Highly Able Learners

Monocacy Middle School, FCPS


Greetings parents and families of HAL students at Monocoacy Middle School! We invite you to bookmark this page and revisit weekly to keep up with some of the exciting HAL happenings in Mustang country!

Do you have questions about the FCPS HAL program? Please email: Dianne Thompson, HAL support at Monocacy Middle School using the form below...

Meet Mrs. Christine Borman-Bozick

Mrs. BB, as we all know her, is the Advanced Academics Specialist for Monocacy Middle School. Ms. BB works with all teachers at MoMS to ensure students have opportunities to enrich their learning. She also focuses on supporting the HAL teachers and students to provide extensions and alternate learning for students as they show readiness for deeper learning. While Ms. BB does not work directly with every student or in every class, she is certainly behind the scenes EVERYWHERE! Our students are fortunate to have her expertise and energy!

You can email Mrs. BB: Christine.Bozick@fcps.org

Follow Mrs. BB on Twitter for MoMS School-wide enrichment news and opportunities for all students!

Meet Mrs. Dianne Thompson

Mrs. Thompson is the Highly Able Learner Intervention Teacher for FCPS, a position that is newly housed at Monocacy Middle School. Mrs. Thompson supports the HAL program across all 13 middle schools, with a focused energy in Language Arts and Social Studies. As part of our Mustang family, however, she supports all content areas at MoMS. Mrs. Thompson works with teachers to create materials that will challenge and engage our most highly able learners and provides support for teachers in professional development that focuses on meeting the needs of these learners.

Want to keep up on FCPS HAL across FCPS? Follow me on Twitter!

The Week in HAL: Week of 9.15.14

We're too excited for Fair Week to share this week! Stay tuned!!

This Week in HAL: Week of 9.22.14

Exciting times!

* Ms. Norris's Math students were engaged in high level puzzling during ELT, working in teams on a hands-on Sudoku-like puzzle, using manipulative number tiles.

* Mrs. BB is working with several Math students on the Million Dollar math project. This project combines Math and research. Students who have shown mastery of current content are able to dig deeper and guide their learning based on interests!

* Mrs. Swann's students are working in Literature Circles, reading books that challenge their thinking. Groups meet weekly to discuss their reading and respond to high level questions about characters, choices within the story and "truths" as aligned to Unit 1 focus questions.

* Mrs. Maruskin's Science students who compacted out of content related to photosynthesis are constructing and playing  a photosynthesis formula  game, applying background knowledge and extending their understanding by rearranging atoms and molecules, which are part of the photosynthesis process.

* As of today, all LA teachers, 6,7,8 have scheduled Junior Great Books lessons with Mrs. BB! These are inquiry-based reading and discussion sessions that have students digging deep into the content and meaning of short stories and poem.

This Week in HAL: Week of 9.28.14

* Mrs. Swann was part of our HAL writing team on 10/2, taking time to collaborate with colleagues to create challenging alternate activities for students who show readiness in 7th grade LA! Thanks, Ms. Swann!

FCPS at National Association for Gifted Children Annual Convention!

Mrs. BB and I, along with other FCPS teachers and administrators, will be attending and presenting at this year's national conference! We feel fortunate that this opportunity has come to our back yard! We look forward to building our knowledge of students, learning and teaching strategies to bring back to MoMS!

This Week in HAL: Week of 10.5.14

* Mrs. Horan's SS 8th grade students are getting ready to tackle Johnny Tremain, a historical fiction novel, as a companion to their Road to the Revolution unit. Students will read independently and make connections to historical people and events!

*Ms. Gotthelf's 7th graders explored the question, "Who Cares?" related to Charlemagne, King of the Franks and later emperor. Students led the discussion to express the impact Charlemagne had on the people and culture in medieval times.

*Ms. Venable's 6th grade students are applying DBQ strategies to answer: Was Sumer a civilization? Students use evidence compiled by historians and archaeologists to support a final determination.

