Last week, sixteen members of the Milton Academy Middle School Speech Team traveled to Indianapolis to compete in the Junior Forensic League National Tournament. In preparation for the trip, each student prepared two speech events among those offered including: Dramatic Interpretation, Declamation, Original Oratory, Impromptu, Duo Interpretation, Prose, Poetry, Humorous Interpretation, and Storytelling. The Indianapolis tournament also offered competition in Debate, which is not offered by our state-wide middle school league. In Indianapolis, Milton Academy students found competition from across the United States and as far away as Saipan. A team from Taipei was also represented. Nearly 1000 students competed at the middle school level. Eight students earned quarter-finals honors in their events:
Declamation – Jeremy
Duo – Maddie & Maddie
Oratory – Marshall
Poetry – Nick, Grace
Prose – Lily, Sophie
Three students advanced to the semi-finals:
Dramatic Interpretation – Maddie L.
Oratory – Jeremy
Prose – MaddieD.
Four students advanced to the final round. Among this group,
Marshall was crowned national champion in Impromptu Speaking,
Mack was a triple finalist in Duo Interpretation (4th place with Jacob), Prose (3rd place), and Humorous Interpretation (4th place),
Tara was a double finalist in Prose (4th place) and Poetry (3rd place), and
Jacob earned 4th place with Mack in their Duo Interpretation.
Congratulation to all our students, their faculty coaches, Ms. Simon, Sra. Ramos and Mrs. Starks, and their upper school student coaches.
Picture courtesy of Cathy Sakellaris.
Middle School Play Opens Tonight: Collaboration with Eric Bohn (Class I)
Tonight marks the debut of the Middle School spring play, Detention, written, directed and devised by Upper School student and first-time playwright, Eric Bohn. Detention caters to the Middle School actors and audience for whom it was created.
“I thought a lot about the social pressures that middle school students feel, the music they listen to, and their lives in general. I wanted to make the play modern and something they could relate to,” he says.
Eric wrote Detention after doing a lot of searching and reading of plays, each of which had some drawback. Finally, he thought, “why don’t I just write it?” From January to March, Eric did just that. Using the concept of the seven deadly sins, Eric created characters representing each sin. The characters are monitored by an authority figure who, himself, feels the tug of both good and evil. When students returned to school following spring vacation, Eric, under the direction of faculty advisor Debbie Simon, began to work with the ten students participating in theater this spring. After their first read-through, the students and Eric collaborated to embellish the script. With Eric's direction, Middle School students have continued to add their talent to the mix, with Sophie writing the background music to the show’s theme song, Aidan accompanying the cast on the piano, and Mark responsible for the lighting and sound cues. Eric has thoroughly enjoyed the teamwork with the students and adults across the community. He extends special appreciation to Mr. Fuller, who facilitated set construction, Mrs. Walker, whose costumes helped to “bring the characters to life,” and Assistant Principal Mr. Crissman for his support and enthusiasm about his project. Throughout his four years at Milton, Eric has been involved in stage productions including Pippin, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fuddy Meers, Love and Intrigue, Waiting for Godot, and Love Letters.Eric is one of three Upper School students whose senior projects involve K–8.In the fall, he will be attending Sarah Lawrence College. Tonight’s performance begins at 7 p.m. Detention will be performed for a fifth grade audience on Friday, May 25 at 8:30 a.m., and for the Middle School on Tuesday, May 29 at 2:45 p.m. The show is dedicated to retiring Upper School faculty member Pam McCardle.
Milton Academy Middle School named to National Math Olympiad Honor Roll Thirty students from Milton Academy Middle School were among 150,000 students worldwide to participate in this year’s Math Olympiad program. Honor Roll status was conferred to the top 10 percent of all participating teams. Beyond the team’s honors, ten Milton Academy students scored in the top 10 percent worldwide. Those students include: Ravi, Talia, Libby, Logan, Matty, Jeremy, Anne, Elina, Luke and James D. Ravi earned top honors as the highest individual scorer from Milton Academy.
The program, which is held in more than 30 countries around the globe, consists of a series of five monthly contests solving unusual and challenging problems that require analytical and creative thought, stretching the abilities of students, strengthening their foundation for both assessment tests and more advanced studies.
Grade 7 Community Service Day
This week, students in Grade 7 participated in Milton Green Day Clean Up around the town by picking up litter on the streets and sidewalks. Many students also went to ABCD Dorchester Early Head Start and Head Start programs to play games with the children at the center. A group of speech team members completed their community service on campus, presenting their prepared pieces for Lower School students and conducting a question and answer session about public speaking.
