Volume 16, Issue 2

January 2014

points of
 6th Grade
French Curriculum
 6th Grade
Clean Ups
 Join Around
the Block!
 Castle Learning
 New Year’s
 Computer
Hawk Supplies
 Rick Riordan
 Engage NY
 The History
of Christmas
 How to Prevent Bullying
 Intramural’s
 Fun Winter
 Maze
 Snow Swabs
 Glittery Window Clings
 Around the
 Northside
Honor Roll
 Winter
 Winter Wonderland Word
 6th Grade
 8th Grade
Winter Concert
 Chorus
 Changes to
ELA and
Math Curriculum
 Christmas
Around the
 Students
Should Receive Laptops
 Spirit Week
 What is
 The Independent
 Around the
Block Staff

Around the Block
Engage NY By: Mackensie

Engage NY is great website with many purposes for teachers, parents, and students. By going to this site you can learn many new things about what you will be learning this year. When you
get on the site many options pop up. You can look at common core curriculum and assessments,
parent and family resources, and if you go to the search you can look at your lessons for language a
and math.
What information can you find under each resource that pops up?
Common Core Curriculum and Assessments: If you click on this, then a common core menu and
latest updates will appear. The common core menu has many helpful and informational tabs to click
on. Some of the tabs that pop up are common core learning standards, common core implementation
resources, and common core 3-8 Ela and math tests and regents exams. By clicking on common
core learning standards a lot of information comes up. Files come up with rubrics for English Language Arts and Math. The English language art standards have 3 different types of rubrics for supporting research, text exemplars, and samples of students writing. Each rubric is different based on
grade level. However, the math standards have one rubric for each grade. By observing these you
can get a better understanding of where you should be with your education. Another tab on the common menu is grade 3-8 Ela and math New York state tests. By accessing this tab you can take practice New York state tests for any grade in ELA or Math. This can be beneficial when the New York
state tests come in April. This can help you be better prepared for either the ELA or Math tests. One
more option that pops up are the new common core regents exams. By going to either language or
math tabs you will see the purpose of the regents’ exams this year. For example, the purpose of the
math regents is to measure the academic growth for Algebra I, Geometry I, and Algebra II. However, the purpose of the language regents is to measure students reading and writing skills.
Parent and Family Resources: By allowing your family to access this site and look around you can
help them understand the expectations for your learning standards. They will learn about the expectations for reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, and math. Not only will they learn that
they will also learn about the changes with new Common Core Standards. They can understand this
by watching a series of videos based on the subject.
Search: If you go up to the top of the screen you will find the search bar. You can search anything
that you are questioning. If you are having a hard time getting to Engage NY Google will work just
as well. The best things about going to this site are that you can search your math or language modules for help. This is really good because for example, let’s say, you found out you lost your language worksheet and you need to do it for homework. You can go to the Engage NY site and go up
to the search bar. All you need to do is say whatever grade you are in, the subject, and what module
and what lesson you are on. An example, of how to put this is to; type in 8th grade language a module 1 lesson 8. When you type this in the screen will pop up with pdf files for the different modules
that are in that unit. By clicking on the right module you will find worksheets and other material that
will help you in learning. You can print out and practice with an of these resources.
In conclusion, Engage NY is a very helpful site for your education. By going to this site you
and your family can learn many things. You can learn about common core curriculum and assessments, resources for your family to look at, and your language a and math module. Understanding
your common core curriculum and assessments can allow you to be better prepared for units you
will be learning. Having your family get an understanding of the learning standards can help push
you to be the best you could be. Finally, searching your modules can help you if you missed a day at
school or lost a lesson worksheet. So, for more information go to www.engageny.com.

Page 2

Around the Block

6th Grade French Curriculum
By: Laurel and Otto

Northside Blodgett has two languages that students can choose from. That language
is what the student will learn for two years. This article will explain to all the readers what
the French curriculum is.
Otto Sutton and I interviewed Mr. Wright, one of the French teachers. We asked him four questions.
Monsieur Wright
What can French students expect from this marking period’s curriculum?
“This marking period we will finish the Family Unit, and we will start the School Unit after that.”
How will students benefit from this unit?
“The Family Unit will help with the basics of French. And the School Unit will help with more of the verbs
and some more French.”
Are you having fun teaching this unit?
Are your students having fun in French class?
“I believe they are. They seem to be.”
6th graders now know how Mr. Wright feels about being a French teacher and what will be in the
French units. Otto and I then interviewed Madame Moyer the next day. We asked the same questions.
Madame Moyer
What can French students expect from this marking period’s curriculum?
“French students in grade 6 are learning how to speak, read and write about their families, friends and school.”
How will students benefit from this unit?
“They will gain a lot of vocabulary they can use right away!”
Are you having fun teaching this unit?
“I LOVE the family/describing people unit.”
Are your students having a fun time learning this Language?
“My students seem to love French, we have an awesome class!”
Madame Moyer also seems to enjoy teaching students French. For those who do take French, I hope
you enjoy learning French from these wonderful teachers! I hope this also helped French students around the
school take a sneak peek into what they will be learning this unit.

Page 3

Volume 1, Issue 1

6th Grade Clean Ups
Are you interested in doing something good for your planet? Are you ever bored during recess with nothing
fun to do? Do you want to get your hands a little dirty? Ok that one probably ruined it for most of you.
Mostly because you will get your hands a little dirty if you do this! Do not worry though! We wash our hands
afterwards! What I am talking about is the 6th grade recess cleanup! If you read one of my articles in the last
edition you would know that a few students from the 6th grade Orange Team had cleaned up the recess area!
We accomplished many things! So are you interested in cleaning up? All 6th graders have a chance to do it
each month. From now on each month, one day the Orange side will clean up the recess area, then a different
day the Black side will clean up the recess area. I (Laurel) will be leading the Orange side days, and Lizzie
will be leading the Black side days. It not only helps the Earth, but it helps human beings in two ways. One,
by helping the Earth, we get to live in a much cleaner environment. And two, it gives us a safer environment
for recess. There have been a lot of plastic bags in the recess area during December, now that we’ll be getting
snow and wet weather, those plastic bags and papers will stick to one spot on the pavement, then the melted
snow will make them slippery, giving a greater chance of students to fall and hurt themselves. Thank you
very much for joining the Recess Cleanup if you have chosen to do so, it’s very much appreciated. If we start
now, the next generation will get to experience a better, cleaner world. It’s never too late to join! But the
more people the better!
By: Laurel

Join Around the Block!
Around the Block is the club that writes the school newspaper. This club is perfect for people who like to write! Here, we write
about courses, events, or activities that have happened or are going
to happen soon. Some of the articles that we have written are:
Northside Blodgett’s Transition By Irfaan
JOKES! By Lizzie, Aarthi, and Vanessa
Dia de los Muetos By Anna
Halloween Fun at Northside Blodgett! By Laurel
Thanksgiving Word Search and Northside Blodgett Maze By Gavin
Halloween By Claire
Sixth Grade Band By Lizzie
Sixth Grade Humanities By Emily
And more!
You can join us at any time of the year! If you would like to join, please talk to Mrs. Howe (Room
218) and take an Around the Block schedule in front of her room. Hope to see you here!
By: Ethan

Page 4

Around the Block

Castle Learning
By: Irfaan

Castle Learning is a website that provides learning opportunities for students in a wide range of subjects. Currently, Castle Learning is used in the 8th grade Biology/Science. It is a great way for students to review, study, and complete assignments. This online program proves itself to be useful for students and teachers
as it provides instant feedback. As a student who has used this, I find this resource very useful.
How can you access Castle Learning?
You can access Castle Learning through this web address:
https://www.castlelearning.com/corp/. An account is necessary for the use of Castle Learning. This school provides free access to Castle Learning for 8th Grade Biology/Science classes. Once one is given an account with
a username and a password, Castle Learning is up for use.
What does Castle Learning have to offer?
Castle Learning is a resource that provides a series of questions that go along with your current curriculum. All of the questions are multiple choice and once an answer is submitted, instant feedback is given, telling
if the answer is correct or not, and then providing an explanation of the answer. The concept of instant feedback is really helpful for students who have chosen an incorrect answer and do not understand why. Castle
Learning provides an extensive list of questions in a variety of subjects in all age groups. Subjects that are involved in Castle Learning include mathematics, social studies, science, English, and foreign languages.
Why is Castle Learning useful?
Castle Learning is a useful resource that can benefit the learning of students. One notable feature of this
program is that the questions that are provided are field-tested and have been questions that have resemble previous regents’ exams. Also, Castle Learning is partnered with Method Prep, noted for its test prep software for
SAT/ACT. This helps 8th graders going into high school get a head start for this important assessment. To
help the user, the format of the questions is worded in a way that provides the real experience of what to expect on a real exam. Another crucial feature that Castle Learning provides is instant feedback. When an incorrect choice is made, it does not try to discourage someone, but instead gives an explanation to the correct answer and makes it a positive learning experience. One does not have to wait until the next day to know their
grade on an assignment. Many students tend to feel nervous about asking a question so therefore they may not
always learn from what they did wrong. Castle Learning makes this experience more positive instead of stating
an answer is wrong without any explanation. Certain features like these make Castle Learning interactive and
From knowing what Castle Learning is about, you may want to consider using it soon. Though many
students first used Castle Learning in 8th Grade Bio/Science, it is never too late to start, the earlier the better!
Maybe you have an older sibling that has used Castle Learning and you can try it on their account. For more
information, visit the website at https://www.castlelearning.com/corp/.
“To combine 21st-century technology with proven educational principles, allowing teachers and administrators to empower every student to reach his or her full academic potential.”-Castle Learning’s Mission

