Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sciencepalooza Extravaganza!

Sciencepalooza Extravaganza!
PAML's 2nd Annual 5th/6th Grade Sciencepalooza was a huge success!
Enjoy a few photos of the hard work in progress and then a glimpse of the final display!

Students working together.

"I wonder what will happen if..."

Taking care to follow the steps.

The cafeteria was FULL of excited scientists showing off their results.

Lost and Found...

We have so many items on our lost and found table and the students walk by it everyday. Periodically we clean it up by donating the items to the needy.  This will occur over vacation.  We've informed students of this, but if you think your child is missing something, please have him/her check before the end of the day tomorrow!  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Student Leadership

Our students in the 5th / 6th grade Student Leadership class have recently created this bulletin board for our cafeteria.  It helps everyone in grades 5 - 12 know what is to be recycled, that is compostable (some surprises there) and what should be trash.  The board has been up for about a week and Chef Jeff has already noticed all ages of students and adults checking the board before disposing of their items.  It's definitely helped to keep the waste-stream down. Jeff thanks these students for their efforts for the school and the environment!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


A couple of glimpses into 8th grade classes during one of my classroom drop-ins...
8th grade Science students study astronomy vocabulary with games they created. 

Intent stock market traders, in Mr. Nelson and Ms. Meyers' 8th grade Humanities class, paying close attention to what happened to their stocks in 1925!  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Odds and Ends!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 5:30pm is an 8th grade Technology Information night - hope you can make it!

"We" were in the news again - Mr. Bruce was featured in The Stowe Reporter recently - enjoy the article here!  Congratulations!

The cold weather seems to be here, which is of no surprise since we have turned the calendars to December already!  The school is unlocked and open at 7:30am, so if your students are here before that, please know that they'll be outside, and should be dressed accordingly.  Also, since the students go on walks at least 3 days a week, and have the chance to go outside after they eat almost everyday, it's important they are ready for the weather!

Speaking of dressing... we have accumulated quite a lot of items (primarily clothes) in our lost and found.  If you are missing something from your household, encourage your child to go through the lost and found, or even pop in to take a look yourself.

Comcast Internet Essentials is a program to help bring internet into homes at a reduced cost.  If you, or someone you know may have interest in this program here is a little information for you, or for you to pass along:

  • How to qualify:  To qualify for $9.95 a month Internet service and a low-cost computer, your household must meet all these criteria:

  1. Be located where Comcast offers Internet service
  2. Have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program
  3. Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  4. Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

  • How to apply

  1. Call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) to request an application
  2. We will mail you an application. Complete and return it, along with lunch program documents from your child's school
  3. We will notify you by mail about the status of your application. Allow 7-10 days for a response

I realize that Comcast doesn't reach all of Morrisville, but this may help some people!  And if you know of people in other towns and states that might benefit from this, pass it along!

December 10th is an Early Dismissal day from school - the faculty will be scoring the On-Demand Writing Prompts that afternoon.  Students are dismissed at 12:00.

Thank you for all that you do for the school community of PAML.  Karen

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time of Giving...

I'm proud of our students!! We had a fabulous Community Gathering based on accomplishments this past Friday morning, which I mentioned in my last post.  In addition we have a student who started a collection for the Bradley's Food Shelf of Morrisville.  The school community has donated a lot in a short amount of time. The deadline is tomorrow at 12:00 PM and then the student will be taking it to the Food Shelf.

We also have a Penny War competition going on between the grade levels. The goal is to raise money for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Funds. The hope is that the money raised will go to the Philippines or the the communities affected by the tornados in the mid-west.  Bring on the Pennies!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving time with friends and family.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The week of Nov. 18 - 22nd has been Spirit Week!! Students and teachers alike have been having a lot of fun with this community building event.  We are ending the week with a whole school community gathering Friday morning to review accomplishments; individual as well as the honor role and merit list. The photo collage below feature some shots taken from Well-dressed Wednesday, during the 7/8 lunch.  