Grade 8 French Classes Create and Perform Skits
This spring, students in eighth grade French have been reading short stories. Last week, Madame Lantieri charged her classes to create skits of conversations which might follow from the stories they read. Using the context of the story and the vocabulary they have learned during their two years of language study, students worked in small groups to devise skits which might follow from Le Petit Nicolas. Click here to watch the videos.
Setting Milton's Priorities: Be Sure to Weigh In
Strategic planning is center stage at Milton right now. Milton's trustees, administrators, faculty and staff mobilized this broad-based planning effort last January. All are eager to connect with as many Milton parents as possible, and secure your points of view about Milton's future. We are intently focused on making sure Milton's mission and values are renewed, revitalized and relevant. Please join the many parents who have expressed their opinions through the feedback link at Milton's Strategic Planning Web site: http://www.milton.edu/about/strategic_planning.cfm Use the link that says: Give Us Your Feedback. Over the last several months, parents have shared their perspectives in person with Head of School Todd Bland, Upper School Principal David Ball, and K–8 Principal Marshall Carter at events either on campus or in cities across the country. From Boston and New York to Florida, the Midwest and the West Coast, Todd invited parents and alumni to join him in conversation. David Ball has extended the conversation from the Milton campus to Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Three Task Forces (made up of trustees, administrators, faculty and staff), and a Resources Working Group have been meeting over the winter and spring, and will continue through May. These working groups are each centered on areas of crucial inquiry. Their focus areas will seem familiar to you‚ faculty, educational program, and student life. Our goal is to consider these areas, along with our institutional resources, explicitly in today's context: educating for our students' future. Your insight, through your children's experience at Milton, is particularly valuable. Thinking about what's important to you through the lens of three questions might be helpful: FACULTY: How will Milton set the premier standard for teaching? How will we make sure that transformative teaching is still Milton's hallmark, especially as we recruit and develop and a new and diverse generation of educators? EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: If we match the traditional quality of a Milton education with the skills students need to succeed in their world, what would their program include? STUDENT LIFE: What should be in place at Milton to make sure that every one of our students finds intellectual and personal growth? The efforts to engage with Milton's many constituencies continue. The board's and the Steering Committee's hope for the planning process is that every person who wishes to share thoughts about Milton's direction takes the opportunity to do so, as we determine the priorities for the School. The Task Forces and Working Group will ultimately make recommendations to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. The Committee will work with all those recommendations to develop the draft set of priorities for the board's consideration. Those priorities, and their related initiatives, will be ambitious, inspirational and realistic. At the close of the process, the Milton Academy Board of Trustees will articulate the plan to achieve Milton Academy's vision and strategies for the coming decade. We hope you take the opportunity to help identify Milton's long term vision, by visiting the strategic planning Web site and commenting online at http://www.milton.edu/about/strategic_planning.cfm Our challenge is to apply analysis, creativity, energy and real-world experience to define the road ahead for a School with a rich history, tradition and values.
Grade 5 Selects Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominees
And the winner is…..When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. This week, Ms. Stead’s book was announced as the winner of the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award. The award is based on the votes of children across the Commonwealth...including our own Milton Academy fifth graders, who have been participating in the program for the last 11 years.
The program, sponsored by Salem State University, is designed for school children in grades 4-6. Books on the list range in difficulty from early fourth to advance sixth grade. According to the program guidelines, children must read five books from the master list and then vote for their favorite book. The list of books is created from nominations by participating teachers, librarians, and interested publishers, then honed to 25 titles by a selection committee. Criteria for the Master List include literary quality, variety of genres, representation of diverse cultural groups, and reader appeal. Books published within a five-year period before the award year, are eligible.
K–6 Librarian Ms. Eisenberg, who administers the Milton Academy, with the support of the Grade 5 teaching team, asks students to read a minimum of 9 books (one over the summer and eight from September to February) as part of their extracurricular reading. Before spring vacation, each fifth grade class met to cast votes for their favorite book. Every vote counts in this contest, and the complete Milton Academy tally is submitted to Salem State University for final tabulation.
At Milton, The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman earned top honors. When You Reach Me and I.Q.: Independence Hall by Roland Smith tied for second, and Cracker! Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata took third place. Across the Commonwealth, Stead’s book took first place, and four books, (Scat by Carl Hiaasen, The Gollywhopper Games, Cracker! Best Dog in Vietnam, and Dying to Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise) earned Honor Book status.
Dream Houses Becoming a Reality for Grade 6 Students
In the weeks leading to spring vacation, sixth graders tested their creative powers against practical limitations as designers and builders with the Ware in the World Designer Associates. The site: beautiful (fictional) “Lake Milton.” The challenge: to design and build a year-round, two-bedroom home on a one-acre site within the property. Budget: $275,000.
