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Full House Puts Students in Charge

Colton Layman

Hello.   My name is Colton and I was the student director of the Full House production of the play titled The Fearsome Pirate Frank.  Many of the WCS students saw this presentation which was about Frank, an actor in the time of William Shakespeare.  Frank was considered a star at that time, topping Shakespeare by a mile, even though he could not remember his lines for the life of him.   One night, while performing in the Fearsome Pirate Frank Show with the world famous Esmerelda Effington, Frank and his band of pirates were kidnapped by the real Pirate Frank, who of all people is a woman!   They are taken aboard her ship and are put to work.  While aboard the ship they learn about a zombie pirate ship, The Black Mark, that is haunting Captain Frank.  At then helm of the The Black Mark is none other than Ben Davies, Captain Frank’s old captain, who is out to get revenge for the “black deed” Captain Frank has done.  The play ends with an epic battle between Frank, the underdog, and Captain Ben Davies.Jan%20and%20Feb%202013%20004[2]

Directing a middle school play meant that I had to be able to work with students with varied abilities.  Some students had little to no acting or stage crew experience while others had been involved in plays before.  Going into this project, I knew I needed a plan.  I pictured the play like a puzzle, each character being a puzzle piece.  For me, when I put together a puzzle, I start with the corners.  Once the “corners” are in place, I build around them filling in the gaps.  The lead or main roles became the “corners” and the remaining characters filled in the gaps.  In all plays, there are always those actors that need help.  The “corners” of the cast were strong actors so I had them work with the kids that were less experienced or having a hard time.  I know that this helped because I saw improvement in the cast as a whole and I think because I involved everyone they were more invested in the production.

I am a perfectionist so knowing that the production would not be perfect was stressful for me.  To alleviate the stress, I tried to think about it from the perspective that if nothing can be perfect, then that means there is always room for improvement. When someone didn’t have anything to do, I would have them run lines or practice with a sword, because practicing would help them get better. I also tried to teach others to “pick up” their fellow actors when they make a mistake and move on rather than dwell on it and berate them. In watching the final production, I saw that we skipped parts of scene and lines hphoto 4ere and there, but…the actors moved the play along perfectly just the way we trained, making the play look fine to the audience.

Overall, directing the play was a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In the end, my cast came together and produced a wonderful show. There is something addicting about directing…once you direct one, you want to do it again. I would definitely enjoy directing another show if the opportunity presents itself. I would also encourage anyone who likes acting to give it a try. It will give you a different perspective and possibly make you a better actor.

March 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm 4 comments

Physical Education in the Schools

Logan Cody

Is there a perfect class in school, and what would make it so awesome? The perfect class would teach students to take care of themselves, so that they would be in shape and feel happy.  A perfect class would also allow and encourage kids to practice doing the things they need to do to maintain good health.  School is sometimes tiring and boring for active kids, and they need to have time each day to exercise and socialize.  Physical education class does this for kids, but it is also a class that is optional at different grade levels.  There are three main reasons why physical education should be mandatory in school including fun, fitness, and overall health.

Having fun is important to students because if they do not have a good time, they will lose interest in school.  First of all, students may think that gym is a place to run and might be fearful of getting hurt.  For example, a kid may not be a very good runner, and he or she might be afraid of having a hard rubber ball hit his or her face during a game of dodge ball.  In contrast, one of the games that kids like is colony ball, a form of kick ball using a foam ball, where there is little chance of anyone getting hurt while playing.  Another favorite is basketball medic where people throw foam balls.  The goal of this game is to have the most players standing at the end.  When kids are having fun during the games, they don’t realize they are learning new skills like throwing, communicating, and teamwork. Sacrificing is one way to have good teamwork by getting “out” and saving the medic on the team in basketball medic.  Finally, through playing games in gym and having fun, kids develop friendships with others in their class and keep their interest in school.

Students who are having fun in gym can also work on overall fitness.  Kids like to stay trim because they are self-conscious about their looks, and they like to feel noticed.  Sometimes kids who are not noticed as much as more slender students are not as happy because they don’t get any positive attention.  Instead they receive negative attention from other kids who pick on them.  Obesity appears more common in the unfit students, and if they want to improve their weight and social situation, they can take gym.  Attending gym class will help the more portly students build endurance, strength, and speed as they lose unwanted fat.  Any activities students have to do during gym would be helpful.

In addition to having fun and working on overall fitness, attending gym class can also improve a person’s overall health.  One important factor is the immune system.  A healthy immune system fights diseases and common viruses that can make someone very ill and miss school.  Daily fitness helps a person’s immune system stay strong in addition to washing hands and eating healthy foods.  This leads to better focus in school as healthy students do not feel so tired and sick that they cannot do their work.  With better focus and productivity, kids will learn more and do their best work in school.  This will cause good self-esteem for the kids because they are staying healthy, doing good work, and feeling good about themselves.

In conclusion, physical education should be mandatory in school because it is fun and keeps kids entertained, provides a time for them to work on overall fitness, and improves overall health.  Never be a lazy couch potato.  Gym class will teach life lessons and skills in maintaining health and well-being.  I still have two more years of middle school, yet I look forward to gym class because it is a special time for me to see my friends and work on sports skills.  It makes school more fun for everyone.

March 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm 1 comment

Back to School as a Third or Fourth Grader

By Allison   Grade 3

It was the first day of school. I was very nervous because it was new to me. The building was very big, too. I was worried that I would get lost.

It was also very exciting. I had new teachers and friends to meet. I also had some old friends in my class. Their names are Lizzie, Kendra and Isabel.

