Lexington Middle School


Not A Math Person?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I am not a math person” or “I am not good at math.”

A Stanford University Researcher and Professor, Jo Boaler, disagrees with the common notion that in the world there are “math people” and “nonmath people.” She believes that your ability to apply mathematical thinking has more to do with your experiences and opportunities with mathematics.

Mathematics is not just about memorization of basic facts or mastering long division. Mathematics is about patterns and applying patterns to problem solving. Mathematics is about having the flexibility to use a variety of strategies to solve the same kind of problem.

This past summer and throughout this school year, I am enjoying the opportunity to participate in TEAMS, a UNL grant sponsored cohort of Nebraska mathematics instructors. The specific goal of TEAMS is to help teachers to provide students with more opportunities for problem solving. In my classroom, we started our school year with noncomputational problem solving tasks. The tone I wanted to establish in my classroom was that mathematics is more than doing well on fact memorization and most importantly...everyone can be a math person!

Patti Maguire, LMS, 6th Nationals

Book Fair Opening Day at Parent-Teacher Conferences
Thursday, October 19th, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Students will have additional opportunities to shop the book fair during the week of October 24-27!  Let’s round up some readers!

Aquaponics in the Classroom

In August, before school started, Mr. Risinger, Ms. Cotter, and Mrs. Jobman were busily prepping the aquaponics units for their classrooms.  Thankfully, Mr. Risinger did most of the hard work in setting things up! Teachers will attend workshops in the fall and spring to learn more about the aquaponics units.  All 7th graders and 6th graders on the National Team are working with UNK and a graduate student in learning about aquaponics.  

Aquaponics is an agricultural technique that combines aquaculture [raising fish] and hydroponics [growing plants in water].  The top area contains gravel and plants.  The lower area is the aquarium.  Water is pumped from the aquarium to the planter and back down to the aquarium.  Fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants filter wastes from the water before it returns to the aquarium.  UNK selected Tilapia as the fish since it is fast growing and tolerates brackish water.

In early September, 12 tiny Tilapia were delivered to each aquaponics unit in Ms. Cotter’s and Mr. Risinger’s rooms.   Mr. Risinger has two aquaponics units, so he received 24 Tilapia.  Mrs. Jobman’s unit is the largest of all, using a stock tank to house 24 Tilapia. More than a month later, the fish are growing and swimming happily in their new homes.  Fish are fed daily.  

Additionally, duckweed (a floating aquatic plant) has been placed in the tanks for additional nutrients for the Tilapia.  Currently, the planter has sweet pea, tomato and strawberry plants growing. Floating containers to grow lettuce will be incorporated in the next week.  

Students have become more interested in the aquaponics unit.  Throughout the school year, students will be participating in online surveys through UNK, and activities that incorporate the Nebraska State Science Standards into this unique method of agriculture.  It is planned that students will be able to taste food products grown in the aquaponics units.  Meanwhile, I best be finding some tasty Tilapia recipes!

Kids and Dreams Autism Conference

Three of our middle school teachers attended the Kids and Dreams Autism Conference in Kearney on October 6, 2017.  This was the 3rd annual conference that the Kids and Dreams foundation has presented for family members and professionals who desire to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders.  

Alex Plank was the keynote speaker for the conference.  Alex was diagnosed with Autism when he was nine years old and his presentation focused on sharing his experience growing up with Autism.  He shared how he became the creator of wrongplanet.com, a website created for individuals with Autism to communicate with each other.  He also talked about his experience on the set of FX’s show “The Bridge” where he was a consultant to the show’s star actress, Diane Kruger, to assist in developing her character who has Autism.  Lastly, he shared his experience in dating as a person with Autism.  He even showed a video clip of him on a dating show called “Love at First Kiss”.  

Other highlights from the conference were presentations by Dr. Matt McNiff, Dr. Melissa Kemmerling, and Jennifer Miller.  Topics included behavior strategies, sensory strategies, and cooperative team strategies. Parents and professionals came away with some new strategies to help the children in their lives become more successful.

8th Grade Language Arts

In 8th grade L.A., we're currently writing a descriptive essay based on where our lives will be in a few years.  Through sensory details and figurative language, their essays are starting to look really good! 


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