The first decision each student-architect faced was where to locate the home. Should it be near the poppy field? Overlooking the pond? Close to the road? That preference made, students worked in their math classes to design, create a set of plans for, and build a scale model of a New England home. Some students created single-floor homes, while others built multiple levels, and still others elected to build homes into the side of granite cliffs or in trees (click here for pictures).
Along with the creativity the House Project naturally features, are the lessons of articulating and prioritizing; learning the importance of defining problems (not just solutions), and understanding of fractions, geometry, spatial reasoning, measurement, ratio, proportion and scale. Each lesson works hand-in-glove, as students allocate and re-allocate space and resources for kitchens, bathrooms, “regular space,” porches, garages, and decks, each of which has a different price-point to the designer. Kitchen space, for example, is most expensive at $150 per square foot, while decks cost only $40 per square foot. Just as in real life, energy conservation measures ultimately reduce energy costs while positively impacting the environment. Students are offered an additional budget of $8000, as well as the opportunity to meet with eighth-grade environmental consultants regarding the implementation of such measures.
A perennial sixth-grade favorite, the House Project brings together abstract and creative thinking, problem-solving, and skills.
Sportsmanship Awarded at Winter Sports Recognition Ceremony
At the close of each athletic season, Middle School, teachers, students and coaches come together to celebrate each of the teams and their players. True to the fundamental purpose of the athletic program to provide opportunities for each student to acquire, develop and improve skills in a variety of athletic areas, some students are new to winter sports, while others are seasoned players. Winning seasons and winning spirits are cheered with enthusiasm. A highlight of the Athletic Recognition Ceremony is the conferring of sportsmanship awards. Congratulations to winter season sportsmanship awards winners:
Boys Basketball Blue A: Alex
Girls Basketball Blue A: Vivian
Boys Basketball Blue B: Nick
Girls Basketball Blue B: Elina
Boys Basketball Orange: Jack
Girls Basketball Orange: Rebecca
This afternoon, spring athletic teams will begin practicing.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
The first grade recently held its annual Job Fair, helping young and old answer the age old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" As part of their unit on careers, each child selected an occupation to study. A highlight, made possible through the support and creative powers of the Milton community, was that each child had the opportunity to interview someone with his or her selected occupation. The list includes a news reporter, a manager of Dunkin Donuts, a chef, a ballerina, a football player who has been in two super bowls, a New Jersey Nets cheerleader, a marine biologist from the Aquarium, and last but not least, an actual FBI agent! The insider information learned was invaluable. Using that information, first graders then sat in the interviewer seat at the Jobs Fair, deciding whether their "interviewees" (students and adults from across Milton Academy) had the necessary skills and traits for working in that job. As you can imagine, the first graders are now experts on many professions; just ask one to give you the straight scoop!
Students from Kindergarten to Class I Collect Donations for the Milton Food Pantry
Last week, students, faculty, and staff across Milton Academy participated in a food drive for the Milton Community Food Pantry. The drive was spearheaded by Upper School head monitors, Molly Gilmore and Tom Schnoor, and the Self-Governing Association. Within K–8, students set up donation areas in each of the buildings.
This week-long, school-wide, drive extends the support Middle School families already provide to the Milton Community Food Pantry throughout the school year. Students, organized by their advisories, donate for two-week periods from October to May.
The Food Pantry, housed at the Parkway United Methodist Church, helps more than 600 income-eligible Milton residents, 230 of whom are children. At this time of year, shelves at the Pantry run low as holiday-time donations have been depleted. The drive provides an opportunity for Milton Academy students to give back to the community surrounding campus as well as to unify efforts within the school on this important community resource.
On Friday afternoon, Molly & Tom collected the donations from across campus. They were met in Greenleaf Hall by lower and middle school students and faculty who assisted them in packing boxes and bags and loading them in cars for delivery.
Strategic Planning: Share Your Point of View
What will Milton prioritize over the next 10 years? Earlier this year our head of school and president of the board both highlighted an upcoming strategic planning process. That broad-based planning effort is now underway. Our great opportunity and challenge, as Todd Bland and Brad Bloom see the endeavor, is to identify Milton’s long-term vision. As Todd said last fall, “I’m confident that this planning will channel our creativity, energy and resources on shaping the future of the School.” A steering committee that includes trustees, administrators, faculty and staff worked last fall on an approach to planning, and the process began in January. It includes and relies upon consulting with Milton faculty, students, parents and alumni. Ultimately, the plan’s recommendations will have roots in a multi-faceted conversation about the School.