Page 5

Volume 1, Issue 1

New Year’s Day
By: Elora
New Year’s is one of my personal favorite holidays. Right after
Christmas and right before we get back to school. Most people think that it is just a day to
celebrate the New Year by staying up late and watching the ball drop in NYC. Well you are
wrong, it is way more in depth than that, it is just scratching the surface.
The earliest form of New Year’s came in 2,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. So you can thank
the Mesopotamians for our New Year’s celebration even though their New Year’s was celebrated in mid-March, and not on the first of January. “The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter
solstice.” Read more: A History of the New Year | Infoplease.com http://
www.infoplease.com/spot/newyearhistory.html#ixzz2kYe4gfQu. The early Roman calendar
originally started on March first too as well. The only differences with the Roman calendar
and our calendar is that their calendar has 10 months and ours has twelve. Our calendar begins on January first and theirs starts on March first.
The first time that New Year’s started on January 1st was in 153 B.C. in Rome. The
month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C. when the second king of Rome declared that January and February would be added to the calendar. Then the New Year moved
from March to January the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls, who where the
highest officials of the Roman Empire. But the new date for New Year’s was not closely
watched and even now people celebrate it on March 1st.
The 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new solar-based calendar that was much better
than the old Roman calendar, because it was lunar instead of solar. He said that the Julian calendar would start on January 1st and that would be the New Year. Then January 1st began to
be observed as the start of the New Year.
In 1582 the Gregorian calendar was rewritten so that January 1st was the new New
Year’s date. The Catholic countries soon adopted the Gregorian calendar and it was gradually
adopted among the Protestant countries. The British did not adopt the reformed Gregorian
calendar until 1752. Until then, the British and their American colonies celebrated the New
Year on March first.
I hope that this has gotten you a better view on the New Year’s celebration and helped
you understand that New Year’s was not the same holiday that we celebrate today.

Information from Borgna Brunner, information:
please,http://www.infoplease.com/spot/newyearhistory.html, 2007, November 18 2013.

Page 6

Around the Block

Computer Technology: Hawk Supplies
The second unit of Computer Technology is Hawk Supplies. Hawk Supplies is full of math and typing. There are
the same Design Cycle stages as News that Matters, but Hawk Supplies is different. Hawk Supplies is not about making
newsletters and finding pictures, or making designs.
Hawk Supplies is full of math and is basically a virtual school store. There are many different things that you
must do in Hawk Supplies. You must use the same five Design Cycle stages, Investigate, Design, Plan, Create and
In the Investigate Stage there are seven things you must do. There is a design cycle checklist in which you describe the Design Cycle stages and you create a Design Specification and a Design Brief. Then there are two articles that
you can either read yourself or listen to on a recording. The fourth thing you need to do is select your virtual school
store’s location. You list five different locations, after that you find three negatives, and three positives about that location. Once you are done with that, you highlight the location you want your store to be in. The sixth thing is a supply
spreadsheet. You select 40 different products, sorting them into four categories of ten. Once you have done that, you
highlight 25 different products that you want in your school store. The seventh and last thing you need to do is list your
25 selected products and decide how many of that product you want to buy (the inventory). Once you are done with that
you open up step five of the Investigate Stage and you copy and paste Products Requirements onto the Products Requirements section if the requirements apply to the product. Then finally you must describe the product in a way that will get
people to want to buy the product. Once you have done that you move onto the Design Stage.
This time in the Design Stage, there are five steps you must complete. It shows up as five but three of them are
designs, yet two steps are not visible. The first step is to complete an “entrance ticket” (to show you can do the math
steps required to be successful in calculating profit for each product you have selected). After you complete that, you
must calculate the sale price for each of your 25 products. After you complete that step, you must choose one out of 3
catalog designs. You choose the one you like the best. Once you choose the catalog you like the most, you fill the catalog in with your 25 products. Once you have finished filling in your catalog you have to type an essay about why you
chose that catalog design. After that you have completed the Design Stage and are ready to continue on to the Plan
The Plan Stage has only two different steps! You can whizz right through it! The first step of the Plan Stage is
simple; you will decide on four different advertisements, typing a paragraph explaining how you will advertise that certain way. Once you have done that, you continue on to the second and final step. The next step is even simpler than the
first one! All you must do is list your needed equipment, the times you’re open, who will help you, where you will keep
your store when it’s closed, what you will do for customer service, what you will do for returns, what will happen when
a customer complains, what you will do for advertising, what you will do with the money and finally, what you will do
for when you lose or something damages your merchandise (frequency of completing inventory checks). On to the Create Stage!
The Create Stage is simple and fun! You use your plan that you created in the Plan Stage. You will create your
advertisements according to your plan. You will make however many advertisements you said in your plan, for example,
two a week, two a month, one a week, one a month and so on. Once you have finished your advertisements for the Create Stage, you are done and ready to move on to the Evaluate Stage!
The Evaluate Stage may be hard or easy, it depends on if you can think you are perfect or not, because this stage
is all about what you can do better on. Also, you must fill out a form that asks, “What was difficult and what was successful?” and “How can you improve your performance (how do I know when I am successful?). After that you need to
evaluate the Design Cycle, what it was like during the project. Once you have finished that, there are no more stages to
go to.
You have finished the project once you complete the design stage! Then you will get a final grade. Since this is
the last and second unit of Computer Technology you would not be doing Computer Technology again until seventh
grade. I hope this helped people who have not entered Hawk Supplies or even Computer Technology. This is not as thorough as the actual class so it does not have all of the details. Mrs. Howe, our wonderful Computer Technology teacher,
will teach you all you need to know, and is willing to help people who are in need of it. She is good at getting to everyBy: Laurel
one that needs help!

Page 7

Volume 1, Issue 1

Rick Riordan
By: Emily
In sixth grade language A we have been reading a book called The Lightning Thief by
Rick Riordan (Ryer’- dan) He is a bestselling author that started his career off with a bedtime story.
Rick Riordan was born in San Antonio Texas on June 5, 1964. All through his childhood he loved
reading especially about Greek mythology. His favorite book as a kid was Lord of the Rings, which he liked
so much that he read it around ten times. When he got into middle school he started to get interested in fantasy and science fiction. Eventually he liked mysteries in college.
Rick’s family was not very big but that did not mean that there was not a lot of talent. When he was
growing up he was an only child who had very creative parents. His mom was an artist and a musician, and
his dad was a ceramicist (which is someone who makes things out of clay.) Rick says that this was where
some of his inspiration came from.
Rick started to write in middle school and decided to hand in a story to be published but that didn’t
work out so well, and decided to hand in two new stories which were then published in a UTSA literary
magazine. Later he attended Alamo Heights High School where he really got into writing. He won third
place in a UIL writing competition, and worked as an editor for the school newspaper. While writing for the
school newspaper he got in trouble for making a secret newspaper that made fun of the schools losing football team. Rick Riordan later states that “the football team later egged my car”. Rick entered North Texas
State College because he wanted to be a guitar player, and that college had one of the best music programs.
When he realized he was not going to be “the next lead guitar player on the radio” he switched to the University of Texas in Austin. He later graduated with a double major in history and English. He then did his student teaching for the San Antonio Independent School District.
When Rick was in college he worked at a summer camp and that is where he got the idea for
Camp Half-Blood. He then worked at a middle school full-time in New Braunfels, Texas. Rick moved to San
Francisco with his wife and started to teach at Presidio Hill School and soon after had his two sons Haley and
Patrick. Later he moved back to San Antonio where he taught at Saint Mary’s Hall for a little over half a decade. After fifteen long years of teaching, Rick was awarded the Master Teacher Award. He then stopped
teaching altogether and decided to start writing full time.
Since Rick had taught Greek mythology every year he taught, he thought that it would be great to
write a book about it. He then started to write mystery novels for grownups. His books were successes and he
then turned to the genre, children’s fiction, when he started telling Haley, his son, bedtime stories about gods
and mythology. Haley was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and the only thing that interested him in
school was Greek mythology. He then started to ask Rick to tell him bedtime stories so Rick started telling
him about Percy and how he had to find Zeus’ lightning bolt.
After Rick was done with the story that lasted three nights he got a request from Haley to turn
it into a book. Rick found time to write the first book The Lightning Thief and made sure to give Percy the
certain conditions that his son had. The Lightning Thief was a complete success.
Today he lives with his wife, two sons, dog, and three cats. Rick enjoys writing books for
children as well as adults. Even though Rick writes for two different audiences he still believes that adults
and children both want to read a fast – paced, action packed book with characters that you form an emotional
bond with, like Percy.
"Biography." Rick Riordan. Web. 19 Nov 2013. <http://www.rickriordan.com/about-rick/biography.asp&xgt;.
"Rick Riordan." Teachers. Scholastic Inc. Web. 20 Nov 2013. <http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/contributor/

