Mr. Ackerman's Blog

Resilience

September 18, 2014 · No Comments

A few weeks ago I invited Dr Rob Evans to speak to the Grade 3 parents at Back to School Night.  I received lots of positive feedback afterwards. We are fortunate to bring you a recording of Dr Evan’s presentation for those who may have talked to parents in the audience or who simply may be interested in the topic.  His wisdom and advice is relevant, timely, and very  important for all of us. If you get a free moment, take some time and watch his talk.  Let me know what you think.

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Lots of ways to connect with Lane

August 29, 2014 · No Comments

There are several different ways to receive news coming from Lane.  All parents should sign up for the e-newsletter (sign up can be found at bottom of district website)

For those of you who like to receive more updates, such as shared photos, glimpses into daily life at Lane, and other more “minor” updates, please “like” us on Facebook.

We also have a Twitter account (@Lanebedford) which sends out links for all Facebook updates.  Lots to choose from.

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Interview with Ms Herman

July 24, 2014 · No Comments

For our continued series on new staff, here is a short interview with Ms Herman, one of two new grade 4 teachers.

1. What makes you excited about coming to the Lane School?

I’ve been so impressed by far by the faculty I’ve met at Lane. It seems like a dedicated and passionate community that I cannot wait to become a part of. I’m excited to be working in this incredible part of Massachusetts and to learn more about the town and the community.

2. What is your favorite memory from when you were in grade 4 as a kid?

I went to elementary school in New Jersey, and just like in Massachusetts, we spent the year studying national and local geography in social studies. For an end of year project I got to make a sheet cake shaped like New Jersey!
3. What made you want to be a teacher?

I was a kid who always said I wanted to be a teacher growing up. In college I studied education from many different perspectives; I came out of these experiences knowing that my passion lay within the classroom. It’s an amazing profession in that every day is unique. The excitement that comes from working and learning with children is something I value deeply.

4.  Tell us one thing we would be surprised to know about you?
I spent my summer teaching kids to rock climb and taking them on adventure courses!
5.  What have you been reading this summer?
In terms of children’s books I recently read Kate DiCamillo’s book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane for the first time and love it. In terms of adult literature, I just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides.

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Interview with Ms Chadzutko

July 17, 2014 · 1 Comment

Ms Chadzutko is one of two new Grade 4 classroom teachers starting in September. Since many people are always curious about the “new teacher,” I thought I would continue or annual informal interview with new hires so the community can begin to get to know them.

1.  What makes you excited about coming to the Lane School?

I am excited about coming to the Lane School because I already feel welcome as a part of the school community. Everyone I met has been willing and happy to answer all of my questions and help me in any way they can. It will be great to be a part of such a friendly teaching staff!

2.  What is your favorite memory from when you were in grade 4 as a kid?

When I was in the 4th grade, we had a class mascot which was a Beanie Baby named Curlie. Everyone in the class got to take him home for a weekend and we would see what adventures he would go on. He got to go to so many interesting places!

3.  What made you want to be a teacher?

I didn’t think about being a teacher until I was nearing the end of high school. I had always loved reading and English but I had an awesome teacher who made the work we did challenging and exciting. I decided that I wanted to be someone who could make learning fun and exciting too.

4.  Tell us one thing we would be surprised to know about you?

I love to travel to different parts of the United States and go hiking and kayaking. I have been to 31 states so far and hope to travel to all 50 someday.

5.  What have you been reading this summer?

I have been trying to catch up on all of the books I wanted to read during the school year. I just finished “I am Malala” and am starting some of the classics this week.

6.  What is the highlight of your summer so far?

I haven’t done anything too exciting yet  but in two weeks I will be going to Maine and hiking Mt. Katahdin which is the tallest mountain in Maine. Some parts of the trail to the summit are only 3 feet wide!!!

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Your Tips For Reading…

May 18, 2014 · No Comments

Last week I shared some of my challenges as a parent in getting my sons to read nightly before going to bed. I ended my email by asking Lane parents to share strategies, which have worked with their children. Seems only right that we should all try and learn from each other. Here is a sampling of some of the comments I received (the names have been removed):

I read to my son, 30 minutes every night, sometimes more. I work to find materials that interest him, keep him eager for the next chapter. Is my kid reading? I say yes. Homer couldn’t read or write, but he could recite hours of poetry, myths, and legends. He was more literate than most of us.

Feed your kid’s appetite for these things, put out tempting morsels for their minds and souls, let them see you tasting as well, and they will turn to the written word to get what they need to fill up on the world.

