Friday, January 29, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

The Parent Group meeting was most certainly a highlight of my day Monday. Among the many positive and forward-thinking ideas shared was information about the following opportunity:
"UWRF Offers Engineering Camp for Teens" 

You'll note we've added a Parent Group Update tab to our blog. Please just click on the tab (use the drop down on the top of your mobile device) to learn more about volunteer opportunities, special events, and ways to support our middle-level learning community!

We have drafted a Mission Statement and would appreciate your input.
Hudson Middle School learners challenge, support, and empower each other through purposeful collaboration and critical thinking while becoming informed, active, and caring contributors in the local and global community.
Please use this Google Form link to provide input and help us refine our efforts! 

Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

THANK YOU! Taking time to post a comment, send an e-mail, or make a phone call really helps us know what is helpful and additional steps we might take to continue to improve our "learning in the middle". It's also a wonderful way to affirm students for their learning and work!

Monday was a day of professional learning for our teachers.  Part of the learning included messages from students in response to the question, "What do teachers do that ENGAGES you and makes learning MEANINGFUL?" While we learn something EVERY day from our students, time to learn from each other, reflect on our learning, and apply it to our practice is limited and highly valued. For a sense of that value, here are a few messages from teachers' feedback after a day of learning:
* Making changes in our classroom arrangement, routines, and approach keeps students motivated
* I want to allow students to have more ownership in their learning by allowing them to create a plan.
* I'm excited to move forward with ideas!
* I want to give students something to DO to learn rather than something to learn. 
* I liked hearing about what motivates students: success, curiosity, originality and relationships
* I am pushed to ponder how to foster, develop and model curiosity.
* I have room to grow when applying a variety of learning strategies. There are so many good ones being used by others. 
* Appreciated student perspective of helpful strategies.
* I'm just like my students: engagement and attitude matter.

This morning (Thursday) we welcomed a team from GOOGLE to our learning community. They shared a powerful message "You are What You Share" with students and FIVE Tips to be responsible with our online communication:
1) Think Before you Share
2) Know and Use Your Settings
3) Protect Your Stuff
4) Avoid Scams
5) Be POSITIVE! (My personal favorite!)
For more information, your family might check out:

During our 7th grade Google message, US Representative Sean Duffy introduced himself and reinforced the message of responsible online safety. Google is a powerful educational tool. With great power comes great responsibility. Thank you for partnering with us to help our students be empowered AND responsible learners!

Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

We hope you're taking a few minutes to check out our NEW Communication Tool, composed each week by STUDENTS! Please click on the House Communication Tab at the top of the Middle Musings Blog. You'll also find a link to the blog on our Middle School website - top left corner.

Our House Communication Student Leaders (there are 28 of them!) would really appreciate your feedback. Please take time to comment or send us an e-mail to ask questions, offer suggestions, or tell us what you like about the communication. Thank you for taking the time to support student learning in this way!

One of my sisters recently sent me a description she said prompted her to think of me...and most likely many other parents! Someone she knows described parenting children as "Long hours, short years." She commented, "So true and bittersweet!" As I reflected on the description, I thought about how fitting it is for particularly these middle years. Staying up late to listen to them talk about homework or a conflict with a friend, racing from work to the rink, dance studio, gym, or piano teacher for activities, keeping them in shoes and clothes that fit, glasses and braces, taking them to the doctor for a broken bone or stitches, finding time for a meal with the family, helping a neighbor, visiting grandparents...and then suddenly, you realize the house is quiet.

As challenging and difficult as these long hours may be, we know the years pass quickly. We are enjoying being a part of your son's and daughter's lives during these "long hours" and "short years." While they try on variations of identity and explore their limits, their humor, insight and energy inspire us.

Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

Happy New Year! It's a lovely winter scene outside my office window as I watch a large group of seventh graders on cross country skis on a snow-covered football field. We hope 2016 is filled with memorable joys and challenges you and your family find inspiring and uplifting. Speaking of joys, challenges, inspiration, and uplifting...

We are excited to share with you a NEW Communication Tool inspired by feedback on the Parent Communication Survey (October) and developed and improved by our STUDENTS! Simply click on the House Communication Tab above and you'll find a list of links - one for each House. When you click on a House Link, you'll see (from a student perspective) important reminders and highlights. Especially significant is the ASK ME...section in each teacher/course area. Here you'll find a question we suggest you ask your student. You'll even find links to an occasional sample of student learning, work, and creations! We hope this tool will inspire you and your middle-level learner to have conversations - in the car, over the supper table, or while waiting for the bus in the morning.

KUDOS to our Student Leaders behind this House Communication (and to their teachers who recommended them for this role) and to Mrs. Dressel, our Technology Integration Coach, for working with this team of students (9 at each grade level) to develop and refine a template. While I have an immense amount of faith in what our learners are able to create, their work has surpassed even my expectations! Their questions, thinking, and suggestions left Mrs. Dressel and me thrilled about the possibilities in the future! Please bear with us as our student-authors introduce and refine this communication tool. We know about and are working on a few corrections, edits, additions, etc. We look forward to your feedback and suggestions for making this tool even more meaningful and inspiring.


Mrs. Ann Mitchell
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass;
It's about learning to dance in the rain.