I should be fully expecting the whole "in like a lion out like a lamb" characteristic of March, but when February feels more like April it is hard to return to a more traditional March. Yuck.
Enough of that.
Thankfully, while visiting 7th grade science classes this week, Mr. Mac and I were able to enjoy students articulating their understanding and exploration of photosynthesis. Posters and computer screens were full of vibrant images detailing the scientific process that felt more like spring than what was visible outside the windows. Gizmos (which is actually the name of the online tools rather than my inability to remember the specific name of what they were actually using) helped students explore the entire process of combining certain reactants with light to create various outcomes in a virtual environment. Very springy indeed.
During our rounds this week, we were able to spend some time in the arts, as well. We enjoyed previewing some speeches students were preparing in Theater Arts that addressed their concerns around school specific topics like lunch options, homework, and the morning start time. Art students were working with water color techniques that created texture and depth to their projects by using plastic wrap and wax rubbings from textured tiles. My favorite part was listening to the students naturally praise each other as they saw their work being distributed after drying. They had not seen everyone's progress and many students commented on the choices their peers had made in both design and execution.
Social studies students in 8th grade have been working on research projects and we were able to see some of them prepping in the library. Ms. Smith, our librarian, was reminding students of the various databases available to them on our library website and continued to encourage the importance of citing their sources and identifying more reliable sources than Wikipedia. It is easy for middle school students to argue, it is harder for them to back it up with evidence. While the skill is fundamental, sometimes I fear it is more like Pandora's box as we help build their skills only to have them come back to haunt...well, for those of you with an oldest child in 8th grade I would hate to spoil the fun called high school. I know it is hard to imagine but they will actually know more than everyone else on the planet for
at least the next 6 years. If we could just harness that hubris we could perhaps solve more problems or at least save on energy bills.
Speaking of Pandora's box, social media continues to invade more aspects of our lives than many care to admit. It is a constant struggle through which our teens regularly embark. On Thursday, March 30 from 6-7pm, our adjustment counselor, Ms. Oehley, will be presenting a program entitled "Your Digital Footprint: Making the best on-line choices" The presentation and discussion will be focusing on student's use of technology, Netiquette, safety, on-line reputation and the various messages being sent. The presentation portion will be approximately 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions and discussion. It is a discussion that needs to be ongoing and we need to stay up to date with the latest trends and activities surrounding our children's online activities.
When I left school today, the snow had not accumulated much. Out here in the woods as I prepare to go to bed, it is clear that I will be shoveling again in the morning...more salt to the wound I call daylight savings aka worst weekend of the year! At least our puppy will sleep a little later on Sunday...that's the way that is suppose to work, right?
Have a wonderful 47 hours,
Dr. Christopher Chew
Stony Brook School
Westford, MA 01886
Making Caring Common: Raising Kind, Ethical, And Happy Children
Research in human development clearly shows that the seeds of empathy, caring, and compassion are present from early in life, but that to become caring, ethical people, children need adults to help them at every stage of childhood to nurture these seeds into full development.
We should work to cultivate children’s concern for others because it’s fundamentally the right thing to do, and also because when children can empathize with and take responsibility for others, they’re likely to be happier and more successful. They’ll have better relationships their entire lives, and strong relationships are a key ingredient of happiness. In today’s workplace, success often depends on collaborating effectively with others, and children who are empathetic and socially aware are also better collaborators.
Dr. Richard Weissbourd, a psychologist and lecturer at Harvard, is the faculty co-director of Making Caring Common (MCC). MCC is a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education that helps educators, parents, and communities raise children who are caring, responsible to their communities, and committed to justice. Dr. Weissbourd returns to Westford on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 to present Making Caring Common: Raising Kind, Ethical, And Happy Children. Dr. Weissbourd’s presentation – which is being hosted by the Westford Parent Connection – will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Stony Brook Middle School, 9 Farmer Way, Westford. The event is free and open to the public through the generosity of WPC’s sponsors. For more information about Dr. Weissbourd or MCC, check out http://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/. For other questions, go to http://www.westford.org/wpc/ or contact Mary Anne Seraphin at email@example.com.
FAME’s 18th Annual Dinner Dance will feature new musical repertoireat a new location!
FAME, Friends Advancing Music Education is happy to announce that it willhost the 18th Annual Dinner Dance at the Fellowship Hall in The First ParishChurch United (FCPU) on Friday, April 7, 2017 between 6-10 pm.
Our fundraiser will feature Westford Academy’s Jazz Bands, StringTroubadour Ensemble, Members of the Honors Choir and the WestfordChamber Music Ensemble.
Tickets are $55/person and $440 for a table of eight, and will be availableuntil April 3, 2017. The evening’s dinner will be catered by ColemansCatering from Groton and will include a delicious 3-course menu, along witha cash bar with beer and wine.
FAME is also sponsoring a Raffle for an Apple Watch Series 2 (a $300 value)and Apple TV ($100 value).
There will be additional drawings for prizes generously donated by localrestaurants and businesses.
All proceeds from ticket sales go to the WPS music program, SeniorScholarships & Music Camp Scholarships for WPS students.
For information and tickets please go to FAME Dinner Dance.We look forward to seeing you at FPCU on April 7.
All proceeds from ticket sales go to the WPS music program, Senior Scholarships & MusicCamp Scholarships for WPS students. Opportunities for sponsorships, auction donations andadvertising in the program are available, contact Ron at 978-430-4358.
FAME, a nonprofit organization, has been supporting music education at all grade levels ofWestford Public Schools since 1983. F.A.M.E. ensures opportunities for both music teachersand students to enrich their educational environment through a variety of music endeavors.