Students in Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Tauriello's 7th grade science classes attended a Nature show by Nature Nick called Animal Adventures. Nick is a professional animal trainer and TV personality. Nick has been featured on CNN as well as Good Day New York. Nick also hold 2 degrees in childhood education, and he plans his shows around the NYS curriculum. Nick can incorporate his show into almost any classroom theme, including desert, water, rainforest, reading themes, adaptations, ecology, etc. Nature Nick can show many different animals, including but not limited to, owls, falcons, snakes, alligators, foxes, armadillos, turtles, and even a Chilean flamingo! Students at Ronkonkoma were taught about each animal that Nick brought, including their diet and daily habits.
What makes you unique?
Recently students in Mrs. Hertz's 6th grade health classes worked on a project about self image. Students were asked to come up with something that they believe separates them from others and makes them unique. Students chose qualities like positive, good singer, helpful, silly, and kind. Students put their qualities on a puzzle piece cut out and decorated it with color. A positive self image is very important in the development of adolescents, "Kids who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things. They are more likely to try their best. They feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem helps kids cope with mistakes. It helps kids try again, even if they fail at first. As a result, self-esteem helps kids do better at school, at home, and with friends." Self Esteem and self image start at a very young age. "Self-esteem can start as early as babyhood. It develops slowly over time. It can start just because a child feels safe, loved, and accepted. It can start when a baby gets positive attention and loving care. As babies become toddlers and young children, they're able to do some things all by themselves. They feel good about themselves when they can use their new skills. Their self-esteem grows when parents pay attention, let a child try, give smiles, and show they're proud. As kids grow, self-esteem can grow too. Any time kids try things, do things, and learn things can be a chance for self-esteem to grow."
ALS Ride For Life
On Tuesday, May 7th, The ALS Ride For Life came through the Ronkonkoma Middle school bus lane to a group of cheering students and faculty. Principal Joe Licato was onhand to welcome the riders, while students made banners and signs to hold up in support. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and Motor Neuron Disease in Europe. It is aprogressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and then out to the muscles throughout the body. When the motor neurons die, the brain is unable to control muscle movement. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients become increasingly paralyzed. Chris Pendergast began Ride For life in 1999, after he was diagnosed with ALS and only given three years to live. ALS Ride for Life is an annual event that brings ALS suffers, caregivers and supporters together on a journey in motorized wheelchairs from the East End of Long Island to the New York City area. The event has raised million of dollars for ALS research to help find a cure.
Photography Club Photo Stories
Recently the students of RMS Photography Club worked on a new story book photo project during one of their meetings. Students were tasked with the job of creating a story out of only 6 photographs. Photobooks are becoming more and more popular with outlets like Walgreens and CVS offering affordable printing of your photos into a book format. If arranged in the correct order, these photobooks could tell the story of your summer or maybe a vacation.
Since the project took place during the DASA week for anti-bullying, most students chose to revolve their story around that theme. Some stories started out with a photo of a lone student, but as the book progressed the student found friends and became more involved and happier in school. The storybooks were printed out and put into a book format, as well as hung outside room 31 for all to see. Great job Photography Club students?
On Friday, March 8th, RMS students were invited to an assembly for all grades about suicide prevention. The speaker was Roger Von Braun who is a NYS certified teacher who lost his brother tragically and that altered his course in life.
Mr. Von Braun's goal is to empower our young students to live a life of purpose. Throughout the assembly, Students are empowered to be open and honest with their struggles, and are given the tools necessary to make positive change. Mr. Von Braun does not only tell an inspiring story, but teaches students practical strategies and coping mechanisms they can put to use in their daily lives. Each individual has a story playing in their mind. A story of who they are, where they are in life, and where they believe they are going. The presentation has been designed to interrupt that story, and to interject messages of resiliency, responsibility, and self-control. Every young person has potential for greatness, Mr. Von Braun’s mission is to remind them of that.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and has thoughts of suicide you can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255
Resistance During The Holocaust
After learning about The Holocaust, Students in Mrs. DeMeo's and Mrs. Enright's classes worked on a project that highlighted the people who resisted The Holocaust and put their lives on the line to save Jews and others persecuted by Hitler. Many people fought back against the Nazis during The Holocaust and did whatever they could to aid people in need. "Between 1941 and 1943, underground resistance movements developed in about 100 Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. Their main goals were to organize uprisings, break out of the ghettos, and join partisan units in the fight against the Germans. The Jews knew that uprisings would not stop the Germans and that only a handful of fighters would succeed in escaping to join with partisans. Still, Jews made the decision to resist. Further, under the most adverse conditions, Jewish prisoners succeeded in initiating resistance and uprisings in some Nazi concentration camps, and even in the killing centers of Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz." Some of the people used in the projects were: Irena Sendler, who helped smuggle small children out of Germany. Johtje Vos and Aart Vos, who saved 36 people by hiding them in their house. Hugh O'Flaherty, a Priest who saved thousands by hiding them.