Middle School Winter Musical Opens on Thursday Night The countdown to Once Upon a Mattress is on! Thursday night, February 23, at 7 p.m., the 29-member cast of the Middle School winter musical will take the stage for their debut performance of Once Upon a Mattress, the musical comedy adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. If you thought you knew the story, you may be in for some of the surprises uncovered in the “true story” of this legendary tale! The students participating in the musical have been rehearsing throughout the winter athletic season, in lieu of a winter sport. This option is available to Middle School students for one athletic season of the year. The stage set was designed by faculty member Shane Fuller, and built by Mr. Fuller’s seventh grade performing arts class, with some help from Upper School students. The show is directed by faculty member Eleza Kort. Once Upon a Mattress will also be performed on Friday, February 24 at 10:30 a.m., and Monday, February 27 at 2:15 p.m. All performances take place in Thacher. K–5 Elective Classes Provide Opportunity for Students and Teachers to Try Something New
On Friday during assembly time, teachers and students stretched their skills and imaginations with an exciting new twist on community time. Instead of meeting in a large gathering, the teachers and students met in small, mixed-age groups for mini courses on a variety of less traditional topics. In the Junior Building, while some students gave googly eyes and glitter a whole new meaning, others learned about sea turtles and how scientists are trying to help them, and still others planted lettuce starts, learned to make movies, or explored the myriad of things that can be created from giant coffee filters. In Greenleaf, while some students learned the cha-cha or battled wits in a Survivor-styled game, others tried improvisational acting, and still others explored cartooning, songwriting, or drumming. One group even crossed campus to play some squash! The electives program was put together by fifth grade teacher and Betty Buck chair-holder Jennifer Katsoulis. Jenn’s goal for the program, through the funds provided by the chair, is to seek innovative ways to continue to build a stronger, more vibrant community of learners of all ages through interactive experiences among different groups. She was delighted to be able to place all the students in one of their top three choices, and she looks forward to expanding the program to include some community service and potentially even run the program over several Fridays.
Speech Team competes in Second Tournament of the Season
On Sunday, the Middle School Speech Team competed in the Wilson NYC Festival at Wilson Middle School in Natick. As is standard in all Massachusetts Middle School Forensic League contests, the day’s events were offered in two flights. In Flight A, students competed in Prose Reading, Play Reading, “Kiddy Lit,” Personal Narrative Speaking, or Original Oratory. In Flight B, options included Poetry Reading, Duo Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking, Demonstration, and Declamation. Twenty-six Milton Academy Middle School students participated one or more events at Sunday’s festival. Congratulations to all the students for their preparation and their participation. Thank you to the parents who served as judges throughout the day, and to Yoshi Makishima ’11 and Eric Bohn ’12 for their coaching assistance. Special congratulations to the students who placed in the competition.
“Kiddy Lit:” Gillie placed second, and Eshani, coached by Olivia Atwood, placed first.
Declamation: Anne placed fourth.
Original Oratory: Jeremy placed fifth.
Duo Interpretation: Jacob and Mack received honorable mention, and Michelle and Emily placed sixth.
It will be a busy spring for our Speech Team as they prepare for six more competitions as well as the National Junior Forensic League Tournament.
Mr. Palmore shares his Hawaiian Roots
Middle School English teacher Derek Palmore hosted a special CAFE session for Middle School students during today’s lunch. On the menu were traditional Hawaiian dishes, some made from Palmore family recipes, including: Veggie Portuguese Soup, pineapple, mango, papaya and lychee, Chicken Adobo, Kahlua Pork and Haupia-Coconut Cream Custard. While the students and teachers enjoyed their lunches, Mr. Palmore shared some of the history and traditions of Hawaii, particularly the changes that have taken place in Hula Dancing since the European discovery of the Hawaiian islands. Mr. Palmore shared pictures of his family to show the multi-ethnic nature of people in Hawaii.
Author Gregory Mone Speaks with Fourth Grade Students about the Writing Process
Novelist, magazine writer and science journalist Gregory Mone shared his experiences with the writing process to a riveted fourth grade last week. Mone, who has recently finished his fourth book, and first middle-grade novel, discussed the development of his characters and evolution of some of his favorite lines. He even treated his listeners to the first chapter of his soon-to-be-released book, Dangerous Waters, which revolves around a twelve-year-old fictional character and his friendship with real Titanic passenger Harry Widener. In the Fourth Grade, students focus on the writing process. The opportunity to visit with professional authors provides them with mentors for their personal expression. Having spent the year developing their skills (prewriting, organizing ideas into paragraphs and developing sentence fluency), students were eager to hear about how particular lines of the book evolved, and how Gregory worked with his editor to revise what was already great writing. In preparation for Mone’s visit, the students read his middle-grade novel Fish, about a twelve-year-old boy from a poor farming family, who takes a job as a courier for his uncle and is waylaid by pirates.
Fifth Grade Students Focus on Civil Rights
Fifth grade students are participating in a new curricular unit about the American Civil Rights Movement. The unit integrates the study of history with reading, writing, music, and studio art, giving students multidimensional understanding.
