Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

Spring has sprung! Between rainfall, slightly warmer temperatures, the Forward Exam, Middle Level Education week (March 28 - April 1) and the anticipation of culminating projects and events, spirits are on a bit of a roller-coaster ride. We may start our morning with high energy and joy, approach mid-day with trepidation and anxiety (unfinished work or strained relationships), and finish our day with frustration and sadness (unfinished work and strained relationships). Corwin Kronenberg reminded me years ago, "Our job is NOT to ride the roller coaster WITH them; we need to stay on the platform, getting them safely on and then off the roller coaster."

As a parent, I remember all too well those evenings when my pre-adolescent and teenager vented on a sibling, flippantly responded to a question, or silently cried after everyone had gone to bed. Listening sessions at midnight, pep-talks in the morning, and notes on the bathroom mirror helped us get through those difficult times. We want you to know we are here to partner with you on that roller-coaster platform and we appreciate you reaching out - whether in difficult and challenging times or to share a celebration with us!

Speaking of parenting an adolescent, we are hosting Understanding Your Adolescent here at the middle school THIS SATURDAY, April 2! Refreshments will be provided so a call to register is appreciated. However, even if you're unable to make that advance registration, you are WELCOME to join the workshop! You'll head to Room 133 (Excalibur House - lower level, northwest corner).
Here's a teaser shared during our Parent Seminar sessions Monday, March 21.

And MORE parenting support...thanks to a Middle School parent, we thought we'd share a link to an informative article: 7 Dangerous Apps Parents Need to Know About, We'd like to focus on the value and benefit of increased access to technology. However, as you well know, in an age of widespread social networking, we also need to be more aware of potential pitfalls and help our children and each other navigate the terrain. IT TAKES A VILLAGE. Another reminder that parenting is not for the feint of heart, but requires courage, forbearance, and perseverance.

In case you missed the Orchestra and Band concert Tuesday evening, Mr. Dahle shared a recording:
Orchestra Concert March 29, 2016
Band Concert March 29, 2016

See you on the roller-coaster platform!

Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Friday, March 25, 2016

March 24, 2016

It's springtime at HMS and students are BLOSSOMING! Please check out only three examples this week. More to come...
Each year more than half a million students across the United States participate in National History Day (NHD). Students choose an historical topic related to the annual theme, and then conduct primary and secondary research. This year's theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History! Students analyze and interpret their sources, draw a conclusion about the significance their topic, and then present their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website.  This year, HMS had 19 students participate at the Regional level for NHD and we have 4 students moving on to the State competition in April. 
Congratulations to our students and thank you to Mrs. Sarah Engstrom-Yde and Mr. Mike Yell for your advising!

More good news from our Hudson Middle students! Please check out the video above of our STEM Sisters presenting in Indianapolis earlier this week. Hudson Middle School Students Gabrielle Blakey, Madeline Pasche, Charlotte Stow, and Hannah Sutherland presented their "Weekend on Mars" project to a sold out crowd of 1800 people during teh opening ceremonies of the 2016 Project Lead the Way National Summit. They also had the honor or introducing keynote speaker Pro NFL football player and mathematician, John Uschel! Not only did this put Hudson Middle School students on the national stage, but it also made them instant celebrities. Several participants shared what an inspiration these students are for girls in STEM, asking them to record messages for their students - even asking if they would present at their school so that their students could see them and be inspired. Thank you, Mr. Chris DeLeon and Ms. Jodie Bray, Technology Education teachers at HMS, for your leadership and initiative! 
Sarah Drogseth received a top state award in the 2016 Scholastic Art Awards - Wisconsin Competition and Exhibit late in February. Her work combines multi-media techniques, a three dimensional aspect, and recycled materials! Thank you, Mr. Jesse Lam and Mrs. Julie King-Hildreth, for the many ways you foster creativiy in our students! Check out Sarah's creative piece in our school cafeteria display case! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

Thank you so much for your unwavering support and partnership with us in limiting the use of cell phones and personal devices during the school day. We're noticing much more conversation during lunch and appreciating the efforts our students are making to "break the habit" of cell phone addiction. I especially appreciate the thoughtful student conversations and e-mail messages posing questions and sharing perspectives as we consider various situations and circumstances. (Mr. Hagerman and I recently enjoyed a mini-lesson on the AppleWatch!) The ultimate goal is for our students to more effectively manage their use of personal devices on their own. It's very possible, with guidance and peer support, we'll adjust the restrictions as we demonstrate responsible and respectful decision-making throughout the day.

Photos from Teen Read Week at Hudson Middle School. Thank you to Kari Halstad, Reading Teacher, and her team for planning several ways to feature and celebrate good reads!!

Happy Daylight Savings Time! 
Mrs. Ann Mitchell

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

I had an opportunity to observe in Mrs. Bjerk's 2nd hour 8th grade Language Arts classroom Tuesday. She posed the question "Why is collaborative discussion important?" Several students shared their thinking. Responses included:
* It helps you see another point of view.
* We're not just looking for the answer; we're sharing our opinion.
* Sometimes it clears up confusion when someone explains the way they understand the topic.
I was reminded of a favorite quote I used often when I taught high school students:
Each of us has a small part of the truth. When we share our small parts with others, we have a broader and deeper view of the truth.
- paraphrased from John Powell's Through Seasons of the Heart, 1986. 
As a lover of puzzles, this idea of combining our small pieces of understanding for a greater understanding is intriguing and affirming. So grateful our Middle Team is working diligently to support students in appreciating and developing collaboration. I can think of few more valuable skills for life and learning!

We are anticipating our spring Parent Seminar scheduled for Monday, March 21. The three focus topics include:
* Understanding Your Adolescent - an introduction
* Communicating Concern with Care and Compassion 
* Supporting Student Self-Advocacy

As a follow-up, we are thrilled to host (here at Hudson Middle School) a Saturday morning seminar April 2nd: Understanding Your Adolescent, funded in part by a grant from St. Croix / Wisconsin Cares and UW-Extension. Please use the link below to register. We think the information is so valuable we've included a second link listing alternate dates in area locations for those who may have a conflict with April 2nd.
Understanding Your Adolescent
Alternate Dates for Understanding Your Adolescent

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dear Families in the Middle,

Such a delightful 6th grade choral and orchestra concert Monday evening! I am especially drawn into the rhythm of African music; the percussion and student movements were remarkable! What a large, talented and hard-working group of musicians we enjoy here in-the-middle!

This is Teen Read Week at Hudson Middle School! I noticed Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, Katniss from The Hunger Games, Superman, and Pinkalicious in our Hallways! Thank you to Mrs. Halstead and her team for planning this week of focus on reading with our students.

We're enjoying more daylight as spring approaches and hoping you feel the effects in the form of more energy, less stress and a happier spirit. In my experience, February is second to October in terms of high stress levels for educators. Thank you for the many ways you partner with our dedicated educators in support of our middle-level learners! Whether you provided food for the conference meal last week, purchased and donated a book from our Book Fair, or sent an affirming message our way...your kindness is so appreciated!

8th Grade students in Mr. Fosse's World Studies Class in the Norman House chose a particular war to research and share with others. Their study included key events, power players, historians' input, primary source quotes, causes, attempts made at peace, and a comparison to the American Revolutionary War. Students also provided each other with meaningful feedback and Mr. Fosse with feedback for future projects and learning.