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The World is Shifting

Recent Weblog Posts - Sat, 09/26/2009 - 11:44

Ever wonder why some teachers feel strongly about using technology with their students? Ever wonder why what is so popular today is “so yesterday” tomorrow? There’s a huge shift going on in today’s world. It’s not the world our parents grew up in and it’s not even the world it was 5 years ago. Preparing our students to live in tomorrow’s world today is everyone’s responsibility. The video below is 4:46 long. I recommend that everyone who has children, teaches children or lives in today’s world watches it.

Original presentation of “Did You Know” by Karl Fisch, remixed by Scott Mcloed. More information and sources can be found here.

Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity and Education

Recent Weblog Posts - Sat, 09/26/2009 - 06:51

In this video from 2007 Sir Ken Robinson relates his views and the research that has been done on human intelligence, creativity, and how education impacts the human condition.

Potluck DINNER – Everyone’s Invited !!

Recent Weblog Posts - Wed, 09/23/2009 - 01:24

The Forest Hill Choral Department INVITES YOU to our

ANNUAL Potluck Dinner !!!

Come hear our FIRST Performance of the 2009-2010 school year!

Thursday – September 24, 2009

7:00 pm – FHHS Cafeteria

Students report to Choral Room @ 6pm – wearing red chorus shirt & jeans !

Groups are assigned food as follows (please bring enough to feed 8-10 guests):

Male Chorus – 2-liter soda and Dessert

Singing Falcons – 2-liter soda and Salad/Dessert

Les Femmes & Dimensiono 20 - Meat or Casserole

PLEASE bring a treat, bring a friend, and enjoy the show !!!

See you there !!!  Any questions, call the Choral Department @ 540 – 2404.

The Buck Stops Here

Recent Weblog Posts - Sun, 09/20/2009 - 12:11

The movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, is making a big splash in theaters! How kind of Columbia and Sony Pictures to time the release to coordinate with our writing lessons as we learn to incorporate idioms and metaphors into our writing. Idioms are phrases that mean more than their words put together. If you take them word for word, they might not make much sense! Idioms are a little like puzzles. It’s fun to figure them out and even more fun to use them in our everyday language.

Have you heard of “The Buck Stops Here?” It means “taking responsibility for something, instead of blaming someone else.”

President Harry S. Truman invented this phrase and had a sign made for his desk with those words. Truman liked to play poker. In poker a marker called a “buck” was placed in front of the player who would be the next to deal the cards. A player who didn’t want to deal could pass the buck to the next player.

On more than one occasion President Truman referred to the desk sign in public statements. For example, in an address at the National War College on December 19, 1952 Mr. Truman said, “You know, it’s easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done, after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you — and on my desk I have a motto which says The Buck Stops Here’ — the decision has to be made.” In his farewell address to the American people given in January 1953, President Truman referred to this concept very specifically in asserting that, “The President–whoever he is–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job. The sign has been displayed at the Library since 1957.


What are some idioms you know? Can you tell us the origin? I look forward to reading your comments.

Disney Taping…here we go!

Recent Weblog Posts - Sat, 09/19/2009 - 16:18


Great work on our Disney Taping last Thurs., Sept. 17th, yet we ARE going to TAPE AGAIN (due to some technical issues)…on MONDAY – PLEASE CHECK IN WITH YOUR 7TH PER. TEACHER AND THEN REPORT TO THE AUDITORIUM FOR A FINAL TAPING !!!  It is IMPERATIVE that you do all in your power to be there.  Plan on the following:

1) dark blue/black shirts & jeans

2) bring your first fair share payment of $20, just in case our shirts arrive (Per. 1/Singing Falcons and Per. 7/D-20 students – please stop by during your lunch period on Monday to receive your shirts (if they arrive) and your pass for release during 7th period.

We will PLAN on recording from 2:45pm – 4:30pm (at the LATEST…if we’re done early, you can go home!!) 

Phone calls & emails are being sent to you this weekend, so please  help spread the word !!!

See you MONDAY !!!

Thanks for your hard work, Falcons !!!  Keep it up!!!

Hurricanes on PalmBreezeCAFE TV

Recent Weblog Posts - Tue, 09/15/2009 - 22:13

As we prepare to make our Public Service Announcements, our students are in the process of organizing their thoughts and creating Hurricane Preparedness brochures. Last week, I shared some interesting hurricane tracking sites with them and one of them has since become my latest favorite. The day I shared it with my class was also the day we taped our first show of the season for PalmBreezeCAFE (our web and tech local cable TV show). I decided to ditch what I had previously planned and show this site instead. Here I am with co-host, Lee Keller, showing the site from National Geographic.

