Monday, December 22, 2014

A Giving Community

I'm so proud of our school and I can't say it enough!  The last few weeks we have had such a spirit of giving here with students finding ways to help others.  We've had a Bake Sale to help a school in Kenya, which initially was a bake sale at the Winter EXPOsition, but changed to a Rolling Bake Sale that went through the ML and HS, then became a donation opportunity for others. So far, they have raised over $500.00 for this school.  Here's a link if you are interested:  St. Charles Lwanga School.  

In addition, two grades have brought in 720 items for the local food shelves! This is an average of about 2.7 items per student enrolled in our school!  That's impressive!  One grade did this did this instead of the usual Holiday Gift Exchange.  

And as if this is not enough, we have 7th grade students participating in a in-service to the community day tomorrow on Dec. 23rd.  Students will be baking bread (baguettes) with Chef Jeff to deliver to the food shelf, holiday gift cards are being made to go with meals from Meals on Wheels, Ornaments are being made for the tree at The Manor, ML students are reading to Kindergarteners and Cookies are being made to thank the teachers at the school!  Whew!  That's "alotta" goodness! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

EXPOsistion 2014

It's been busy at PAML - lots happening.  One exciting event is our Winter EXPOsition tonight.  What's an EXPOsition?  Our Expo teachers and students share what they have been working on so far this year.  It begins with a concert from our bands and choruses, then ends in the cafeteria with some demonstrations of other Expos.  

This year there is a food drive and bake sale spearheaded by 6th grade, both to benefit two VERY different organizations!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lost and Found

Inevitably items get lost at school.  If your child has lost something, they can check the large lost and found bin in the cafeteria.  If it's a small item (jewelry, electronics, etc.) they can check in with Mrs. Herman in the office.  It's always challenging when things get lost so a rule of thumb is, especially with expensive items, don't bring it to school or if you need to, leave it with your teacher or even in the office.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Students in Mrs. Clark's Science class spent time looking at the needs for some animals in our environment to be protected through camouflage. They learned about camouflage as one of the most widespread adaptations which increases an animal's ability to his itself from predators.

 As a culminating activity, small groups of students hid fish around the school.  There's one in each photo here.  Can you find all three?

Around 35 fish were hidden and if found by Mrs Clark, she placed a small sticker on the fish, to inform the students that she had located it.  She found almost 25 of the fish, but 10 eluded her!

Global Communication

Last week 10 excited 6th grade students attended a conference at UVM to learn about being a facilitator.  There were students from all around state as well as many adults. In addition, we had a virtual connection with a school in Nova Scotia, Senegal, and 2 schools in Puerto Rico.  This made for an exciting day for everyone.  Here are some snippets from the students after they returned, as well as a photo collage that one student created.

"I learned that working with people you have never met can be really awkward at some points, but it can also be really fun what's you get to know them a bit better."

"When you talk with your friends that you've know for 5-6 years, you learn nothing new. But when you talk with people you just met, you learn new opinions."

"In the student facilitator meeting we learned about what it takes to be a facilitator, and what is a facilitator.
In the meeting we did a chalk wall and everything that was written on the chalk walls was "How can I/We make this world better?  The second chalk wall was about "What do you think a facilitator does? "

"What is a facilitator?
A facilitator is someone that helps you along the way kind of like drawing way but not really telling you what to do.
How can you be a facilitator?
Share the stage
Confidence in others 
Inspire others 
Share the spot light."

Friday, November 7, 2014

PAML Goes to the Polls!

On Tuesday, November 4th the whole school walked to the town offices to vote in the state-wide and congressional mid-elections.  There were about 12 students from 6th grade that stayed through the entire process, and were in charge of helping guide the school through the polls.  They also worked with the town officials to count the ballots.  

A 6th grader's perspective of VOTING:
      I think that the voting process was a lot of work. In this process there was a lot math and numbers. We counted up all the votes when doing that you had to be really cautious when you are counting. You have to be cautious because if you mis-count one vote you most likely have to restart. I had to restart a few times because I mis-counted votes. There were lots of different steps when you were counting for example we had to transfer the votes onto two different packets of paper. 
     I thought it was cool how we got to do our mock election when the real election was going on. I think it was a good experience for PAML. I think that this was good to do because when kids talked to their parents to get information about the candidates it convinced some parents to vote, which is good.  
     The jobs of the 6th graders that helped were greeters which would guide people inside the building then take them out of the building when they were done voting, the check in people would sign people in with their last names and give them the ballets, and the runners would bring people to where they would vote. Then my job was to make sure every kid put their votes into the right place, give everyone a sticker that said they voted, then show them where they would go to get out of the voting room and meet the greeters to take them out of the building.

Abby - 6th grader

A 6th grader's letter to me about the experience:

Dear Ms. Weeks,
          The voting experience was fun, but crowded. At points it was hard because we only had 4 voting booths and every grade was on top of each other. It was fun to learn about voting and the town office. I feel it's a good experience for students to learn about voting and their rights. We would take four to six people in at a time to vote, and we also had to tell them about the the voting.