Please be extra careful driving through our parking lot. The new lines and signs have helped a lot, but we are still seeing people driving too fast.   This is happening both before school and at the end of the day.

PAML was well represented at the Edtechteacher iPad Summit in Boston last week. Lots of ideas and best practice research was brought back and shared at school.  A team member from each grade level, the Expos and Special Education was represented.  Over 1000 people attended this summit, with people from all over the country and even other countries. Here's a link to more information if you are interested.
Pictured are Sue Ludington, Leah Bronner, Liz Sanner, Kelsey Higgins, Jim Paige and Karen Weeks.  
Missing from the photo are Amy Merriam and Val Sullivan.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Spirit Week at PAML

Student Leadership has come up with fun SPIRIT WEEK themes for each day beginning on Nov. 18th through the 22nd.  There's something for everyone!

Monday - Pajama Day
Tuesday - Favorite Sport Day
Wednesday -  Well-Dressed Wednesday
Thursday -Mis-matched Day
Friday - Hair Day

I hope everyone gets into the spirit for at least one day.  If your student wants to wear things that you deem not reasonable - trust your instinct!  The spirit of the week shouldn't get in the way of teaching and learning.  But I'm sure we'll have some fabulous photos!

The On-Demand Writing Prompt (ODWP) will be administered on Tuesday, Nov. 19th.  This is an LSSU-wide assessment giving us an indicator of how students write a first draft to a given prompt.  It is a helpful tool for teachers to know the needs of the students through this common assessment, scored locally, to plan appropriate instruction for the students.  

Don't forget Winter Sports Night for 7th/8th grade Basketball and 5th - 8th Nordic Skiing on Tuesday night at 6:00 this week too!  See parents and athletes in the PA auditorium.  The High School is having a community meeting that same evening in the library that is a Visioning Session -- feel free to drop in to that after the sports meeting if you'd like.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Winter Sports Meeting for PAML

It's hard to believe it's time for the Middle Level Winter Sports Meeting already.  We plan to have the meeting at 6:00 PM on November 19th in the Auditorium.  In Middle Level we have Basketball for grades 7th and 8th and we also have Nordic Skiing for all grades 5th - 8th.  At the Sports Meeting you will hear about the sports, hear from the Athletic Director, Natalie Soffen, and meet the coaches.  Please plan to attend, with your Student Athlete.

I found some information that might be of interest to you...

Would you like a happier teen? Then encourage them to play sports. According to a new study published in Applied Research in Quality of Life, teens at the middle-school level that play teen sports feel healthier and are more content with their lives.

 Benefits of Middle School Sports: What a Study Shows Participating in sports in middle school positively affects all aspects of a young teen’s life.

When researchers asked 245 middle-school kids to complete questionnaires about their activity level, general health, and outlook on life, they found that girls who belonged to a sports team or had taken part in vigorous physical activity in the last seven days were more satisfied and optimistic about their lives. 

Boys who played on a sports team were also more satisfied with their lives and described their health as better than young males who didn’t take part in sports. 

For both sexes, sports in middle-school school improved the overall sense of satisfaction and general health young teens experienced – and that’s good news for parents.

 Why Are Sports in Middle-School So Beneficial for Teens? Researchers believe that sports in middle-school benefit teens, not only physically, but mentally and socially as well. Not only do teen sports reduce the risk of obesity, but they help build a stronger body image - as young teens discover what they’re capable of doing. It also helps build agility, endurance, flexibility, strength, and improves coordination. 

Teen who participate in sports in middle-school also get psychological and social benefits. Teen sports participation builds self-esteem, leadership skills, and a sense of responsibility. Teens involved in sports often do better academically and are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or be sexually active. Middle-school sports also benefit them socially by building strong interpersonal skills and showing them the value of working as a team. These skills will be important to them later in life - when they enter college or a career. 

Benefits of Middle-School Sports: The Bottom Line? 

Young teens that play sports are happier and have better overall health. Plus, they’re building skills that will last a lifetime. Encourage your teen to get involved in sports - whether it’s tennis, gymnastics, track, football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, or swimming. With so many options available, there’s a middle-school sport for almost every teen.