Page 8

Around the Block

Mrs. Moran’s Math Class
Geometry Project
By: Anna
A week before Christmas break, the seventh grade math teachers introduced a geometry project that we would be doing. First they told us that we must buy a 5x7” frame from any place
we could think of. Personally, I found it the easiest to get mine from the dollar store because it
just as good as any other frame and it’s a lot cheaper! It was gold with a bronze tint to it. After
everyone got their frames in, Mrs. Moran gave us a sheet to put the rough draft of our design
on. Since it is supposed to be a geometry project, we had to include in our drawings line segments, parallel lines, corresponding angles, supplementary angles and all that jazz. When we
finished our rough drafts, Mrs. Moran doubled checked everything and then that was when the real fun started! We took
the glass part out of the frame, cleaned it with glass cleaner
and placed the glass part over the rough draft so we could
trace the lines we made onto the glass with a black Sharpie
marker. We then had to wait for the lines to dry to prevent
from smudging when we color the shapes. We used colored
Sharpies to color the shapes in. For mine, I used warm colors
such as red, yellow and orange for the outside shapes and for the middle of the glass I used
cool colors such as blue, purple and green. After we colored the shapes in, we cut a 5x7” paper
and put in the back of the glass so that it would have nice back round. Finally, we put the glass
and paper in the frame and put the back of the frame on and marveled at our masterpieces!
They turned out amazing and everyone was very happy with how their project turned out. For
the future seventh graders out there, I hope you get the chance to make one of these. Not only
are they fun to make but they also give you some great practice with geometry. I hope you all
have a great rest of the school year, Tigers!

Page 9

Volume 1, Issue 1

The History of Christmas
Written by: Jadon
Ah, Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is filled with tons of sweet treats, snow,
decorations, and especially presents. Christmas is a well-known holiday normally celebrated every year on
December 25th.
Mesopotamian Influence
Some of our modern Christmas traditions date back 2,000 years ago to the birth of Christ, but many other
Christmas traditions actually date back to over 4,000 years ago to early Mesopotamia, like the twelve days
of Christmas, Yule log, giving out gifts, carols, holiday feasts, and bright fire light. Christmas traditions
were celebrated at the beginning of each new year to honor their chief god, Marduk. When winter arrived,
the Mesopotamians believed that Marduk would fight a battle with the monsters of chaos. To help Marduk,
the Mesopotamians would hold a festival. This festival was called Zagmuk, meaning the New Year’s festival
that was held for 12 days. At the end of the festival, the Mesopotamian king would go to the temple of Marduk and would die in order to assist Marduk with his battles. Many of the times, the Mesopotamians would
use what is called a “mock” king to keep their real king. This was a criminal who was dressed and treated
like the king. The “mock” king was slain, and the real king would be spared.
Persian, Babylonian, and Scandinavian Influence
Persians and Babylonians also celebrated festivals, which they called sacaea. Part of this festival included
the switching of places in the community. The slaves of Persia and Babylon would switch places with their
higher power (rulers), and they would be forced to obey the false ruler’s every command.
Meanwhile in Scandinavia, the Sun would vanish for long periods of time in the winter. There would be
scouts on peaks of mountains waiting around thirty-five days for the Sun to reappear. Once the Sun reappeared, there were celebrations and many festivals and there would be a huge feast eaten near a fire. These
celebrations were much like Mesopotamian celebrations.
Greek Influence
The Greeks had celebrations of their own, similar to Mesopotamian celebrations. The Greeks also created
something we still use today. That would be the slang ‘X-mas.’ Around the 16th century, the early Europeans began calling Christmas X-mas, using the first initial in Christ’s name. You may be wondering why
there is an X in X-mas. Well, this is because, in Greek, Christ is called Xristos, hence the slang, ‘X-mas was
Many other forms of Christmas celebrations began later in time, like the Christmas tree, which began
somewhere around the early 1800s. Make sure that, if a time machine is finally created sometime soon, that
you go back in time to thank the Mesopotamians for a ton of Christmas traditions that we still use today (if
they understand what you are saying).

Page 10

Around the Block

How to Prevent Bullying
By: Emily
Bullying is a serious matter that happens worldwide. You may not know that
there is a fine line between true bullying, and actions that are close to bullying. But both of these situations are
still are very hurtful and they could make you feel like your life is ruined forever.
The big question is what is bullying? Bullying is an aggressive behavior that is unwanted and is going
to be repeated over time. It usually consists of making threats, gossiping /spreading rumors, excluding people
intentionally and hurting someone physically or verbally on purpose.
There are many types of bullying, one is verbal. Verbal bullying includes teasing, threatening, mean
comments and taunting. There is also social bullying which includes leaving people out of a group, spreading
unwanted rumors, telling people not to be friends with someone else, and embarrassing people on purpose in
public. Physical bullying is also a form of bullying it includes rude gestures, stealing and/or breaking someone’s things, spitting on someone or something, tripping, pushing, shoving, punching etc.
The actions that may seem like bullying and are actually not are when someone says something that is
a one-time deal and will not happen again it most likely was on accident. I am sure once in your life you have
let something slip that you did not mean to and you felt bad about it and you weren’t going to do it again. Bullying also isn’t disagreements or arguments. If you get into a fight with someone and you are disagreeing with
each other all of the time, it does not mean it is bullying unless it gets physical or if someone starts doing
things that are in one of the categories above.
If bullying does occur then you should tell an adult right away. It doesn’t matter what adult you tell, for
example you could tell Mr. Pronti or Mrs. Scudder or one of your teachers, or even your parents, but don’t
wait because the longer you wait the worse the situation will get. The teachers are there to stop the bullying
and they don’t encourage it.
Also you are being a bully if you witness bullying and you watch it happen but don’t say anything.
This is being a bystander, and the people who see the bullying happen, and egg the bully on and/or don’t tell
any one about the bully, than they didn’t stop the bullying and it is most likely going to continue. If you tell a
teacher or an adult than you can possibly get the adult to the scene in time to stop the incident.
Together we can stop bullying by reporting bullies and speaking up for the ones getting bullied.
A symbol of all the people that are trying to do this, is the banner hanging outside of the library.Everyone who
signed their name took an oath to try and stop bullying. So next time you see bullying or someone is bullying
you,you should report it to an adult and we may be able to stop bullying all together .

"What is bullying." stopbullying.gov.Web. 11 Dec 2013. <http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-isbullying/index.html>.
"What is a bully." For Kids. Web. 11 Dec 2013. <http://www.kzoo.edu/psych/stop_bullying/for_kids/
"What is bullying." National Centre Against Bullying. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Web.
12 Dec 2013. <http://www.ncab.org.au/whatisbullying/>.

Page 11

Volume 1, Issue 1

By: Elora

By: Michael
Do you want to have a lot of fun before school starts? If you do, Intramurals will be a great thing for you; you get to play any sport you want till half way and then you play a game
called Bombardment. Intramurals is really fun.

Intramurals happen every week for every grade. 8th grade is on Tuesday, 7th grade on Wednesday,
and 6 grade on Thursday. It starts at 6:55 and ends at 7:50, kids really like it and “Mrs. Wilsoncroft said “It
is a great way to start the day”. It also helps stimulate your brain to get ready for all of your classes. Some
very popular games in Intramurals are knock out, basketball, football, and volleyball. At the half way mark
of Intramural's you play a game called Bombardment, basically you have to get everybody out or knock
down the two basketballs. Getting people back in is pretty simple all you have to do is make a basket. The
entrances for Intramurals are the old 8th grade band entrance so you do not get mud on the floor so the janitor
does not get busy cleaning up after students to much. If it is past 7:30 you have to use the main entrance.
Another reason for the old 8th grade band entrance is the teachers do not want kids to go to their lockers and
not wander into classrooms and disturbing teachers. Also Intramurals is a great way to start the day.
Intramurals is really enjoyable and a lot of kids enjoy it. Also Mrs. Wilsoncroft has a couple of pretty
serious rules while you have fun. One rule is if you take a ball out you have to put it away, that rule is there
because in the past kids have tripped on the equipment have brock injured themselves. The last rule is HAVE
FUN! These rules are serious but you can still have a lot of fun while you exercise. A lot of kids would recommend Intramurals to every single kid in this school.
I would really recommend Intramural's because I truly enjoy it and I know you will enjoy it too. If
you like to play sports Intramural's is a great thing for you, that is why I would recommend it.

