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August 2019
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Archive for the ‘HMS News’ Category

STEM Skills at Work at HMS

Huston Middle School science teacher Shaun Reddick is teaching a new class this year – one that will challenge students to search for answers without relying on Google.

Creative Design I is an engineering class that’s being offered as an elective for sixth- and eighth-graders. Reddick says the course is important at a time when so much information is at our fingertips.

Autumn Godot took a new approach to teaching an 1843 Charles Dickens classic this year.  “I’d talked to the students about how Dickens used to do dramatic readings of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ” said Godot, an English teacher at Huston Middle School. “We decided to do a 21st century dramatic reading.”

The result?

A unique classroom project called Robot Readers Theater.

The Hummingbird Project

Some of the greatest minds in the robotics reside only about 25 miles away from Burrell at Carnegie Mellon University.  So when the opportunity arose for Huston Middle School to send a contingent of educators to CMU for a robotics technology conference, the school naturally summoned some of its best and brightest teachers.  But, surprisingly, they were all from the English and History departments!

COMETS Program Connects HMS Girls to Science

It’s fairly rare to witness a comet in the night sky.  And to a certain degree, the same can be said for females in many STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) careers.

A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that only one of every seven engineers is female.  Just 27 percent of jobs in the computer science industry today are held by women.  Theories abound as to why females are underrepresented in STEM careers, but one thing is certain – there is both a need and opportunity for improvement.  And that’s just what a new program sponsored by Penn State New Kensington aims to address.

Got Google? HMS Upgrades Technology With Grant

A good teacher will work to make the most of the resources he or she has. A great teacher will work to create additional resources. Burrell School District is fortunate to have great teachers like Shaun Reddick.

Working with assistant principal Ken Pruitt, Mr. Reddick recently spearheaded an online fundraising campaign on that resulted in the purchase of 25 new Google Chromebooks for his Huston Middle School science classroom.

Differentiated Instruction Works at HMS

One cluster of students is building electric circuits. At another table, a group reads text while others complete worksheets. Another small group is huddled around the teacher, reporting on their progress in the current lesson. The activity in the Huston Middle School science classrooms may look chaotic on the surface, but in reality, it is a well-planned teaching method designed to address the individual needs of students through differentiated instruction.

New Programs Debut at Huston Middle School

New 6th Grade Math Curriculum Among Highlights

The beginning of the new school year has ushered in several significant changes at Huston Middle School, including the introduction of a new “Big Ideas Math” curriculum for sixth-graders.

BYOT Powers Up @ HMS

“Bring Your Own Technology” Policy at Huston Middle

When it comes to having Internet-ready technology in the classroom, Huston Middle School educators have just two words for students: Bring It.

In what could be seen as a complete reversal of longstanding school policy prohibiting the use of electronic devices on school grounds, Huston Middle School are not only allowed, but are actually encouraged, to bring their iPhones, Kindles, tablets, and related technology to school. The reason? To help them learn.

Middle School Students Drive Yearbook Project

A group of twenty Huston Middle School students will sum up 36 weeks of academics, sports, fieldtrips and friendships in the school’s yearbook – with very little adult influence.

Guidance Counselor Kristy McCurdy oversees the HMS Yearbook Staff, but leaves the decision-making and design in the hands of the competent student staff. Not only does this approach lead to a better-received yearbook, but it also gives the yearbook staff members the chance to build interpersonal and organizational skills.

Pride & Patriotism: HMS Student Wins VFW Essay Contest

A class assignment has earned regional recognition for Huston Middle School student Courtney Cambal.

The eighth-grader’s essay won first place at the local level and second place at the regional level of a national VFW contest that asks middle school students to write about a patriotic theme. This year’s topic of the Patriot’s Pen contest was “Are You Proud of Your Country?”
HMS English teacher Autumn Godot incorporated the VFW contest into her writing curriculum by challenging students to write essays that align with the contest. She grades the essays, but students are not required to submit their essays in the VFW contest.

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