Mr. Ackerman's Blog

Guest Post from HS Music Department

March 27, 2014 · No Comments

Although this post is about older Bedford students, it is a reminder of how important it is for Lane to help set the foundation for musical success.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this past week, eleven Bedford students and four of our Bedford music teachers participated in the Massachusetts Music Educator Association’s All State Conference.

High School students Linda Bittenson, Matt Bridgeman, Chloe DeMello, Brad Hegarty, Deanna Lobo, and Joe Neveux spent all day Thursday, all day Friday, and Saturday morning rehearsing with the All State Chorus under the direction of Dr. Jerry McCoy. On Saturday afternoon, they performed at Symphony Hall. Our own Linda Bittenson auditioned for and was chosen for a solo in “Famine Song.”  Below are pictures of our students in performance.

Linda singing the solo with Matt in the background. Joe, Brad, and Matt in the tenor section.

Chloe smiling at Dr. Jerry McCoy. Deanna and Linda in the alto section.

In addition to singing in the chorus, Matt Bridgeman had also submitted an original composition to the All State Student composer contest. His piece was selected along with eight other pieces by students from across Massachusetts. He performed this piece live at a workshop with the other students and many music educators, where he got positive and constructive feedback oh the piece. I’ve attached a clip of him performing the piece. He brought his iPad and by playing the instrument tracks on the GarageBand app was able to perform the piece.

Five JGMS 6th graders, Grace Clark, Carly DeMello, Araz Dulgarian, Mia Federico, Amelia Leida performed with the first ever MA All State Treble Chorus for students in 4th-6th grade. They were conducted by the famous Henry Leck and had a great time meeting new friends and working on impressive music. Below is a picture of the 5 JGMS students with Henry Leck.

Bedford music faculty members Jim Felker and Katherine Fuller were selected out of hundreds of applicants to serve as clinicians for their sessions “Reaching Non-Performing Students through World Drumming in High School and Middle School” and “Transitions and Attention Grabbers: Increased Learning Comprehension in the K-5 General Music Classroom.”  Mr. Felker and Mrs. Fuller each instructed thirty to fifty music teachers and received high evaluation marks and feedback on their respective workshops.

We also ran into three recent Bedford Alumni, Sevan Dulgarian, Alisa Granada, and Jennie Segal who attended the conference with their college music programs. It was wonderful to see three alumni that are so excited about the fields of music and music education. Below are photos of Jim and myself with Jennie and Alisa and Jim with Sevan.

Sincerely,

Katrina Faulstich, Katherine Fuller, Nicole O’Toole, Jim Felker, and the BPS Music and Theater Arts Department

Katrina Faulstich

Choral and Theater Director

Bedford High School

Katrina_Faulstich@bedford.k12.ma.us

Linda singing the solo with Matt in the background. Joe, Brad, and Matt in the tenor section.

Chloe smiling at Dr. Jerry McCoy. Deanna and Linda in the alto section.

In addition to singing in the chorus, Matt Bridgeman had also submitted an original composition to the All State Student composer contest. His piece was selected along with eight other pieces by students from across Massachusetts. He performed this piece live at a workshop with the other students and many music educators, where he got positive and constructive feedback oh the piece. I’ve attached a clip of him performing the piece. He brought his iPad and by playing the instrument tracks on the GarageBand app was able to perform the piece.

Five JGMS 6th graders, Grace Clark, Carly DeMello, Araz Dulgarian, Mia Federico, Amelia Leida performed with the first ever MA All State Treble Chorus for students in 4th-6th grade. They were conducted by the famous Henry Leck and had a great time meeting new friends and working on impressive music. Below is a picture of the 5 JGMS students with Henry Leck. Attached is a video of the treble choir rehearsing during their dress rehearsal.

Bedford music faculty members Jim Felker and Katherine Fuller were selected out of hundreds of applicants to serve as clinicians for their sessions “Reaching Non-Performing Students through World Drumming in High School and Middle School” and “Transitions and Attention Grabbers: Increased Learning Comprehension in the K-5 General Music Classroom.”  Mr. Felker and Mrs. Fuller each instructed thirty to fifty music teachers and received high evaluation marks and feedback on their respective workshops.

We also ran into three recent Bedford Alumni, Sevan Dulgarian, Alisa Granada, and Jennie Segal who attended the conference with their college music programs. It was wonderful to see three alumni that are so excited about the fields of music and music education. Below are photos of Jim and myself with Jennie and Alisa and Jim with Sevan.