This Week in HAL: Week of 10.13.14

* Mrs. BB has been working with a 6th grade student who tested of the "Number Systems: Rational Number Fluency" unit. This week the student has begun creating an amazing "math clock" which features various multi-step expressions. Mrs. BB works closely with Math teachers, specifically those with HAL clusters of students, to be sure learning is not repetitive - everyone learns something new EVERY DAY!

* One of Ms. Ivey's 8th grade Science students completed a H.O.T. (Higher Order Thinking) Card activity, and created a new game! Ms. Ivey and Mr. Taylor played the game during lunch one day this week.

* Twenty students participated in Mrs. BB's multi-grade spelling club during ELT this morning. Students signed up based on student interest and expressed their excitement about the club, as well as participating in the school spelling bee scheduled for Tuesday, January 6, 2015.  Interested students can see Mrs. BB for more information!

* ALL FCPS teachers will be attending Professional Development sessions tomorrow, whether they attend FCPS designed and delivered sessions OR state conferences or other opportunities. We are excited that several sessions were made available specifically designed to help teachers meet the needs of Highly Able Learners. A huge thanks to the teachers and staff who are meeting those needs!

This Week in HAL: Week of 10.20.14

* This week I visited classrooms looking to highlight  FLEXIBLE GROUPING. Flexible grouping is a strategy teachers can use to differentiate for students based on their skill level or readiness, or simply by interest. This week:

*Ms. Venable created 32 learning stations for this week's learning in 6th grade SS. Each of the 8 learning topics has 4 corresponding stations, created using DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE guidelines (see below). She used recent pre-assessment data to determine who needed which level of learning. Students complete 8 assigned activities at their own pace, with Ms. Venable on hand to build background knowledge or help extend learning. Personalized learning for each student.

Ms. Venable's SS Stations

* Ms. Phillip's 6th grade LA students participated with Mrs. BB in a shared inquiry reading and discussion, using the Junior Great Books model. Both teachers worked together to organize groups based on readiness. Mrs. BB facilitates JGB lessons regularly, with students flexing in and out of the group based on learning needs.

Mr. Taylor's 8th grade LA students used pre-assessment to select Language Usage topics to teach to the class. Students learn from each other, guided by Mr. Taylor. Each student designs a presentation, practice and assessment and offers feedback throughout.

This Week in HAL: Week of 10/27/14

This week's focus is on a much anticipated professional development opportunity: a visit to FCPS from Rick Wormeli. Thursday after school, teachers, administrators and supervisors, including several in our Mustang family,  filled the FCPS Staff Development Center from 4-6 pm to experience Rick's second visit in as many years. His focus: Using analogies and metaphors to challenge Highly Able Learners.  We are excited to put new ideas into immediate practice in the classroom!

Here is an example of the power of metaphor and analogy, shared with us at the session:

Rick Wormeli's works are go-to resources for many teachers, and his strategies and tips are often woven in professional development sessions for teachers of Highly Able Learners in FCPS.

Ms. Swann and Ms. BB worked together this week to differentiate 7th grade Language Arts instruction. After completing a "Grammar Boot Camp" of instruction, Ms. Swann assessed student understanding. Those who assessed at a high level participated in Junior Great Books with Ms. BB. All others worked on self-selected station activities, tailored to their specific needs for additional practice with concepts.

Ms. BB has planned a field trip to The Weinberg Center on 12/03/ 2014. Interested students need to see Ms. BB in person for a permission slip and further details.

This trip supports the Language Arts Curriculum and gives students an opportunity to experience live theatrical performances of the following works: The Tell Tale Heart and an excerpt of The Raven (Edgar Allen Poe), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Washington Irving), The Monkey’s Paw (W.W. Jacobs), The Necklace (Guy De Maupassant), and The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (Mark Twain).

The trip is open to all students, however, there are only 35 spaces. Ms. BB will share that the trip is full once she has the first 35 slips and payments. Further details went out on FOF Friday morning.

If your child is interested, please remind him/her to stop by Ms. BB's office for a form!

Ms. BB and her JGB group finished early, so they are playing DABBLE. If your family likes Scrabble, they'll LOVE Dabble. In app form, too!

This Week in HAL: Week of 11/3/14

This week got away from me with the abbreviated schedule! Stay tuned this week for more. Thanks!