 References: "Young teens who play sports feel healthier and happier about life"

Friday, November 1, 2013

The End of the First Quarter!

Hi All,

I can't believe how quickly the first quarter has flown a blink!  We are busy preparing a mailing to send report cards out on Nov. 8th.  That also is the day Term 2 ends, which means that Expos and Experts start anew on Nov. 12th (Nov. 11th is an in-service school for students on Veteran's Day).

Our 4th grade friends from MES joined 5th and 6th graders on Oct. 25th for an assembly by Roy Tuscany (Bonnie Tuscany's son).  Roy and others have started a foundation called High Fives.  The purpose of the assembly was to share with the students the importance of wearing helmets for skiing, snowboarding and biking.  You can explore their website as well as talk with your student about the #HelmetsAreCool assembly.  They were a great audience and I think overall expressed that they are students who wear helmets!

Every year the students take a survey which asks questions to gain an understanding of the students' perspective of their school experience.  It's been pared down this year and not long.   This will happen in the next couple of weeks, in all of the school in LSSU.  We will use this information as we move forward with the school year.  I'm looking forward to hearing from the students about such things as "Our school feels welcoming." or "If I have a problem in school, there are adults I feel comfortable with and can talk to."

Thanks so much for all that you do for students at PAML.

Karen Weeks

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October Celebrations!

We are proud of our school!  We have had a lot to celebrate recently.  We held our first school-wide gathering on Friday to highlight filling up the cube-tube as well as to recognize fall sports.  Of particular note is the fact that the Girls Cross-Country team, coached by PA High School Science teacher, Matt Yaskowitz, won their Middle Level Championship, beating some highly competitive schools, to include: 
Danville, Harwood, Hazen, Lake Region, Lamoille, Lyndon, Montpelier, North Country, Northfield, Oxbow, Peoples, Randolph, South Royalton, Stowe, Thetford,, U-32, Vergennes
{School-wide Gathering - 10-25-13 Celebrating Sports and ML X-C Girls win!}

We are celebrating having had two nice mentions in the Stowe Reporter recently. An article about our 1:1 iPad program was written.  If you didn't see it, here's the link:  

The second article was about our own Mr. Paige being honored as Morristown School District's choice for UVM's Outstanding Teacher award.  He was recognized for his commitment to his students and his passion for teaching.  Here's the link to this article:

6th grade had a successful Family Night on the 24th.  In addition to the teachers teaching the families about the technology practices in their classrooms, the parents had a wonderful conversation about what it means to be parenting their children in a digital world.  Future Family Nights are on the PAML website calendar. 

Please spread the word about the blog, and add your email address to the right, so that you are notified of new blog-posts.  Thank you for all that you do for the PAML community.

Karen Weeks

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Communications!! What we are doing at PAML?

October 22, 2013

Dear PAML Families,                                                                        

As we move forward in this 2013-2014 school year, we are continually working on ways to improve communication with our PAML community.   I would like to share with you the many ways in which you can expect to hear from the school and, also, ways in which you can be in touch with the school.

Quarterly:  You will receive a report card in the USPS mail.  In this mailing there may be additional information that comes home.

Monthly:  This year your student will receive a paper menu and a list of upcoming events

PAML Website:  Our PAML Calendar lists sports games as well as events, notice of vacation time, etc.  located at  I highly suggest you always start here to connect to the individual grade level websites as there may be whole school information located on this site.

This Blog: If you are reading this, you have already found it!  Sign in with your email to the right, and you'll receive update notices when the blog is updated!

Grade level websites have information about classes, homework and units of study.  They are useful and friendly to viewers.  Remember - always start from the PAML website as mentioned above.

Paper progress reports are handed to your student bi-weekly.  (Dates are listed in the PAML Student Handbook & Calendar you received at the start of school.)  Remember, you can access the PowerSchool Portal from our website at any time for academic and behavioral checks of how your student is doing.  If you do not have the user name and password for this, please be in touch with Linny Curtis at 888-1401.