This fall, the class walked the Black Heritage Trail, a tour that explores the history of Boston's 19th century African American community. More recently, sharing ideas for change, students have penned poems about the social justice issues of racism, environment, war, and peace. The poems are now in the art studio where students are creating accompanying illustrations, both literal and symbolic, using a mix of media.
Seventh Grader wins Geography Bee
Question: Timbuktu, a center of caravan trade for almost a thousand years, is located north of the Niger River in which landlocked country?
This is the question which Logan answered correctly to win the Milton Academy contest of the National Geographic Geography Bee. Logan and 12 other students from grades 4 to 8 participated in Thursday’s competition. Vijay and Tommy earned second and third place honors. As our school champion, Logan will now take a written test which may qualify him for the state competition.
Middle School Students Perform Speech Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, January 16, the Milton Academy Office of Student Multicultural Programming will be hosting a brunch program celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The program will feature a keynote address by Mr. Darnell Williams, President and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. Among the student groups performing in honor of Dr. King, is a trio from the Middle School Speech Team. Eighth graders, Sophie, Mack and Grace will perform an excerpt from My Uncle Martin’s Words for America, an inspirational story, told by Dr. King’s niece, Angela Farris Watkins. Grace will introduce the piece with the song, Take My Hand, Precious Lord; providing background during the speech she will sing We Shall Overcome. Sophie will perform the role of Angela Farris Watkins. Mack will perform the role of Dr. King.
Brett Outchcunis Presents Positive Spin
Armed with yo-yos, and the rallying call, "OOCH!," K–5 students welcomed Brett Outchcunis as the special guest at Friday morning’s K–5 Assembly. A professional entertainer, motivator, dancer and DJ, Brett specializes in his own brand of step and yo-yo dancing: his performance incorporates messages about making positive life choices, striving for academic excellence, and the importance of fun and imagination. Brett’s performance, entitled Positive Spin, focused on empowering students to turn negative situations into positive ones through the use of two simple words: Spin It!
Kindergarten Bread Making Unit is about Science and Culture
The baking, tasting and learning about family and historical traditions of bread are highlights of the late fall and early winter in Kindergarten. Each week, several families bake with small groups of kindergarten students. Most recently, Ava's mom has shared a family recipe for raspberry rhubarb muffins, Sam's mom and dad led the students in baking traditional challah bread, Jordyn's mom and grandma baked Greek bread, Ellie’s mom and Nona made Irish Soda Bread, and Alexa's mom guided students through the creation of coffee cake muffins. In addition to using a variety of recipes, measuring wet and dry ingredients, estimating and dividing quantities, students have been exploring some of the mysteries of life (Coffee cake does not have coffee as an ingredient, but Irish soda bread has yogurt!), cultural and family traditions (Braided challah is used at different times than the round loaf.) and the science of baking (Brown sugar and cinnamon go very well together, and baking soda yields quicker results than yeast.). As each bread is baked and tasted, students share their personal opinions as well as compile and analyze the aggregate data shared by the class.
Three K–8 Students selected to participate in the Milton Student Art Show
Three K–8 students participated in the town-wide Milton Student Art Show at the Milton Library this month. The students, Andrew (kindergarten), Benjamin (grade 3) and Emily (grade 5) shared projects they have done in art class this year. Andrew showed a tempera painting, Benjamin showed an autumn still-life done in pastels, and Emily Tyler showed a mixed-media illustration of an original sonnet poem based on Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." Thank you to Emily McElhinney and Sandy Butler for making our participation possible.
Fourth Grade Music and Art Collaboration
The fourth grade music class, as part of the Living Arts unit, created abstract drawings in the style of Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Their inspiration: L'apprenti Sorcier (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) by the French composer Paul Abraham Dukas. Using markers and oil pastels students worked in groups to create pieces that reflected the the tone of the music.
Second Graders Celebrate Family
Throughout the fall, students in Grade 2 have been discussing families. While they have shared about themselves and learned about the families of their classmates, they have also thoughtfully explored the many different family structures that exist within our own community and around the world. In this newly created, multi-disciplinary unit, students used art, music and computer classes to further their exploration. In music, students learned about the four families of instruments represented in the orchestra as well as the lives and compositions of composers of major orchestral works. While listening to the work of some of the major composers, they practiced identifying the different sounds of the instruments represented in the music. In art, the students painted self-portraits. The exercise involved looking closely at their own features, skin color, hair, and eye color in a mirror and creating as close a likeness as possible. They also painted, traced, and cut out a pair of their own hands to hang in their classrooms, helping to visually establish classroom community by linking all the hands together on the wall. Finally, in computer class, students made collages representing their families. In celebration of the completion of the unit, Second Grade students shared their projects at a Family Celebration, complete with treats from Mrs. Summers’ and Mrs. Unger’s family cookbooks.