Page 12

Around the Block

Fun Winter Crafts
By: Elora
Do you love to do Crafts? Do you think it is fun to get a little messy and make something cute, cuddly, or winter themed? If you answered yes to either of these questions then this article is for you. Below you will find all
sorts of fun crafts that are themed on the cold but fun winter wonderland.
Sparkling ice Crystals
What you will need:

12 inch white pipe cleaners
Clear sunburst beads
Needle and fishing line
White pom –poms

The Steps:


Cut 6 pipe cleaners in half to get 12 pipe cleaners
Hold 11 pieces together and lightly wrap the 12th pipe cleaner around the middle of the bundle. Twist
the ends to secure the 11 pipe cleaners in place.


Spread the pipe cleaner pieces into a starburst shape and thread about five beads onto each pipe cleaner
as shown in the picture.
Using the needle thread the pom-poms on the fishing line, then tie the snow flake to one end of the line.


This craft was from http://spoonful.com/crafts/sparkling-ice-crystals

Page 13

Volume 1, Issue 1

By: Gavin


Page 14

Around the Block

Snow Swabs
By: Elora
What you will need:
 18 cotton swabs
 Cardboard and plastic wrap
 Tacky glue
 Glitter
 Monofilament line
How to make it:
1. To create one, first create a work surface by covering a large piece of card board with plastic wrap
2. For each snowflake, arrange 18 cotton swabs as shown.
3. Squeeze a small amount of tacky glue where the ends of the swabs meet.
4. Sprinkle glitter and let the snowflakes dry overnight.
5. Carefully peel each flake from the plastic
6. Collect and return the excess glitter to its container. Hand up your snowflake with a monofilament line.
Craft is from http://spoonful.com/crafts/snow-swabs by Chrissie Rouse

Glittery window Clings
By: Elora
What you will need:

Paper and Pencil
Cookie sheet
Waxed paper
Dimensional fabric sheet
Fabric Paint

How you make it :
1. Draw a snow flake template
2. Lay the template face up on the cookie sheet and cover it with waxed paper
3. Using a thin line of the fabric paint trace the snowflake design on the waxed paper as shown, making sure
all of the paint lines connect. Let the window cling dry overnight, and then carefully peel it from the waxed
Well that is all we have time for today. I’ll keep you posted on some cool crafts. Until next time keep warm
and have some hot chocolate.

Page 15

Volume 1, Issue 1

Around the Block
By: Elora

Do you like to write and talk about school events and research articles that
are happening in school or relate to school? Well then Around the Block is just right for you.
Around the Block is our school newspaper and it is so much fun and it gets you better at typing, social activity, and making new friends. We have four issues for one year and the first issue has already come. You can write about almost anything, but it has to be appropriate and
not insulting to any teachers or students.
Do you like Around the Block some people ask, well…here are the results:
Do you like Around the Block?
Irfaan said,“ Yes, I do like Around the Block as a fun and innovative extracurricular activity
after school here at Northside Blodgett Middle School.”
Laurel said, “Yes , I do.”
Claire said, “Yes, I do.”
Lizzie claimed, “Certainly!! It’s like, the best after-school program EVER!”
Vanessa said “I love it, coming after a hard day at school and just sitting down and writing.
That to me is fun!”
What do you like about Around the Block?
Irfaan said that “I really enjoy the idea of just expressing my thoughts on certain topics without the stress of being graded and instead having a relaxed experience.”
Laurel said, “I like Around the Block because I had really thought about becoming a journalist once I grow up! Working with the computer is like working on a typewriter and the Computer Technology room becomes a newsroom! I love to type and the newspaper gives me a
chance to show what I type to everyone who reads the Around the Block newsletters!”
Lizzie said, “I love Around the Block because I love to write, and I’ve always dreamed of
having my writings published… and it happens at the end of every marking period! It’s a
dream come true!”
Claire said, “I love to type and I will love to have something I wrote in a newspaper”
Why does Mrs. Howe run Around the Block?
“Actually it was already a newspaper club and since I was a computer technology teacher it
was thought that I could keep it running, students would be able to produce quality looking
articles that were created through the use of technology”.
So I think that after you have heard some of the student’s answers to my questions I would
like to think that you would want to join Around the Block!

Page 16

Around the Block

Marking Period 1
Clara Allen, Erin Austin, Darien Beall, Nicolas Burdick, Kiely Caulfield, Agastya Chaturvedi,
Talia Christiansen, Emily Curreri, Riley Davis, Seika Dingel, Elora Ferrie, Elon Friends,
Jadon Geathers, Artem Goncharov, Elizabeth Green, Sarah Hill, Elizabeth Hogrefe, Seth
Hogue, Alex Hoover, Jerry Hou, Ninog Jouanno, Ethan Kang, Vanessa Kelly, Robert Kesterson, Erik Kopf, Joseph Kowalski, Aarthi Krishnakumar, Abigail Landolf, Todd Lu, Claire Mason, Hannah Mealy, Chase Merrill, Morgan Miller, Jonathan Morse, Abdoulaye Ndiaye,
Mikko Neukirch, Joseph Ott, Lorren Perry, Matthew Reif, Sadie Sharkey, Laurel Shaut, Siobhan Stone , Otto Sutton, Olivia Tanneberger, Alyssa Tenny, Ericka VanAlstine, Isaac VanEtten, Kade Wakefield, Olivia Youngman
Grant Barnes, Adam Brewer, Madeline Burns, Marissa Carlineo, Megan Colman, Gavin
Corey, Hayley Cornish, Becca Cramer, Morgan Cutler, Chloe Drehmer, Edward Gigliotti,
Charles Hale, Collin Hauptman, Zachary Heckart, Michael Hennessy II, Saege Holleran, Kurtis Hooey, Nicole Johnson, Willow Jones, Marlea Krause, Dallas Lamagro, Jasmine Langdon,
Lexis Maurer, Connor McIntosh, Taylor Mitchell, Brenna Remchuk, Jacob Riker, Craig Russell, Caleb Savona, Adelle Silvers, Paige Sinn, Dalton Smith, Roy Springer-Kessler, Michael
Stansfield, Margaret Stiker, Mianna Stratton, Kobe Terwilliger, Emily VanDelinder, Carley
VanZile, Cyrus Walker, Jacob Whittier, Silas Wieland
Isabella Aiken, Jonathan Arnedo, Emily Brarens, Austin Callahan, Alissah Carmack, Sladen
Cobb, Jakob Cole, Lyndsay Crane, William Edwards, Faith Good, Kaiyia Heard, Alexander
Hevey, Faith Kollhoff, Natasha Matusick, Montana Nichols, Juliann Preston, Jayonna Reeves,
Arianna Sardo, Makenzie Tarby, Madison Tholen, Alexander Timmerman, Aidan Vichinsky,
Warren Wheeler, Kayla Wood

Page 17

Volume 1, Issue 1
Marking Period 1

Lauren Beall, Taylor Bennett, Lindsey Butler, Danielle Cohen, Talia Cole, Sydney Crouch,
Michael Daigler, Zoe Dessoye, Alexis Durkin, Jacob Freeland, Sara Frutos, Ariana Gleason,
Taras Goral, Ashley Halm, Brooke Jackson, Hodrin Kamnang, Anna McKane, Katherine
McKane, Logan McNaney, Brittney Millhollen, Isabelle Murch, Logan Olmstead,
Riley Olmstead, Rachel Plumley, Nikitha Reddy, Lucas Rossington, Grace Scouten, Anna
Smith, Damon Smith, Gabriella Stalter, Mercedes Sullivan, Alexis Swan, Nicholas Sweet,
Sean Tovey, Erin Tucker, Westley Williams, Ted Xie, Camden Zaidel, Adam Zingler
Lauren Ball, Trinity Ball, Emma Brown, Logan Bunch, Jeanette Butler, Brooke Calkins,
Trevor Carmack, Kaylee Castellana, Alexander Clark, Bionca Conklin, Kaitlyn Crandall,
Samuel Dickerman, Sydney Eighmey, Kayla Farley, Amanda Flick, Stephon Folk, Alexander
Ford, Makenna Gadsden-Cornell, Jordan Haggard, Jaden Harris, Dillon Herritt, Brendyn
Hogue, Kelly Hoyt, Izeiah Jones, Rebakah Knarr, Kayla Kollhoff, David Litreal, Bailey
MacAuley, Vasu Maisuria, Mariposa Maxim, Hannah McConnell, Emily McIntosh, Christina Mizzoni, Austin Parrish, Logan Remchuk, Cheyenne Ribble, Madison Rigby, Amaya
Robinson, Paige Serdula, Courtney Smith, Kate Smith, Emma Stanton, Nicholas Theurich,
Skylar Treadwell, Jessica Turner, Aaron VanHouten, Noah Walker, Keone Wallace, Sydney
White, Kaitlyn Wilson, Alexis Wright
Meghan Bodkins, David Brockway, Storm Bunevitch, Hzyll Vhnn Calunsag, Shane Gipson,
Alexandrya Hamilton, Jacob Hofstetter, Kelly Jones, Gabriel Kio, Kenneth Kittleson,
Cameron Laughlin, Gabrielle McLean, Mercedes Morse, Alex Simmers, Jacqueline Smith,
Alexander Taylor, Brandon VanGorden, Emma Webster, Alisa Willis, Aaliyah Wraight