One (tip) is relentlessly looking for books that she “wants” to read, based on her interests, as it makes a world of difference…..

I think the best thing you can do is encourage other parents to form their own book clubs and see what happens. The incentive for the kids is a fun night out with their school friends, but to everyone’s surprise they all seem to “fall into” the magic of reading and discussing a good book.

We use a reward-type system where they get to “choose” what they read on the weekends if they read their assigned reading during the school week.  Sometimes they even get to go to Barnes N Noble & pick what they choose to read.  Also, taking them to different libraries is exciting to them.  Exposing them to different types of books/literature/authors can make reading more enticing.  Talking to them about what they are reading is huge—they get to tell you/teach you & it makes them feel important.  Drawing a picture after the fact gives them a chance to express themselves & what they “took from the book”, etc.  The best part of reading w/my kids is it gives them one-on-one Mommy time, or group snuggle time on the couch.

One of the things that my daughter gets excited about when to read is (and yes I am guilty of this) a trip to Barnes & Noble. That is my time to give her the choices of what to read and she has so much fun in that store.

Listen to books on tape in the car (to get them hooked), then give them the hard copy at home. Read aloud to each other at night (take turns). Graphic novels are a great way to get boys interested in reading.

My 2 kids are in their 20′s ….my husband and I read to them before bed through 6th grade. On long car rides to Cape Cod vacations – my husband drove…I read short stories and chapter  books in the car. They read on their own as well.

(My daughter) has always liked books, but I do feel like her enthusiasm for reading increased when she got her Nook last Christmas. Although it’s a “device” which she does use for games once in a while, she was really excited to learn that she could log into the library online and check out books instantly. Now when she tells me she’s “bored” I have her browse and before I know it, she’s knee-deep in an e-book.

We don’t allow TV on vacations and I read to kids every night while we’re on vacation.

To encourage my children to read I have made it a daily chore that has to be done. I have encouraged them to choose and buy books as often as they want to read. I also ask them to read to me something they enjoyed reading, and when I laugh along they feel encouraged to read more.

We read with/to him every night and I try to pick books that interest him. Having the kids chose their own books during Library helps in this process.

Be patient when it comes to encouraging a reluctant reader. Try lots of different types of books, not just ones you enjoyed as a kid, or their siblings enjoyed. You may even need to grit your teeth and let them read books you really would rather they didn’t (e.g. Captain Underpants). You just don’t know what will be the book that turns them on to reading.

I still have a policy of reading for 20 minutes every night before bed.   I, like you said to role model, read every night before I go to sleep.   That is my way of relaxing my mind.

As you know, reading is one of the most important things you can do for your child. I have been reading to my daughter  ( until now because she wants to read on her own) since she was 3 months old! It seemed silly at first but she loves to read and is a pretty good reader. Another thing I have always done was buy her books. If we went out somewhere and she wanted to buy something I would tell her to pick out a book. She loves to get new books! Snuggling with your child while reading a book is one of my most treasured memories.

One thing I’ve tried is to have them read during the day since I found with later bedtimes, we were skipping reading at night.

My recipe book holder (one of those contraptions that hold the book upright & open) has been co-opted for fostering reading.  From when reading started, when I put breakfast on the table, I would also put an open book in front of them.  It would be sitting right there in front of them and it wasn’t forced as “reading time”.  It was just a part of breakfast … it’s now become a daily habit.

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Powerful Video- Bullying

May 6, 2014 · 3 Comments

Last week I showed the Grade Five students this video created by students from another school. It was part of my conversation about an activity called “touch” which some students had been playing. The “touch” originated from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and films and is related to the more common term of “cooties.”  Although initially this activity may have seemed harmless, it evolved into students using student names with the “touch.”  Thus a student would touch another student and say you have the “(student name) touch.” From a kid’s perspective, having the “touch” is not a good thing.  What I wanted students to know is that this game is mean and needed to stop immediately.

I described to the Grade 5 students how mean acts done to others in elementary school can stay with someone for a lifetime.  I commented how I can still vividly recall events thirty years ago when I witnessed students getting teased. Mean acts don’t go away. Over the last few days I have noticed excellent reflecting from our students on this issue and have been very impressed with the student response. One student started a petition, while others who participated in this “touch” activity reached out to apologize to those who had been victimized. Safe to say going forward, any type of “touch” activity, even if in just the spirit on the film, will not be tolerated here at Lane.

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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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