S.S. Spicy Sets Sail
This fall’s Middle School play, The S.S. Spicy, is an original work by a group of seventh and eighth grade students led by faculty member Eleza Kort. In this story, the S.S. Spicy sank about 70 years ago. A few survivors tell their versions of what happened on that fateful day. The show debuted on Thursday night and reprised on Friday afternoon for the Middle School.
Middle School Students Compete in Mathematics Olympiad
Each year, Milton Academy middle school students have the unique opportunity to participate in the National Mathematical Olympiad for Middle Schools (MOEMS). The Mathematical Olympiad was created in 1977 by Dr. George Lenchner, an internationally known math educator. Last year, nearly 150,000 students from 6,000 teams worldwide participated. The purpose of the Olympiad is to provide opportunities for children to engage in creative problem solving activities which develop their ability to reason, be logical, be resourceful, and occasionally to be ingenious (Tanaaz Timblo, Faculty sponsor for the Milton Academy Math Olympiad). Olympiad contests are given on five days during the year: November 15, December 13, January 10, February 7, and March 6. This week, 24 Milton Academy middle school students participated in the first contest. Each contest consists of five problems, which require careful mathematical thinking within a time limit. Each student scores a point for each correct answer and thus can earn a maximum of 25 points during the year. The team score is the sum of the highest individual scores after the fifth contest.
Commemorating Veteran's Day
The Milton Academy community gathered this morning to commemorate Veteran's Day. K–8 students, faculty and staff assembled in Apthorp Chapel where they heard Assistant Principal Will Crissman share some thoughts about the Navajo code talkers of World War II. Assistant Principal Gretchen Larkin and K–8 Admission Director Kristin Corbin shared the experiences of women in the military, and Principal Marshall Carter shared some personal memories of growing up in a military family. To close, the Middle School Chorus performed Dona Nobis Pacem, with a tenor solo by Corey.
Following the K–8 assembly, the whole School gathered at the flagpole for a special ceremony to lower the flag in memory of those who gave their lives in service to our country. Student leaders each helped to lower the flag, with Mack and Charlotte representing K–8.
Flying the Colors!
The Milton Academy campus was a sea of orange and blue today as students, faculty and staff from Kindergarten to Class I donned Mustangs shirts in celebration of the School's traditional Milton-Nobles rivalry. The day began with a rousing K–12 Spirit Rally in the Athletic and Convocation Center. Cheers, chants, videos, dance and step performances, musical numbers and competitions among students and faculty were the order of the day. Thank you to "lifers," Tyler Starks and Sam Wasserman as well as to Student Athletic Association representative Nicole Rufus for putting together a spirited celebration. Cheer on the Milton Academy Mustangs as they take on the Noble & Greenough Bulldogs. Friday's Middle School games will be held at Nobles. Friday and Saturday's Upper School games will be held at Milton. Please consult the online calendar for game times and locations. (view pictures of the rally)
Grade 7 Spanish Classes Celebrate Life
In language class this week, Spanish students celebrated the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). This Souls' Day celebration is a happy and colorful commemoration of life, legacy, respect for one's ancestors, and the continuation of life.In their classroom which students, together with Spanish teacher MaryJo Ramos, filled with traditional seasonal decorations, students shared pictures and favorite foods of loved ones and they used their newly-learned vocabulary to describe those whom they celebrated.
Grade 5 Presents Halloween Poetry
Witches, goblins, werewolves and vampire provided material for this week's fifth grade Halloween poetry share. Throughout the fall, students have been memorizing and presenting increasingly long and complex poems. By the end of the unit, they will have learned and presented 10 poems, each of which is 16 lines or longer. In honor of Halloween, students invited their parents and the third grade to a performance of their favorite spooky poems.
Middle School Rock Climbing
The Middle School Rock Climbing group has taken advantage of the beautiful fall weather to do some outdoor climbing at the Quincy Quarries. The ten climbers in grades 6 to 8, together with faculty leader, Athletic Director Sue Landau, began their training in the Milton Academy rock gym. Moving to the Quarries has allowed each climber to successfully scale real rock formations. When the weather cools, the group will move indoors to a climbing facility near campus. Rock climbing is one of ten Wednesday afternoon activities offered this fall in the Middle School. In January, students will choose new from a new slate of offerings.
Welcome Brenda Fuller
Brenda Fuller has been an active part of the Milton Academy Community for several years. This year, we are fortunate to have Brenda in two roles in K–8. In the Fall, she will be the sabbatical replacement for the K–6 libraries, and in the Spring, she will be the sabbatical replacement for K–5 art instruction. Many know Brenda through her work as a Perry Reading Room volunteer and as a substitute teacher, most recently as the Lower School’s computer specialist, while Bridget Sitkoff was on maternity leave. In the upper school, Brenda has substituted in the art department, as well as worked part-time at various offices around campus. Brenda, her husband Shane, and two children live on campus, where Brenda and Shane are also dorm parents.
