December 2011


AEO Snow Club
Fifty students and 10 faculty members at Oblock are gearing up for some fun in the snow at Hidden Valley this winter.  Under the direction of guidance counselor, Joe Miller, a five-week ski program beginning in January has been planned for students who enjoy skiing and/or snowboarding.  Lessons will be available for both beginners and more advanced participants. Officers for this year are as follow:  Haley Jacobs, President; Nolan Hulick, Vice-President; Logan Martin, Treasurer; and Hannah Adamski, Secretary.   Faculty chaperoning the trips include Mr. Joseph Miller, Ms. Ginny Quillen, Mr. Ryan Silvis, Ms. Linda Innocenti, Mrs. Rose Miller, Mr. Robert Kalanja, Mrs. Lynne Braun, Mr. Mike Evans, Mr. Phil Beatty, and Mr. Joseph Fishell. 


Orchestra Concert
The season of musical events at AEO began on December 13 with the Winter Orchestra Concert presented by Mr. Robert Kalanja’s strings groups. Both the 7thand 8thgrade orchestras, along with the Upper Strings Ensemble, participated in the evening’s program. The 7thgrade orchestra, consisting of 21 members, played a variety of pieces with solos by Todd Mayo and Brianna Marks. Their favorite piece was "Ode to Joy."  The 8thgrade group, consisting of 19 members, included their favorite selections, "African Bell Carol" and "What Child is This?"  Eighth grade soloists were Nathan Hoff, the piano section, and Nolan Hulick. The Upper Strings Ensemble practiced after school and played various holiday music.


Chorus Concert
The 7thand 8thgrade chorus presented their Holiday Concert at the high school on December 15.  A total of 430 students, directed by Ms. Jen Little, performed in front of more than 1400 guests, the largest audience ever for a junior high concert.  The 7thgrade Select Chorus performed the 1974 KiKi Dee hit, “I’ve Got the Music in Me” with choreography.  The 8thgrade Select Chorus performed “An Irving Berlin Christmas” and the “Iko Iko,” in the style of GLEE, complete with choreography.  Alexandra Zegar, a freshman at Point Park University, is the choreographer for the groups.  Judi Figel, Elementary String Specialist, accompanied the ensembles and entertained during stage changes.  Another special feature this year was Nolan Carney, electric guitar.  Nolan studies guitar outside of school and performed the “Star Spangled Banner” and other rock pieces. Songs performed by the 8thgraders included “Sleigh Bells,” “Three Jazz Carols, “On With the Snow” and the students’ favorite, “Christmas…In about Three Minutes.”  Seventh grade selections included “March of the Kings”, “The First Noel / Pachebel’s Canon,” and “Hot Chocolate”, from the moviePolar Express.




 Library News
The results are in from the Battle of the Books competition,and it was a clean sweep by the 8thgraders from Mrs. Yorkshire’s classes. In first place was The Cookie Monsters: Tori Monstrola, Rachel West, Elissa Matthews, Emily Oehling, Emily Yester, and Megan Oravetz. In second place was The Six Super Smarties: Rachel Valotta, Angela Campbell, Maddie Biertempfel, Kayla Anderson, Melissa Braun, and Marissa Dent. Finally, in third place was The Indigo Flying Monkeys: Chris Baker, Lindsay Kadlecik, Kelsey Evans, Nick Palmer, Sylvia Ankrom, and Tom Frank.

There was a record-breaking 98 students who made it into the Reading Hall of Fame by the holiday break (last year there were 71). Librarian, Susan Pinal reports that 5 students are part of the 500 point (and over) club, 98 students are in the Hall of Fame, 127 are at the All-Star level, 301 are in the Varsity level, and 89 are at the JV level. A total of 620/670 students, 92.5% of students are in one of the levels! Mrs. Pinal also stated thatthe Got Caught Reading initiative is still encouragingstudents to make reading a part of both academic and leisure activities. The top three point earners at the end of the month were Gabrielle Miller in first place with 1022.4 points; Noah Coulson in second with 931.1 points; and L.T. Scheetz in third place with 658.5 points. 


Activity Period
Activity Period is up and running at AEO with many activities offered during the twice-weekly period. In addition to old and new clubs, many teachers are using this time as an opportunity to tutor or enrich the curriculum for their students. Some of the activities and their sponsors follow:  Reach Out Club (Ms. Lori Senkewitz and Mrs. Jen Scharba), Select Chorus (Ms. Jen Little), Band (Mr. Robert Kalanja), Knitwits (Mrs. Diane Yorkshire), Student Government (Mrs. Jenna Romanelli and Mr. Steve Stremple), yearbook (Mrs. Amanda Durick), Woodchuckers (Mr. Phil Beatty), and Newspaper (Ms. Melissa Addis and Mrs. Karen Mienke). Also, the Oblock special areas teachers use the period to allow their students to work on art, music, and sewing projects. The PE department has organized intramurals, where teachers’ first period classes play each other in soccer and basketball. The special education and skills teacher are working with the target group on PSSA preparation, along with students who are preparing for the PSSAs in the Literacy Lab. Additionally, many students use this time as an opportunity to do work, research, or complete projects in the library and computer labs. Many students also take advantage of the extra help that is offered by several teachers, especially the math and language departments, for make-up work and tutoring. Students not involved in these activities are encouraged to work on homework, to read their AR books, or to complete unfinished class work.


 Professional Learning Communities
AEO teachers continue to meet and dialogue in PLCs about curricular and academic issues. Much of the activity was centered on midterms and budgets as teachers were discussing material covered in the first semester, developing common midterms, and determining instructional materials and supplies to be replenished or added for next year to enhance instruction. This month, the Math Department discussed curriculum lining, teaching strategies for daily lessons and for the PSSAs, PSSA prep materials, and Keystone weaknesses. English teachers spent time refining and enhancing their Moodle pages, while reading teachers focused on ways to motivate low-achieving students and 4-square graphic organizers. The social studies teachers were focused on Pearl Harbor Day, while the foreign language teachers collaborated about midterm exams and projects. The tech. ed. department discussed possible activity projects and their success on the K’Nex field trip. The special education crunched data and discussed the success of the language program.

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