Page 18

Around the Block

Marking Period 1
Emily Austin, Lindsay Bagley, Monica Fadul, Mackensie Galusha, Connie Hou, Colin Hurlburt, Samuel Kelly, Irfaan Khan, William Kopf, Divya Krishnakumar, Conner Lin, Roger Liu,
Katherine Mertus, Julia Meteer, Tessa Neukirch, Trevor Prutsman, Erin Shaut, Anthony
Smaldone, Jacob Tober, Karigan Wright
Jordan Allen, Nicholas Allen, Julia Ballance, Kellan Beall, Shiloh Boris, Natalee Bostwick,
Ryan Burns, Danielle Butler, Mikayla Callahan, Cian Collins, Ashley Colman, Britton Cook,
Giovanni DelGrosso, Chelsea Dignen, Ken Dingel, Evan Doherty, Kayla Dundas, Christopher
Durkin, Michael Frankie, Cairo Gaona, Dominique Gunn, Hunter Haley, Kezia Hatch, Dominic Hauptman, Trevor Henneman, Jennifer Hill, Jonathan Hodge, Emryn Hogue,Samuel
Hong, Kaori Irie, Olivia Johnson, Ivan Jubilee, Dylon Kizis, Gina Landry, Greta Lorey, Logan
Maurer, Sage Mayer, Taylor Mayhew, Asha McManus, Matthew Messecar, Bailey Nellis,
Katherine Ott, Fuller Perry, Tanner Saunders, Jocelyn Sawyer, Deven Serdula, Alec Gabriel
Sharkey, Isabella Sherwood, Brienna Shimkanin, Jacob Smith, Pranav Tandon, Devon Tubbs,
Emily Walters, Ryan Ward, Brenna Wilson
Zachary Bingaman, Justin Black, Mitchell Bliss, Kristine Brown, Jacob Bruner, Sabrina
Cordero, Jacob Dann, Istvan De Angelis, Michael Gardiner, Alyssa Hallock, Austin Kniffin,
Scott Magruder, Sydney Meeker, Gabrielle Moshier, Jahra Paquette, Joseph Rogers, Keegan
Smith, Laura StempinNina Thomas, Nolan Williams

Page 19

Volume 1, Issue 1

Winter Snacks
By: Elora
Mm the smell of hot chocolate and cookies are filling the room with fun. If these treats don’t have your mouth drooling then I don’t know
what will.

Hot Chocolate
What you will need:
6 cups of whole milk
Chocolate Sauce
Whipped Cream
4 ounces chocolate shavings or smaller pieces
How to make it:
Heat the milk until it simmers and whisk in chocolate
Pour into individual cups and serve with whipped cream.
Serve with chocolate shavings on top.
This recipe was found on http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/hot-chocolate-recipe/index.html By: Alex

Chocolate Covered Snow Peaks
What you will need
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups dark chocolate chips
Special equipment: piping bag, medium size round tip
How it is made:
Pre-heat oven to 225o F and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper
In a bowl blend egg whites on medium until they become foamy
Add tartar and turn up speed to medium until fluffy.
Add sugar gradually, while whisking, so it incorporates in to the whites slowly without collapsing them.
Once all the sugar has been added add vanilla and increase the speed on high until meringue
is firm or glossy (5 to 7 minutes).
Place meringue into piping bag with medium tip
Pipe tear sized meringues by the peak and place in oven(bake for an hour)
Melt chocolate in microwave on medium for 30 seconds
Dip the base in chocolate and let them dry and set over night.

Page 20

Around the Block

The Neelys’ Butter Cookies
By: Elora
What you will need
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon fine salt
3 ½ sticks (14 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ¼ cups of confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
How to Make
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle and attachment on medium until fluffy and light.
Add sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
Reduce speed and slowly add in the flour and salt mixture.
Mix this on low speed until together and smooth.
Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap.
Cut dough into quarters then wrap each in a piece of plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
Remove dough from fridge and let it soften slightly.
Using a rolling pin dusted with flour to roll out one of the dough quarters (roll till ¼ of ½ inch thickness).
Cut cookies to the desired shape
Put the cookies into a baking sheet about 1 ½ inches apart.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. baking sheets should be 9-by -13-inch baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake the cookies until they are light around the edges about 8-12 minutes.
Cool briefly on cookies sheets then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
For more winter recipes like this one goes to http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/theneelys-butter-cookies-recipe/index.html . This recipe was made by the Neely’s

Winter Fables By: Elora and Claire
Winter is almost over and the cold is still nipping at your nose. So come and enjoy these
wonderful fables, they are sure to make you laugh, have chills, and smile. So read on and discover
these winter fables.
The first fable is the ant and the grasshopper, a story about a grasshopper that was too lazy to get food
early and waited till the last second to collect food. The ant was well prepared and collected food early and
was fine in the winter. But grasshopper on the other hand was starving, because it did not collect any food. So
the grasshopper asked the ant to share food with him. The ant said yes, but only if the grasshopper would learn
his lesson and collect his own food for the next winter.
The next fable is about winter itself. Winter is the mother of Bigby Wolf and his brothers. Winter was a
caring and good mother and Bigby respects her very much, but he was unhappy when his father Mr. North left
Winter, because she loved and devoted to him even to the moment of Winter’s death. Winter’s memory lives
on through her daughter Snow and Bigby’s daughter, named Winter after Bigby’s mother.

Page 21

Volume 1, Issue 1

Winter Wonderland Word Search
By: Faith

Page 22

Around the Block

6th Grade Humanities Project
By: Emily

The 6 graders have been studying Ancient Rome and the sixth grade
teachers decided that instead of taking a test we had to make a poster and
present it to our class for something different to do. This counted as a test
grade, so if we get a bad score it would count as 60% of our overall grade.
We first had to do research on Ancient Rome. We had read for about
2-3 weeks on the Romans and what their life was all about. This counted as
our research. We then had to pick a partner. The teachers made it clear that we should not pick
our friends because we would probably end up talking and not getting much work done. After
we had picked our partners the teachers told us what we needed to do for our project.
We would need to include four sections or panels. One of the panels would need to talk
about Ancient Rome’s geography, another about their government, another about their legacies
and lastly one of our choice. This could be on anything that we learned about the Romans, like
their architecture or about certain rulers.
My partner and I decided that we were going to do what the poor Roman’s life was like
and what the wealthy Roman’s life was like. Next we decided that we should not just go ahead
and write on the poster without knowing what exactly we wanted to put on it, so we wrote out
our plans. My partner made one and I made one as well. We then merged our ideas together
and wrote lightly on our poster to make our layout.
We then started to write our “script”. When I say script I mean, what we were going to
write on our poster. This was not very hard for us since we already had lots of notes from our
reading so we just combined them and put them in our own words.
We decided that we liked how our layout looked so we went over it with sharpie to make
it look darker. We then printed out our pictures that had to relate to the topic we were talking
about for our sections, and laid them on our poster where we wanted them. We wrote our four
facts and captions from our “script” onto our poster with pencil just in case we made mistakes
(which we did). After we had our words in the places we wanted them to be, we made sure that
our pictures were the spots we wanted them to be as well. We then went over them with
sharpie so it would be easier to see. After this we glued on the pictures and we were almost
We then made one last check over everything. We signed our names and started to think
about how we were going to present our poster. We decided on doing them by sections I would
do government and wealthy vs. poor and my partner would do geography and legacies.
It was then time to present, after my partner and I had presented we watched the
other groups go and they all did a great job with their posters and presenting. Overall everyone
worked very hard and it was a fun project to do instead of sitting down and taking a test.

Page 23

Volume 1, Issue 1

8th Grade Band Winter Concert
By: Mackensie
On December 19 , before winter break the 8th grade band and chorus had their winter concert. This concert was very special because it was
the last ever winter concert that will happen in Northside Blodgett. At 7:00 pm the concert
started with the band doing their five different musical compositions. Before we played Mrs.
Harpster talked about how proud of the band she is and how she can’t wait until everyone
hears the songs we have to play. Then afterwards we played our first song Joyance. Followed
by applauses, came the next song a piece called Rythmos. As you can probably tell by the title this piece, that it was full of different rhythms played by each section, which combined
into a fun song to hear and play. Then, the band played a slow and beautiful piece called Gettysburg. Gettysburg is a song from the motion picture movie called Gettysburg. One of my
favorite pieces played was Wizards in Winter. Wizards in Winter was a fast, fun, and entertaining piece to play. If you were at the concert you might have recognized this piece because
it is performed and written by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The final piece played by the
band was called Adventum. because Adventum was a medley of the Christmas songs, O
Come, O Come Emmanuel and the Ukrainian Bell Carol. It started with O Come, O Come
Emmanuel a slow, beautiful song then transitioned to Ukrainian Bell Carol which is a louder
and faster song. The band did an amazing job performing their pieces and Mrs. Harpster did
an amazing job conducting, it was a great concert.

