February 2012

Equations Tournament 

On Thursday February 2, Mrs. Barker, AEO math teacher and nine members of the Oblock GATE program traveled to Woodland Hills for the 29thannual Equations Tournament.  According to Mrs. Barker, “Equations is a game played with 24 cubes containing numbers and operations.  The cubes are shuffled to reveal the resources for that round.  A number goal is set and students take turns placing the cubes into 3 categories: forbidden, permitted, or required.  Students are challenged to find complex solutions to average goals.  The game takes a lot of forward thinking, logic, and reasoning skills.”  Congratulations to Team Oblock for finishing in 7th place! Students attending wereAna Benitez, Kayla Anderson, Nickolas Palmer, Tom Frank, Noah Coulson, Dom DeFabio, Nick Klonowski, Quinn Stezoski, and Nolan Puhala.

Pittsburgh Glass Center Field Trip
Twelve GATE students recently traveled to the Pittsburgh Glass Center to get a first-hand look at glass making.  Accompanied by art teacher, Amanda Durick and social studies teacher, Jenna Romanelli, the students viewed a hot glass demonstration and were assisted by the glass center artists and apprentices to create their own bead out of glass.  This was the third year for this very interesting field trip.  Students attending were Lisa DiVittorio, Carlee Domke, Tom Frank, Caleb Horner, Claire Klippel, Victoria Michaels, Shannon Moran, Nolan Puhala, Erin Simqu, Matt Saich, Jacob Tarosky, and Spencer Zacher.


AEO Library Update
February’s book challenge was any book by the prolific author, Walter Dean Myers. Any book in the Oblock library or that was ongrade-level was acceptable. The students who accepted this challenge wereThomas Hyland, Derek Brewer, Jordan Slagle, Jonathan Godleski, Hunter Aubele, Alex Hyland, Abaigail Anderson, Mario Coreno, Josh Anderson, Tyler Wilson, Jacob Tarosky, Tyler Plunkett, Connor Cenci, Matt Koma, Matt Nestor, Lilianna Lalchan, Josh Kirkpatrick, Michael Venturino, Caitlin Born, Dajoun Bell, and Mackenzie Lewis.

Reading Hall of Fame
As of February 29, 182 students had achieved Reading Hall of Fame status, and another 173 are in the All-Star level working to reach the top. These students scored over 126 points on AR tests to reach this achievement.  More than 205 students have already made it to the Varsity level, and 73 students in the Junior Varsity level. The goal is to have all students at that level by the end of the year. Mrs. Susan Pinal, school librarian, is thrilled with the high number of students achieving such a prestigious level of reading.  Currently 633 students (out of 670) are in one of the windows; that’s 94% of the students at Oblock!

Another milestone was reached this month when Gabrielle Miller reached 1604.9 AR points. In a close second for points is Noah Coulson with 1568.4 points. Congrats to all students for working so hard to achieve so many AR points. Finally, congratulation letters were recently sent to the parent of students reaching the Hall of Fame the first semester, along with a sticker that read “My child is in the Reading Hall of Fame at Oblock Junior High.” 

Professional Learning Communities
Dialogue and collaboration continue in all areas at Oblock Junior High as teachers meet in PLCs before and after school, during common open periods, in-service days, and even informally during their lunch periods. PSSA preparation, 9thgrade scheduling, and incorporating lesson plans in Progress Book were the subjects of several February meetings. The organization of the honors banquets to recognize students who have achieved academic excellence this year was also discussed at quite a few meetings. The English/reading teachers met to develop open-ended questions, 4-Square open-ended questions, and other PSSA items to prepare their students for the March testing. They also discussed possible changes to the curriculum for the curriculum writing cycle. The seventh grade reading and math teachers discussed Study Island. Those same seventh grade reading teachers also talked about the benefits of the STAR reading program and AR results and success. The eighth grade math teachers discussed PSSA preparation and the CDT results. The librarian collaborated with the English teachers regarding valid websites for research and the appropriate methods of note taking, outlining, and citing information. The science teachers adjusted curriculum according to the SAS website and discussed the realignment of the curriculum for the 2012-13 school year. The social students department discussed the multicultural festival and ideas for student projects. The art department discussed the plans for the art show and ideas for the art club held during activity period. The technology teachers conversed about curriculum and appropriate assessments. The foreign language teachers brainstormedideas for foreign language week and open-ended questions. Other PLC activity included obtaining and incorporating online PSSA prep materials into lesson plans, as well as scheduling the various levels of students into the appropriate classes for next year and student discipline.

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