November 2012

November 2012 Board Highlights

Oblock Junior High School


Battle of the Books
The Battle of the Books competition has come to a close! The first place award went to the eighth grade team of the Cucumber Salads, consisting of Meghan Barrett, Angela Mamatas, Claire Klippel, Skyler Kutzner, Becki Hyland, and Marley Kohan. The team that came in second was the seventh grade team, Sweet Readers. Members of the team were Megan Mascilli, Hanna Sante, Julie Weyant, Mackenzie Kieffer, Andrea Tomaro, and Julie Lawrence. In third places was the Freshbeat Band team of Conor Zold, Matthew Hartley, Griffin Dent, Mason McAndrew, Zoe Ward, and Victoria Turchik. 


Pittsburgh Glass Center Field Trip
Thirty 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 guidance counselor, Joe Miller, the students viewed a hot glass demonstration and were assisted by the glass center artists and apprentices to create their own paperweight out of hot glass.  This was the fourth year for this very interesting field trip.  Students attending were Kylie Briggs, Alexis Bruno, Sofia Chapkis, Frank Czura, Megan Darnell, Carlee Domke, Tanner Froehlich, Blake George, Cloe Hall, Matt Hartley, Jonathan Hiener, Mark ohnston, Katharine Jones, Claire Klippel, Ryan Loebig, Jared Martorell, Alexis McKinley, Graham Merlin, Shannon Moran, Nolan Puhala, Jordyn Roman, Hanna Sante, Erin Simqu, Ryder Springel, Quinn Stezoski, Jake Tarosky, Victoria Turchick, Carmen Veltri, Sophie Weingrad, and Lauren Williams.


Capture the Flag
More than 120 AEO 7th and 8th graders and 15 faculty members recently enjoyed the crisp, fall weather at Larry Mills Park by playing a fun, competitive game of Capture the Flag. The students were able to participate in this activity after submitting a flag 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 conquering the students in two out of four games. Faculty members not only helped organize and monitor the activity, but several also actively participated in the games. Students also enjoyed the all-girl and all-boy competitions, where the girls ended victoriously over the boys. All of the students were winners, however, because they had fun socializing afterwards with steaming hot chocolate and yummy cookies provided by the Oblock PTSA.


Select Chorus Holiday Video
The seventh grade Select Chorus, under the direction of AEO chorus teacher, Ms. Little, was selected to perform a holiday video greeting which will be sent to local school districts. Plum High School TV productions taped their holiday greeting which will be available to view on the school website.


Word Master Competition
Five GATE students from Oblock Junior High attended the Word Master Competition at West Hempfield Middle School on November 28, 2012. Students participated both individually and in groups in SAT and word-related games and competitions. The boys performed admirably finishing in the top ten. Oblock's GATE Word Master team consisted of: Jake Tarosky, Quinn Stezosky, Jared Martorell, Ryder Springel, and Bowen Henry. 



Library News/ Team Read


Mrs. Pinal also reports that 1 student, Gabrielle Miller has already made it into the 500 point (or better) club, and more than 80 students have made it into the Reading Hall of Fame, each earning at least 126 Accelerated Reader points.  One hundred four students are at the All-Star Level, 305 are in Varsity, and 112 students have made it into the Junior Varsity.  So far this year, 601 students out of 671 (89% of the student body) have become members of Team Read.

The November challenge book this month required students to read two books by Joseph Bruchac, and 12 students successfully completed the challenge to receive a reward at lunch.


Professional Learning Communities
Oblock teachers are meeting with their colleagues before and after school and during common planning periods to discuss curricular issues and student achievement.  The math teachers discussed the Keystone exam and quarterly assessments through EdInsight.  The reading and English teachers are beginning to prepare their lessons and develop strategies for improving PSSA scores, along with discussing the research paper.  Veteran’s Day and the Capture the Flag activity were the subjects of many social studies PLCs, while the science teachers discussed labs, hands-on activities, the pacing of curriculum, and making sure curriculum is aligned with SAS and Core Standards.  The PE and Tech Ed departments discussed curriculum, lesson ideas, PowerPoint, Moodle, along with MicroType 5Across the curriculum Moodle, bullying, academic concerns, and alternative education issues were discussed.


 Veterans’ Day Observance
The day started off with a raising of both the American flag and the POW MIA flag.  Four cadets from the JROTC and Chief Speer demonstrated the raising of the flag as Ron Sakolsky gave a Veterans' Day speech.  The student body proudly recited the Pledge of Allegiance as the two flags were raised.

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 eighth graders on Veterans’ Day with Commander Staff Sgt. Dan Parsons of the US Army. Staff Sgt. Parsons did a more personal presentation in the library for the social studies classes.  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.  At the same time on that day the seventh graders viewed a National Geographic documentary about Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns.   Principal, Joe Fishell delivered a “Veterans’ Day Message” at 11:11 a.m.  At the conclusion of that message, Josh Hordubay, Rachael Klipa, Dom Alese, Alexis Bruno, Bernard Campbell, Shawn Cook, Daniel DiNatale, Blake George, Julia Lawrence, Kevin Magnus, Franklin Mercurio, and Collin Parker played a trumpet solo, “Taps,” that resounded through the halls of AEO. 


Brice Karper and Steve Stremple, AEO civics teachers, spearheaded 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.

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