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Articles in Ames Middle School

I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

Owais Samman, an 8th grader at Ames Middle School, may not be able to read with his eyes shut, but he sure can make Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book fun to read. He debuted his rap of I Can Read with My Eyes Shut at the AMS Talent Show in December after entering the contest initially as a joke between his friends. After comtemplating other books such as Llama Llama Red Pajama, he settled this one and impressed the rest of the middle school student body.

You can watch Owais rap Dr. Seuss on our YouTube Channel.

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Google Expedition VR

Google Expedition VR

The day when students can visit landmarks from across the world is here, thanks to virtual reality. The District started looking into Google Expedition VR kits as soon as Google released them a couple years ago. Last year, Technology Director Karl Hehr put together a small kit equipped with cardboard cutout headsets, as a “proof of concept” to gauge interest from teachers. Overwhelmingly, teachers were interested in the concept as it opened the world to their classrooms.

Last semester, the District purchased a set of 30 Google Expedition VR units for classroom use. Ames Middle School teacher Dianna Sheldon, along with Instructional Technology Coach Sarah Davison, were the first to test the units when they took students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The field trip was a companion piece to the book they were reading in class.

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App Smash: Descriptive Papers w/ Green Screen Video

App Smash

Ames Middle School 6th grade literacy teacher Drew DeJong is using the idea of “app smashing” to increase student engagement. App smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks. It is a great way to provide students with creative and inspired ways to showcase their learning, and it allows teachers a great way to assess their understanding and skills.

A recent project in DeJong’s class had students write descriptive papers about their favorite place in the world. The quick 300-400 word piece was looking for sensory writing from the students. “I wanted them to really describe their favorite place,” said DeJong. “What does it look like? Smell like? My goal was that the students would show us where they were at.”

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Mental Health Conference 2018

Mental Health Conference

On November 15, the Ames CSD hosted a mental health conference at Ames High that was free to families, students, and educators in the Ames community and surrounding areas. The conference served as a great way to help educate the community on a variety of issues and to connect them with available resources.

The conference was a partnership with District schools, Story County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, and The Cameron Carico +10 Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “Promote happy and healthy students and families in central Iowa through suicide prevention and mental health education.”

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Establishing Board Priorities

Establishing Board Priorities

Work session: September 26, 2018

On September 26, District administrators partnered with the board of directors during a work session to establish board priorities. Superintendent Risner said, “One of my first goals in joining the Ames Community School District was to bring our leaders together and identify what our purpose truly is. In other words, what is the reason we do what we do. During our toughest times, our purpose should be our foundation or anchor. My second important task was to establish clear priorities to guide our work, decision making, and allocation of resources.”

After many conversations, planning, and research, our administrators and board of directors took an important step and joined together to define our purpose and district priorities which you will see below. The opportunity provided the two groups to share and align visions from a philosophical and practical standpoint. The groups worked in breakout sessions to develop goals around five priorities sections. What they created was a living document that will evolve over time and become embedded in operational and educational practices.

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Running with Nigel

Running with Nigel

Jackie Baird runs with Nigel Flagge, a 7th grader at Ames Middle School, every day during the cross country season. She is an Educational Associate in her 3rd year in the District, and has worked with Nigel for the past two years during literacy class. Nigel’s father, Paul Flagge, describes his son as “gentle, loving, and sometimes very playful,” but also admits he is a little biased. “He fights very hard to learn and understand despite having a disability that affects his learning and understanding.”

Knowing how much Nigel loves to run, his teachers approached Carmen Flagge, his mother, with the idea of joining the cross country team. Jackie volunteered to be the person who runs with Nigel. “I am actually not an active runner. I tend to dislike running for the purpose of running,” said Jackie. “However, running with Nigel gives me a purpose.”

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Amazing Grace Lemonade Race

Amazing Grace Lemonade Race Graphic

This story was originally published in Volume 4 of Amazing Magazine that you can download here.

When Grace McCunn was 10 years old, she passed out at school for the first time, seemingly for no reason. It’s a phone call that no parent ever wants to receive. Her mother, Mary Jane, raced to the school where she found Grace conscious and alert, and brought her to McFarland Clinic for evaluations. She said, “That night, they admitted her because they didn’t know what was happening. She was having chest pains at the time, so they kept her over night, but they just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.”

The McCunn’s, who have some experience spending time in a hospital with their older daughter Sarah, reached out to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and the neurologist who treated her with migraines. Grace got admitted and the doctors at Blank immediately diagnosed her with Chronic Daily Migraines, the same as her sister. What they determined that worked for Sarah, did not for Grace. Mary Jane said, “With Grace, they gave her this new medicine and within 30 minutes she felt great. What it did was put Grace to sleep immediately. When she woke up, she was a new person.”

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Little Cyclone Teacher Academy 2018

Little Cyclone Teacher Academy

The second annual Little Cyclone Teacher Academy (LCTA) took place from August 6-10 at Ames High School. Teacher on Special Assignment Lisa Clayberg, who is also the Teacher Leader Coordinator, said, “The idea originated last year from being able to provide in-house professional learning for our teacher leaders outside of contract time. However, we quickly realized that any educator could benefit from multiple learning opportunities.”

The LCTA quickly opened to all staff across the district, including administrators and Educational Assistants. This year, 30 different courses were offered to staff, up from 21 a year ago. The courses covered a range of topics that include understanding behaviors in the classroom, work based learning, dyslexia, assessing students with disabilities, and professional learning committees, among many others.

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Social Media Accounts

Social Media

As we kick off the new school year, we want to encourage you to interact and follow some of our many social media channels. Below are district and building level social media links. It’s a great way to celebrate the activities in your own building, and collectively as a district. 

District:

Website – http://www.ames.k12.ia.us

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AmesCommunitySchoolDistrict/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ACSD_News

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialACSD

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/acsdnews/

Amazing Magazine – http://www.ames.k12.ia.us/district/departments/school-community-media-relations/amazing-magazine/

 

School Pages:

Edwardshttps://www.facebook.com/EdwardsElem/

Fellowshttps://www.facebook.com/FellowsElementary/

Meekerhttps://www.facebook.com/MeekerElem/

Mitchellhttps://www.facebook.com/MitchellElementary/

Sawyerhttps://www.facebook.com/SawyerElem/

Northwood

 

Middle School :

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Super Summer Program

Super Summer Program

The ACSD Super Summer Program is a two-week summer school for students who are entering 1st-8th grades, who want to take interest oriented classes to further their passion in those areas. This year, Super Summer offered 30 different courses not accessible in the regular school curriculum to give students an opportunity to study a subject in-depth.

Extended Learning Program Director Nicole Kuhns, said, “The goal is really just to provide classes to stretch our students’ minds during the summer break.” Super Summer has been around in some form for over 25 years. This year, over 250 students registered for classes that included a variety of topics. Kuhns said, “We saw many teachers proposing new classes and reinventing old classes. There was literally something for everyone from students interested in STEM, art, performance, sports, business, and crafting. Many teachers focused on bringing a cultural lens into their classes and helping students learn more about the way others live. Our students left excited each day about all they had learned, which is really all we could ask for!”

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