Flexible Learning at NVMS

At North View Middle School we believe that using the distinctive nature of young adolescents as the foundation upon which all decisions about school organization, policies, curriculum, instruction, and assessment are made is crucial to their success. One of such decision that was made this year was to offer flexible seating options to our students. 

Room 119 is one of North View Middle School’s flexible seating classrooms. It was designed with the assistance of our Student Ambassador’s and their advisor, Ann Dale. The seating includes tables, standing desks, high top tables, stability ball chairs, wobble chairs, tall stools, Big Joe chairs, a sofa and chairs with attached writing surfaces, and lamps. Why flexible seating?

Flexible seating classrooms are empowering.They allow students to choose they type of seating that works best for them, they promote community through choice, and make learning fun. The seating choices allow students to rock, bounce, and wobble while learning. When students were asked how this classroom makes them feel while they are in the learning environment, their response was it is more comfortable, it is a welcoming environment, it makes them feel less stressed, it is safe, and it has better seating choices.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal. 

Need a Good Book to Read?

 

At North View Middle School we believe that our students education does not end when the school bell rings. Because of this belief, I would like to use this post to recommend books for your middle level learner to engage with at home. Please read the information provided by Allison Sirovy, an 8th grade English teacher at North View Middle School, below to put a great book in your students hands.


 Slow down and . . . read

Sometimes, with the hustle and bustle of life, we forget to slow down and  . . . read. Well, I have no problem with slowing down and reading, but I sometimes find it difficult to slow down and write my blog. I realized this past weekend that I haven’t written a post since the beginning of September. Yikes! I have 15 amazing books, which I have read between September 1 and now, to share!

Remember . . . Books make great gifts, and so do gift cards to bookstores, especially your local, independent book stores. Support your local, indie book store today! (I support Buffalo Books and Coffee in Buffalo, MN!)

So . . . grab a mug of hot chocolate, a cozy blanket, and your favorite book and slow down and read.

FYI – The books are in the order in which I have read them since September 1.

Nowhere Near You (sequel to Because You’ll Never Meet Me) by Leah Thomas

Goodreads Blurb: Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods–no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity–and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can’t escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they’ve made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson 
Goodreads Blurb: Jacqueline Woodson’s first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
 
Goodreads Blurb: 22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 

 
Goodreads Blurb: Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley 
 
Goodreads Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.

Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro 

 
Goodreads Blurb: A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
 
Goodreads Blurb: From the author of the critically acclaimed Wolf Hollow comes a moving story of identity and belonging.

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Vivid and heart wrenching, Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Seais a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman (adult book) 

 
Goodreads Blurb: Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (adult book)
 
Goodreads Blurb: A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Swing by Kwame Alexander 

 
Goodreads Blurb: Things usually do not go as planned for seventeen-year-old Noah. He and his best friend Walt (aka Swing) have been cut from the high school baseball team for the third year in a row, and it looks like Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, will never take it past the “best friend” zone. Noah would love to retire his bat and accept the status quo, but Walt has big plans for them both, which include making the best baseball comeback ever, getting the girl, and finally finding cool.


To go from lovelorn to ladies’ men, Walt introduces Noah to a relationship guru—his Dairy Queen-employed cousin, Floyd—and the always informative Woohoo Woman Podcast. Noah is reluctant, but decides fate may be intervening when he discovers more than just his mom’s birthday gift at the thrift shop. Inside the vintage Keepall is a gold mine of love letters from the 1960s. Walt is sure these letters and the podcasts are just what Noah needs to communicate his true feelings to Sam. To Noah, the letters are more: an initiation to the curious rhythms of love and jazz, as well as a way for him and Walt to embrace their own kind of cool. While Walt is hitting balls out of the park and catching the eye of the baseball coach, Noah composes anonymous love letters to Sam in an attempt to write his way into her heart. But as things are looking up for Noah and Walt, a chain of events alters everything Noah knows to be true about love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.

In Swing, bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo) present a free-verse poetic story that will speak to anyone who’s struggled to find their voice and take a swing at life.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
 
Goodreads Blurb: From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.


When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi 

 
Goodreads Blurb: It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.


Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
 
Goodreads Blurb: New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher 
 
Goodreads Blurb: Sarah Byrnes and Eric Calhoune have been friends for years. When they were children, his weight and her scars made them both outcasts. Now Sarah Byrnes—the smartest, toughest person Eric has ever known—sits silent in a hospital. Eric must uncover the terrible secret she’s hiding before its dark current pulls them both under. Will appeal to fans of Marieke Nijkamp, Andrew Smith, and John Corey Whaley.
Optimists Die First by Susan Nielsen
 
Goodreads Blurb: Life ahead: Proceed with caution.


Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.


You can learn more about great books for middle school students and connect with Alison Sirovy here.
If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.

Reppin’ Your Knight Pride!

BSN SPORTS, a Varsity Sport Brand is the exclusive online supplier of North View Middle School apparel, and merchandise. This partnership creates a new source of income for middle school through the sale of officially licensed spirit wear. The merchandise is a great school fundraiser as every item sold puts money directly back in the hands of the school. Our school didn’t have to pay anything to join, and will receive a 12% share of royalty revenue. You can buy customized school spirit wear, clothes, sportswear, gear, and merchandise for you or your family. Click here to enter our store!

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.

A Spotlight On Math

 

At North View Middle School we believe that teaching and learning approaches should accommodate the diverse skills, abilities, and prior knowledge of young adolescents, cultivate multiple intelligences, draw upon students’ individual learning styles, and utilize digital tools. When learning experiences capitalize on students’ cultural, experiential, and personal backgrounds, new concepts are built on knowledge students already possess. To ensure this happens, we use the nature of young adolescents to guide our instructional decision making. Because of this belief, our teachers spend a considerable creating engaging learning opportunities.

Math teachers have been working diligently on developing curriculum for Trimester two. Students and families might notice some changes in math, specifically with homework. Seventh and eighth grade math classes will have homework assigned digitally in IXL, an online math program, which is to be completed weekly. Students are expected to complete the work assigned each week to support learning in the classroom. There is after school math help available to students who need extra support.

Our sixth grade math students will be doing explorations of area, surface area, and volume this trimester. Students will engage in math investigations that will allow them to develop deeper understanding of mathematical concepts in the real world. Students will:

  • Develop and use formulas for finding the area of triangles, quadrilaterals, and irregular shapes.
  • Understand the relationship between area and perimeter of figures.
  • Create solutions to problems involving surface area and volume of prisms.

Our seventh grade math students will be working on ratios, rates, graphs, tables and equations. Students will be engaged in a scenario to develop deeper understanding of the relationships between mathematical expressions. Students will be recruited as bloggers as they research and present findings related to different cars for our scenario. Students will:

 

  • Understand and be able to use unit rate and ratios to solve problems.
  • Create tables, graphs and equations to express data and develop conclusions.
  • Communicate findings and recommendations based on given data.

 


Our eighth grade math students will be working on linear algebra, forms of equations, and inequalities. Students will be engaged in a problem-based scenario where they will need to determine which pay scales are best for a given company. Students will:

 

  • Create and scale graphs to adequately show given information.
  • Use information to move between standard form, point-slope, and y-intercept forms of equations.
  • Express inequalities in both equation and graph form.
  • Communicate findings and recommendations.

Check out the video below to learn more about the Fortnite Challenge!

I hope you enjoyed this spotlight. If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal. 

 

A Spotlight on Science

 

At North View Middle School we believe that teaching and learning approaches should accommodate the diverse skills, abilities, and prior knowledge of young adolescents, cultivate multiple intelligences, draw upon students’ individual learning styles, and utilize digital tools. When learning experiences capitalize on students’ cultural, experiential, and personal backgrounds, new concepts are built on knowledge students already possess. To ensure this happens, we use the nature of young adolescents to guide our instructional decision making.

Because of this belief, our teachers spend a considerable creating engaging learning opportunities. These opportunities occur in all classes and today I would like to use this post to highlight science. The first unit of instruction I would like you to learn more about is from our sixth grade Science classrooms.

 

 Our students are in the fifth week of a five week unit covering “How do scientists conduct experiments?”. The key concepts studied are:

  • The Scientific Method is a way of conducting experiments?
  • How to measure using International System of Units?
  • How to collect and share data?

Our seventh grade students are in the second week of a three week unit covering “The Characteristics of Life”. The key concepts being studied are:

  • Explaining the six characteristics organisms must have to be considered “living” and determining if an organism is living based off of those characteristics.
  • Determining how scientists group all living things. What are the 5 kingdoms all living things fit into?
  • Comparing and contrasting living things. What characteristics do they share? What makes them different?