Sincerely,

Katrina Faulstich, Katherine Fuller, Nicole O’Toole, Jim Felker, and the BPS Music and Theater Arts Department

Katrina Faulstich

Choral and Theater Director

Bedford High School

Katrina_Faulstich@bedford.k12.ma.us

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Celebrating Differences

March 11, 2014 · No Comments

A big thanks to BEST for organizing and staffing the annual Celebrating Differences program at Lane. This thoughtful and always relevant topic helps our students understand what it is like to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”  The focus for this year was on physical differences such as loss of eye sight, hearing, and/or certain limbs.  The parents set up several “hands on” stations for students to actively learn.  Thanks BEST!

student tries out braille

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PARCC Test

March 5, 2014 · No Comments

Some of you may have heard of the latest acronym in education, the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). This new test is being piloted by many Massachusetts schools this Spring, including Lane. Four of our classes have been randomly selected to participate in the English language arts portion of the test.  The students will not be scored on the test, thus there will be no results to communicate to schools and families.  However, the students still need to also participate in the MCAS, and those scores do count.

So what is the PARCC?

from the Department of Education website:

How can PARCC improve on MCAS?

Students have taken the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS, since 1998. MCAS is a stellar testing program. But MCAS is entering its seventeenth year of administration and, most importantly, was never designed to measure the college and career readiness of students.

PARCC is designed to build on the strengths of MCAS and add additional features such as innovative technology-based items and more open-ended, performance-based tasks that will better measure students’ ability to think critically and to apply what they know. At the high school level, PARCC intends to assess a broader range of the skills that employers and colleges report as essential for success after high school.  PARCC promises to provide clearer signals to educators and students about the readiness of students for the next grade level and, in high school, for college and career.  PARCC also will produce more timely results for districts and schools to assist educators in planning and tailoring instruction for students in the coming year.

How will PARCC differ from MCAS?

Here are some of the key ways in which PARCC will differ from MCAS:

  • PARCC will test students in grades 3-11; MCAS currently tests students in grades 3-8 and 10;
  • PARCC will be a computer-based test, though a paper-and-pencil version will be available at the outset; MCAS is only a paper-and-pencil test;
  • As a computer-based test, PARCC will deliver innovative technology-based items and performance-based tasks that will better measure a broader range of the skills that we value and employers report are necessary for students to acquire;
  • PARCC will assess writing at all grades levels; MCAS currently only assesses writing in grades 4, 7, and 10;
  • PARCC will report five levels of students performance, including a level that coincides with college and career readiness; MCAS currently reports four levels of student performance (Advanced, Proficient, Needs Improvement, Warning/Failing);
  • PARCC will allow us to compare student performance in Massachusetts to student performance in other states that also take PARCC; MCAS is a custom test that only Massachusetts students take.
  • PARCC will produce more timely results for school districts and educators to help in planning and tailoring instruction for students in the coming year;
  • PARCC has the real potential to reduce the costs for our testing program by taking advantage of the collaborative work across states.

Will PARCC replace MCAS?

In future years, PARCC could replace MCAS. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote on whether to fully implement PARCC as the Commonwealth’s student testing program in fall 2015 following a two-year pilot of PARCC in Massachusetts.

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One Hour of Code

December 20, 2013 · No Comments

This past week was designated as “One Hour of Code.” This effort was sponsored by a lot of big names in the technology world, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.


Coding is interesting in that at first glance it doesn’t appear to fit neatly into a traditional subject area (although it is most at home in math). But what is great about coding, is that it forces students to practice and develop their thinking skills. As Steve Jobs said, “I think everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think. I view computer science as a liberal art, something everyone should learn to do.”

At Lane we had 5 grade 4 classes spend a few hours learning coding via the program called Scratch (from MIT). What I observed was students being very empowered in their learning, as they problem-solved their way through challenges presented to them, as well as by them. Some students did some simple animation, while others programmed the computer to draw certain shapes.

Who knows if today’s students will need programming skills for future jobs? At a minimum there is clearly value in coding for the sake of learning and letting students experience different types of thinking.

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12 Days at Lane

December 18, 2013 · 6 Comments

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Music to Our Ears….

November 22, 2013 · 4 Comments

There is nothing quite as joyful at Lane as the choral sounds coming from Mrs Lang’s music room. She does an amazing job.  Here is a brief snippet of how it sounded in her room today with a grade 4 class.

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Helping out in Bedford

November 10, 2013 · No Comments

The Lane community has a rich tradition of helping out charities and local services for those in need. We are in our third year of organizing food donations for the Bedford Food Pantry. What I like about this project is the students not only collect the food, but they deliver AND stock the items themselves.