Brenda has loved reading as long as she can remember. She spent much of her childhood reading on the swings during recess and carrying a book up to her favorite reading spot at the tippy-top of her backyard magnolia tree. As the energetic daughter of two artists, Brenda was always provided with paper, pencils, and other drawing materials to occupy her time. She went on to study art at The Art Institute of Chicago, Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and Rhode Island School of Design, and became a professional graphic designer and photographer.
Brenda enjoys the people and energy within the K–8 community and finds that it fuels her own creativity and passion for teaching and learning.
Grade 5 writes "Guess Who"
The Danger Box, by Blue Balliett, the fifth grade summer reading book, has given students an idea for a class-wide writing project. This fall, fifth graders have been writing newspaper articles modeled on the Gas Gazette newspaper articles from their book. In the Gas Gazette, the articles reveal clues about a person without naming him (it turns out to be Charles Darwin). The fifth graders’ articles are about adult members of our community, giving students and teachers in Greenleaf Hall, their own version of “guess who.”
To participate, read the articles posted in the Greenleaf lobby, outside the Greenleaf Office at the beginning of each week. Submit answers via the box nearby. Once the secret identity has been revealed, the winners’ names will be posted.
Tablets Facilitate Writing in Grade 4
The laptop, a rite of passage in fourth grade, literally has a new twist this year. Ask any student and you are sure to receive a demonstration of the new swivel screen that also doubles as a tablet. According to K–8 technology specialist, Bridget Sitkoff, the decision to go with the tablet-style computers when the old computers were being replaced, was based on their primary purpose as writing instruments. Fourth graders “spend a lot of time writing and learning to edit their writing, and it made sense to select a tool that allowed them to do that with ease and flexibility.” The new computers are Intel machines that run Windows 7. More important, they are made for Elementary Education and, unlike their predecessors, are designed to be used by children. “The kids love them!” says Bridget. The opening weeks of school have been about having the students become familiar with the computers. Bridget marvels at the students’ quick facility, “lots of them now have backgrounds and camera rolls of their pets, stuffed animals, family members, favorite games, etc.” Since this is the first time K–8 is using tablets, Bridget and the faculty is interested in student feedback about how the technology is working within the curriculum. “Teachers and students, alike, are excited to be part of something new. This class will literally be able to help us customize how we work with the tablets.”
Middle School Retreat at Camp Wing
On Monday, the entire Middle School took its first-ever, day-long retreat to Camp Wing, in Duxbury. It was a glorious day filled with archery, canoeing, ropes courses, games and a climbing wall. Students participated in the team-building activities in mixed groups of Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Graders. The result of ongoing faculty discussions about how to continue to build a sense of community among our students, the Camp Wing trip sets the stage for working together during our Fall and Spring Focus Days.
Welcome Randy Schmidt
Randy Schmidt joined K–8, teaching fourth grade. He recently moved to Boston from New York City, where he taught at The School at Columbia. Randy is delighted to have found a place right behind the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (one of his favorite places in Boston)—and will be very happy when the new construction is complete! Randy loves teaching fourth grade, and looks forward to helping his students grow as mathematicians and writers. In addition to being a voracious reader, outside of school Randy loves to go hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter, and spends lots of time cuddling his two cats, Viktor and Lenore.
Third Graders Study the Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
Third graders are beginning their real–time study of the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. This morning, students received caterpillars which they will tend over the next two weeks. Milkweed from Mrs. McGuinness' garden will provide the nourishment for their growth. Stay tuned as the caterpillars form their chrysalises and then emerge as beautiful Monarchs prepared to migrate to Mexico.
First Graders Explore the Fibonacci Sequence
Over the summer, First Graders read The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett. In the story, a pair of rabbits that multiplies over the course of a year, brings to life the 13th–century math problem posed by Fibonacci. In math, first graders investigated a problem that involved working with the Fibonacci sequence.
Frozen Treats Provide a Sweet End to the First Full Day
On Monday afternoon, Head of School Todd Bland welcomed students, faculty, staff and parents at the third annual K–12 Ice Cream Social. From the oldest students to the youngest, cheers and smiles abounded as everyone celebrated the start to the new academic year.
Fourth Grade and American Art are a Winning Combination
Fourth graders came to school last week enthusiastically talking about art and artists, and sharing experiences of seeing and making art during the summer. This activity was based on research on one of eight famous American artists assigned to the students last spring. Check out their work in the "Gallery4Art" display on the second floor of Greenleaf Hall.