Hot, hot ooooo we got it (right shoulder bop, roll, and drop). This was
a song all 6th, 7th and 8th grade chorus students sang from the Polar Express,
with choreographed moves by Mrs. Bryson for their winter concerts.
The 6th graders for their concert sang The Bells Of Christmas Medley,
Beautiful December, Hot Chocolate and Chantez Alleluia. The Bells of Christmas Medley is
a medley of songs including some of Carol of the Bells (ding-ding-a-ding), I Heard The Bells
On Christmas Day, Gloria, and a variation of Jingle Bells. Beautiful December is about how
beautiful the month of December is, the snow falling and how quiet it is. Hot Chocolate is in
the Polar Express when the waiters come out with cups of Hot Chocolate and the engineer is
singing. Chantez Alleluia is French for “sing alleluia”. Parts of the song say “chantez une nouvelle chanson” which means sing a new song, “une chanson” which means a song, “vous”
means you, “joyeux” means happy, “chantez” which you could probably tell means sing,
“alleluia” is alleluia, “une nouvelle chanson une chanson joyeux chantez vous une chanson” a
mouthful to say, means a new song a merry song you sing a song, and “chantez chantez vous”
means sing you sing.
By: Claire

Page 24

Around the Block

Changes to ELA and Math Curriculum
By: Irfaan
At Northside Blodgett, the curriculum for Language A and Mathematics has been
changed to meet the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). As you may have noticed, the
curriculum has been organized differently such as the use of modules and lessons to convey
content. Unlike the previous years, this new curriculum has taken a new step that allows students to work towards becoming college ready. With differences and changes in the new curriculum, it has drastically changed our views on certain topics in mathematics and certain elements in literature. Again, these changes were made to fit the Common Core Learning Standards. From last year; New
York State tests have been considerably different from previous state tests. Its difficulty has increased due to
the Common Core Learning Standards. This has now taken effect in our curriculum in Mathematics and
Language A.
How do the Common Core Learning Standards have an effect?
Common Core Learning Standards set a basis for the state tests and now our new curriculum. If you
do not know, the Common Core Learning Standards are standards that are internationally-benchmarked and
are evidenced-based. They are a set of expectations that all students should learn and be able to follow.
These expectations are to aid students’ paths into college and career readiness. Many schools in New York
including Northside Blodgett are implementing these standards into their teachings. There are twelve instructional shifts, or changes required by the Common Core. These shifts take place in curriculum materials and
classroom instruction. ELA/Literacy and Mathematics each have six shifts that help students prepare for the
state tests. The state tests revolve around these shifts. The shifts for ELA/Literacy include a balance of informational and literary texts, solely text-based questions, test intricacy correlating to grade level, substantial
evidence from the text, and the testing of vocabulary directly and indirectly. Shifts in Mathematics include
focus, coherence, fluency, deep understanding, application, and dual intensity. These shifts in ELA and
Mathematics increase the overall difficulty of the state tests and push the standards higher. Since the Common Core Learning Standards are changing, the NYS tests and our curriculum are changing.
What are some differences in terms of the curriculum in Language A?
From the CCLS, there are numerous differences that take place. With Language A, organization has
changed. The new curriculum is divided into modules, units, and lessons. Modules are intended to last a
marking period. This year, modules in Language A generally go with a novel to read. All the curriculum for
each module revolves around the novel meaning that most of the lessons will involve learning a concept by
reading through the novel and analyzing it critically. Along with the novel, there are separate informational
texts that connect with the novel whether it is an article that describes real events that the novel may take
place in. These complementary resources are used to help us students to form a strong base with background
information that may be used in later lessons and assignments. Throughout the module, there are mid-unit
assessments and end-of-unit assessments. Each unit contains a number of lessons that are intended to prepare
for these assessments and especially the end-of- module assessment. The end-of-module assessments are
usually reflections of what students learned in the form of an essay. As an 8th grade student, I have noticed
particular differences in Language A class. Aside from organization, I have realized that certain lessons contain concepts and ideas that we may have worked with before in previous years are now in a different format.

Volume 1, Issue 1

Page 25

The use of Quickwrites have been used near the beginning of the module which are basically paragraph responses. In eighth grade, we have been taught an acronym, APES. This APES
method helps us remember to answer in a complete sentence, provide three examples, explain
each example, and to summarize when writing Quickwrites. It is a different way to look at writing
a paragraph response instead of the usual beginning, middle, and end format. I have also noticed
that the use of evidence is stressed clearly and repeatedly in the assignments. Taking evidence
from the novel and the informational texts has been a majority of the assignments. As I have
learned, evidence has been used to prove many ideas such as character, plot, symbolism, and especially
themes. The use of evidence has been strongly integrated in this year's curriculum, while previous years did
not enforce the use of evidence as much. With evidence, analysis of particular words or sentences have been
devoted for a single lesson. This was not present in any of the curriculum for previous years. Looking into the
deep roots of the text and the ability to interpret critically has increased our spectrum in ELA. Changes like
these describe possible ways that may improve students' ability to be successful in class and the NYS tests that
approaching us this spring.
What are some differences in terms of the curriculum for Math?
Similarly to Language A, many changes have been made in the curriculum for Math. A major difference from this year compared to previous years is that there is no textbook. Instead, there are modules that are
divided into lessons with mid-module and end-of-module assessments. As an 8th grade student who takes honors classes, I currently take Algebra Common Core instead of Integrated Algebra which the 8th grade students
who were in honors last year took. One major difference is that the curriculum at times is more abstract. Since
the curriculum this year revolves around real-life situations instead of step-by-step processes, there is more
interpretation. With more interpretation, there can be more than one correct answer as long as the response can
be justified using logical reasoning and calculations. This interpretation gives us students a purpose to learn
certain ideas and concepts because it allows us to reflect on what we have learned and how to apply that
knowledge to a real situation. As mentioned, justifying and explaining one's answer has been stressed more
this year. It is one thing to get a correct answer, but how you get an answer and how that response applies to
the problem has been a focus throughout the lessons. Most questions do not have a straightforward answer or a
single step answer as a result of more interpretation and justification. The way we go through the lessons is
similar to an extended word problem that is broken down and more thorough. In previous years, students
would learn a topic by looking at a clear step-by-step explanation in a textbook and then do exercises of a topic
like adding fractions that may involve occasional word problems. In these current lessons, there are instances
where there are no direct explanations and students must respond to questions that will lead to the steps of a
process to such as finding a standard deviation for a set of statistical data without telling any mathematical formula. With each module, the majority of the lessons focus on one idea. In 8th grade honors, the first module
consists of concepts related to equations and the second module consists of concepts related to statistics. As
these changes occur, we realize that these changes have been made to make students including myself become
more successful and help us prepare for NYS tests and exams in the spring.
What does this mean for us?
The Common Core Learning Standards have influenced our new curriculum, resulting all these
changes and differences to our learning. As a school, students should not lose focus and concentration due to a
change in their learning. Instead, we should work even harder and try to make the best of our learning by putting in our greatest effort. With this mindset, we should be able to be able to become successful students as we
prepare for the NYS state tests and for our futures.
For more information, visit http://www.engageny.org/ to learn more about CCLS and ELA/Mathematics curriculum.

Page 26

Around the Block

Christmas Around The World
By: Aarthi
From America to China, every culture has a different way of celebrating Christmas.
Around the world Christmas is celebrated n many different ways, but the true meaning
of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Canada: In Canada, Christmas is one of the main holidays. On Christmas Eve in Canada,
families dine on a traditional roast turkey with a side of Garlic sauce. And for dessert: Christmas pudding, Brandy Sauce, Mince Pies, and a mixture of chopped dry fruit. In Quebec, people display detailed Crèches or nativity scenes in their homes. Families are served Tourtiere or
Pork Pie. In Nova Scotia during the twelve days of Christmas, Masked Mummers visit local
neighborhood for candy and sweet treats, ringing bells and making noise. The host (person
who opens the door) tries to guess who is behind the mask, and if they guess right the Mummer removes their masks and stops making noise. If the child behind the mask was a good
child in the past year they receive candy from the host.
China: In China, children decorate Christmas trees with flowers, chains and lanterns made of
paper. They hang Muslin stockings in hopes that the Christmas Old Man will fill them with
treats and goodies. Chinese Christmas trees are called the tree of light. Santa Clause is called “
“Dun Che Lao Ren”
Russia: In Russia, the celebration of Christmas is actually the celebration of winter, but some
Christmas traditions are still being followed. In a Russian Christmas, prayers are recited and
people sometimes fast until January 6th which is Three Kings day. Some fast for 39 DAYS! On
Christmas when the first evening star appears in the sky, a twelve course meal begins consisting of: fish, beef soup, cabbage stuffed with millet, cooked dry fruit and other delightful
Great Britain: On the night of Christmas Eve, children hang up their stockings at the ends of
their beds or near the chimney so when Father Christmas comes he will leave the something.
On Christmas morning families open their presents and prepare for a big feast. The meal begins with a toast followed by the popping of crackers. A plum pudding is served with treasures
inside, the first person to find their treasure gets good luck in the coming year. After the meal,
families sit down for a Christmas speech from the British Monarch.
America: Santa Claus was born in the US in the 1860's He was named this because he had a
white beard and a belly, so he was named Santa Claus as this was the Dutch word for St Nicholas, Sintaklaas. Although the Dutch had bought him with them in the 17th century, he did not
become an important person at Christmas until the Novelist Washington Irving put him in a
novel that he wrote in 1809. This first Santa Claus was still known as St. Nicholas, he did
smoke a pipe, and fly around in a wagon without any reindeer, but he did not have his red suit
or live at the North Pole, he did however bring presents to children every year.