On Thursday, February 14th, RMS hosted Holocaust Survivor and speaker Marion Blumenthal-Lazan to give a presentation to all students. Marion was a very young girl during WW2 and The Holocaust. The events of Marion's life were recorded in her book entitled Four Perfect Pebbles. "Following Hitler’s rise to power, the Blumenthal family — father, mother, Marion, and her brother, Albert — were trapped in Nazi Germany. They managed eventually to get to Holland, but soon thereafter it was occupied by the Nazis. For the next six and a half years the Blumenthals were forced to live in refugee, transit, and prison camps that included Westerbork in Holland and the notorious Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Though they all survived the camps, Walter Blumenthal, Marion’s father, succumbed to typhus just after liberation. It took three more years of struggle and waiting before Marion, Albert, and their mother at last obtained the necessary papers and boarded ship for the United States. Their story is one of horror and hardship, but it is also a story of courage, hope, and the will to survive." Marion spoke with students about the hardships of living through The Holocaust, and brought with her a message of hope and tolerance.
Kindness During DASA Week
During The DASA week at RMS, The Dasa Task Force implemented a variety of activities for students. On Tuesday, February 12th, Positive Post-It notes were placed on students lockers, with words like strong, confident, kind, and caring written on the notes.
Wednesday was Kindness Cafe Day, when students watched a short video about tolerance in all lunch periods. There was also a photo booth for students to take pictures to encourage an inclusive community.
Thursday, February 14th, Students participated in the Kindness Tree Wall activity located outside the cafeteria. Students were encouraged to write a positive sentence or word on a heart and then placed on the tree, with assistance provided by YFS and Guidance Counselors.
To kick off the district-wide DASA (Dignity For All Students) week, Camfel Productions presented a 3 screen video to all students on Monday, February 11th in the auditorium. "It's easy for our POINT OF VIEW to become distorted in our attempts to avoid these negative critics. We believe our worth to be based on the number of likes, hearts and smiles we receive. Our media sites are filled with a long list of friends who know very little about us at all. But does it have to be like this? What if we could change how we approach our viewpoints and work at listening to others. Imagine how much richer life will be if we take the time to look a little deeper, to listen to what people are really saying, and seek to understand their POINT OF VIEW. POINT OF VIEW is a new 40 minute multi-media experience from Camfel Productions designed to look beyond the violence, racism, intolerance, harassment, and hate in this world, giving students a new perspective on the differences that separate them from their peers, their parents, and the others who are around them. While they gain a new sense of their own innate worth, they'll grow to appreciate the diversity of race, language, and culture that make up the community in which they live." Students artwork was also displayed outside the cafeteria for all to experience. The artwork theme was kindness and tolerance.
Newspaper Assignment in Reading Class
Ms. Osmer's reading classes recently worked on a newspaper cover project that gave them the chance to tell about themselves and be creative. Students were given a blank template of a newspaper including areas such as: A name of the newspaper, an exclusive story, Meet my hero, Awesome ad, critics corner, and toon time. Students used a combination of writing and drawing skills to complete their newspaper. Most students wrote about what they did last summer as their exclusive story, with stories about vacations and exciting news like having a baby brother added to the family. In meet my hero students chose people ranging from Michael Jordan to their Grandpa who was in the military. In the ad sections there were advertisements for movies or books, and under toon times students had a chance to draw some cartoons. All of the projects were displayed on the wall outside of the library for all of RMS to view.
ELA One -Pagers
Mrs. Edmond's recently had her 7th grade English classes working on an interesting project. Students had to choose a book to create a "one pager" assignment on, and afterwards they were hung in the hallway for all to see. One-pagers invite students to think critically about a text and produce a single page of sketch-notes to show the most important details. One-pagers not only help students to think critically about what matters most from a text, they also give students a lot of creative ways to express what the book they chose means to them. Students included sketches, quotations from the book, and headings on their one-pagers. The assignments look great hanging up, and really showed the hard work students put into the project.
