Friday, May 25, 2018

Day 155 - Mindfulness in May - Pine Glen Counseling Blog

For the month of May, counseling lessons are focusing on learning the concept of mindfulness. This comes right in time as our 3rd-5th graders are taking their second session of MCAS. Students have been encouraged to use the concepts of having a mindful body and doing deep breathing to help them throughout challenging moments in or outside of school.

Students started the lesson by watching this great video on the benefits of breathing:

We then learned and practiced the following concepts:

1. Having a mindful body (sitting cross legged or in a chair, arms loose by your sides, feet rooted to the ground, eyes closed or looking down, voices off)
2. Doing mindful breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth) "Smell the flowers, blow out the candle"
3. Practicing mindful listening (using the sound bowl to signal our brains and ears to focus on the noises around us)

Once we had all three exercises down, I had students either lie down on the rug or listen to a mindfulness script:

Students really enjoyed learning the concept and many felt calm and well rested after the mindfulness script. Mission accomplished!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Day 154 - IDEAS Conference Students Make Positive Change Through Humans of BHS

This post first appeared on Ms. Chang's Blog 


In December a group of nine students attended the IDEAS Conference.

Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students (IDEAS), a program of EDCO, facilitated a Student Leadership Conference for  11th, and 12th-grade students from member high schools. The purpose of the conference was to engage students from a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds in conversations on issues of racism, intolerance, discrimination, and allied behavior.



To provide students with the opportunity to learn from each other and build community within and across racial/ethnic groups

To recognize different forms of discrimination and racism in our schools and society

To recognize and challenge stereotypes

To explore and understand the many aspects of identity

To provide the opportunity for students to have affinity group conversations

To recognize the importance of advocacy and being an ally for others

To be able to inform districts about how students from different racial/ethnic groups perceive their school experience

The following students participated in the conference: 

Nimisha Thakkar, Jason Wu, Riya Kamani, Akhila John, Colin Nguyen, Arya Nagraj, Stavan Shah, Luis Villalta and Aida Gachago

After participating in the conference the students were challenged to head back to their school to make change!

The Students worked with the previously created Humans of BHS club to continue and build upon their mission of supporting diversity in their school.

The students in Humans of BHS worked on the following collaborative projects this year:

1. Humans of BHS Foreign Language Mission Statement
Students are going to recite the BHS Mission Statement in a wide variety of foreign languages at the beginning of the school day.

2. Interfaith Panel Diversity Stories
Students recorded themselves expressing different encounters they have had, good/bad, regarding their religion/belief system. This will become part of Interfaith Panel for the BPS educators Professional Development.

3. Weekly Peer Interviews 
Students interview students/faculty about any encounters, questions, opinions, or experiences they have had

4.Instagram: humansofburlma - Students created an Instagram account to showcase the diversity at BHS

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Day 153 - Stream Table Demo-Mr. Daley-Fox Hill Grade 4

This post first appeared on Mr. Daley's Blog

Yesterday, Mr. Musselman, from the Burlington Science Center, visited Fox Hill 4th graders to lead a "stream table demonstration" as part of our "Earth's Changing Surface" science unit. During the hour-long hands-on activity, students recreated models of river systems in tabletop experiments. The demonstration advanced students’ understanding of how rivers shape the Earth’s surface, while explicitly providing kids with opportunities to develop their scientific practices such as observation, modeling, and experimentation. Students gained knowledge that the angle and amount of water flow affect the shape of a river and observed the surface features that resulted. Following are some photos of our Room 20 scientists "in action" at the stream table activity. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Day 152 - Student Reflections from this year’s BHS Italian Exchange Program

