Should people be allowed to go barefoot everywhere they go?
In the spring at MV, people wear flip-flops to school. At the beginning of the year, everyone should look at the school dress code, so you know you can and can’t wear. Every citizen has the duty of looking presentable when outside of their private property. We shouldn’t have people in the U.S. walking in public shoeless! As a part of a community, being dressed is a not a choice, so why should shoes be optional? As a country we need to put our best foot forward (no pun intended) and be respectful of the public spaces around us. Being barefoot in public is also a hygiene issue. Random shards of glass are all around the streets and if you step on it, BOOM right to the hospital with a cut foot and the possibility an infection. Being barefoot can also lead to the dreadful toe fungus world. Being barefoot in public at a beach or pool is acceptable, but walking around on the streets barefoot is icky. We also think it is disrespectful to the school to wear flip-flops.
Well, the race for the White House is still off and running and we have almost reached the finish line. For the Republican category, our front runner, and only runner, as of the Indiana primary is Donald Trump. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich dropped out of the running making the one and the only Donald Trump the Republican candidate. So it is all up to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Sanders had the win in the Hoosier state but Clinton won the state of Kentucky last night by about 2,000 votes so Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are still competing to be the Democratic candidate. So who will it be Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump. What do you think? Are we making a future to believe in? Making America great again? Or is it time for a woman President?
Recently, an MVM alumni, Joe Grochmal, from Great Barrington, came back to visit with teachers at MVRMS.
He spent time in Mrs. Astion's room, as he had been a student of hers since way back in elementary school.
When asked if there was any advice he wanted to share with current middle school students now that he was finishing his first year at Harvard, this is what he wrote.
Eye-to-eye with Governor Deval Patrick. This was the position I found myself in on January 15, 2011 as the 8th grade Great Barrington representative to Project 351, a gathering of youth from each of the 351 towns and cities that comprise our Commonwealth. I knew nothing about Governor Patrick project at this time except that Principal Furey had notified me a week earlier that I would be traveling to Boston with several of my peers to participate in a day of volunteer work with other young people. That day I remember watching Governor Patrick as he addressed our group, tightly packed into the warehouse space of Cradles to Crayons, telling us that through hard work, ingenuity, and compassion, we could write our own futures and, ultimately, better the world in the process. At the time I did not understand the weight of what I had just heard. After all, as an eighth-grader I seemed to have little control over my own life, let alone the lives of others. Yet, as the day progressed and I was brought to the State House to pack backpacks full of supplies for economically disadvantaged youth in the Boston area, I began to understand the message to which the Governor was alluding. I vividly remember looking up and down the long table of supplies, to my left and right, and seeing a mountain of bags, books, crayons, and pencils that needed to be packed. At first glance, the task seemed daunting. However, I looked above this mountain of supplies to see fifty other youth, many of them looking as lost as I was, and realized that through our hard-work, ingenuity, and compassion we could bring about a positive lasting change. I am proud to say that we packed every bag that went down our assembly line, did so with gusto, and hopefully changed a student’s life or at the very least gave them something to smile about.
As the months went by, the memory of Project 351 remained with me and drew me towards public service. In the spring of my Freshman year at Monument Mountain I applied for and was chosen to be a member of Governor Patrick’s State Youth Council. I have never felt so welcomed by a group than I did on my first day with this advisory board. As I introduced myself to others I learned that many of the 28 representatives had participated in either the inaugural or the second Project 351. The bond we shared and the strategies and approach that 351 had taught us allowed our group to work together in a constructive, efficient, and enjoyable manner to tackle issues of youth violence, homelessness, drug use and abuse, and a multitude of other issues facing our peers, the youth and future of the Commonwealth. How fortuitous that I was chosen back in eighth grade to participate in such a life-changing experience.
A week ago I finished my first year at Harvard and am pursuing a career in government. I look back fondly on my time at Monument Valley for many reasons, and certainly for helping set me on a trajectory that is allowing me to pursue my dreams and at the same time teaching me more about myself and the world every day.
One piece of advice that I would like to offer to you, the reader, is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, whether or not it seems interesting or not. You may not like everything you try, but it is a way to help you begin to identify what interests you and what you may choose to pursue.
My second piece of advice is that once you have identified your interest, do your research and find members of the community who can help you learn more about your passion and help you identify a path forward. The middle school is a great place to start. Talk to your teachers, administrators, friends, family, and neighbors. You’ll never know what opportunities you may have left on the table if you do not ask or accept. Never forget that you miss 100% of the shots you do not take.
Every year, the 8th graders choose a student mural design to be painted on an 8th grade wall. These ones are the last two, the 8th graders voted on them this week. The Avengers were created by Fiona Horan, and the winning entry, the tree with cascading leaves was created by Grace O'Brien! Congratulations to both artists for wonderful work.
In the 7th grade, the teachers set up the bulletin board to display memes of the homeroom's mascots. They then put up a picture of Mr. Koldys teaching penguins, (as seen on the first row, right). The teachers told us to submit captions for the picture, and the winners would receive a prize. The first place caption was "When you are so cool that your students turn into penguins from your coolness." This caption was submitted by 7th grader Karina Mahida! Congrats! The second place caption was "When you have NO friends!" Submitted by Jordyn Louison. And the third place caption was, "The growth serum is working...except on Skipper, so I'll try again." Submitted my Ben Brazie. Congrats to all of the winners.
A Nature's Classroom blog post.