Calling PAML:  Our hope is that, between the hours of 7:30am and 3:00pm, you will reach a live person and, often times, someone will answer until 4:00pm.   Should the line be busy during these hours, you may leave a voice mail message in the general mailbox, and your call will be addressed promptly or forwarded to the appropriate person. 

Thanks for all you do for the PAML community!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Family Technology Presentations


I wanted to put out a quick reminder that we have an upcoming Family Technology Night tonight at 5:30 – 6:30 being presented by the 8th Grade Team.   The topic this evening is Code of Conduct (Safety/Digital Citizenship), iPad Tour, School Work Flow and Apps. 

On Monday Oct. 14th the 5th Grade Team will host as session from 5:30 – 6:30 entitled 5th Grade Core Apps and Work Flow. 

On Wednesday, October 23rd the 7th Grade Team will present Healthy Habits with an iPad. 
Thursday, October 24th the 6th Grade Team will present Setting Limits at Home for Screen Time.

Future Sessions include Dec. 3rd by the 8th grade entitled Issues and Concerns, Sharing of New Apps and on January 16th, 6th Grade workflow will be presented.  All sessions are from 5:30 – 6:30.

We hope you plan to join us!  These sessions are to support families in gaining understanding in the the learning the concepts of a 1:1 digital environment.  What you learn will help you help your child!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Conferences!

Dear PAML Community,

On Oct. 17th we will be having conferences.  The parents/guardians in 5th and 6th grade will meet with the Core Team teacher, and the 7th and 8th grade parents/guardians will meet with the student’s Teacher Advisory (TA) teacher.  The conferences will be for 20 minutes between 8:00 – 3:30.  Please call the office at 888-1401 to set up your conference.  We'll do our best to find times that work well for sibling conference times as well.

Some tips for preparing for the conference:
  • Talk with your students about school.  Ask them about the classes and let them know you’ll be attending the conference.  Ask them if there is anything you’d like to be sure to talk about, or better yet – BRING your student along.
  • Be prepared – review your child’s grades and behavior information available on the parent portal.  Please call Mrs. Curtis in the office if you don’t have a password to log on to the parent portal yet.
  • Think in advance about questions you might have, and jot them down.  Ask the most important ones first.  Bring the list with you and feel free to jot down notes while at the conference.
  • Know that the teachers are interested in your child’s success at school.  If there is any information you think you should share with the teacher that will help your child, please do so.  Be sure to ask for specific suggestions to help your child to succeed during this school year.  A strong partnership between home and school is important for your student.

Monday, September 30, 2013

End of September


I have hopes that this blog will serve as an effective tool for communication for the PAML community.  
We had a wonderful turnout for the Open House on the 19th.  Thank you for coming out visiting with us!  It was a great opportunity for me to meet many families, and for families to meet faculty and staff.

Upcoming this month is the administration of the require state assessments.  This letter was sent home with students on Friday, Sept. 27th.

NECAP Letter

We will give one session a day, as 90 minutes are needed for each session.  Although we could get two sessions in a day, we agreed that would be too much testing for students of this level.  Thanks for your support during this testing window.  The schedules will return to normal after Oct. 10th.

Experts and Expos change to Term 2 on Thursday, Oct. 3rd.  As this shift occurs, your students will go with their Expo group to a new class, and will join a brand new group of students in a new Experts.  Some students will continue on in Math Acceleration classes as needed.  We have done our best to give students Experts based on their selections last June.  That wasn't always the case, so once in a while they may have an Expert they didn't select. We are asking that students give it at least 7 sessions before requesting a switch.  It's the old "Try It, You Might Like It" thinking.  We had very few switches during the first term!

Parent -Teacher conferences are happening on Oct. 17th from 8:00 - 4:00 with your child's Core Team team teacher in grade 5 & 6 and your child's TA teacher in grade 7 & 8.  You just need to call the receptionist to schedule your conference.  This is a great opportunity for connections.

Thank you for all that you do for the students of PAML!