November 2013

November 2013 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High School


Battle of the Books
The Battle of the Books wrapped up just before Thanksgiving.  Teams had to earn points by answering questions from 15 books.  Each team member received a certificate and their team trophy will reside in the sponsoring teacher's room for the year. The first place team members were Ms. Innocenti's, Instrumentals: Manager Mackenzie Kieffer, Megan Mascilli, Julia Lawrence, Julie Weyant, Andrea Tomaro, and Sommer Lewis.  The second place team members were Mr. Silvis's, Once Upon a Timers: Jadyn Hill, Alyssa Sentmier, Anna MacDonald, Michael Gasdick, Zoe Sommer, and Hannah Truax. The third place team members were Mrs. Cecchetti's, Men in Black: Alexandra Ralph, Katie Kuhn, Anthony Napoleon, Jillian Tishko, Matthew Brown, and Eddie Kostyuk.



On November 21st, 16 GATE students traveled to Duquesne University for the first of two Calcu-Solve challenges.  Calcu-Solve is a competition that tests students' abstract math knowledge and reasoning skills.  Participants team up for two rounds of group problems and then continue with an individual score for an additional 7 rounds.  Problems are center around geometry, number theory, probability, algebraic concepts, and logical reasoning. This year, 82 teams and over 320 students gathered for this national event hosted by the AIU.  Congratulations to Frank Czura, Jared Martorell, and Carter Campbell for being the top 3 high scores from the Oblock teams!



History Bowl
Sixteen AEO GATE students traveled to the Heinz History Center on November 1st to participate in the History Bowl, an academic event designed to engage students in problem solving and creative thinking. Accompanied by Mrs. Terry Trenz, GATE Advisor and Mr. Joe Miller, Guidance Counselor, the students had to complete challenges in four exhibits in the History Center: Pittsburgh's Civil War, Pittsburgh Innovators, Sports Trivia, and Burton Morris Poptastic. Approximately 40 teams from area schools took part. 

The purpose of the event is to promote interest in American history and the heritage of Western Pennsylvania through the interactive exhibits.  AEO students did an excellent job and had fun, while learning about local history.Attending the event were Jonah Albert, Matthew Brown, Justin Bruno, Carter Campbell, Reed Coulson, Dom Dedola, Ian Dryburgh, Angelo Giunta (St. Bernadette), Bowen Henry, Brandon Horvatic, Megan Mascilli, Jordyn Roman, Noah Sachs, Hanna Sante, and MaKayla Shreve.  


Capture the Flag 
More than 120 AEO 7th and 8th graders and 8 faculty members recently enjoyed playing a fun, competitive of Capture the Flag, despite the frigid weather at Larry Mills Park! The students were able to participate in this activity after submitting a flag of their state or country project for their social studies classes. The students traveled to Larry Mills Park after school and enjoyed an exhausting game of defending their bases and trying to capture their opponents’ flags.  The competition was exciting with the faculty battling the students.  Faculty members not only helped organize and monitor the activity, but several also actively participated in the games.  All of the students were winners because they had fun socializing afterwards with steaming hot chocolate and yummy cookies provided by the Oblock PTSA.



Library News / Team Read 

Mr. Stevens reports that the 300 Point Club already has six members.  The Reading Hall of Fame has 62 other members, each earning at least 126 Accelerated Reader points.  At the All-Star Level, earning 76-125 points each, are 97 students.  At the Varsity level, earning 26-75 points each, are 268 students.  Then 118 students have made it to the Junior Varsity level, earning 10-25 points each.  So far this year, 551 students out of 625 (88% of the student body) have become members of Team Read.

For National Military Family Month in November, students were challenged to read a book from a pre-selected list about the military and pass the AR quiz.  The following students met the challenge:  Justin Decheck, Nicole Abrams, Jadyn Hill, Christine Guerriero, Eric Scherger, Tyler Fried, Cameron Meyers, Lydia Lalchan, Jonah Babusci, Alexis Smith, and Jonah Albert.

Professional Learning Communities
Oblock teachers still continue to meet with their colleagues before and after school and during common planning periods to discuss curricular issues, common core lessons, and student achievement.  The math teachers discussed quarterly assessments, not leaving curriculum gaps between years, and data.  The reading and English teachers are beginning to prepare their lessons and develop strategies for improving PSSA scores, along with discussing common quarterly assessments.  Veteran’s Day and the Capture the Flag activity were the subjects of many social studies PLCs, while the science teachers discussed content and curriculum, labs, projects, and cross-curricula labs.  The special education teachers focused on IEPs, special needs of students, and co-teaching requirements.  The PE and Tech Ed departments discussed curriculum, lesson ideas, and Moodle. The foreign language teachers discussed mirroring Spanish I with French I curriculum, language club ideas, and resources for assessments.  Across the curriculum Moodle, bullying, academic concerns, and alternative education issues were discussed.

Veterans’ Day Observance
The Oblock Junior High Social Studies Department wanted to make sure that AEO students understand the significance of Veterans’ Day so they prepared several displays throughout the school and held an assembly for the whole school on November 12 where Mr. Rea Andrew Redd, spoke as Abe Lincoln.  In addition, Mr. Tim Neff, the Curator from Soldiers and Sailors, brought in Mike Kraus to speak to the students on relevant information pertaining to the Civil War. 

This year’s Veterans’ Day focus was on all major battles of each branch that made a significant difference in American history.  Pictures and information about the branches and the battles were on display in the school foyer.  Principal, Joe Fishell delivered a “Veterans’ Day Message” at 11:11 a.m.  At the conclusion of that message, 7th Graders-Jake Streussnig, Justin Decheck, and Zach End and 8th Graders-Julia Lawrence, Alexis Bruno, Brianna Lentz, Franklin Mercurio, Peter Zullo, Kevin Magnus, Shawn Cook, and Colin Parker played a trumpet solo, “Taps,” that resounded through the halls of AEO. 

Brice Karper and Steve Stremple, AEO civics teachers, led this year’s activities and did a remarkable job. The entire Social Studies department participated in a brick honoring project with our students and the bricks were displayed in the main hallway.

In addition to the hard work of the Social Studies Department, other departments/teachers that contributed were the Art Department which helped with the design, the geography teachers who helped with the hallway displays and battle maps, the Tech Ed Department that helped with construction of materials, and the Music Department that prepared the special music.

Lollipop Sale for the Pat McAfee Foundations
Also, as a part of Oblock’s Veteran’s Day observance, a lollipop sale was held the week of November 4 - 11th.  The proceeds from this sale benefited the Pat McAfee Foundation. Pat is a former Oblock student and current player with the Indianapolis Colts. The Pat McAfee Foundation sponsors scholarships for dependents of military personnel to continue their education beyond high school.  Lollipops were sold throughout the building.

Congratulations to all of the recipients of the first annual Pat McAfee Foundation Scholarship awards.


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