          When a class got there we tell the teachers that they would take a certain amount of students in at a time. Next we take the students and tell them to be quite because other people were voting and working and to be respectful of the other people in the building. We would also tell them that once their done they would go to their home teams or TA's. It was mainly the 
8th graders and 5th graders who were noisy, but we always told them to quite down in a nice way. At points it got a little ruff when we had two grades and that meant taking more kids to the sign up an voting booths.

        Again it was a good experience to teach kids to vote. I think and hope that most students had a good time learning to vote. After the everybody voted be had to count the ballets and but them in piles of 25. Then we got a partner and a tally sheet for votes. We counted and kept track of each vote. We had about 220 ballets to count each vote. After we put all of the votes together and finished counting.

Grace (6th grader)

Here are the PAML VOTING RESULTS - grade 5 - 8

Representative to Congress:  Peter Welch
Governor:  Peter Shumlin
Lieutenant Governor:  Phil Scott
State Treasurer:  Beth Pearce
Secretary of State:  Jim Condos
Auditor of Accounts:  Doug Hoffer

Attorney General:  William H. Sorrell

Regional Spelling Bee!

On Saturday, Nov. 1st, Lena, Lily, Edward and Tanner represented PAML in a regional team spelling competition held at F.H. Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington.  The PAML team competed against St. Albans City School and F.H. Tuttle.  What a nail-biter!  PAML took an early lead, dropped to a close second for most of the competition, and then came back to tie F.H. Tuttle as they headed into the last round, 104-104!  Our standing overall was a very close second place.  Our students remained composed, positive, and determined throughout the competition. A big congratulations to our super spellers!   

Monday, November 3, 2014

Exciting Events!

We had a wonderful Community Gathering on Friday afternoon, celebrating students and our school community for being Safe, Respectful, and Responsible.  Ms. Bachelor's Dance Expert performed at the gathering as well.  We celebrated fall sports athletes and students who taught Unbound courses this term.

On Thursday, three 8th graders attended the 4th Annual Rowland Conference at the Davis Center on the UVM campus.  These students listened to an inspiring Keynote speaker, Angela Duckworth, and in the afternoon they presented their digital portfolios to teachers from all around the state.  They made us proud with their poise and confidence!  Each of them had to present their portfolio 4 times!
Aiden, Wesley, and Lily at UVM
On Saturday, our top spellers attended the Regional Spelling Bee in South Burlington, Lily, Tanner, Lena, and Edward did stellar and came in a VERY close second to Tuttle Middle School.  This was an exciting day for these hardworking students.  Congratulations!

We had a shout-out to Maliah and Jade for volunteering to listen to kindergarten students read.  This was noted in the "CAPTIONS FROM KINDERGARTEN weekly letter.  Thanks girls, for helping our young students!

Today marks the beginning of the 2nd quarter.  We have a new receptionist in the office, please be sure to welcome Ms. Megan Herman when you call or stop in.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One of our students...

One of our students had an outstanding day at Castleton State College on October 11, 2014.  I was so impressed with this story, that I asked his family about sharing the article on this blog - they said to go ahead!

Here it is:  A DATE FOR NATE   Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New This alerts from Parent Portal!

Setting Up Email Alerts in Parent Portal

  1. Go to the School Website and select your school.
  2. At the school site, click on “Parent Portal” in the upper right corner. Click on “Login”
  3. At the Parent Portal Sign In page, enter the username and password provided to you.
  4. Click on “Email Notification” on the left side.

  1. The next screen gives many possible report options.
    1. Choosing Summary of current grades and attendance will provide a single email summarizing all classes.
    2. Choosing “Detailed reports showing all assignment scores for each class” will provide an individual email for each class.
  2. Select how often you would like reports emailed.
  3. Selecting “Send Now” will send the selected reports once you click the “Submit” button.
  4. Enter the email address you would like the reports sent to. You can enter multiple email addresses by entering a comma between each address.
  5. Click on “Submit” to save your selections.
  6. Remember, you can change your selections at any time.
  7. If emails do not seem to be arriving in your email inbox, please check the email address entered into Parent Portal and check your “Spam” folder in your email before calling the school for assistance.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Open House!

We had a wonderful Open House on October 9th, 2014 at PAML!  The halls were filled with families and there were a lot of connections with old and new acquaintances. Students proudly showed their family their classrooms as well as checked out the Book Fair.  We had many community organizations set up in the gym.

A special feature was the robot on loan from the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education.  Students in Mr. Speers' room were controlling the movement, with video feed on both ends.  "He" was the hit of the gym!  

An additional hit in the gym was our international snacks!  This was the work of our fabulous kitchen folks with some menu planning with Casie Grossman, PAML's World Culture/World Language teacher.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oct. 16th Student-Led Parent Conferences

Letter to Families:

Peoples Academy Middle Level

PHONE:  (802) 888-1401
FAX:  (802) 888-6488


                                                                                                                        October 10, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I would like to take this opportunity to explain a new practice at PAML this year.  Each student will be creating a portfolio to showcase their work.  At the start of the year they are creating goals and making plans as to how they will meet their goals.  Throughout the year they will be collecting evidence to assess how they are doing toward meeting their goals, reflecting on their growth, conferencing with their teachers and documenting their progress in their portfolios.

