SCHOOL BEAT RPS provides teachers with digital tools by MAGGIE THELEN Principal, Belmont Elementary School Gifted/Talented Coordinator Quick! In 140 characters or less, what do you think Abraham Lincoln’s advice to President Obama would be? This may seem an odd question for those of us born before 1982, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for today’s Twitter-savvy students. Otherwise known as digital natives, Generation Y or the Net-Generation, today’s students are unique, due to their level of Internet access and daily interactions with computer-enabled technologies. “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students of tomorrow.” While spoken by John Dewey around the turn of the 19th century, these powerful words apply to us today and into tomorrow as each new generation fills classrooms. How does today’s educator keep up with the constantly evolving trends in instruction and technology? Proudly, the Rockford Public Schools has taken advantage of a program offered through Central Michigan University in which in-district experts can design and teach a college level course sponsored by CMU. This innovative program allows our talented staff to share their areas of expertise, provides relevant professional development, and offers the benefits of earning college credit within one’s own professional learning community. This spring, district staff offered a course called “Differentiation for Highly Able Students Using Technology”, a three-credit class for teachers in second through eighth grades. The course targeted instruction for the highly able, but was also applicable to the needs of the diversity of students found in every classroom. To promote 21st century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, and communication while continuing to maintain a solid focus on required objectives, teachers in this class were introduced to technologies which change the way students acquire and interact with knowledge. Literary discussions are no longer confined by the classroom walls. Instead, students can blog across schools or around the world about literary insights and analysis. Technology allows us to remove the physical barriers that have—until recently—prevented students from easily communicating with like-minded peers with similar interests. Today’s students have unprecedented Internet access through home computers, iPods, iPads, and other mobile devices. While these devices can sometimes cause distraction, being “plugged in” has its advantages. When students create their own podcasts or listen […]
Belmont Elementary School
Musical, creative student is a natural writer and helper Anna Kurtz, 10, is the daughter of Leonard and Kathleen Kurtz and sister to Emily and Taryne. “Anna shows initiative in class by being a good helper where she’s needed,” report Anna’s teachers. “She is very responsible, exceeding expectations in assignments. She is also considerate to her friends, teachers and peers.” A genial and creative individual, Anna entertains others with her music and stories and has a warm greeting for all. This girl with a bright future sings in talent shows and is always writing stories. She even takes her writer’s notebook out to recess. Anna has a positive attitude that just won’t stop and is passionate about learning. She pours over books and writes beautiful, creative stories. Anna has an internal drive to learn, which will likely serve her well all her life, teachers say. She is a student who always does her personal best. Other activities of Anna’s are participation in talent shows, volunteering on the bus safety patrol and Jump Rope for Heart, where she won an award for her sponsors and donations. This musical, delightful student sings while her dad plays guitar, and takes art classes in addition to those offered at school. She was runner-up in the spelling bee this year, qualifying for the regional bee. She also read over 40 books in fifth grade by Christmas vacation! Belmont Elementary School teachers and staff applaud Anna for her many talents, but also in her passion for learning, helping and doing her best. She is a fine Example in Excellence in her school and in life.
Rockford teams took plenty of wins in regional competition March 19 at Greenville Middle School. Rockford sent 24 competitive teams and five primary teams—grades kindergarten through second, non-competitive. Advancing to state finals on April 16 at Davenport University are the following. In Division I are the following teams that took first place: Cannonsburg Elementary School Team A, Belmont Elementary School and North Rockford Middle School Team B. Advancing after a second-place win is Roguewood Elementary School Team B. Advancing after a third-place win are Roguewood Elementary School Team A and Cannonsburg Elementary School Team B. Advancing after a fourth-place win is Valley View Elementary School Team A. In Division II, North Rockford Middle School Team A took first, East Rockford Middle School Team B took second and North Rockford Middle School Team C took third. In Division III, Rockford High School took first place. Teams that placed—honorable mention—but will not advance are Crestwood Elementary School, East Rockford Middle School Team A, North Rockford Middle School Team B, Roguewood Elementary School Team B, Crestwood Elementary School and East Rockford Middle School. Four Rockford teams and one Rockford parent also received special awards. John Merchun received an Outstanding OMer award for his volunteering positive attitude. Cannonsburg Elementary School Team B received an Outstanding OMer award for their problem- solving under pressure. North Rockford Middle School Team A received the Coveted Ranatra Fusca award for outstanding creativity, and Roguewood Elementary School Team A received the Ranatra Fusca award for outstanding creativity in their performance. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems—great and small—for a lifetime. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box.” Odyssey organizer Linda Blackmore said, “Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to […]
Belmont Elementary students learned about history, dress up as favorite characters and perform for their teachers and peers Wednesay, March 3. As part of the school’s wax museum project, kids prepared a historic account of a famous Americans and dressed up in period outfits, including an early wheelchair for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As the wax museum part of the program, children held a pose as they waited for someone to put a ticket into their custom-made boxes to prompt a 30-second performance before the student returned to their pose and wait for another customer.
“Can’t” is not a word in her vocabulary Hannah Kinlaw is the daughter of Michael and Holly Kinlaw and sister to Elsie and Nate. She is an enthusiastic student who is known for her love of learning and kindness. Hannah’s teachers describe her as a girl whose “can do” attitude pours over those around her. She is quick to help anyone who might be struggling with their own tasks and is helpful to students and teachers alike. Hannah is also an independent person who is a good decision maker. Hannah loves to bring people up instead of down, and is a person whose glass is always half full. Her positive attitude and determination to do her personal best motivate those around her. Hannah is a hard worker who takes her tasks seriously. Her teachers say she cares about her homework and schoolwork and is never one to be half-hearted in what she does. Can’t is not a word in her vocabulary. Hannah is talented on many levels. Her artwork was chosen for the Rockford Community Calendar and she has won awards for art. She is a level seven gymnast, who has a variety of medals for her performances. Hannah enjoys volleyball, dancing, gymnastics, jogging, swimming, skiing and riding her bike on the White Pine Trail. She also participates in her church, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where she is in the choir. Insisting on a personal best and always willing to help others, Hannah is a fine Example in Excellence for her peers and the staff at Belmont Elementary School.