middle school news

International School of Panama’s Dolphins are always up to something good, and we want to share it with you. Catch all the good news and important announcements for our middle school right here.

Discovering D.C.

View more photos about the trip to D.C.During spring break 13 middle school students, accompanied by Mrs. Jethani and Mrs. Garcia de Paredes, traveled to Washington, D.C. They visited the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, took the hop on hop off tour, visited the monuments and the zoo, watched the NBA playoffs of the Washington Wizards and the Miami Heat, and also had the privilege to take a picture on the D.C.'s court. They also went to Virginia to visit the Shenandoah Caverns, which were splendid, and had a Southern lunch there. They visited the outdoor adventure park, Terrapin Adventures in Maryland, and students were able to enjoy aerial adventures which included crazy ropes courses, zip lining, and team building. The group also watched the play Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. Overall, it was a fun trip, and students learned a lot!

Middle School Excellence in English

Middle School Excellence in English PhotosAnother Author Event Success!
The MS English Department is still smiling from the incredible author visit from Neal Shusterman. Students are excited to read and continue to check out his and other books at a fast pace. We encourage parents to join us next year for the Third Annual ISP Community Author Event. It is truly inspiring for all. 

6th Grade Update
Students are in the feedback and revision stage of their multiple paragraph expository essays. Students will be completing their final drafts this month. The students are also about to start the novel, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, an engaging, award-winning book with interesting concepts for students to grapple with and analyze. In terms of word study, students are studying root words and using context clues to decipher the meaning of unknown words. 

7th grade Update
Students are shifting from expository to persuasive writing, using Aristotle's Methods of Convincing (logos, ethos, and pathos) as a way to shape and support their arguments. They are reviewing writing and reading vocabulary and constructing visuals that show the relationship between the terms. In two weeks, they will have completed their latest independent reading inquiry books and will begin the final literature circle of the year. All books are set in the eastern hemisphere and the students will analyze cultural universals from the books as a way to support their work in social studies.

8th grade Special Event - Debate Flowers for Algernon
Eighth graders in Sue Stabler’s English classes recently debated the pros and cons of experimental surgery intended to make someone smarter. In the novel Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon, a mentally challenged young man, undergoes experimental surgery intended to make him smarter. The surgery works initially, and Charlie surpasses all expectations in his increased mental ability. His emotions grow as well, and he falls in love for the first time in his life. Over time, however, the new intelligence begins to wear off, and Charlie ultimately ends up less smart than he was before the surgery. Was the surgery ethical? According to the eighth graders, the answer is yes – and – no. In a total of eight debates, two per each of Ms. Stabler’s four classes, judges awarded the win to the “against” team four times and the “for” team four times for an even split! Ms. Stabler uses this debate to emphasize the importance of persuasive writing. In several cases, students argued solidly against their own point of view and won the debate!

Finish Strong!

Attention, MS students, when we return from spring break, we will have exactly 43 days left of school, and we would love to see all of you for all 43 of them! It is critical that we, as a community, finish the year strongly.

We have an event-filled 43 days ahead of us, so please do review the Save the Date announcement included in each Dolphin Dispatch. This is where we will communicate further details regarding many of these events.

In addition to these special events, each and every day of classes is essential for student progress. In particular, the final days of the semester are essential for solidifying understandings, preparing for performance assessments and exams, and ensuring a positive transition to your next grade. We in the middle school office look forward to collaborating with you throughout this exciting final stretch and are here to support your families every step along the way.

Thank you in advance for your support and let's finish strong!

MS MAP Testing

Please remember that MS MAP testing will begin after our break. Testing will run from April 17-28. Please check your RenWeb account for more detailed information.

Middle School Rocks!: Thoughtful Thursdays And Community Building

In 7th grade, advisory classes are focused in three different areas. We have To-Do Tuesdays, Thoughtful Thursdays, and Fun Fridays.

On To-Do Tuesdays, students work on improving their organizational skills. They do this through goal-setting, reviewing upcoming assignments, making a homework plan for the week, and contacting teachers if there are any doubts about what is happening in class.

On Thoughtful Thursdays, advisory classes are reading excerpts of The Survival Guide to Bullying by Aija Mayrock, a high school student who herself experienced bullying and offers advice to younger students about dealing positively with this issue. As they read, 7th graders examine their own experiences and share ways to make ISP an even more positive place.

Fun Fridays are all about community building. Classes might work to build empathy, encourage gratitude, reinforce each other's positive characteristics, or simply be silly. One recent Fun Friday activity involved students and teachers writing compliments and words of encouragement to each other on pieces of paper taped to each student's back. The goal of Fun Fridays is for each student to feel connected to the group, happy, and excited to be a part of ISP. 

The eighth grade has been steadily working their way through the book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. We spent the first semester largely completing the introductory work, including such things as getting in the habit, paradigms and principles, and the personal bank account. Now we are working on the actual habits. The kids have completed Habit 1: Be Proactive, and they are currently finishing up Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind. The five other habits include: Put First Things First; Think Win-Win; Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen The Saw. For each habit our kids are learning what the habit is and what it means, how to apply it to themselves, and ways they can change their mindsets according to these positive habits. So far, it's been a very successful advisory topic.

Social Media and Digital Behavior

Parents, please take a look at this important information on social media from Jennifer Restrepo, our middle school counselor.

Regardless of what our social world was like when we were growing up, technology now takes a big part of our children’s lives. WhatsApp groups and social media use among children starts as early as 3rd grade. Some popular social applications are Musically, Instagram, and Snapchat. New applications come out so fast that it is hard for adults to keep up with what’s in and out.

Although keeping up may be a challenge, there are many risks associated with the use of technology and social media for our children. For example, use of inappropriate language, mean interactions, and cyber bullying are just some of the situations occurring over these platforms. 

We have conversations in school, dedicate advisory lessons, and promote digital citizenship, but even with these steps we still face challenges that are best tackled together with parents. 

It is important as parents and as educators that we are aware of and up to date on social media apps that our children are using. Ask your child to show you their accounts, and talk to your child about online behavior, digital citizenship, and their digital footprint. Be aware of sites and accounts that they follow, have conversations about online risky behaviors, and discuss appropriate online behaviors. 

Please take a look at the articles below from Common Sense Media. Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions about your child's digital behavior or interactions.

Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls

Learn about cyberbullying and online abuse. We answer all your tough cyberbullying questions and offer advice and resources for navigating online harassment.

Facebook, Instagram, and Social 

Use our social media guide for parents: tips, advice, and the latest research to navigate the social media landscape and help keep your kids' online interactions safe.

Project Based Learning at ISP: Tiptoeing Into Creative Writing in French!

photos of projectsLast week, students from middle and high school took on the challenge of creating and sharing short stories in French. Students took on project based learning challenges in French class as part of their Tiptoeing Into Creative Writing project that aims to make learners aware of the importance of adjectives in descriptive and narrative writing. Students used adjectives to describe the characters’ personality, physical traits, and the environment. In addition, students were able to identify key components of a story. For example, they realized that a good story is well-sequenced, has a beginning, a middle, and an end, conflict, and a central idea. This project based learning approach helps students go beyond formal knowledge or content in order to establish connections with important issues like global warming, values, protection of our oceans, and having principles.

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