Volume 1, Issue 1

Page 27

The traditions of Christmas around the world are diverse. They are
celebrated with one true meaning. It was my pleasure to learn and study
different customs for this article. In 1863, he was given the name Santa
Claus and bore the red suit, pipe, and his reindeer and sleigh.
In Hawaii this practice is still in use as under the sunny skies, Santa Claus arrives by
boat and Christmas dinner is eaten outdoors. In Alaska, a star on a pole is taken from door to
door, followed by Herod's Men, who try to capture the star. Colonial doorways are often decorated with pineapple, a symbol of hospitality. In Alaska, boys and girls with lanterns on poles
carry a large figure of a star from door to door. They sing carols and are invited in for supper.
In Washington D.C., a huge, spectacular tree with Christmas ornaments is lit ceremoniously
when the President presses a button and turns on the tree's lights. In Boston, carol-singing festivities are famous. Hand bells accompany the singers. In New Orleans, a huge ox is paraded
around the streets decorated with holly and with ribbons tied to its horns. In Arizona, the Mexican ritual called Las Posadas is kept up. This is a ritual procession and play representing the
search of Mary and Joseph for a room at the inn. Families play the parts and visit each other's
houses enacting and re-enacting the drama and, at the same time, having a look at each family's crib. In California, Santa Claus sweeps in on a surfboard. In America the traditional
Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped
dried fruit. The majority of Americans celebrate Christmas with the exchange of gifts and
greetings and with family visits. For many, the day begins on Christmas Eve with the Midnight
Mass. At Christmas it snows in many states, so dinner is usually eaten indoors. Dinner usually
is roast turkey, goose, duck or ham served with cranberry sauce, then plum pudding or pumpkin pie followed by nuts and fruit. American homes are decorated with holly, mistletoe and
branches of trees, most have a Christmas tree hung with electric lights, tinsel, baubles, and
strings of popcorn and candy canes. In Colorado, an enormous star is placed on the mountain,
it can be seen for many kilometers around, while in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a star is lit in
early December. Polish Americans on Christmas Eve spread hay on their kitchen floor and under the tablecloth to remind them of a stable and a manger. When they make up the table for
dinner two extra places are set up for Mary and the Christ Child in case they should knock at
the door to ask for shelter. In Philadelphia, a procession called Mummer’s parade runs for a
whole day with bands, dancers and people in fancy dress. There are two homes for Santa Claus
in the United States, one is in Torrington, Connecticut, where Santa and his helpers give out
presents. The other home is in Wilmington, New York, where a village for Santa and his reindeer is located. In parts of New Mexico, people place lighted candles in paper bags filled with
sand on streets and rooftops to light the way for the Christ Child.
The traditions of Christmas…...

Page 28

Around the Block

Students Should Receive Laptops
By: Gavin

We should get laptops because we can use a calculator and school will not need to buy them. We
will not have to go the library for tests. NWEA tests, teachers would not have to setup all the computers for students.
Also, during study hall we would not have to bother “with the only three computers in the room rule.” I think we can do
that still, but substitutes might not know of the rule. We could have more than three and students would not get angry.
But, warning, there must be rules at all times.
What do you think of getting a laptop? Here are some student’s thoughts:
“I think it’s a good idea. If students get laptops during free time we could do school projects, etc.” By Makenzie
“I think it’s a good idea for students to have laptops so we can do research and do projects.” By Seth

“I think it’s a great idea!! We should totally do it!!!” By Dalton Smith
“I think it sounds good because we don’t have to go everywhere to go on the computers.” By Kobe
“I think laptops would be good for us students because we wouldn’t always have to go to the computer lab. They are
good, but only if they are needed for educational purposes.” By Otto
“I think it is a great idea, every student should have one.” By Dylan
Here are some student’s questions:
Q: “What is this for?” By Makenizie
A: This is mostly used for school.
Q: “Will there still be Computer Technology?” By Kobe
A: We hope so. This supports our learning of programs and how to use the equipment. Without this class
would we know how to make folders and organize our work, use Flash drives, research for


projects….the list is endless!
Q: “Will we get to use them at school and home?” by Dalton
A: Yes.
Most students rated a 4 out of 4 star rating.
Here are some teacher’s questions.
Q: How would we control the sites students are going on? (By Mrs. Krol)
A: Well we would put controls so nobody could get on bad sites.
Q: What happens if it is lost or stolen? (By Mrs. Krol)
A: Good question, well I think we could put some kind of tracking device on it. It would be also be password
protected by students.
Here are some teacher’s comments on this:
“I think that would be awesome! “By Mrs. Wilson
“Good idea as long as students take care of them.”
“I think laptops would be a great idea! Students could learn to have responsibility and be able to do more technology.” By Mrs. Reif

Page 29

Volume 1, Issue 1

Spirit Week By: Ethan
Spirit week is a week where students “dress up” according to different
day, chosen by the student council. Below are the days that the student council
did chose for Spirit Week:
Monday, November 18, 2013 – Sports Day
Wear your favorite sports jersey.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – Pattern Day
Wear any kind of patterned clothes.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – Color Wars
Wear clothes according to your grade’s chosen color.
6th Grade: Blue
7th Grade: Pink
8th Grade: Purple
Thursday, November 21, 2013 – Twin Day
Dress up like someone’s twin.
Friday, November 22, 2013 – Spirit Wear
Wear your school colors. (Orange, and Black)
The students enjoyed seeing other people dressing up, and it was a fun week!
(Based on 6th graders’ votes in the Around the Block club.)


Sports Day

Pattern Day

Color Wars

Twin Day

Spirit Day

Thanks to: Emily, Laurel, Aarthi, Shane, Megan, Gavin, Elora, Otto, Claire , Jadon , Vanessa , Lizzie , and Collin

Page 30

Around the Block

What is Northside Blodgett? By: Elizabeth
It’s a good question, and it depends on whether you’re looking at it from the “before” or “after”
point of view. It also depends on who you ask.
For most current sixth graders, having the idea of changing classes in three minutes, using a combination lock, and trying to remember where you sit in as many as nine different classes falling on then-fifthgrade ears sounded positively foreboding. For others, the idea of middle school was like the idea of a Snickers on Halloween—nothing unusual… unless you’re allergic to peanuts. But afterwards? A lot was resolved.
Yay Northside!
Laurel: Before: “I wasn’t very excited about changing classes, changing for gym, or my locker, which I didn’t have to do in elementary school.” After: “Middle school is actually a lot of fun, and getting to my different classes isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Doing my locker combination is actually quite easy, and
changing for gym isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I just mostly didn’t want to do it.”
Michael: Before: “I was worried about getting bullied. I was worried about not getting to class on time and
not knowing locker combination. After: “Now my lock seems really easy because I memorized my combination.”
Emily: Before: “I was scared of not being able to find my way around the school, and not knowing how to
open my locker.” After: “I realized that the school isn’t as big as I thought it was, and my locker is easier to
open than I thought!”
Otto: Before: “I was a little nervous about switching classes and locker combinations and that.” After:
“Now, after being at Northside for four months, it seems much easier to move from class to class and open
the lockers, and it’s really fun here. We have some really good teachers.”
Aarthi: Before: “I had an OK perspective of middle school because of my sister, who’s in eighth grade, but I
didn’t have a very broad view. I wasn’t fond of the idea of switching classes.” After: “I’m used to everything now! It’s easier than I thought.”
Ethan: Before: “I was scared about how many people were at the school. Also, getting to classes on time
was a worry.” After: “School is awesome!”
Vannessa: Before: “I wasn’t really that nervous. I was only nervous about being late to classes.” After: “I
realize that it wasn’t a big worry, and I have plenty of time. I really like my teachers.”
Jadon: Before: “I was afraid that I could not find my way around the school or open my locker. The lockers
seemed like a big deal.” After: “Now, the lockers don’t seem like a big deal. In fact, the lockers are extremely easy to open.”
Elora: Before: “I didn’t think I would make it to any of my classes and have to ask all of my teachers for late
passes, and I was scared I would miss the bus, or oversleep. I was practically freaking out on the first day of
school!” After: “I feel that everything has totally changed! I don’t need late passes, I never miss the bus, and
everything is great.”
Claire: Before: “I was afraid that I would never be able to get around fast enough to get to my classes, that I
would get lost, because the school is so big, and I would never be able to get my locker combination. After:
“Forget that, I can always get my locker combo and plus the school isn’t really that big. My classes are all in
generally the same area so I can zip from class to class.”
Author: Before: “I was going crazy about pretty much everything. Every idea—changing for gym, using a
lock and locker, not having every idea mapped out and planned for every aspect of the day like elementary
school, middle school itself—sounded positively petrifying.” After: “Northside may be old, and yeah, crumbling, but it’s a school with a lot of character. I used to be glad that I was going for only one year before the
new school, but I’m going to miss it. I hope the new middle school is just as cool as Northside Blodgett.”