This fall in language arts, drama, music, computer, library and art classes, we will highlight the artwork of Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Grant Wood, Mary Cassatt, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Frida Kahlo and Norman Rockwell in a rich and exciting interdisciplinary “Artist Study” unit. This unit is complete with a field trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the New American wing at the MFA. Students will also create art, choose music, and dramatize a story, in groups of four, that lead up to their painting in the much-anticipated “Living Arts Assembly." Through this study, fourth graders gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for the cultural aspects and expressive qualities of works of art, and ultimately become life-long museum-goers as well.
Fall Harvest Inspires Faculty
Led by Sue Austin (Grade 7) and Jane McGuinness (Grade 3), teachers have been visiting the community garden not only to tend it, but to share curriculum ideas and connections. Sue and Jane, who initiated the vision for the garden, have worked hard all summer with other community members to keep it growing so it will be ready for our students to explore. Bounties like this are harvested nearly daily, and the children have been enjoying fresh vegetable snacks and salads.
K–8 Opening of School News
Message from the Principal
Welcome to an exciting new school year. When you come to School, you’ll be interested to see the numerous ways our campus was refreshed over the summer. Our K–8 faculty are refreshed as well. They are ready and eager to see your children on opening day—Friday, September 9. I am pleased that we will begin the year with Gretchen Larkin and Will Crissman in their new roles as assistant principals for Lower School, and Middle School, respectively. Gretchen and Will know our K–8 program well, and will provide expert day-to-day and week-to-week leadership of children and teachers. Their guidance of our Lower and Middle Schools will strengthen K–8 as a whole, by making sure that each of the programs serving the distinct needs of our two age groups receives the focus it deserves. Our first three years as K–8 have been productive, and this year we are enthusiastically addressing new goals. This year, K–8 teachers will reflect together on their teaching practice and we will create a faculty evaluation program tied closely to professional development. Our overriding goal is constant: to enhance the depth, meaning and joy in learning for all K–8 students. My best wishes for a great fall, and a great academic year. Marshall W. Carter K–8 Principal
Opening of School Schedule
Friday, September 9
Lower School (K–5)
In session from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Middle School (6–8)
8:30 a.m. Parents and students meet with advisors (optional)
9:00 a.m. Welcome to students and parents in Thacher
9:30 a.m. Parents depart; student advisory groups meet
10:30 a.m. Grade meetings
11:30 a.m. Parents pick up returning students; new students stay on
12:00 p.m. "New to Milton" student lunch
1:00 p.m. Pick up for students new to Milton
Monday, September 12
Lower School (K–5)
In session from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Middle School (6–8)
Classes from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Athletics meetings from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.
All School (K–12)
Welcome gathering on the Upper School Quad from 3–3:30 p.m. Parents are welcome.
Two years ago, the Community Garden was just an idea. Through dint of hard work by a small group, it is now a reality—fully sewn and prepared for harvest this summer and fall.
Spearheaded by Grade 7 dean and Life Science teacher, Ms. Austin, in collaboration with the Grade 3 teachers, Ms. McGuinness and Ms. Wheelwright, and Upper School science teacher, Mr. Bingham, the garden became the inspiration of Caitlin Dutkiewicz and Anika Wasserman who took it on as their senior project. Last fall, Ms. Austin and Ms. McGuinness first sought approval for the project and secured the location (kitty corner down the hill from the Junior Building). The issue was that a long-abandoned gardening shed inhabited the space. Once the shed was removed, local consultants tested the soil to confirm its suitability.
The girls began their work in the garden the first week of May. Manual labor was the first order of business. With help from other seniors, the girls cleared thick undergrowth from a 23’ by 38’ area, hauled manure and mulch, and planted seeds and seedlings in neat, long rows.
“At the Mountain School, we did a lot of gardening and we both wanted to bring something back from that experience to Milton. We also wanted a project that would involve the Lower School and Upper School,” says Anika.
“The hardest part of the project was clearing out all of the weeds and brush to start the garden. And it was raining the whole time!” says Caitlin.
The main garden will produce seven kinds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, carrots, lettuce and more. Throughout the last month, various Lower School classes have helped to plant seeds. Last week, Grade 3 students, who recently returned from the Farm School, cleared the side of the hill for planting pumpkin and squash. Ms. Slocum’s Kindergarten class helped plant pumpkin seeds, assuring their growth by rubbing the seeds in their hands to give them special magic before putting them in the ground.
For the summer months, the garden will need tending. Student and faculty families are encouraged to join in wherever they can. Please email Michelle Saunders (email@example.com) to arrange dates and times. Whether you can give an hour or many hours, all participation is appreciated. On weekly harvest days, all involved families can pick and enjoy the produce. In the fall, harvested produce will be shared with all the students at lunch.