Ms Maguire (gr 5) and Mrs Hebert (gr 3) are the main leaders for this project. This week I asked Ms Maguire to provide the Bedford Citizen with a short writeup of a visit they had from Peter Grey (article below).

Bedford Food Pantry co-founder Peter Grey visited Lane School recently  --  Courtesy imageBedford Food Pantry co-founder Peter Grey visited Lane School recently — Courtesy image

Peter Grey, one of the founders of the Bedford Food Pantry, visited Lane School and gave students some background to this community service project.

He told how he became involved in starting the Food Pantry in Bedford 23 years ago, and how the food pantry works.  He also answered student questions about his role and the food pantry.

Because Lane students will visit the pantry to deliver donations and help to shelve them, Grey gave students instructions on how best to place items on the shelves. He explained how students can find expiration dates on packaged foods, as donated items might be past their sell-by date.

Many students showed interest in volunteering at the pantry in future years.

Editor’s Note: The Bedford Food Pantry and Community Table are supported by donations, among this year’s efforts will be the annual Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot road race. Click here to visit the Turkey Trot’s Facebook page, and stay tuned to The Bedford Citizen for more information over the next several weeks.

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“Explain your thinking”

October 22, 2013 · 1 Comment

Has your child ever complained about the teacher asking him/her to “explain their thinking” in math class? Why isn’t the right answer good enough?

In response to a couple of parents who have asked these same questions, I asked Sarah Dorer, our math curriculum coordinator, to help our parents understand why we often ask for more than just the answer.

“Explain Your Thinking”

Throughout the country, students of mathematics – from Kindergarten all the way into High School – are being asked to justify their answers, explain their mathematical reasoning and share solution strategies. These are not easy tasks and students often struggle with finding just the right words to explain their thinking even if they have attained the right answer. The Guiding Principles for Mathematics Practices in the 2011 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework and the Common Core in Mathematics emphasize the need for students to be able to communicate their mathematical thinking through speaking and in writing. In doing so, children have to organize their thoughts, clarify their own reasoning, focus on precision of math vocabulary, defend their solution strategies, and explain what they know about a mathematical idea. Many students would prefer not to have to do this, but with guided practice they have demonstrated that they can deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts and skills, communicate in a more focused and precise manner, and improve their own learning. We, as an educational community, support the practice of communicating mathematical thinking through dialogue and writing and have seen its benefits first hand.

-Sarah Dorer

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2013 MCAS

September 26, 2013 · No Comments

MCAS scores will be arriving in the mail this week.  Please view the video below if you need help understanding the scores you receive. Grade 4 and 5 do have growth scores, whereas Grade 3 does not since it is their first year taking the state test.

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Q and A with Ms Love (grade 4)

July 11, 2013 · 3 Comments

Parents are often eager to learn about the new hires at Lane.  Thus, it has been my tradition to post short interviews with the new teachers, so the community can begin to get to  know them.  Here is our talk with Ms Love,  one of several new grade 4 teachers. Ms Love comes to us from The Pike School in Andover, where she was an intern and long term grade 2 substitute teacher. Before graduate school, she attended Phillips Academy in Andover, and Hartwick College in NY. Jamie brings lots of energy and passion to the profession.

1.  Why did you want to become a teacher?

To me, there is nothing better than teaching.  You are able to inspire so many children and push them beyond their own expectations.  Teachers are able to mold students and watch them grow into amazing learners, which is quite an amazing feeling.  In addition, teachers are also growing and learning from their students…we get the best of both worlds (learning and teaching)!

2.  What excites you about coming to Bedford?

I couldn’t be more excited to come to Bedford.  Bedford has a tight knit community where everyone is welcomed and acknowledged.  It also has a rich and exciting history; a history that any teacher would love to embed into their classroom!

3.  What was your most memorable moment from your own elementary school
experience in grades 3-5?

My most memorable moment, not favorite, in elementary school would be when I was so sick that I threw up on my 4th grade teacher….sorry Mrs. F.  :)

4.  What would our readers be surprised to learn about you (hobby? skill?
passion?)

You can always find me playing softball or playing catch with my Chocolate Lab, Bella.  A secret passion of mine is cooking – someday I would love to own a restaurant.

5. What is your highlight for this summer?

This summer I’ve been busy teaching reading and writing to International Students from Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Japan, China, Mexico, Russia, and the Ukraine.  It has been an amazing experience – nothing better than learning about people from all around the world!

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