One difference that I noticed between WCS and ABS is that my old team, Horizon, had a kiva and Kaleidoscope has a meeting space between Mrs. Hass’ and Mr. Willis’ classrooms. In spelling, the words are getting bigger and harder. And that’s what I think of being a third grader.

By Sunny    Grade 4

Now, I’m in fourth grade but when I was in third grade, I remember when I walked through the doors. I was trying to remember the way to my classroom from Step-Up Day. Fortunately, I did.

When I got there all of the kids were strangers except for Carlie and Alyssa who I already knew from Preschool and Kindergarten.

Now that I’m a fourth grader, I know both ways to my classroom and I’m not worried anymore. One thing I don’t like is getting up early but I like seeing my old friends. I have a new art teacher.

I still get to meet more people. Last year, I met the fourth graders; this year I met the new third graders. Marybeth, (my teacher) moved some of the bookshelves. She got new things that we get to use this year that we didn’t get to use last year.

That’s what I think about back to school.

Be sure to watch the videos below.

September 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm 10 comments

MLB UPDATERS SPORTS REPORT BY BAKER AND BEN

May 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment

Continental Math

Alison Spasyk

Twelve years ago, Mr. Reese was 15 years older than his son is now. If the son is now 10 years old, how old is Mr. Reese now?

This is Continental Math. It’s all about problem solving. Students working on problems that really make you think a little harder. Continental Math groups usually meet once a week with a parent volunteer. Groups practice problems and learn problem solving strategies. It is a great way to build up your math confidence and you can prove what you have learned once a month when there is a meet. A meet is like a test consisting of six challenging problems, each getting harder. You have 30 minutes to complete the questions.

You do not have to be great at math to participate in Continental Math. It is for anyone grades 2-8 at any level. It is a great way to improve your skills and learn useful math concepts that will not only help you in the monthly tests but in everyday math class and beyond. Continental Math is also extremely fun and enriching.

This year’s Continental math session has just ended, but we are always looking for new people for next year. Continental math is also competitive. The third grade winner this year was Amanda Li and second place was Jessica Klein. First place in the fourth grade was a tie between Benjamin Herskowitz and Baker Angstman and second place was Storm Rushford. In the fifth grade, first place was Ben Klein and second place was Justin Schaaf. The winner of the sixth grade was Ananth Malladi and second place was Sam Gelin. First place in the seventh grade was Will Hubbard and second place went to Zach Varricchione. The winner of the eighth grade was Kathy Joseph and second place was Alison Spasyk.

And for those who put on their thinking caps, the answer to the sample 8th grade problem above is that Mr. Reese is now 37 years old.

May 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm Leave a comment

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Magic of the Big Top Awaits…

Sophia Gigliotti

 This past week was the Voyager production, “Clowns and Crooks”. The play was written and directed by Voyager teacher, Mr. Messer and Madeleine Barrett, a Voyager student. Students received their scripts before Winter break, and the students rehearsed from Winter break until the performance day. The performance was held on January 19th to an enthusiastic audience of parents and friends. It took a lot of effort, and every Voyager student had a part in the production. Big or small, every job was very important.

 In the play, a family, the Carr’s, are mugged on their return from a showing of “Breaking Dawn” by a seemingly common criminal. They soon discover that the criminal is much more dangerous than expected. The witness protection program moves the family to the circus, and the main character, Olive Carr, does not have an easy transition to her new life. She runs away, and finds out her family is in danger. Realizing the importance of family, she heads back to the circus to save the day.

 Before Winter Break started, Voyager held auditions for everyone interested in being onstage. Students could sign up for an acting role, stage crew, props, publicity, costumes, lights, sound, or an acting extra, which is a non-speaking role. For auditions, there was a reading for each character. Our directors, Mr. Messer and Madeleine Barrett, were in charge of casting for every Voyager student.

When I asked Voyager students if they had learned or gained anything from being in the play, Marlee Gunn, a stage manager of the play, said “I learned about being backstage and working together to get things done on time.” Being in a play can be very beneficial to students, because they learn important skills to work together, make friends, and gain confidence onstage. Maddie Collins, who played the youngest Carr, Sydney, answered “I think I have definitely gained confidence in myself because I needed to perform in front of a big audience, and in order to do that you need to be confident, especially when you’re dressed like a three year old!”

 A few stage crew members and Ms. Hill (a teacher in Voyager) painted our sets, which turned out fabulously! As Marlee mentioned, Voyager was pretty rushed on time since Winter break fell within our production time. We really had to work together and make sure everyone was helping, and we made it! The props, costumes, sets, and the actors all had to hurry to make the deadline, and everything came out great! Good job to the Voyager cast and crew for the wonderful production, “Clowns and Crooks!”

January 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm 11 comments

Garden Design for Enrichment Garden Class

Garden Design

Alexa Pudlo and Taylor Antonioli

In our garden class we learned about how to design a garden.  Things to keep in mind when starting a garden:

  • What size garden bed do you need for spacing of the plants? We learned that different plants need different amounts of space.  For example, summer and winter squash need a lot of space, but carrots don’t need a lot of space.  Sometimes plants can be put closer together than Gardening books say.  One way to use space well is to put plants at the edge of the garden and let them flow out onto the grass. 
  • Soil quality and depth needed for plants. Some plant need different types and depths of soil.  If you plant a carrot and you don’t know what kind of soil you’re planting it in, it might not be very good.
  • How will you (and the school) use what you are planting?  We had two beds to plan for (see bottom photo below).   In one bed, we planned to grow cucumbers, melon, and squash because that’s what the kids in our group like to eat (first photo).  Another group planned an herb garden with thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil and chives, because that’s what the kitchen here at school uses most (second photo).
  • It’s better to plan out your garden on paper first.  See our plans below.

 

November 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm 4 comments

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