Students enjoy new cafeteria tables at LMS

Sorry, Huey Lewis. Contrary to the lyrics, it’s more hip to be round.

Students at Liberty Middle School are enjoying their school’s brand new, round cafeteria tables. The school’s former tables – which were over 20 years old – were showing signs of wear.

The cafeteria now boasts a “café-like” atmosphere with a smoother traffic flow. Each school building now has round tables.

LES and LHS receive indoor growing station

The Liberty Central School District is one of five Sullivan County schools that has been awarded a Healthy Community Initiatives Grant through Sullivan Renaissance to participate in a pilot program that “brings the outside in.”

Earlier last month, our elementary and high school received a GrowLab LED indoor growing station, seed starter kit, along with curriculum and activity books from Gardener’s Supply Company of Vermont.

High school teacher Mr. Kevin Ferguson recently completed a “trial run” using the growing station. He and his students successfully grew a large batch of pea shoots.

The pea shoots were grown without any fertilizer, chemicals or additives. Even better, they are going to be served at the school’s salad bar.

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Grades 7-9 have the opportunity to be Invention mentors

Camp Invention, a summer enrichment program offered at schools nationwide, will be held for Liberty students in grades K-6 on Aug. 19-23, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Liberty High School. Learn more about the Camp Invention Program in this original post.

The Camp Invention Leaders-in-Training program invites students in grades 7-9 to to participate in Camp Invention in a whole new way.

They’ll guide children through exciting STEM activities during the week of a local camp program, encouraging creativity and hands-on fun while building their leadership and goal-setting abilities.

Joining in the Fun

Leaders-in-Training play an active role in our high-energy camp.

Learning New Skills

They’ll find out what it’s like to be an innovative leader.

A $25 dollar discount is available to those who register before March 22 and use the promo code “INNOVATE25”

Register and find the promotion that’s right for you at this link or by calling 800-968-4332.

View highlights from the honor roll breakfasts

More than 530 Liberty Middle and High School students, grades 5 through 12, were named to the honor roll.

The district celebrated our students’ achievements with a bagel breakfast and recognition ceremony for each grade level.

Watch the two minute video below for highlights of the event:

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Elementary students learn the basics of coding

When many of us were growing up, the only language we learned at school was a foreign one. Now, students are also learning a digital language: Code.

Liberty Elementary School students are learning the basics of coding through a 21st century curriculum and online tools such as Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app that teaches the fundamentals of coding in a way so simple even the youngest of learners can grasp it.

Third-grade students from Mrs. Houghtaling’s class went quiet as they entered directional commands into form a complete sentence in Code. Pretty soon, they had no problem instructing Byte (the app’s animated character) using basic coding commands.  Cheers erupted – as well as a request to keep playing the app during recess!

A third grade student sitting at his desk turns his face and iPad toward the camera. The ipad is loading an app. The screen reads "Learn to Code."Screenshot of an app on a SmartBoard. On the left, there is code. On the right, there is an animated character who is walking on a path directed by the code.

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Mrs. Crescitelli’s class serves up coffee, treats and holiday spirit

Recognizing that the holiday season can be especially hard for those Thailand, students from Mrs. Crescitelli’s class are hoping to bring those serving some holiday cheer.

Care packages with tee shirts and school supplies will soon be shipped to students and teachers at a school district in Thailand.

This is just one of several meaningful and empowering activities that the group takes part in between lessons. They prepare and sell coffee and baked goods on a regular basis (the peanut butter balls are delish!) and open a pop up “soup kitchen” every Friday. They also run the middle and high school’s recycling program.

And if that wasn’t enough – they’re also putting the finishing touches on their holiday-themed staff store which will feature a limited supply of first come, first serve holiday décor and snacks.

As with all of their projects and services, proceeds will go towards the group’s field trips. Some of the money earned will go toward finding and purchasing the perfect holiday gift for a family member.

They’re especially looking forward their upcoming trip to New York City to see “The Grinch” on Broadway!

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Students personalize learning with letter to BrainPOP

As they wrapped up their curriculum unit on the Iroquois Confederacy, students from Ms. Kaitlyn Melcher’s fourth-grade class were motivated to provide feedback to the BrainPOP scriptwriters in regards to their video lesson on the Iroquois.

BrainPOP is an educational website known for its informative and interactive videos across all learning subjects, explained Ms. Melcher, who often uses their videos as an “introductory kick-off” to a lesson.

After watching the video and working their way through the complete curriculum – a blend of modern and traditional teaching materials – students identified some holes that could be filled by BrainPOP.

Their general consensus?  While the video was informative, there was information they gleaned from other resources like text and discussion.

Not only does it show that [the students] retained the information, it demonstrates that their new knowledge empowered them to provide feedback to BrainPOP,” said Ms. Melcher. “What’s more, their letters resulted in tangible feedback: the scriptwriters from BrainPOP are going to take their suggestions under advisement when they edit the script next year.”

Like Ms. Melcher, teachers district-wide are working their way through the SAMR Model.

Developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR Model aims to guide teachers in integrating technology into their classrooms. It consists of four steps: Substitution (S), Augmentation (A), Modification (M), and Redefinition (R). As a district, our goal is have every classroom reach the redefinition stage, where both educators and students have personalized their experiences with technology to enhance teaching and learning.

For more information about SAMR, press play on the video below: SAMR in 120 seconds.

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The Makers Club is resourceful and kind

The Makers Club is an after-school program for fourth graders that meets on Tuesdays (for making)  and Thursdays (for coding.)  Two students from each fourth-grade class are selected to participate in ten sessions based on their interest and availability.  After the ten sessions are completed, another round of students will selected to participate.

Club members are currently weaving book bags using t-shirt scraps that were donated to the school. Once complete, the bags will be donated to the school’s lending library so that students can easily carry their books.

A student wearing a bright pink long sleeved shirt stands tall and displays her project: a weaving loom made from a piece of cardboard, string and scraps of tee shirts.


A closer look at reciprocal teaching

At Liberty Middle School, many teachers use a technique called reciprocal teaching that’s designed to improve reading comprehension.

Reciprocal teaching is a discussion technique that incorporates four main reading strategies: predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing.

The goal, in short, is to prepare students to run their own discussion, taking turns as leaders.

“Students will break down a passage of text together and take turns facilitating the discussion,” sixth-grade teacher Justin Golden said. “Classmates take turns summarizing and asking questions and will work together to clarify confusing ideas and predict what will happen next.”

Using a color coded reference guide on their iPads, students take the lead in their learning – all the while knowing that the answer to a stumped question is just a hand raise away.

During a typical reciprocal teaching discussion, students begin by asking questions. Then, they work together to clarify the meaning of unfamiliar words and summarize the main ideas.  If they come across something they can’t talk out or would like some extra clarification on, Mr. Golden will jump in to instruct.

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