In addition, students will be participating in student-led conferences.  They will be sharing the portfolios with families at these conferences.  The purpose of student-led conferences is to put the students in charge of sharing their learning and to help them take personal responsibility for their performance.  This means you will need to bring your student with you on Thursday, October 16th, 2014.  If you are unable to attend, you can send a family member or close friend with your child so they have an opportunity to share their work.
In the traditional parent-teacher conference, students are often “third parties” to hearing about their progress.  Of course teachers and parents play a vital role in students’ education, but students must also take an active role in this area to maximize their potential for success and student-led parent conferences have proven to be a successful way for students to take the lead.

There are three components to the student-led conference: preparing, conferencing, and after-conference review.  All three elements require the students to reflect and evaluate their own progress and determine what they can do next to be successful.  In preparing for a student-led conference, students see how their strengths, weaknesses and behavior can affect them as learners, thus allowing them to take more responsibility for, and control over, their achievement in school.  Student-led conferences are an experience that can improve the communication patterns of both students and parents.  Parents listen to their students, encourage growth and discuss with them solutions to specific problems.  These conferences help build organization and self-confidence for the students.

 The teacher will circulate and be present for specific questions on issues that the students may not be able to answer. Of course, if after the student-led conference, should a parent desire a time to meet with the teacher, please speak with your students’ home team teacher.  It has been the experience in many schools across the country that students are able to share effectively and answer many questions about their learning in student-led conferences.
Please call the school at (802) 888-1401 to sign up for these exciting Student-Led Parent Conferences on Thursday, October 16th, 2014, and don’t forget to bring your student with you!

Thanks for all that you do for the PAML community!

Karen Weeks

·       Express positive interest and anticipation about the upcoming conference.
·       Listen and respond to the student.
·       Express pride in growth and progress.
·       Ask questions.
·       Be positive, offering to help in areas where improvement is needed.
·       Recognize that students need to develop independence in communicating progress – the teacher will be there to facilitate and answer specific questions but will not take charge of the conference.  There may be two conferences happening at the same time - the teacher will be in the background.

·       Can you explain this to me?
·       How did you come up with this idea?
·       How have you grown in this area?
·       How can you improve in this area?
·       How can we help you at home?
·       What was important to you about this?
·       If you could do this work over again, how would you change it?
·       Have you thought about future goals?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Monarch Butterflies

By: Abigail Boudreau
This year the fifth grade took care of Monarch butterflies.  They came to us as caterpillars, which is the larva stage.  Mrs. Ludington put the larva in jars with netting over the top.  We worked in pairs.  Each pair was assigned two or three caterpillars in a jar to take care of.  Each day we started off by cleaning the jars.  Cleaning consisted of taking the larva out of the jars and putting them on a piece of paper towel.  Next, we took out a small paper towel circle that served as a liner and threw it away.  Then we took a piece of paper towel and used it to clean out any poop or extra things the butterflies didn’t need.  After we had completed that, we traced and cut out a circle from a piece of paper towel and placed it at the bottom of the jar.  Larva eat milkweed so students and Mrs. Ludington brought in some to feed the caterpillars so after we had measured, observed, and recorded everything in our science notebooks we placed one milkweed leaf and our caterpillars back in the jar.  We did this every day and hoped for signs of a chrysalis(or pupa stage.)
          Eventually, there was a chrysalis!  We were all so excited.  You can just imagine what we were like when nearly all of the caterpillars were in chrysalises!  After they were all in chrysalises all we could do was wait, and wait, and wait.  
          One day there was a Monarcbutterfly!!  From then on we were always looking at or just being with the Monarchs.  They were put in a butterfly condo and ate fruits or sugar water.  Soon there were thirty-two butterflies in the condo! Mrs. Ludington tagged most of the butterflies as they went into the condo.  The purpose of tagging the Monarchs is so that scientists can track the butterflies so they can figure out why they are dying so quickly.  Another reason is so that scientists can figure out how the Monarchs know how to go where they go. 

Then came the bittersweet day when we had to let them go.  We tagged and sexed the Monarchs and then let them fly.  It was an amazing day that I will never forget.  Our Monarchs are now on a journey in which they will cover three thousand miles to reach Mexico for the winter.  Monarchs are fragile and their journey, tough.  Many die each trip. 

 Monarchs are amazing creatures and extremely important. They are pollinators and help our  environment stay healthy. Monarchs are dying, though. They are dying partly because of humans. Monarchs cling to trees in the winter to keep warm but when humans cut down the trees monarchs can’t keep warm and therefore freeze to death.  On the way to Mexico, Monarchs cross farmers’ fields. When they stop to nectar (so they can have energy to fly) sometimes farmers spray pesticides. Even though the pesticides are not meant to kill Monarchs, they do. Monarchs should be saved and we can all make a difference.