In addition to the National Geographic site, some other useful sites are:

We Interrupt this Blog for this Public Service Announcement

Recent Weblog Posts - Sun, 09/13/2009 - 19:08

In class we are studying hurricanes and my students will begin to create preparedness brochures and Public Service Announcements. I think it will be a great learning opportunity for them to condense all they’ve learned and prepare a few points to share and help others. I’m not sure how familiar they are with PSAs but they most likely will have seen a Safety on the Internet PSA while watching TV. When I was really young, I can remember watching Smokey The Bear tell me that –only “I” could prevent forest fires.– That PSA actually had the unintended consequences of making me feel guilty because I wasn’t in the forest and I wondered who would prevent them if I wasn’t there.

After we spend a few minutes discussing what a PSA is, the students will be divided into small groups, storyboard their ideas, write a brief script and shoot their videos. I own two Flipcams and have asked my students’ parents if they have any they’d be willing to loan us for the project. At some point, I hope to raise some money to buy 5 or 6 for the classroom to do projects such as this.

Below is a PSA some of us might remember. Do you know of any PSAs and if so, what did you learn from them?

Reading Counts prizes!

Recent Weblog Posts - Wed, 09/09/2009 - 17:43

Reading Counts at Roosevelt Middle!  Students can win fanatastic prizes just by reading books and taking the quizzes. 

2009 Reading Counts prize winners!

The top student(s) from each grade level was awarded a Scholastic Books shopping spree!

Reading Counts grade level winners!

At the end of the year, there is a big pizza and prizes party for the top students in Reading Counts!

Reading Counts 2009 pizza-and-prizes party!

The participatingstudents were invited to the media center during school to enjoy pizza and popcorn and enter their names in the raffle.  

Reading Counts 2009 pizza-and-prizes party!

Last year the raffle prizes included two-way radios, portable DVD players, digital cameras, iPod shuffles, iPod nanos, iPod Touch and a blu-ray disc player.






What prizes would you like to see this year?  Raise your hand if you want one!

President Obama’s Back to School Message to Students

Recent Weblog Posts - Wed, 09/09/2009 - 11:43

On Tuesday, Septemnber 8th, President Obama spoke directly to students across the country on the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed.

The While House makes this video available directly at their website, but in order to conserve network resources a copy has been placed on the School District of Palm Beach County’s internal video server. You can view the entire video below.

In addition to the video of the President’s speech additional resources are available from the White House for inclusion in classroom lesson plans.

FIRST Parent’s Meeting

Recent Weblog Posts - Mon, 09/07/2009 - 11:47

Attention Parents!

You’re INVITED to our 1st Parent’s Meeting of the 2009-2010 school year!  Please come find out all you need to know to help your student become a successful singer of the Forest Hill Chorus!  Bring the Choral Dept. Handbook & Forms with you!  You will have the opportunity to get forms completed/notarized,        $$ turned in, and sign-up for the volunteer system through the district!

  • See you on TUESDAY, Sept. 8th, 2009 at 6:00pm in the Chorus Room                                                            
  • (right after the Disney Reh. # 2 for all chorus students!) 

See you soon!!!  Any questions, please call the choral dept. office at 540-2404.

Looking forward to meeting you!  Mrs. Phillips

What Has NASA Done For You Today?

Recent Weblog Posts - Sat, 09/05/2009 - 09:08

View of the shuttle from Boca Raton, FL.

The other morning, Lilly’s dad sent me this picture. It’s a view of the shuttle launch from his home. He took it using a 30 second exposure and a 300mm zoom lens. The picture got me thinking about the space shuttle and how we take for granted all that NASA does. It wasn’t too long ago that there was no space program. It was only 50 years ago that Dwight D. Eisenhower established NASA in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik.

When most people think of NASA, they usually just think of astronauts walking on the moon or flying in space shuttles. Did you know that NASA’s space programs have helped advance medical technology as well?

There’s a lot you can learn by visiting the NASA site. As a matter of fact, there’s an entire section just for students in grades K-8 with games and homework help, too! After you visit the NASA site, come back here and leave a comment. Did you learn anything new? Did anything surprise you? Did you find anything useful that you can use again in the future?


Recent Weblog Posts - Fri, 09/04/2009 - 15:54

There is a new way to find books in the media center- Destiny! In the past, you used WebCat to locate books, but that system no longer exists.  Now you will use Destiny.  Destiny is an online catalog that lists all the books found in the media center. 


Destiny is bookmarked on all of the computers in the media center and can be found in the favorites tab.  If you are not in the media center but you are at school, go to the school district of Palm Beach county’s website (www.palmbeach.k12.fl.us) and type the word destiny into the address bar to find the catalog.  You will have to choose Roosevelt Community Middle on the right column to get to the system.  If you are at home, go to the school district of Palm Beach county’s website and click on Learning Tools on the left side.  Then click on WebCat on the left side.  Choose Roosevelt Community Middle on the right column to get to the system.