Neil’s reflection:
I rarely say that an experience has changed my life. Often, experiences broaden my perspective, expand my comfort zone, or expose me to novel ideas and people. Rarely, though, does an experience do all of these things; this exchange program did.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the family I made through this exchange program. Chicco (Federico), my exchange student, was a stranger when I first messaged him, but after living together for more than 20 days, we became brothers. We became extremely close and I can undoubtedly say I love him like a brother. Similarly, after living with his family for ten days I was ready to call them my family. I found sisters and brothers and best friends in all of the other exchange students, and in the Italian friends I made who were not participating in the exchange too, and I will continue to miss them and keep in touch with them.
It was not just the Italians I grew close with, though. I found myself closer than ever to my American companions, bonding with students who I never thought I would be close with. I feel it is also important to highlight the beauty of both the culture and the physical landscape of Italy. The mountains, sunsets, rivers, and even the simple scent of the country was breathtaking, and I know that I will return soon.
As I reflect on this experience I find myself coming to two conclusions:
1) I have made life long friends and family through this exchange and
2) I love Italy.
Sarah’s reflection:
The Italian exchange program was the best experience of my life. I made so many new friends from both America and Italy. I spent time with people from BHS who I normally do not and met many amazing people from the school in Cles. We have all become such good friends and it seem as though we are one big family. Although it was hard to say goodbye at the end of the Italians’ stay here in America, I now have people I can talk to from across the world. I hope to see them again someday because they are some of the best people I have ever met.
IMG_1123I have dreamed of going to Italy since I was a little kid so I am very glad that I finally got to go. Getting the opportunity to go to with my classmates was such a positive experience. I got to experience everything in Italy with my friends, which was a lot of fun. The places that I enjoyed the most were Venice and Verona. Getting to ride in a gondola was my favorite part of Venice. Going in the shops and seeing the center of the city was also a lot of fun. My favorite part of Verona was climbing up the stairs and getting view of the whole city. I also enjoyed going in the stores and seeing Juliet’s balcony. Going to Italy tied everything together that I have been learning since seventh grade. I got to try to have conversations with people in Italian and experience the Italian culture. Italy was such a beautiful country and I hope to go back someday. When the Italian exchange students came to America, it was so much fun to host my student. We got along so well and became such good friends. I really hope that I will be able to see her again someday because she is such an amazing person. Getting to be around all of the other exchange students was also very fun. They are all such kind and funny people. It was cool to be able to show them around America since they have never been and were so excited to see everything. The Italian Exchange Program is something that I will never forget. I am so lucky that I had this opportunity and was able to be apart of it. It is a once in a lifetime experience that I would not trade for anything. Everyone who gets the opportunity to be apart of this program should take it.
Sanjana’s reflection:
IMG_1126Taking part in the Italian Exchange was the best decision I could have made. The experience that I had both in Italy and at home were unforgettable. At first, I was scared to go live with a new family in a different country, but after the first day there I did not want to leave. I really enjoyed learning about the daily life of an Italian student. Since I lived in Madrid, I knew what to expect during the school day and how the students stay in one class all day, but being in their classes after attending school in the U.S. was really different. I liked that they could build really close friendships since they are with the same people in every class, but I do not like how they do not really have the opportunity to meet new people in different classes like we do. My favorite part of being in Italy was the food. My Italian’s name is Angelica, and her mom made the best tiramisu. Although it was a bit awkward meeting this new group of people at first, through my time in Italy I developed amazing friendships with the Italians.
I would definitely recommend the Italian Exchange to other students. Not only was it a lot of fun, but my Italian speaking skills also greatly improved. I feel like going to the country, and being almost forced to speak the language is the best way to learn it. The Italians coming here was just more of an opportunity to get closer to them. Angelica is now like a sister to me. Some of my best memories from senior year have been times with the Italians. In Italy, they took us to Venice, Verona, Trento, Cles, and Bolzano, and we took them to Boston, New York, and Plymouth Plantation. Visiting those places in Italy, and taking them to places in the US was a lot of fun. Anyone who has the opportunity to take part in the exchange, definitely should.
Nicole’s reflection:
IMG_1122Traveling to Italy this past September was my first time leaving the United States. I remember being nervous and excited all at once to be able to finally experience the culture I had been learning about for so many years. It was nerve-racking to be living with a family I had never met before, but it ended up being the best way to fully experience Italian culture. Not only did I get to eat home cooked Italian food from scratch three times a day, but going to school with my exchange student Giulia and hanging out with her friends in her small mountain village was a lot of fun. It was fascinating to see how similar our lives and mannerisms were, even though we lived separate lives on the other side of the world. We did the same things with our friends, and learned similar things in school. I also found it funny that we had watched the same shows on Netflix!
What I was most excited about during my time in Italy was traveling to different cities on our field trips. I was most excited to see Venice and Verona. Venice was as beautiful as I always imagined it to be, and I even got to ride on a gondola. However, after visiting Verona I decided I liked it much better than Venice, as it was the epitome of what an ancient, romantic Italian city should be. I also liked how it was less crowded than Venice.
IMG_8983After leaving Italy I anxiously anticipated the arrival of our Italian friends in America. I was very excited to show Giulia around Burlington and show her what a typical day looked like for me, as it was significantly different than hers. As she had just been in America this past July, she had already been to Boston and New York City, but seemed excited to experience America once again. I took her out with my friends, out to dinner, to get ice cream, to the Burlington Mall, to the beach, and even a Red Sox game. Her favorite day was when my family took her to the beach on Plum Island in Newburyport, MA, as she had never seen the ocean before. She explained to me that in Italy they only have seas, so she was fascinated by our vast beaches and how cold our ocean water is! It was fun to be able to see these cities and towns through her eyes, as for us it is not that special but for them it is a whole new world.
Overall, I had a wonderful time on this exchange and would not trade my experiences for the world. I discovered that staying with a host family is the best way to experience a different culture and country, since you are doing it with people who live that way each day. I enjoyed these experiences more than doing the touristy aspects of the trip because I got to experience real life. I also think it helped me gain a greater appreciation for the language and culture as a whole. I would recommend this experience to everyone, as this is not something you can do anytime. While you may be able to travel abroad, you may not have the opportunity to live with someone and really see what the culture is all about.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Day 153 - BECC Cub Cadets Get A Visit From The Burlington Science Center