This Week in HAL: Week of 11/10/14

This week's focus is on sharing... sharing resources, opportunities and good reads!

Mrs. BB and I are participating a a book study with all Advanced Academics Specialists at FCPS. We are just starting to dig into the ideas of Unleashing Student Superpowers and look forward to figuring out how the concepts can be applied at MoMS!

Ms. Gotthelf is excited about an exhibit at the Library of Congress. Students recently learned about the Magna Carta in 7th grade Social Studies. Below is a recent Washington Post article about the document and details about the exhibit. If you plan on going to DC in the next couple of months, this would be a great stop for students.

  • Ms. Swann has a book recommendation for fans of The Hunger Games series and/or The Maze Runner series:  5th Wave by Rick Yancey. "I just read 5th Wave and loved it!" Check out the author's website below. Ms. Swann is also busy reading Rick Wormeli's book Differentiation: From Planning to Practice, following Rick's visit to FCPS recently.

Click below to see how TARGET stores are committed to education beyond the classroom. You can search by city to find great discounts and even FREE opportunities for families to get out and learn beyond the school day! Hope to see you at the Kennedy Center! :-)

Mental Floss is a quirky and smart magazine full of ideas and information to catch the attention of anyone looking for some brain engagement! You can access e-magazine for free through Frederick County Public Libraries and the Zinio app. Go to FCPL.org for more information. NOTE: This publication is labeled as all ages, which means it is not specifically for children or teens. Please preview, as you are the best judge of quality reading for your child!

Is your child interested in gaming? Coding? The STEM Video Game Challenge is a great way to engage in a game-creation competition. The time is now - entries due by February deadline.

This Week in HAL: Week of 11/17/14

Parent/Teacher conferences are next week! We hope you were able to schedule a time to visit with your child's teachers. Conferences are a great time to really find out what it is your child is learning at school, and how we - parents, teachers and students - can continue to cultivate a culture for learning and a partnership for continued growth. BUT... it's easy for that 15-minutes of time to come and go! The article below offers some great questions parents can ask teachers to help guide the conversation. Of course, you may not want or need to ask them all, but perhaps there are a few that intrigue you. Perhaps you'll find different questions depending on the teacher or course. Perhaps you have other questions you'd  like to ask. Great! Come prepared with questions. It will help everyone get the most out of the visit. We look forward to seeing you!

A highlight from our attendance at the NAGC conference: Mrs. BB and I had the pleasure of hearing Jack Andraka, MD high school student and science phenom, speak about his journey toward inventing an early detection screening tool that detects pancreatic  cancer. Wow! High School Student - that's right! I also had the pleasure of meeting Jack's mom. Wow! What an amazing woman! In 5 minutes, she shared the ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, of being Jack's mom. I could have listened to her all day. SHE needs to be a presenter!  Below is Jack's TED Talk on his invention, as well as a critique from Forbes magazine of his work and an earlier article published in the Smithsonian Magazine. Even in his critique, Matthew Herper, Forbes writer, gives a well-earned nod to the steps Jack has taken at a very young age. I know we haven't heard the last of Jack or of his work in Science. Jack's story serves to remind us all that when you combine a child's passion with support, time and energy.... there are no limits!

We wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

This Week in HAL: Week of 12/1/14

This week we looked for examples of differentiated instruction used specifically to meet the needs of our most highly able learners. This purposeful instruction can look very different. Some examples this week are:

Ms. Swann's 7th grade HAL LA sections researched two sides of an argument: Should conjoined twins be separated? Instead of sharing their learning through individual wirting, they then debated the topic... but not necessarily taking the side with which they agreed! Quite a challenge!

Ms. Venable's 6th grade HAL SS sections are using self-guided research to cover current curriculum. Ms. Venable is filling in the blanks with mini-lessons while giving students the opportunity to dig deeper based on interests! In addition, she has quickened the pace of learning for this group, to allow for more research time.

