event at WITF public media center on February 23 2013.  Thank you to Mr. Logan and Mrs. Folmar and all the students who competed.       
Mr. Longan moderates the 2012 SEMS-East spelling bee.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

RAMdom Acts of Kindness

 Julia Markley and Sierra Grantland.  T-shirts are currently available for purchase
Students at SEMS-East are working hard this year to create a positive atmosphere at school.  At the beginning of the year, a contest was held between homerooms to come up with a school slogan.  Mrs. Hannigan’s 7th grade homeroom created the winning slogan: “It doesn't make you look BIG when you make others feel small.”  A school-wide competition was held for students to design a t-shirt that conveyed the message of the slogan.  Preliminary judging was conducted by the Olweus Bullying Prevention Committee, and then a student vote was held.  Two winners, both in 8th grade, were selected:  Julia Markley and Sierra Grantland.  T-shirts are currently available for purchase.  Please check the SEMS-East website for information, or call the Guidance Office at 717-382-4851 ext. 2830.
Students are also working hard doing RAMdom Acts of Kindness.  Teachers award students a paper RAM when they are seen doing something above and beyond the expected.  Students are recognized monthly for demonstrating kind acts and a drawing is held wherein four students receive a $10 gift card.  Gift cards are purchased through the generosity of teachers who pay to dress down every other Friday. 
Mrs. Bowman and Mr. Rudisill recognize our T-shirt design winners and our RAMdom  Acts of Kindness winners on the morning announcements.

The goals of these initiatives are to provide a visual symbol of the pride we have in SEMS-East and our school district and to show the importance of kindness and respect.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

FYI #BYOD @SEMSchool by @joeterch on

Does this look like a different language?  We live in a world where we cannot watch a TV show, Presidential debate or Sporting event without seeing symbols like # or @.  What do they mean and who will teach us how to use them?  
FYI #BYOD @SEMSchool by @joeterch on
One of the SEMS-East tech closets
For your information, twitter hashtag Bring Your Own Device at South Eastern Middle School-East twitter page by my twitter page located on South Eastern Middle School-East facebook page address.
For those of us who did not grow up with technology, "Digital Immigrants", the title of this post and many things involving technology look a lot like this picture.  Our students and children, "Digital Natives", see things much clearer.  Marc Prensky uses the terms "Digital Natives and Immigrants" in his article from On the Horizon.  Schools need to find new ways to reach students and in order for us at SEMS-East to work toward our Mission statement, "Providing progressive education to strengthen the global community", we need to do something different.

Enter BYOD.  Bring your own device was not started here at SEMS-East but has been a trend in technology both in the education and business fields.  The idea that, in our case, the district must purchase all the technology that students can use is not feasible anymore.  Plus, students, thanks to jobs, parents and other people who love them and spoil them, have the newest and best phones, players and tablets that, until now, could only be used outside of school.       

Our first "Tech Tuesday" was displayed on the cover of last week's York Daily Record thanks to @angiemason.  Students were encouraged to bring in devices that could connect to the internet. Teachers planned to add some sort of tech tool or focus to their lessons.  As I said in the article, the technology adds to the instruction, it's not the instruction.  The focus of this first attempt was to make sure that all students who wanted to could get onto our network, that the network could handle the extra load and that students would use their devices effectively and appropriately.  I would say that the first "Tech Tuesday" was a success.  We plan to continue our "Tech Tuesday's" every other week for the 2nd marking period and move toward full implementation of a BYOD program starting in January.

The students that I saw in the hallways and classroom showed me that this is not something we could do but something we have to do. In my opinion progressive education is a focus on learning and teaching students how to learn.  We need to make sure that students view these technology devices as learning devices.  Schools need to teach students how to use information, find information and sort information.  With the endless supply of information on the internet, our students should be able to determine what is useful and reliable from what is just someone's opinion  I expect that there will be some bumps in the road and students will not use their devices effectively and appropriately.  I can assure you that the South Eastern School District, the technology department, the teachers, support staff and especially the principal will do whatever it takes to make sure that this program is effective and that our students will be college and/or career ready upon graduation.  

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