Wendy from the Burlington Science Center visited us with three animals yesterday to explain how animals use their senses. We learned how snakes, rabbits, and alligators use their senses to help them explore their environment.

Thanks Wendy!!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Day 152 - Mrs. Carey's US History Class Participates in #SchoolWithSeth

via Twitter: Hosted a #SchoolWithSeth video town hall with nine classrooms from my district this morning. Grateful to the students for their thoughtful questions and proud to represent communities that are engaged and informed.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) May 16, 2018

On Wednesday, May 16th,  Mrs. Carey’s US History II Honors classes had an opportunity to participate in a video conference with Congressman Seth Moulton, who was in his DC office. Burlington High was one of nine schools from District 6 that participated in the conference.

The conference was 45 minutes. Moulton introduced himself and then addressed 5 questions that were submitted prior to the conference. One of the questions he handpicked was from our Period 2 US History class, which addressed the second amendment. Other issues discussed were the decriminalization of marijuana, immigration, transportation improvements, school safety, and military spending.

As intriguing as the political discussions were, student takeaways were not only from the political issues but what Congressman Moulton had to say about future jobs, leadership and kindness.

In addressing a question about what jobs students should “train for”, Moulton talked about automation and robots and what jobs may not be available when this class graduates. He stressed the need for nurses, teachers electricians, plumbers, jobs that cannot be easily replaced by robots. His discussion of the need for creativity sparked a really strong positive reaction from the class. Additionally, his messages of kindness and learning from others really resonated with the class. He emphasized that despite some ideological differences with Republican colleagues, he constantly is learning new things from them. He spoke of the importance of being kind to others and to go and talk to individuals you might not always engage with because one can learn something from everyone.

Today, students wrote thank you notes to the Congressman. Despite the fact I gave them an email link they all opted to handwrite their notes. I just wanted to leave you with their words on the experience:

“You took both parties into account while discussing today’s topics. Reaching out with questions we asked was a special feeling knowing people in the government actually care and listen.”

“It shows that our government does care about the future adults of our country and inspires us to get involved.”

“I enjoyed hearing your thoughts about learning from others and being nicer to others as I think that it is really important for our country right now.”

“I appreciate how you stressed the importance of paying more attention to ‘lesser’ jobs in society. I want to have a creative job when I am older...sometimes dreaming big doesn’t mean studying hard to become a lawyer or a doctor, it can mean using your own talent to do something you enjoy.”

“I’m not a very political person but your talk inspired me to pay more attention to our also reassured us that even though the government is crumbling, we can still piece it together.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Day 151 - 2018 Mock Crash Teaches Valuable Lessons - Principal Sullivan - Burlington High School

Thanks to the organizational efforts of Health Teachers Amy Doughy and Chrissy Weeden,  Associate Principal Deb Deacon, the Burlington Police Department and Safety Officer Bernie Schipelliti, the Burlington Fire Department and Lieutenant Mark Saia, our partners at Lahey Clinic, and Boston MedFlight - Burlington High School was able to hold our bi-annual mock crash last week.  

Juniors and seniors at BHS watched a video of their peers at the house of a friend, engaging in risky behaviors including drinking and driving while under the influence which led to a staged crash. This staged crash resulted in multiple injuries and fatalities.  After the staged crash and MedFlight helicopter response, students listened to MedFlight Staff about the grim reality of what can happen as the result of poor decision making. MedFlight staff shared that this accident is something they see on a day to day basis. The mock crash helps to reinforce with our students the importance of making positive and constructive decisions.

With the Burlington High School prom this Friday, senior activities a couple weeks away, and the summer season fast approaching, this program is intended to remind everyone that bad decisions can have serious consequences. This is never meant to be a 'scare tactic', and it's always our hope that program lends our community to think about the harsh, and all too real, consequences that poor decision making can lead to.

You can see some pictures below from the event and BCAT was on the scene and did a terrific news story on the event - you can see it on their web page HERE.