JULIAN: “How did you come to work at Nature’s Classroom” ?
CARROT : “I always wanted to work outside and be able teach young children how to become good outdoor folk.”
JULIAN : “What is your favorite class to teach” ?
CARROT : “One of my most favorite classes to teach is Burma Bridge, and I also love to teach Deer Survival”.
JULIAN : “What is your favorite meal at Nature’s classroom” ?
CARROT : “There are a lot of great meals at Nature’s classroom, but the carrots and cucumbers at the salad bar are my favorite”.
JULIAN : “What are some of the hobbies that you have” ?
CARROT : “I love to hike and run, but I also love hanging in a hammock with a good book”.
JULIAN : “When you were a kid, did you ever think that you would be doing what you are doing now” ?
CARROT : “No, I had no idea where life would lead me”.
JULIAN : “What did you want to be when you grew up” ?
CARROT : “My dream was to go into acting”.
JULIAN : “How long do you think you can do this kind of job” ?
CARROT : “I am going to try to do this job for 5 more years and maybe do something similar after that”.
JULIAN : “ Where did you grow up” ?
CARROT : “I grew up in Northern, Michigan about 20 miles from Lake Michigan”.
JULIAN : “What did you study in college” ?
CARROT : “Environmental studies and cultural anthropology”.
JULIAN : “Finally, how did you get the name carrot” ?
CARROT : “So many times people forget my name so I told them it’s carrot with a G and it caught on. Also you always need that vitamin A”.
April was Financial Literacy Month. Even though this post is a little bit late, we want to say congratulations to Ava B and MacKenzie L, who finished in first place for the Massachusetts Stock Market Game's Diversification Portfolio, and to Aria G, Evie Gr, and Dahlia L for their second place win. They will travel to Boston on May 20th for a ceremony and lunch!
Creating a Maker Space in our Facility
Great Barrington ̶ A maker space is in the making; Mr. Doren and Mr. O'Dell, the two main people in charge of the making, plan to have a fully functional maker space within two years.
Currently at Monument Valley Regional Middle school, a maker space is in the making. Mr. Doren, the principal at Monument Valley, said “Yeah. That’s the idea. That’s where we’re going, and that’s what’s happening.”
The start of the plan was put into action this year at Monument Valley by hiring Mr. O'Dell, the new Design teacher, rather than hiring another computer instructor. A computer instructor covers only computer-related topics, while a Design teacher covers more topics of which are maker space-like.
Mr. Doren plans to start with makerspace-like activities by next year, and then have an entirely useable makerspace. “I think next year, we’ll start doing small little activities with kids coming in and choosing to come in, and I think by the next year, we’ll have a fully functional makerspace,” said Mr. Doren.
But, right now in the woodshop, there are huge robotics tables blocking off useable space. For the past years, it has acted like a storage space for old unneeded objects cluttering and filling up space that could be used for innovating.
Mr. O'Dell along with Mr. Doren want to see the space used more efficiently, and cleaned out, before they can figure out what to add to it. “I think, before we bring more machines in, you know, I’d like to see it functional… so before we bring anything else in. I would like to see what is actually obsolete,” said Mr. O'Dell.
But also, while cleaning out the workshop, Nick , an 8th grade student at Monument Valley, pointed out it could be added to at the same time so it is completed faster. “I think the woodshop/design lab should be made into a makerspace so it would be used more efficiently than it is now,” said Nick.
Schools all throughout the country have been adding maker spaces into their facilities. Not too far from Monument Valley in North Adams, Bart, a charter school, has a makerspace incorporated into their facility.
Andrew , an old student of Monument Valley, switched to Bart. “Having a maker space comes in very handy, and is a nice resource to have right near our classroom. Because of this, art and technology projects are made much easier and much more fun which leads me to say that the maker space at my school is something I like very much,” said Andrew.
At Monument Valley there are students supporting a maker-space, and some where it just isn’t their thing. James , an 8th grade student at Monument Valley dislikes the Design class as it is now, and doesn’t believe a maker-space is any better. “I think a maker space would be the same, but just more advanced,” said James.
The other share of students though support having a maker-space in their school because it is free innovating. Andrew , an 8th grade student at Monument Valley, likes how with a maker space, you can be creative and do your own thing. “You can kinda just do what you want, and create what you want instead of like, what a teacher wants,” said Andrew.
When asked about the cost of a maker space, Mr. Doren had no worries at all about the funding of making the maker space. “Yeah, I’m not worried about it at all, we thought about it, makerspace is really about designating the space. You know, we have lts of computers, a budget from a grant to buy 3D printers, like yeah, I’m not worried about that,” said Mr. Doren
Mr. O'Dell though goes into depth about where the money comes from. “You can apply for grant money from different organizations that are supporting technology, that are supporting maker space, that are supporting stem, initiative in schools, that could be used supplemental or additional money to fund it.”
The Berkshire Taconic Community foundation is one place that give out grants for educational, environmental, health and many other purposes, which is located not too far from Monument Valley in Sheffield Massachusetts.
When a fully functional maker space is at Monument Valley, Mr. O'Dell has plans for a different style of teaching. “I would like to give the people the latitude, or the freedom to explore the possibilities under some umbrella idea,” said Mr. O'Dell.
Hannah an 8th grade student at Monument Valley, agrees with Mr. O'Dell’s plan to teach in a way letting the students branch off in their own ways. Hannah said “I would like it if he told us a little bit, and then we could kind of figure it out for ourselves.”