November 2014

November 2014 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 at the school for the year. The first place team members were the Divergents of District 12: Bailey Weber, Alex Ralph, Vanessa Wright, Mariah Nieser, and Madeline Monick. The second place team members were the Bibliomaniacs: Abigail Casey, Emily Druga, Lexi Moreland, Tatum Marcyjanik, Kira Kiggins, and Nathan Reynolds. The third place team members were the Pretty Patties: Alyssa Sentmier, Amber Delahunty, Karina Crawford, Krista Crawford, Susan McCarthy, and Anna MacDonald.


On November 20th, 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 centered on geometry, number theory, probability, algebraic concepts, and logical reasoning. This year, over 80 teams and over 320 students gathered for this national event hosted by the AIU. Congratulations to Carter Campbell for being the top scorer from Oblock with 7 out of 9 correct! Also, congratulations to both 8th grade teams from Oblock for correctly answering the team questions correctly. Those teams consisted of: Carter Campbell, Ian Dryburg, Matt Brown, Justin Bruno, Devan Taylor, Emily Bolton, Katie Mozelewski, and Madeline Monick!

Language Goes Global
Mrs. Kociela's Spanish I classes were first place awardees in the Language Practice Goes Global Initiative through WeSpeke, a social media platform used around the world for language learners to practice and connect to other cultures. Over 600 classes in the United States participated by connecting with native speakers from 22 other countries. Mrs. Kociela's students received the first place award for the 6th-12th grade "Top Talkers”, classes with most minutes spent on Audio/Video Chats on WeSpeke. Students have been practicing their language skills with other students from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Spain and Mexico.

Capture the Flag
More than 120 AEO 7th and 8th graders and 14 faculty members recently enjoyed playing a fun, competitive of Capture the Flag, despite the frigid weather and snow 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
Dr. Stevens reports that the 300 Point Club already has a member, Lexi Moreland. The Reading Hall of Fame has 47 other members, each earning at least 126 Accelerated Reader points. At the All-Star Level, earning 76-125 points each, are 62 students. At the Varsity level, earning 26-75 points each, are 272 students. Then 155 students have made it to the Junior Varsity level, earning 10-25 points each. So far this year, 537 students out of 612 (88% of the student body) have become members of Team Read.

For November, students were challenged to read a book from a list of the top 10 authors as voted on by the students after each AR test. The following students met the challenge by passing the AR quiz: Kacie Persia, Alex Ralph, Nathan Reynolds, and Jade Vrabel.

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 specific lessons, online tests, and making changes to lessons to align to common core standards. The reading and English teachers are continuing to coordinate their lessons to ensure they line up with the common core and changes to the PSSA tests this year. Veteran’s Day and the Capture the Flag activity were the subjects of many social studies PLCs, along with close readings and nonfiction materials, while the science teachers discussed labs, content and curriculum, projects, Study Island, and adapted tests. The special education teachers focused on IEPs, IEP writer, revisions for IEPs, SAP students, and special needs of students. The PE and Tech Ed departments discussed curriculum, lesson ideas, 3D software, experiments, and Robotics club. The foreign language teachers discussed mirroring Spanish I with French I curriculum, language club ideas, and technology use. Across the curriculum Sapphire, bullying, academic concerns, SAP, 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 11 where Sargent Dan Parsons spoke to the 7th and 8th grade students giving them pertinent information about Veterans’ Day and ended with a question and answer session.

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 11:00 a.m. At the conclusion of that message, 8th Graders-Jake Streussnig, Justin Decheck, Zach End, and Levi Wingard and 7th Graders-Daniel Cocca and Josh Gray played a trumpet solo, “Taps,” that resounded through the halls of AEO.

AEO social studies teachers, led this year’s activities and did a remarkable job. The Civics classes 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 and Mr. Beck, 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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