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Building a Better Volcano

February 28, 2017

Written by Mr. McConnell, Upper Team Instructor   Early in February, my Earth Science class learned about the forces that produce volcanic eruptions. This presented an opportunity for a classic high school science demonstration, the baking soda and vinegar volcano. Though, despite its popularity, I dislike this demonstration. Beyond superficial similarities it has nothing to do with volcanoes. A baking soda and vinegar volcano is powered by a chemical reaction evolving carbon dioxide, but a real volcano is a driven by convection. So I set to work on making a better volcano model and putting an end to the old…

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Process Over Product

February 17, 2017

Written by Ms. Bardwell, Arts & Extracurricular Coordinator   Unlike music, where talent is passed on through genetics, art is developed over time with lots of practice. Along with developing fine motor skills, art students also learn how to see. It is the learning to see that takes children from painting trees with brown trunks and big green blobs for leaves to rendering them as an architectural wonder with thousands of shades of brown, grey and green in their barks and individual leaves of varying hues of green.   While most schools embrace curriculums that lead the students to study…

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Play to Learn

January 31, 2017

Written by Mr. Isenmann, Middle Team Teacher Education and fun. What comes to mind when you think of those two words together? Before I became a teacher, those words conjured memories from PE class. Each day I’d pray for Coach Hummel to utter those magical words: “Today we’re playing dodgeball.” Dodgeball--a glorious game where you can both punish your enemies and flirt with cute girls by pegging them in the back of the head with a foam ball (at least, that’s what my adolescent mind thought).     It’s easy to remember the fun I had in PE, not so…

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Going for the Gold

December 12, 2016

Written by Coach Chamberlain, Physical Education & Sports Coordinator Last year, we began a new tradition in PE at Horizon Academy, the Olympics. Held twice a year, before winter and summer break, the Olympics are a great way to build team camaraderie, discuss sportsmanship, and add a little friendly competition to PE. Each classroom is assigned a country. Classes then spend 10-15 minutes discussing some fun facts about their designated country. This helps students understand and learn more about other cultures. We then spend three weeks participating in multiple Olympic events. Some of the favorites include bobsledding, water polo, curling, and…

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Cross-Content Calendar Time

November 29, 2016

Calendar time is critical in any elementary classroom, and Mrs. Maloney’s class is no exception. This is a great opportunity for students to build life skills and reinforce academic skills that they are learning throughout the day. Mrs. Maloney’s class follows this daily calendar routine: Day of the week. A student places the date on the calendar and then determines what day of the week it is, what day was yesterday and what day tomorrow will be. The class reads aloud what month it is, what month came before and what will come after. Asking a calendar question. A student…

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Mock Election

November 1, 2016

Written by Ms. Jones, Upper Team Teacher It’s a presidential election year, and the U.S. Government Class is learning first hand how the political process works through a mock election.   To avoid controversy, the candidates are using representative pseudonyms and have created their own political parties as follows:   The People’s Party: Lisa Seymore and Augustus Goode Campaign Manager – Alfred Dunn Campaign Slogan - “Respectful! Responsible! Reliable!” The Realist Party: Rose Power and David Packer Campaign Manager - Jon Justice Campaign Slogan - “Success Begins With Us!”   Before campaigning and before an election can be held, the candidates…

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Career Exploration

October 14, 2016

Written by Mrs. Bergman, School Counselor I like to tell our students that I have the best job in the world, but that’s not entirely true. I have the best job in the world - for me. Our students’ task, over the coming years, is to discover what the best job in the world is - for them. With that in mind, the Upper Team Transitions Class kicked off their unit on career paths.   We began the unit by creating Strengths Maps, a visual representation of students’ personal strengths in four domains - character, academic and career, interpersonal relationships,…

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Expanding Expression

September 28, 2016

Written by Mrs. Imgrund, Speech-Language Pathologist Many students with weaknesses in the area of expressive language have a hard time accurately describing objects, events, and concepts. Just the other day I asked an elementary school student to describe an apple. She said “an apple is when it’s fall!” Although her description was on the right track, it certainly wasn’t very detailed. This is where the Expanding Expression Toolkit (EET) comes in!   The EET is an intervention designed to help children improve their oral language expression; especially their ability to describe objects, events, and concepts.     The students use the…

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Creating a Learning Community

August 30, 2016

Written by Ms. Guillory, Upper Team Teacher As a first-time teacher, the first few weeks of school feel make-or-break. This is when you establish your authority as a leader in the classroom even though you’re only about five years older than your oldest student. This is when your students will figure out how many buttons they can push before your head pops off. This is when you show the other teachers you have a voice and an opinion despite your naïveté and youth. This is when you show parents that, despite the fact that you’re working on your Master’s in…

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