 

Lastly, our eighth grade students are in the third week of a four week unit covering, “Engineering and the Design process”. The key concepts being studied are:

  • How engineering and technology impact the changing world we live in.
  • What the design process is and how we use it.
  • How patterns and predictions impact the design process.
  • How our culture impacts our ideas.

I hope you enjoyed this spotlight. If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal. 

Apps You Want To Know

Bledsoe's Blog

At North View Middle Schoolwe believe that schools and families must work together to provide the best possible learning for every young adolescent. We also believe that schools should take the initiative in involving and educating families. Because of this belief, I am writing this post to keep you informed about the apps and corresponding sites that your students might come across while using their iPads, smartphones or other digital devises. If you have any questions about this post or anything related to NVMS, please connect with me here.

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The iPads are Coming!!

Families,

The purpose of this communication is to make you aware of important information related to our upcoming student iPad distribution.

 Deployment of Student Devices

Devices will be deployed to your student on Tuesday September 25th, 2018. Prior to the deployment day, your student will be notified, and must address any previous outstanding charge that may have been accrued from previous school years. Addressing the charge will require that either the entire charge is paid in full, or at least 30% of the invoice is paid, and payment plan is worked out with the device management team.

Students who have not addressed the charge on deployment day may be required to keep their assigned device at school until payment has been made in full or payment plans have been established. While deployment for take-home use may be denied or limited, students will not be denied access to educational services or curriculum because of outstanding charges. Upon initial deployment, all students are issued a case, cable, and charger. If there is damage or loss to the case, cable or charger after the initial distribution, students will be held financially responsible.

Device Management Procedures

Osseo Area Schools provides students with access to district technology resources for educational purposes. Students must adhere to all district policies including, but not limited to:

  • Technology and Internet Acceptable Use by Students (Policy 524),
  • Bullying Prohibition (Policy 514), and
  • Student Discipline (Policy 506).

Although the device is issued to a student, the device is and remains the property of Osseo Area Schools. The device may be reviewed by District personnel, or have access revoked at any time. The student should have no expectation of privacy regarding content on the device. The device is specifically assigned to a student and can only be activated with a valid District 279 username and password.

Collection of Student Devices

Upon withdrawal from Osseo Area Schools, a student must return the device, and all accessories to their school’s media center. If the items are not returned, the student, and his/her parent/guardian will be billed the replacement cost. Failure to pay the replacement cost may result in action being taken by a collection agency.

All devices will be collected at the end of the school year. If a student fails to return the device and accessories (case, cord, and charging block), they will be assessed a replacement charge for the missing items. Device charges can be reversed following the return of the device to the school, and the device passing the inspection/processing by the district.

Device Repairs

Students will be assessed damage repair costs for all damages to the student’s assigned device. Any outstanding charges in relation to the device will result in the device being held in the media center until a minimum payment is made and a payment plan is set up, or the charge is paid in full.

Certain situations may require the full-payment of the device cost. These include:

  • Devices that are damaged beyond repair.
  • Devices that are stolen or lost due to negligence.
  • Device supplies that are stolen or lost due to negligence.
  • Intentional or reckless damage.
  • Tampering with the device or operating system. Students should not attempt to fix or repair hardware issues on the device.

Any incidents of damage, theft, or loss of a device must be reported to the School Media Center immediately. This includes cracked screens, even if the device is still usable. The District will track damages in its asset management system. Students who have had three damages with their assigned device will be required to have a meeting with the building administration. At four damages, a parent meeting will take place with the building administration. The District reserves the right to modify charges based upon a parent’s active military service or inability to pay.

Spares will be provided to a student on a per-case basis, as determined by the school. Students who have tampered with, or intentionally or recklessly damaged the device will not be issued a spare. Spare devices are assigned to the student, and will follow the same damage charge process as the assigned device.

 2018-2019 Estimated Repair/ Replacement Costs

Outlined below are the estimated costs for the repair or replacement of the device

  • Full device replacement $451
  • Case replacement $35
  • Cable replacement $12
  • Charger replacement $16
  • Battery replacement $109
  • Screen damage $109
  • Mainboard damage $109

Note: These costs are an estimate based on current price of parts. Actual cost may vary based on the nature of the damage, and the actual cost of replacement parts.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to North View Middle School please connect with me here or follow me at @NVMSPrincipal.