Another great feature offered in Destiny is the ability to search online resources and titles found in the library at the same time!!  You can do this in the Power search.  Just type in your subject, check the box by online resources and Destiny will simultaneously search the Internet and the library catalog.

Using Destiny, you can see what books are available in our library and the other school libraries in Palm Beach county.  You can also see if that book is on Reading Counts!  Come into the media center today to tryout Destiny! What book will you look for first?!

Reading Counts at Roosevelt Middle School!

Recent Weblog Posts - Thu, 09/03/2009 - 16:12

This year it is even easier to score big with Reading Counts!  There are over 40,000 quizzes available.  With so many titles to choose from, it is simple to find a ton of books that interest you. 

In the media center, we are working hard to get all of the books on Reading Counts labeled.  These books are the ones with green stickers on the spine.  If you find a book that does not have a green sticker, it does not necessarily mean it is not Reading Counts.  It still could be a Reading Counts book. You can check to see if it is in the Reading Counts program using the computers in the media center.

Why Windows?

Recent Weblog Posts - Thu, 09/03/2009 - 06:56

One of the significant changes that will be coming to the Project SMaRT program this year is the introduction of the Windows operating system and the suite of digital design tools from Adobe Systems known as the Digital School Collection. There’s a simple reason why this is being done–to expand the reach of the program by making digital design software available to a larger group of teachers in our district.

Understandably, there’s been some worry on the part of program participants that we’ll be moving away from the Apple platform and the iLife series of products that you’ve learned to use over the past few years. While there will be additional opportunities to learn new software, it is not our intent to stop supporting Apple in any way. In fact, another component of what this project will be doing this year is increasing and expanding the support for Apple computers by fully incorporating them into our IT infrastructure.

Still, the fact remains that the standard desktop computer that all teachers have access to is a Dell computer running Windows, and that won’t be changing soon.

One of the tenets of the stimulus funds being offered this year is to make bold, strategic, system-wide changes that support the goal of preparing students for the modern workforce. Our district is embracing this goal through your participation in Project SMaRT in a number of ways. A key component of the work we need to equip you to do is to reach out to more teachers and share with them the skills and pedagogical underpinnings of the kinds of hands-on, digital projects that you’ve learned to employ in this project.

From the two charts below you see the effect that expansion to the Windows platform will have on the access that teachers have to these kinds of tools. While the 500 or so teachers involved in NCLB: EETT projects have had a significant impact on literally thousands of students, the total percentage of teachers who are using these kinds of tools remains low. By expanding to the Windows platform the program will be able to reach even more students and teachers as we go forward. (You can also see that we still have a long ways to go.)

In the ongoing discussion that SMaRT Ambassadors are having with members of the Educational Technology team we’re mapping out how things will progress this year with two big goals:

  • Continue to build individual capacity by training teachers on how digital design software can be used to support student learning
  • Build school-based capacity by developing a cadre of mentors and trainers who will work with their fellow teachers.

To achieve these goals we’ll need you to continue your own professional development and to begin thinking about ways you can share with your colleagues on your campus the great things you’ve been doing. By adding Windows and a standard package of digital design tools we hope to significantly expand the reach of the program and address the goals of the NCLB grant by making access to these kinds of tools widespread throughout our District.

Damon Weaver Interview

Recent Weblog Posts - Wed, 09/02/2009 - 15:12

Roosevelt Middle School Cuts Ribbon on New Building

Recent Weblog Posts - Wed, 09/02/2009 - 14:59
     After a year of bulldozers and hardhats, a student-designed robot cut the velvet ribbon that officially opened up Roosevelt Middle School’s newest building on August 12th.  Parents, staff, students, and local dignitaries were on hand to celebrate this event.  

Mr. Lockhart addresses parents, staff, students, and guests


     The building, which houses the sixth grade and the medical magnet, was a year-long project that afforded many mentoring opportunities for our engineering students. Mr. John Clayton of J.C. Square Consulting served as a liaison between the builders and the engineering students during the course of the year, and he also assisted in securing subcontractors for the project. Lockheed Martin also mentored students during the year and their representatives took on the role of mentoring the four students who were tasked with building the robot that cut the ribbon.

Mayor Frankel along with representatives from Lockheed Martin were honored guests

     Several speakers, including representatives from Pavorini Construction, Mayor Lois Frankel, Mr. Lockhart, and representatives from Lockheed Martin helped to commemorate this occasion. The highlight of the day, of course, was the ribbon cutting by the student-designed robot. Four students, Dakota C., Juan A., Fritz M., and Dylan K. worked with Lockheed engineers all summer to design an automated robot that would do the honors. The robot was controlled by romote control and completed its assigned task without a hitch.  After the ceremony, visitors were invited to tour the new facility.