Students have been working hard in Mrs. Hertz's 6th grade Health classes on a new project. After cutting out a human like shape, students had to decorate their person to look like themselves along with words that describe themselves. Some students added things they were good at, like a certain sport, while others used adjectives to describe their self concept. Self concept is how you view yourself, and experts agree that a positive self concept for school aged children is critical.
Judith A. Myers-Walls, Extension Specialist, describes the importance of a good self concept. "Self-concept is a filtering and coloring mechanism for children's daily experiences. Whether self-concept is positive or negative can influence important areas of a child's development and achievement. Self-concept also affects a child's relationship with others, especially family members. It seems that people who like themselves will generally like others, while people who dislike themselves tend to be critical of others. Children with positive self-concepts may find it easier to get along with friends, classmates, and teachers. Children with poor self-concepts may find it difficult to make or keep friends because of their negative attitudes and behavior. Self-concept also affects the quality of family life. When self-concept is positive among family members, they tend to support rather than criticize each other. This helps them to feel close to each other and have good communication with each other, which may lead to a satisfying family life."
Heart Zones in P.E.
In Mr. Hertz's Physical Education classes, students are learning about exercise and heart rate with the use of monitors. Students each wear individual monitors on their wrists. The monitor feeds heart rate information back to the system which is controlled by Mr. Hertz and displayed on the Smartboard for students to view. "The Heart Zones System uses fitness technology to engage, assess and motivate physical activity. Coupling the power of data with wearable devices, the Heart Zones System empowers students and club members to pursue safe, healthy, and active lifestyles."
There are numerous benefits to being able to monitor your heart rate during exercise. "When it comes to exercising and your heart rate or exertion, knowing your target heart rate can help you be more conscious of the effort you’re putting in, or the effort you still need to put in. If you track your heart rate during exercise and you know what zone you should be in you can adjust the intensity as necessary and save yourself time and effort while getting the most out of your workout." The Heart Zone system is also being used to motivate students during phys ed classes, getting the most out of their exercise.
During the month of January, students of Mr. Carbonaro and Mrs. Campanellis classes are busy constructing cardboard boats. Students can design and build their boats in teams, each boat with its own unique design. Students are only allowed to use cardboard and duct tape as their materials.
Cardboard Boat Races are popular throughout the world, with mostly school age and college age kids competing. "The earliest documented cardboard boat regatta was the result of a design problem created by Richard Archer at Southern Illinois University in 1974. A typical competition format allows competitors a fixed build time, using only a predetermined number of corrugated cardboard sheets, glue, adding machine tape, and paint. Duct tape is also often a key ingredient. Once completed, teams must race their boats across a shallow pond, river, or swimming pool using similarly constructed oars. The boats will almost always flood, sink, or shred under the weight, mostly owing to the difficulties of waterproofing cardboard." These boats will be tested out at the Connetquot High school swimming pool. Best of luck to all and stay dry!
RMS Adopt A Family
It's Adopt A Family time at Ronkonkoma Middle School Nurse's Office! For this 2018 season the RMS Nurse's office is hoping to get the support of all faculty and staff. Donations of cash or theme baskets either individually prepared or a combined departmental offering would be most appreciated in the Nurse's Office before December 7th. Baskets that have been popular in the past include : Mexican, Italian, Games, Bath Products, Baking Goods, Candy, Movie tickets, Sports, and Gift Certificates. Last year the funds raised through the raffle enabled RMS to adopt 12 families and 28 students in the school for the holidays. The baskets will be displayed in the school showcase until the drawing on December 19th. Chances to win may be purchased during lunch periods from the General Office and Nurse's Office for $1.00 each. Good Luck!
Cycle For Survival
Ronkonkoma Middle school ENL teacher Mrs. Weil will once again be cycling and raising money and awareness for a great cause. The event will take place Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 at the Equinox Gym in Woodbury. The event will raise money for research into rare cancers.
"Cycle for Survival's indoor team cycling events raise funds that are critical for rare cancer research. 100% of every donation to Cycle for Survival is directly allocated to research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center within six months of the events. The donations go to pioneering research and clinical trials, and have already led to new and better treatments for cancer patients worldwide. Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers collaborate with institutions around the world, and have led the way in developing new ways to diagnose and treat cancer."