Ms. Gotthelf, 7th grade SS, has been working on pre-planned questioning with Ms. BB. This involves developing questions prior to lesson delivery. More specifically, Ms. Gotthelf is designing leveled questions to meet so she can challenge all learners through targeted questioning. In addition, Ms. Gotthelf's students recently presented Medieval Europe projects. Providing choice and giving students a voice in learning is a great way to challenge and engage our highest learners!

Ms. Maruskin's 6th grade Science classes explored Population Supply through choice activities. Ms. Maruskin varied the rigor in the activities through Math complexity. Students were given the opportunity to self-select the level of rigor they felt best suited them. What a great way to help students learn to take control of their own learning!

Ms. Swann's classes debate: "Should conjoined twins be separated?"
Students in Ms. Venable's Social Studies class research to learn!
An example from Ms. Gotthelf's SS class - a very unique expression of The Bubonic Plague.

This Week in HAL: Week of 12/8/14

This week's focus is on Ms. BB and I and how we are expanding our professional learning to meet the needs of Highly Able Learners. As part of the Advanced Academics team, we are involved in a book study: Unleashing Student Superpowers by Kristen Swanson and Hadley Ferguson. More specifically, Ms. BB and I are working as a team to dig more deeply into the WONDERING superpower. "The Wondering Student Superpower happens when students ask thoughtful questions that may or may not have singular answers. By encouraging kids to wonder, we ask them to think carefully about their environment, their interactions, and their reality" (p 20). Ms. BB and I will be developing activities throughout the year that help unleash wondering in students, getting them to think more critically about concepts, readings, etc., and to ask questions of what is in front of them. We'd love to hear how you at home help cultivate curiosity and wonder in your child! It would be ideal to combine efforts and have them WONDERING everywhere they go!

This Week in HAL: Weeks of 12/15/15 and 12/22/12

Happy Holidays to all of our Mustang families! We wish you joy and good times with friends and family as you celebrate! Much to celebrate at MoMS this week!

Ms. Swann's 7th grade HAL LA classes worked with Mrs. BB on a Junior Great Books style reading and text analysis last week. Ms. Swann planned JGB lessons with all of her classes, pulling in Ms. BB for added rigor and text complexity for our most advanced readers.

Mr. DeLizia's 8th grade HAL SS classes are exploring our Bill of Rights through a Problem-Based Learning project, analyzing each amendment to determine modern application, suggesting changes and updates as they see fit. Presentations began yesterday!

Ms. Venable's 6th grade SS classes are presenting in class following self-guided research. Ms. Venable designed her current unit to allow for acceleration through curriculum based on learner readiness, allowing more time for independent research and project design!

Ms. BB has been making announcements about the school Spelling Bee! If your child is interested but has not yet shared the information with you, email Ms. BB. Her contact info. is at the top of our TACKK.

Looking forward to sharing some classroom information next week.
In the meantime, we're sharing some contests and activities of interest!

This Week in HAL: Week of 1/12/15

This week I enjoyed popping into 6th grade classes for the opportunity to share what's going on at MoMS and HAL! I'm posting early, because tomorrow I will be visiting TMS to see what is going on in their classes! It is a great way for us to share ideas across all 13 middle schools. Have a great weekend!

Ms. Venable gives background the Jewish diaspora by the Romans and subsequent efforts to preserve the religion and culture.
Ms. Maruskin's Science Ss explore the density anomaly of H20. Why does solid gold sink in liquid gold, yet ice floats in water?
Ms. Norris monitors student groups as they work to manipulate expressions, matching them to properties of "+" & "x" using notes to help.

Language Arts students guided Mrs. Phillips in the creation of an argumentative essay. The argument? "Society benefits from Social Media." Students looked at both sides in preparation of their own argument writing. I also noticed some of my favorite 6th grade titles for current Literature Circles. High interest for students.


If your student is 13 (or will be by 2/7/15) AND is  interested in Science and/or STEM, this is a great opportunity. Students could win a trip to Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center! Unfortunately, the deadline is right around the corner! (January 31, 2015).  I would be happy to sponsor students. I am sure classroom teachers would be equally as supportive. Note: There are 4 categories: FOOD, ENERGY, PROTECTION, INNOVATION. (They are hard to see when you first open the website.) Good luck, writers!

