Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

When you come to conferences this evening and next week, you'll want to take a walk down the hallway to the cafeteria. Several of our students in Art are re-painting magnificent wall murals - one for each continent. Here's a sample: 

It was wonderful to see so many parents this evening during conferences. Thank you for your insights, thoughtful questions, and positive feedback! The supper (14 soups, salad, bread, cheese, and tasty treats) was such a generous and appreciated kindness for our staff! Thank you to each family contributing to the marvelous meal!

Overhearing a parent conversation about why they come (or don't come) to conferences, I am compelled to share my perspective regarding the importance and value of parents taking time to visit with educators about their child's learning. Why go to conferences??
* Simply taking time to go to your child's school conveys you care...about him/ her and their learning.
* Including your child in this opportunity increases the value of this conversation. Several teachers provide time for students to reflect on their progress, their strengths and next steps to strengthen their learning experience.
* Few relationships are more critical to your child's joy and success in learning than the teacher-parent partnership; these limited opportunities are critical in fostering that communication.
* On a personal note and from a parent perspective, I remember my children (even through secondary years) hanging on the affirmations - even observations of quirky characteristics - teachers shared with us.

Thank you to the students and parents who took a few moments to introduce (and re-introduce) themselves to me during these important visits. It is a pleasure to match names, faces and interests to people in our learning community!

Enjoy this spring-like weather!
Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

Hudson School District students have demonstrated high levels of achievement in our math programs through the years. Several factors contribute to our students' performance: student interest and motivation to use numbers and formulas to solve problems, parent encouragement and example, and teacher and advisor support for extensions and opportunities beyond the classroom. Twelve of our middle-level students participated in a Regional Math Counts competition at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire in January. A team of four of our students placed 5th at that regional event and three of our students qualified for state level competition in March. Thank you to our Middle School Math Team - Ms. Leudtke, Mrs. Steely, Mr. Halvorson, Mr. Harker, Mr. Chuckle, Mrs. Sorenson, Mr. Majerus, Ms. Mattison, Mr. Dahl, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Hoveland and Mrs. Engstrom-Yde (Gifted & Talented Resource Teacher) for their work in helping our students enjoy math! Here's a news clip (less than one minute) about the competition held in Eau Claire last month.
Middle Math competition in Eau Claire 

Speaking of Math, once again, we are proud to have hosted the Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) event at Hudson Middle School. Kudos to Ms. Jodie Bray and her team of students and staff for the set-up, support, and sustained effort to provide many guests with so many interesting phenomenon to see, touch, and share! According to Angela Popenhagen, Stevens Engineers and Hudson community member...
“Continued effort is being made to encourage minorities and women to pursue a career in engineering through...organizations such as American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and STEM Forward.  From 1979 to 2015, the percentage of women graduating in civil engineering has increased from 9% to over 20% which suggests that the outreach within universities, high schools and professional organization is working. However, about 40% of those engineering graduates never entered the profession after graduation.  So, only about 11% of all engineers are women...this event provides an opportunity for women in those roles to connect with girls...When you’re only part of the 11%, it gets overwhelming to make those positive connections.  We hope that our brief time with these girls will give them the confidence to continue their exposure to all of the possibilities.”

Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

This past weekend we took our youngest back to college for her second semester (first year). Libbie is the quietest of our six children and yet, when she isn't at home, our home is eerily quiet! I miss her. I share this with you only because I remember all too well when my oldest was a 7th grader. In the words of two parents this past week (on two separate occasions - and I don't even think they know each other), "sometimes I like my seventh grader."

Depending on the demands on your time and energy and the frequency and intensity of the interactions, while LOVE remains, LOGIC sometimes goes right out the window! Mrs. Bellville, our Middle School Social Worker, shared a link recently for the Love and Logic website. You'll find positive and effective tips and strategies to respond to your ever-changing middle-school learner.

One of my hopes is to highlight a learning experience in each week's blog post. As I walked through the Raider White House, observed Mr. Wickstrom's sixth grade science class, and noted the innovative bird creations, I asked a student to share photos for our blog. Enjoy these sample birds students created and described to show students' understanding the following:

1) All living things compete for resources. How does each wing shape help that individual bird compete for the resources it needs to survive?
2) The shapes of birds' wings (physical characteristics) can tell an observer about HOW they live (hunting and their habitat).
3) In Nature and in Engineering form follows function.  In other words, the shape or physical features of an organism serve a purpose and help the organism survive.

Please consider asking your student about their greatest strength in collaboration and an area for growth. We're practicing those skills in every subject area and know employers rank collaboration high on the list of desired traits in workers. We want Hudson Middle School students to be confident and strong collaborators!
Happy February!
Mrs. Ann Mitchell