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Middle School Students Create Through Coding

Middle School Students Create Through Coding photo
Middle School Students Create Through Coding photo 2
Middle School Students Create Through Coding photo 3
With a growing demand for computer programmers, Amityville is giving its students a chance to explore career possibilities with lessons in coding.

The district has introduced the kidOYO program, an online educational community that delivers personalized project-based learning in computer science and engineering. Edmund W. Miles Middle School math teacher Dr. Linda Pfaffe has made this the focus of her seventh-grade STEAM class, a new elective that meets every other day. 

Throughout the year, students will learn five different programming languages, including commonly used ones like Scratch and Python. They began by making simple video games in which the arrow keys control movement. Challenges will become tougher as the year progresses, and students move at their own pace. 

“Computer programming is an essential skill for today’s students,” Dr. Pfaffe said. “In a world where the internet can satisfy almost any question in seconds, technical skills will enable them to succeed.”

Dr. Pfaffe added that while many students are adept at using technology, they do not necessarily understand what makes it work. Coding is the logic and science that controls technology, and by learning to code students move from consumers to producers. She explained that programming is very literal and precise, which gives students a chance to develop their problem-solving skills.  

In addition to her own instruction, Dr. Pfaffe provides students with video tutorials on computer programming. KidOYO offers a moderated bulletin board so the youngsters can ask questions and share ideas.   

Much class time is devoted to independent inquiry in which students are thinking, collaborating, designing and refining. Seventh-grader Agin Shehu said he enjoys programming because it allows him to be creative and explore new ideas. He said he would consider a career in computer science and this class gives him a head start for the future. 
 

A Boost to Middle School Book Collection

A Boost to Middle School Book Collection photo
Classroom libraries will be more plentiful at Edmund W. Miles Middle School following the donation of two large boxes of books by non-profit organization the Book Fairies. 

Each box contains thousands of used books of all different genres. Students have been helping select books that are in good condition and of interest to them to add to the existing libraries in English language arts classrooms. This supports the Reader’s Workshop initiative through Teacher’s College, Columbia University, which gives students more choice in the books they read for class.

“It’s a resource that we can use,” seventh-grade ELA teacher John Katsigiorgis said of the new books. “We need to have a vast array of genres. You can never have too many good books.”

Mr. Katsigiorgis said that each box typically nets 500 to 800 useable books, so more than 1,000 total books will be added to classroom libraries throughout the school. He said that there were also many children’s books in the boxes, which will be passed on the Amityville Public Library.  

VIDEO: Cultivating a Love of Literacy

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Edmund W. Miles Middle School students and teachers share their experiences with the Readers and Writers Workshop initiative through Teachers College, Columbia University.

Middle School Welcomes Military Heroes

Middle School Welcomes Military Heroes photo

Veterans and active members of the United States military received a warm welcome when they visited Edmund W. Miles Middle School on Nov. 6. A dozen guests visited classes on Take a Veteran to School Day, a national initiative sponsored by the History Channel. This was the middle school’s third year participating, according to social studies Chairwoman Jaclyn O’Hagan.

“Each year our students learn so much from the veterans and make personal connections with them,” she said, adding that the goal was to give students an appreciation for their service. 

Veterans discussed their reasons for joining the military, their experiences serving the U.S. and their lives after leaving the armed forces. Some showed photo slideshows, while others brought in memorabilia. Among the guests were Edward Plaia, father of the middle school principal, and Juan Leon, Amityville Board of Education vice president and Army veteran. 

Current servicemen discussed how the education they received growing up has benefitted them in their military service. They also taught students about the differences between Veterans Day, Independence Day and Memorial Day, and who each holiday was created to honor.  



Middle School Students Spread Kindness

Middle School Students Spread Kindness photo

Colorful rocks are appearing around Edmund W. Miles Middle School as a way of promoting peace and kindness. Every student was recently invited to paint a rock during his or her lunch period. The result was dozens of rocks in many different colors with inspiring messages such as “Love,” “Believe,” “Don’t Give Up,” and “Follow Your Dreams.”

“It’s a nice project that all the students can do together,” said guidance counselor Kerry Kearney, who organized the project along with special education teacher Renee Silon. “We’re always looking for ways to promote peace, unity and kindness, and for our students this is a visual reminder.”

Ms. Kearney said that the project was planned for October which was National Bullying Prevention Month. The rocks are being spread around the outside of the school to create a Kindness Garden. Several teachers and staff members also painted rocks. 

Ninth-grader Tylaya L. said that the rocks would bring beauty to the school and show that Amityville students are committed to kindness.



Artists Earn Statewide Recognition

Artists Earn Statewide Recognition photo
Two students from the Amityville Union Free School District had their artwork selected for display at a statewide exhibit. Amityville Memorial High School sophomores Maksymilian Kiec and Kevin Zelaya had pieces chosen for the student art exhibit at the New York State School Boards Association conference in Lake Placid, which was held on Oct. 12 and 13. 

The students completed these projects when they were ninth-graders at Edmund W. Miles Middle School, under the direction of art teacher Nicole Scoca. Kevin created an Egyptian-inspired sneaker design using colored pencils in his art appreciation class. Maksymilian’s pen and ink piece of a Mexican sugar skull was made for Hispanic Heritage Month in his studio in art class. 

The exhibit was co-sponsored by NYSSBA and the New York State Art Teachers Association and highlights achievement in the visual arts. Work displayed demonstrates a high level of student ability using different mediums and techniques. 

“Kevin and Maksymilian definitely created standout pieces,” Ms. Scoca said. “They’re both very creative, have their own vision and have a very strong skill set.”
Sunday, December 17, 2017