This Week in HAL: Week of 1/19/15

This week is all about SCIENCE! Over the past year, representatives from our FCPS ESSL, Secondary Science and HAL program have met and designed an 8th grade field trip geared toward the Highly Able Learners! Ms. BB, Ms. Jakab and Ms. Ivey traveled with our MoMS Science classes with HAL clusters on the trip to explore concepts that complement the 8th grade Science curriculum. Students also explored the ESSL in general for hands-on time with the exhibits as well as a show in the ESSL planetarium. We feel very fortunate that the staff at the ESSL has welcomed our group.  A huge thanks to Ms. BB and Ms. Ivey for organizing the trip!

Planetarium show
Ms. BB hanging out with Drupal, the ESSL iguana. Drupal has the run of the place!
Students getting up close with the exhibits.
Smiling, despite the 'gravity' of the situation. (Haha)
Students visiting the ESSL always enjoy the hands-on opportunities.

This Week in HAL: Week of 1/26/15

Snow is not slowing our teachers and students down at MoMS! Today I had the pleasure of visiting 8th grade classes, and what was most exciting was just how DIFFERENT each class activity was! How great for students to experience different learning styles and delivery styles throughout the day!

First stop: Mr. Taylor's LA class, where students were watching a version of The Monkey's Paw, following a close reading of the classic short story. Students were looking at differences between the two presentations of story, specifically looking at the limitations of video in this case.

Second stop: Mr. DeLizia's AS1 class. This time, students were working with a graphic organizer of notes about different challenges faced by our early government. Mr. DeLizia presented the challenges and had students give their ideas as to solutions or next steps before revealing the actual history of the situation. Students were able to examine their own ideas...did they come up with solutions similar to those of our founding fathers?

Ms. Ivey's Science class came next. They are currently studying genetics, and as luck would have it, the topic was in today's news! Ms. Ivey grabbed the teachable moment, giving some time in class for students to read and generate questions about the article before moving on to their planned mitosis/meiosis lab, where students were to manipulate yarn as a simulation of the two processes.

Finally, in Ms. Fitzsimmons class, Math students worked with graphing systems of inequalities, working with real world problems, such as figuring out how to budget for newspaper advertisements.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

This Week in HAL: Week of 2/2/2015

On Friday, 2/6, Ms. BB and I attended our monthly Advanced Academics meeting where we had the opportunity to talk with and learn from several FCPS representatives regarding high school options for FCPS students.  It is an exciting time for FCPS high school students. Options for IB programming, internships, work-study, college credits in high school,  specialized programs in different FCPS schools, career training AND Advanced Placement... ALL available with the possibility of mixing and matching to provide each student the path he/she chooses!

There is so much to explore, both as a student AND as a parent, and that process starts in middle school - and not just at 8th grade. Below are links to help you start the discussion at home. If you are not signed up for Find Out First messages, I encourage you to do so. Very often opportunities from FCPS are announced through FOF. These can include parent nights and info. sessions for soon-to-be high schoolers.  If you have questions, you can certainly talk to your middle school guidance counselor, and as our guest speakers encouraged, you are welcome to call the high school counselors, OR you will find direct contact information on many of the program sub-links when you start clicking below! Grab a paper and pencil, because the questions will start to flow as you start exploring with your child!

This Week in HAL: Week of 3/9/2015

Greetings, parents! I apologize for the lapse in communication. Between snow and PARCC testing, it has been a wild ride! I'm happy to say it is one that our MoMS students are handling in stride. Our HAL teachers are continuing to plan rigorous and engaging learning opportunities for students.

Ms. BB and Mr. DeLizia, 8th grade SS, are working together to plan a differentiated project to launch during their study of Andrew Jackson. Students will be pre-assessed for readiness of this tiered activity.

Ms. Venable and I will be working together with 6th grade SS prior to Spring Break to engage the student superpower of WONDERING in a mini-research project.

Ms. Maruskin had several students working with green screen technology this week in 6th grade Science -  for some video learning!