1. Rare cancer research is underfunded, leaving people fighting these cancers with few options — sometimes none. Because of the generosity of people like you, Cycle for Survival is changing that. 2. 100% of your gift (yes, every dollar!) will fund research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to advance new and better treatments. All funds will be allocated within six months of the events. Cycle for Survival will share what was funded and continue to keep us updated on progress. 3. Discoveries will benefit cancer patients everywhere. Memorial Sloan Kettering treats over 400 sub-types of cancer each year and collaborates with institutions around the world. Many cancers are considered rare — lymphoma, thyroid, ovarian, brain, pancreatic, all pediatric cancers, and others — and together we can give doctors the resources they need to beat them.
On Friday, November 9th, Ronkonkoma Middle School hosted its annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Local Veterans were invited to attend a breakfast which began at 8:45 AM in the schools cafeteria. RMS band members and Tri-M members performed during the breakfast.
Following the breakfast, Veterans went to a select few classrooms 3rd period to speak to students about their experiences as a Veteran of the US Armed Forces. Mr. Andy Veiga spoke to Mr. Rice's 7th grade Social Studies class about what it was like to serve in the military and to be a part of the Vietnam War. He also spoke about the different Veterans groups today which he is a part of, many of which interact with the community regularly and aid other Veterans when needed.
This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country's service and was originally called Armistice Day. It fell on Nov. 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in order to account for all veterans in all wars. We celebrate and honor America's Veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. RMS is honored to have local Veterans take the time to attend the ceremony and speak to students.
Drug Free Pledge
During the District Wide intiative "United We Stand for a Drug/Bully free School", Ronkonkoma Middle School showed its commitment to keeping students drug free.
On October 29th, the Guidance Dept. asked students to sign a pledge banner during their lunch periods. The banner, made by art teacher Susan Tomassone, was hung outside the cafeteria and read "Your life is a journey, travel drug free". Students signed their names on the banner, and in doing so they pledged to live a drug free life.
"As a mom, dad, sibling or guardian of a middle schooler, it may be hard to believe that your pre-teen could be using drugs or drinking underage. But data from the last decade shows rates of middle school substance abuse and addiction in kids as young as 11 or 12 years old have swelled across the United States. In 2015, more than 8% of 8th graders reported using illicit drugs. Our kids are using younger and experimenting with harder drugs than ever before, and it’s not likely the trend will slow anytime soon."
Ronkonkoma Middle School is dedicated to teaching students and parents about the dangers of drug use.
On Wednesday, October 31st, Paul Failla spoke to 8th grade students about character education. Mr. Failla has been a part of the anti-violence/drug week at RMS since the beginning. Mr. Failla, a retired twenty-seven year veteran of the Suffolk County Police Department, New York, has developed a unique array of programs relating to Character Education, Violence Reduction, Tolerance, Human Diversity and Driver’s Safety Awareness. Paul is also a seasoned actor having performed in over forty- five regional theater productions, three feature films and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Theater has played a large part in the motivation of Paul’s programs, whereas he believes that entertainment is a powerful avenue in which to relay information. Paul’s background includes, but is not limited to, teaching, performing and educational consulting.
During Mr. Failla's presentation he hit upon many important topics, including avoiding destructive decisions, conflict management, personal responsibility, tolerance, shared values, interpersonal relationship skills, and ethical conduct for the betterment of each student, our schools and our society.
Mr. Failla has been a presenter and speaker at numerous schools throughout Long Island and the rest of New York State.
On Thursday, October 25th, RMS hosted speaker Kym Laube in a presentation to all 7th graders. The topic was Reducing high-risk behaviors among our youth while fostering positive attitudes to improve all areas of life.
Kym Laube is the Executive Director of the HUGS organization. Human Understanding & Growth Seminars, Inc. (HUGS, Inc.), is a non-profit alcohol and drug prevention agency that provides high quality education and prevention programs for youth and the communities they serve.
Mrs. Laube spoke about the dangers of alcohol and drug use, and how to make better life choices and avoid those life pitfalls. Long Island has experienced a dramatic increase in Opioid uses among teens, as has most of the country."Teenage opioid addiction is one of the most tragic and deadly aspects of the national opioid epidemic. The many thousands of teenagers battling opioid addiction are at risk of overdose and lifelong substance abuse. Opiods are increasingly abused throughout the United States, a situation widely known as the Opioid Epidemic. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death among Americans, and opioids are now involved in the majority of fatal overdoses. An especially tragic aspect of the Opioid Epidemic is teenage Opioid addiction. In 2016, 276,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 used pain relievers (including opioids) for non-medical reasons, and 122,000 were addicted to prescription drugs. 21,000 teenagers used Heroin in 2015, and 6,000 of them had a Heroin use disorder in the previous year. Unfortunately, it appears the problem is getting worse. Teenage opioid addiction rates increased by 19 percent between 2014 and 2015. When asked, 12th-grade students identified the ease of availability of Heroin as a factor in their use."