The ribbon awaits


The moment of truth

The robot design team



How BrainPOP Impacts Student Learning

Recent Weblog Posts - Tue, 09/01/2009 - 16:35

In Palm Beach County we all (mostly) know and love the great curriculum resources provided by BrainPOP, and it’s companions–BrainPOP Junior and BrainPOP en Espanol. Our usage of these services is through the roof, and our teachers report over and over again how much they and their students love BrainPOP and the engaging content that the service provides.

Now, through a comprehenisive study conducted with our own teachers and teachers in New York City schools we can back up how we feel about BrainPOP content with a scientific study that measured the impact of BrainPOP on student learning gains. To say the results are striking would be an understatement.

Looking at the chart here you can see the differences in learning gains measured using the Stanford 10 diagnostic test. Students in the BrainPOP groups had substantially greater gains than those in the control groups where BrainPOP was not integrated into the curriculum. Reading from the Executive Summary of the BrainPOP Effectiveness Study conducted by SEG Research you learn that:

Students who were in classes that used BrainPOP showed substantial growth in Science, Language,
and Reading Comprehension and more moderate gains in Vocabulary, during the course of the
study. Students in classes using BrainPOP increased their SAT 10 Language scale-scores by 24
points, their Reading Comprehension scores by 17 points, their Science Scores by 17 points, and
their Vocabulary scores by 11 points (see Figure 1). Students received approximately 16-20 weeks
of instruction using BrainPOP, yet the amount of growth achieved is equivalent to between one and
two grade levels of growth when compared to the national sample of students
included in the
Stanford 10 norm group (Harcourt Assessment, 2002).(emphasis added)

In addition to the Executive Summary you can read the full, detailed Report on BrainPOP Effectiveness at this link.

A companion study conducted at the same time found that “the use of multimedia instruction can significantly enhance student learning if properly designed and implemented. BrainPOP uses animation, voice, characters, diagrams and more to motivate and engage learners in curricular topics. Read the full research paper – Understanding Multimedia Learning: Integrating Multimedia in the K-12 Classroom.

Our thanks to the teachers who participated in this study and to the great people at BrainPOP who gave our teachers instruction on its most effective use in the classroom. I had the pleasure of sitting in as Allisyn from BrainPOP Educator’s worked with our teachers to examine our benchmarks and demonstrate how lessons that support and enhance instruction can be found in BrainPOP’s library, and shared how she had used different kinds of content in her own classroom. The remarkable thing about the approach that the entire BrainPOP organization takes is how totally focused they are on creating authentic, fun, engaging learning experiences for kids. In a world run amuck with multi-media of all kinds, it’s often a tall order to get the attention of students and get them focused on your learning objectives. Based on this study, BrainPOP content does just that–engaging learning in the classroom in a way that leads to measurable gains.

Of course, no one, not even the folks at BrainPOP, claims that this kind of multi-media content engages every kind of learning, or is the best and only use of classroom computers. But clearly BrainPOP is far more than simply a modern-day version of the filmstrip if used as intended–as an awesome and fun (even!) curriculum add-on to get help kids get focused and excited (even!) about learning.

Want to sing on the Disney Taping…here’s what to do…

Recent Weblog Posts - Tue, 09/01/2009 - 11:47

Attention Chorus students !!!

In order to participate in the Disney Taping, you must do the following:

  • Attend TWO Rehearsals  (Aug. 31/men, Sept. 2/ladies, Sept. 8, Sept. 16?)
  • Turn in ALL FORMS-DUE-Friday, Sept. 11th
  • (Blue, Pink, & Green – yellow may be turned in at Potluck Dinner)
  • MANDATORY Disney Taping!

If you fulfill the requirements, you will be eligible to participate in the Disney Candlelight Processional !

Please stay on top of your responsibilities and get it done!   YOU CAN DO IT !!!! 


It’s Just a Game!

Recent Weblog Posts - Sat, 08/29/2009 - 18:11

Games are good for lots of things!

Sometimes you can learn a lot from playing games and sometimes games are just plain fun! I found this game site where some of the games are not only fun but will also really help you stretch your thinking. Try some then leave a comment and tell us which one you tried. Did you like it? Would you recommend it?

Check out Zoopz.com

Welcome Back, Falcons!

Recent Weblog Posts - Fri, 08/28/2009 - 20:18

Welcome all NEW & RETURNING Singers !!  I’m excited about another SUPERIOR year with the Forest Hill Choral Department!  Please share the blog information with parents and have them check periodically for upcoming news and events.  INVITE a FRIEND to come check out CHORUS !!!

Take the time to listen to the “practice music” page of the blog and get a head start on the music we will be rehearsing during the first month of school!  YOU CAN DO IT !!!

I’m looking forward to meeting parents at our FIRST Parent’s Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8th, at 6:00pm in the choral room.  INVITE Friends, Family, and Alumni to our upcoming Annual Potluck Dinner…more info. to follow…

Keep up the GREAT work, Falcons! 

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