Ms. BB recently shared some opportunities for all students, through MAKE IT HAPPEN FREDERICK. Students interested in a Girls' Volleyball Clinic or Culinary Arts Class are encouraged to pick up paper registration forms outside of Ms. BB's office. Registration deadline is 3/27. Please contact Ms. BB (email at the top of this page) with any questions. Thanks!

One more thing.... Summer Opportunities! Click below to link to information about the Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted and Talented Students.

This Week in HAL: Week of 3/16/2015

This week our Highly Able Learners had a visit from our FCPS Advanced Academics HAL Team, myself included, to gain some insight into some of the classroom activities they are experiencing this year! In our visits. We visit each school at least 2x/year. Our team really enjoys seeing what is going on daily in the classroom! The students may not even be aware of the visits. We try not to interrupt learning in our travels!

This Week in HAL: Week of 3/23/2015

Ms. BB is working with 6th graders from  Language Arts on a Junior Great Books lesson. Ms. Phillips and Ms. BB worked together to identify a group of students who required a different challenge linked to current reading and learning. JGB is a strategy Ms. BB and our HAL LA teachers are trained in that encourages deep reading and analysis as well as group discussion of texts and ideas. Ms. BB acts as a facilitator - the students own the conversation and learning!

This Week in HAL: Week of 3/30/2015

This week in 6th grade SS, I worked with Ms. Venable's students on unleashing their WONDERING Superpower! We explored the importance of questioning what we read and see, especially online, when researching or seeking factual information. Students practiced questioning skills and evaluating sources for reliability. We finished up with a mini research intro into one of "history's mysteries". Students are invited to continue interest-based research during ELT. Ms. Venable and I will set up schedules as students share their interest in continuing the process. Thank you, Ms. Venable, for sharing your students with me this week!

This Week in HAL: Week of 4/6/2015

Students in Ms. Fitzsimmons' 8th grade Math class were employing their CURATING Superpower when I visited this afternoon! Working in groups, students sorted number cards. Each group then posted their sort to Padlet with a justification of their sorting methods. Ms. Fitzsimmons visited with each group to assess understanding and readiness for upcoming concepts. I was amazed at all of the different ideas!

Mr. Taylor gauges interest in a potential 8th Grade LA field trip to see Romeo and Juliet at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore. Mr. Taylor will share more as the plans unfold! Fingers crossed - nothing is definite just yet. Here is the website, in case you would like to explore more!

Students in Mr. DeLizia's 8th Grade SS class are getting creative in their efforts to synthesize their learning of The Alamo. Taking a cue from Johnny Cash and his song, "Remember the Alamo" students are creating song lyrics in an effort to help others remember the facts and impact of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo.

A handful of students in Ms. Ivey's 8th grade Science class compacted out of their current study within the Energy Module. They are working on designing and building a miniature house with working circuits! How cool is that!

This Week in HAL: Week of 4/13/2015

Still looking for some summer learning opportunities for your child? Click below. Elementary info. included as well.

This Week in HAL: Week of 5/4/2015

This week kicked off our Spring professional development sessions for teachers involved with the Highly Able Learner program. Several MoMS teachers attended this week. Others will attend sessions planned for later this month. These sessions help teachers increase their capacities and fill their toolboxes with strategies and ideas to help meet the needs of our Highly Able Learners. Here are some takeaways from the sessions:

Ms. Gotthelf set a goal of increasing technology use in her 7th grade SS classroom by using Padlet for student responses. She also wants to create new extension menus for students to ensure they are engaged with rigorous choices in their learning. Thanks for sharing, Ms. G!

Ms. Swann, 7th grade LA, shared: "The HAL training was awesome, and I will definitely be using more metaphors and analogies in my teaching" In addition, Ms. Swann has a goal of increasing her use of pre-assessments as a way to determine students who have tested out of certain indicators. Awesome goals, Ms. Swann. This is a great way to plan for differentiation and make sure every child learns something new!

This Week in HAL: Week of 5/11/2015

This week we highlight Ms. BB! Ms. BB can be found all throughout MoMS, supporting teachers and students in various ways. Many students enjoy her morning chess game sessions during ELT or working with her and the Debate Club on other mornings. This week, Ms. BB is working with all of Ms. Venable's 6th grade SS classes. Ms. BB has a background in the arts and is bringing that knowledge to students and their study of Ancient Greece. All students are learning about Greek theatre and theatre masks. Check out the pictures!