Page 31

Volume 1, Issue 1

The Independent Reading Contest
By: Otto
The Independent Reading Contest is available to all sixth grade
students, but only sixth grade students. This is a great way for students to test
their reading abilities, but to also have fun while doing it.
The contest takes place over a 5 month period. The objective of the contest is for students to read 5 books in those 5 months. But each book must fall into one of the five categories,
or else your entry will not be valid. The first book has to be in your lexile range, which you receive from your NWEA test. To find books in your lexile range, you can go to www.lexile.com.
The next book needs to either be an award winner, a bestseller, or a book recommended from
friends, relatives, or staff members. The next book will need to be a biography. To explain a
biography, it is a book about someone’s life, other than the author, or else it would be an autobiography. Your last two books need to be of the genre of historical fiction, which is a fiction
book that has some fact in it, and the last book is any book of your choice, as long as it is a middle school book. To note: The books do not have to be read in the order as stated above. They
can be read in any order you want. The prizes are gift cards from Barnes and Noble, varying in
money according to place. They will be awarded after the contest has completed.
So if you’re interested in participating in this contest, talk to your Language A teacher to
get more information. And remember, to read those books.

Around the Block Newsletter Staff
First Line Editor: Divya and Aarthi
Advisor: Mrs. Howe
Front Page Article: 8th Grader Mackensie
Article Submissions:
Irfaan, Mackensie, Vanessa, Megan, Elora, Laurel, Shane, Mrs. Dennison, Emily, Aarthi,
Anna, Ethan, Lizzie, Gavin, Jadon, Michael, Otto, Claire, Faith and Gavin

Page 32


Around the Block

By: Lizzie, Claire and Vanessa
You’d think having a bald head in March would be cold, right? Even though it’s reasonable
logic, over a hundred Corning-and-surrounding-area residents rise to the challenge of shaving
their heads to support cancer research through Saint Baldrick’s. Around Saint Patrick’s day
every year, after asking for donations from friends and neighbors, volunteer hairstylists shave
the “shavee’s” heads to show support for cancer patients going through chemotherapy. Last
year, two of the groups that shaved their heads were the Corning Hurricanes hockey team and the Bald Buddies, a group
of older boys ready to support their neighbors going through tough times. And even though you’d think your head
would be cold, shavees don’t seem to think it’s bad at all. Otto Sutton, a previous participating member, said, “I think
it’s a good cause and it’s really fun to participate in.” Isn’t your head chilly? “Your head does get cold, because of the
fact that it is in March and because you’re so used to having hair and then you don’t have hair. It’s weird, but it’s really
not bad. It just feels different.” Well, would you do it again? I asked. “I would do it again because it’s a great cause and
it’s something fun to do.” So shaving your head is fun! Maybe you should add it to your bucket list. Remember to support Otto this year in the Radisson lobby near Saint Patrick’s Day 2014!
More people that can say that they’ve supported cancer research: McKenna Hill and Tommy Hogrefe (along
with Otto) both were shavees of the 2013 St. Baldricks. It’s amazing what people do for their community, for the world.
Not many girls have the guts to shave every hair off their scalp. It’s truly amazing. McKenna really knows the meaning
of how others have need more than us, which reminds me of a quote: “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard
battle.” Recently we interviewed both of these heroes about their experiences; here is what they said.
McKenna Hill:
ATB: How did you hear about St. Baldricks?
McKenna: “At a girl scout meeting the troop leader told us about it.”
ATB: Were you nervous when they were shaving your head?
MH: “A little. Nervous and happy.”
ATB: Would you do it again?
MH: “Yes, and I am.”
ATB: How does St. Baldricks work?
MH: “Raise money by people donating to you online or in person. The money goes to the cancer society, which researches cures for children with cancer. You make a goal and if you reach your goal. They’ll shave your head: if your
hair is long enough they give it to Locks of Love. You raise money by having people donate to you, money will go to
the cancer society to research cures for children.”
ATB: Why did you do St. Baldricks? Was it for someone in particular?
“I’m worried about my uncle; he has lung cancer and both of Dad’s parents died from cancer.”
Tom Hogrefe:
ATB: How did you hear about St. Baldrick’s?
Tom: “I had seen other people participate in the past, as well as seen posters around my school.”
ATB: Were you nervous when they were shaving your head?
TH: “A little bit the first time, yes.”
ATB: Would you do it again?
TH: “I’ve already done it twice and I plan on doing it again this year.”
ATB: Why did you do it, was it for someone in particular?
TH: “I didn’t do it for anyone in particular, I just wanted to help kids with pediatric cancer.”
Also, good luck to our 2014 ambassadors, Alan S., Hayden F., Lauren B., Harlem C., and Grace C.
I’ve known several people that participate in this cause… my brother, for example. This March will be his third
year. Several of my classmates, and my brother’s classmates whom I naturally know pretty much by default, have partaken in this, too. I feel really proud to be able to know and go to school with these people.
Everyone remember to support (and donate to) our soon-to-be-bald neighbors this March. By coming together
and sparing whatever we have for people in greater need than us, we can change the world and hopefully the outcome of
the lives of cancer patients. On behalf of the Saint Baldrick’s Foundation and everyone who has been a shavee— thank
Alan S., Rosemary B., Coleman G., Talia Joy C.
* And everyone one else among the much-too-large number whose life was claimed by cancer.

Page 33

Around the Block

Magic Kids of Christmas
By: Vanessa and Claire
“92.7 97.7 Merry Christmas Magic FM. Now with the Simmons Rockwell Kids of
Christmas, here is Northside Blodgett Middle School with Hot Chocolate.” Yep that’s us about to be played on
the radio for the Kids of Christmas contest on the radio station 92.7 97.7 Magic FM.
Vanessa Kelly interviewed Mrs. Bryson about the Magic Kids of Christmas.
What is “Kids of Christmas”? Mrs. Bryson said, “’Kids of Christmas’ is a contest area school choirs
hosted by the radio station Magic 92.7 97.7 FM. The radio station plays a different school’s choir performance
every hour. The community can go online to vote for their favorite. The winning chorus gets the title “2014
Magic Kids of Christmas” and t-shirts.”
What song did you choose for “Kids of Christmas”? She said, “’Hot Chocolate’ from the Polar Express.”
Why did you pick this song? She answered; “This song is high energy and fun to perform. It has become a new holiday classic. I thought the community and the students would enjoy it!”
“Why did you decide to combine the grades 6, 7, and 8 for Kids of Christmas”? She said, “This was
the final year for Northside to submit entries before the combine. I thought it would be great to unite the
Northside students and community around one performance.”
Now for the big reveal on who won the Magic Kids of Christmas….Northside Blodgett Middle School! Congratulations to all the participating students. Hope you enjoyed this article on The Kids Of Christmas.

History of Groundhog Day and Groundhogs
By Anna

Groundhog Day is my favorite time of the year because that usually means spring is nearing! The national mascot for Groundhog Day is none other than Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day was first
celebrated on February 2nd, 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This is how Punxsutawney Phil got
his name. Groundhog Day is celebrated all throughout the United States. When Punxsutawney Phil
comes out of his whole and sees his shadow, he has predicted 6 more weeks of winter and if he does
not, then there will be an early spring. A groundhog can also be referred to as a woodchuck and they
belong to a group of animals called marmots or large ground squirrels. Groundhogs can live up to 6
years. Most however live up to 2 or 3 years. They inhabit most parts of eastern North America with an
exception of some living in the western part. Because humans believe that groundhogs are capable of
predicting the weather, you and I can conclude that they are very wise creatures. They are indeed!
Have you ever witnessed an animal predict the weather and be 90 out of 100% accurate? The only
animal capable of doing that is the groundhog! Plus they’re SO cute! Groundhogs are amazing creatures! I hope good Ol’ Punxsutawney brings us good news this year. I’ll still root for him even if he
doesn’t bring good news. Remember though, humans are still not sure if it is just a coincidence or
they really can predict the weather. Either way Punxsutawney is very smart!