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February 20, 2017 by Guest Student Author

by Annabel Holmes '22

We're all so complex.

And it confuses me when people allow for one moment, or mistake or event or even an instance of something tragic or unusual, to define them entirely as a whole.

We're not made up of the things we've said, or done; nor are we made up of the aspects we dislike about ourselves. We're not what others, or ourselves see us as, think of us as, or define us as; we're not the mistakes that we've made, the things that we've done in the past, or the stuff that we've screwed up or shattered to pieces with our own hands and actions. We're not any of those things, our thoughts don't define us, and neither does what we say.

Filed Under: Middle School, student voice, creative writing

Intersections: This Generation Coming Up

January 12, 2017 by Bill Ivey

“This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country." - Barack Obama

Sunday night, I found myself hanging out in our gym - not with basketball players, but with some of the kids in my Humanities 7 class. Some of them had asked me if I could come in Sunday night so they could prepare for the Convention on Girls’ and Women’s Rights they were hosting on Monday, and of course! I knew, though, that until some of the folks in Maintenance and I laid the tarp the next morning, there was only so much they could do. Turned out, mostly, they just wanted to be together. The kids who came spent a lot of time on the stage practicing the dance numbers and gymnastics routines they planned to perform as a break in the day. They spun and tumbled and struck a pose, smiling throughout, laughing at the end.

Filed Under: Middle School, activism, Feminism, Intersections

Intersections - The Joy Is the Source

January 11, 2017 by Bill Ivey

(title based on a quote by Graham Hays)

As of today, two teams share the record for the longest win streak in college basketball - the UConn women’s team of 2008-2010, and the current team. They have tied and are poised to break this record in a year they were supposed to be, by UConn standards anyway, weaker than usual. After winning four championships in four years, Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck had left for the WNBA as the top three draft choices. This was supposed to be UConn’s rebuilding year. Under those circumstances, you’d think UConn’s players would be feeling acute pressure. “But the Huskies were smiling too soon -- [Katie] Samuelson grinning from ear to ear even before the ball was tipped -- for the joy to be the product of the play. The joy had to be the source.” (Graham Hays)

Filed Under: Middle School, Girls Schools, Intersections, Joy

Intersections: Classroom Resolutions 2017

January 06, 2017 by Bill Ivey

My friend Christina Torres, on her blog and via Twitter, has shared her 2017 resolutions for her classroom. Being a positive, growth-oriented person, she role models how best to acknowledge past improvements and use them as an opportunity to seek to do even better. She also invited as many teachers as possible to do the same, and of course, I couldn’t resist!

Filed Under: Middle School, new year, Intersections, Resolutions

Intersections: Quietly Revolutionary

October 26, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Varied Assessment: Continuous, authentic, and appropriate assessment measures, including both formative and summative ones, provide evidence about every student's learning progress. Such information helps students, teachers, and family members select immediate learning goals and plan further education. - from This We Believe, the 16 research-based characteristics of successful middle schools, published by the Association for Middle Level Education

Dear Middle School Team,

I sit here with a feeling of quiet pride. What we accomplished yesterday would be considered revolutionary in many schools, not just the decision we took but also the means by which we came to this point. And, as is always the case with us, it was a decision that put our students front and center while also keeping in mind and having consideration for the multiple perspectives of everyone involved.

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, Assessment, Intersections, Rick Wormeli

Intersections: Highlights

October 18, 2016 by Bill Ivey

I use Facebook as much as a professional networking resource as a means of keeping in touch with family and friends. I recently shared for anyone who may have been interested how proud I was of the students who recently made the GLSEN presentation in housemeeting, beginning my post by saying, “I know I say it perhaps more than I should, but students are amazing.” My mother-in-law said, “Never more than you should,” a friend added, “Never too much. Keep posting these anecdotes. It's a soothing balm to the ills of all the other junk we're seeing now.,” and Mark Springer said, “Students never cease to amaze, and we should never cease to say so.”

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, Democratic classroom, Intersections

Intersections: Bringing that Love to Life

October 05, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Did not know it was #WorldTeachersDay until this morning. All respect to all teachers. I will be celebrating by... teaching. :-) (tweet by Bill Ivey)

So how have I been spending World Teachers Day?

Filed Under: Middle School, Education, World Teachers Day

Intersections: A Group So Persistent

September 19, 2016 by Bill Ivey

“No. We’re not going to restart.” Much as I value resilience, and much as I value student voice, I couldn’t imagine what they were thinking. A group of 14 middle schoolers, on their annual bonding overnight trip to Camp Becket, were trying to get across a 20-foot “lava river” using only six rubber dots about 10” in diameter. They were only allowed to step on the dots. If any of the dots were left untouched, even for a moment, they melted away (meaning Edie, the Camp Becket staff person supervising the group, took it back). They had gotten maybe nine people over but had just lost their fourth dot, meaning they were down to only two. How could they ever get five middle schoolers across a 20-foot lava river with only two safety dots?!?!

Filed Under: Middle School, Education, Resilience, Intersections, Collaboration, Best self

Intersections: In Sync

September 17, 2016 by Bill Ivey

In my earlier post about the first day of classes with my Humanities 7 class, I mentioned that Alex Bogel, Academic Dean and IB Coordinator, was going to replicate one of our activities with his Junior Theory of Knowledge (“TOK)” class. They would use the white board and chalkboard to brainstorm on “how people learn,” and then work in groups to discern the various themes running through each panel.

Filed Under: Middle School, IB, Education

Cherished Imperfections

September 15, 2016 by Guest Student Author

(a poem by Amelia Opsahl '21, written for Karen Suchenski's Humanities 8 class)

I am from dusty New York Times newspapers in a precarious stack, displaced shoes and the smell of fried eggs.

Filed Under: Middle School, Poetry, Authentic self