Ms. BB also works with Language Arts teachers to facilitate pull-out reading activities. This week, her group focused on thinking outside the box. In the picture below, Ms. BB explains to students how thinking and working on challenging activities helps group our brain - specifically, how it grows new and strengthens existing dendrites in the brain!

Ms. Maruskin's 6th grade SCI classes were also involved in some pretty awesome hands-on learning this week. They presented their CODE BLUE human body projects, working in "clinic" groups where experts from different body systems came together to share their knowledge.

Students recorded presentations using Twisted Wave audio, so that Mrs. M. is able to go back and listen to each.
One students used Minecraft to create his model of the human body. Amazing!
Check out this model heart!

This Week in HAL: Week of 5/18/2015

This weekend kicks off the unofficial start of summer! As a parent, I'm thinking of how I can help my own children avoid the "summer slide" that occurs over the summer months, when learning is not part of the every day. Here are a few options that can help turn the summer slide into a summer CLIMB! :-)

NEWSELA is a great resource that many teachers use. It allows us to find timely and relevant articles in the news, AND it allows us to adjust reading levels within the same article, customizing it for readers of all levels! Click on the link and scroll down to the FAQ section to see how parents can enroll students in this free summer challenge.

TenMarks is utilized by some FCPS elementary and middle schools. Some students may already have accounts. Either way, the summer program is FREE this summer! The program kicks off with a pre-assessment for your child, so there's no repeating old learning with this one. It's a great resource.

This Week in HAL: Week of 5/25/2015

Systemically, the Advanced Academics team wrapped up our annual professional development sessions for all teacher who support the Highly Able Learner program. We are always excited to offer teachers the opportunity to come together and fill their toolboxes with strategies designed the meet the needs of our most able learners. It also gives teachers from across the county time to connect and share best practices and activities specifically with the HAL program and learners in mind!

Here at MoMS, Ms. Swann was putting HAL resources to good use. Her 7th grade LA classes are working on a HOT card alternate research activity focusing on the redesign on extreme sports. These research and writing activities will carry over and finish up next week... just in time for Ms. BB to visit and lead a Junior Great Books lesson!

This Week in HAL: Week of 6/1/2015

Part of this week has nothing to do with HAL, but I thought this was worthsharing! Some amazing 6th grade students took the lead to spread some cheer and positivity with their peers. This morning (Friday), when students went to their lockers, each and every 6th grade child had a personalized sticky note waiting for him/her. Each sticky note complemented the individual on a talent or trait that may or may not be regularly noticed or praised. Talk about Making History at Monocacy Middle School! Thanks to these awesome students! Click the link below to check out some pictures!

Ms. Gotthelf's 7th grade SS students researched inventions from medieval China and created presentations that linked past and present.

This Week in HAL: Week of 6/8/2015

I have the pleasure of working with Ms. Swann's 7th grade LA classes this week! We are working on designing a Periodic Table of (Book) Elements. Students are using their Literature Circle novels and creating a final product that will showcase their understanding of the novel - going beyond characters, setting, and conflict to look at themes, meaningful objects and symbolism, sub-categories of elements, AND, most importantly, the relationships that exist between and among all of these elements. So exited to see final products! The picture below shows Ms. Swann pointing out the organizational structure of the Periodic Table. Students will translate this to their novels!

Ms. Swann later shared examples such as The Hunger Games and Star Wars


Parents: We are nearing the end of the school year, and the end of my first year using TACKK as a means to communicate HAL happenings at MoMS with you. My goal in using this tool was to shed some light on different activities and classrooms and to showcase students in action, as well as to generate topics of conversation at home that might help you and you child communicate about his/her learning, specific to HAL. I am very interested to hear from you as to how you feel this tool worked this year! Please click the button below to complete a brief survey. I value your feedback and look forward to both continuing and improving upon HAL communication at MoMS. Thank you, all! Have a wonderful summer. - D. Thompson