Officer Wendy Verlotte
As part of The Ronkonkoma Middle Schools annual United We Stand week, Officer Wendy Verlotte spoke to students in 6th grade about the dangers of E-cigs, Vape, and other drugs.
Officer Verlotte explained how even though many people assume E-cigs and vaping are a safe alternative to smoking, it's really not and should be avoided the same as smoking tobacco. "No matter how it's delivered, nicotine is harmful for youth and young adults. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health. For example, users risk exposing their respiratory systems to potentially harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes."
The use of these devices has been steadily rising among today's youth."The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by youth and young adults has been rapidly increasing. Recent data has shown that more than 2 million middle school and high school students in the United States have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days."
Steven Dodge Presentation
On Monday, October 22nd, RMS hosted speaker Steven Dodge as part of the annual Drug and Bully Free week. "Steven takes a passionate approach toward his audiences by sharing with them his personal battle with drugs and alcohol. He offers valuable insight into the growing epidemic of the often misled and misguided youth and their struggle with substance abuse."
Steven is the founder of the Long Island based SLATE project, "Educating our youth is the first and primary goal of the S.L.A.T.E. Project. The S.L.A.T.E. Project was created to reach out to members of our community in a personal manner by providing first hand experiences regarding drugs and alcohol. One of the first priorities is to arm our youth with knowledge, give them tools, and resources so when they are faced with difficult decisions, they will already have the skills necessary to make decisions with confidence. Following this, the S.L.A.T.E. Project aims to supply our community with awareness as an essential part of encouraging healthy living."
For more information visit http://www.theslateproject.org/
United We Stand
During the weeks of October 22nd and October 29th, Ronkonkoma Middle School will be holding its annual district wide initiative, "United We Stand For A Drug and Bully Free Community".
During the 2 week long program, students will attend multiple presentations on the following topics: Drug Addiction/Prevention Education about ecigs, vape, and other drugs Reducing High Risk Behaviors Diversity/Tolerance/Substance Abuse In addition to the assemblies, students are encouraged to participate in theme days. On Tuesday, October 23rd, "Too Bright for Drugs" theme day will ask students to wear bright or neon colored clothing. On Friday, October 26th, "We Dream Too Big For Drugs" theme day encourages students to wear appropriate pjs to school. And Finally, on October 29th, "Respect Yourself, Be Drug Free" theme day will have students signing a pledge banner to be drug free outside the school cafeteria.
# Band Goals
To start off the 2018/19 school year, Band teacher Mrs. Stollberger had her students choose a specific goal they would like to accomplish this year in Band. Each member wrote down their goal on a post it and placed it on the wall outside the band room. All the post its together formed the word #GOALS. Some of the members goals were:
I would like to get way better at bells To play the drum set To play every scale from memory To play the trumpet better I want to play high notes
"Studies show that goal-setting can help kids gain the sense of discipline and that internal drive it takes to stay motivated to complete the tasks they’ve set for themselves. And once they’ve learned how to set their own goal it shows in their performance as well as in their self-esteem!"
7th Grade ELA Acrostic Poems
During our first week of school, English teachers Mrs. Pluth and Mrs. Edmonds had their 7th grade ELA classes working on poetry. These were no ordinary poems though, these were acrostic poems using the students first name. "An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. The most common and simple form of an acrostic poem is where the first letters of each line spell out the word or phrase."
Students described themselves with words like; energetic, loyal, loving, awesome, and grouchy. All work was done on white typing paper and students colored their poems and added images. The acrostic poems were not only an introduction to poetry for the students, but also a way for them to get to express themselves and learn about their new classmates.
First Day of School 2018
Ronkonkoma Middle School students started their 2017-18 school year on September 6th this year. Students all hurried to their homerooms after exiting the buses. Students were welcomed by staff including acting Principal Joe Licato and Interim Assistant Principal Wayne Meyers. Teachers were on hand and in the hallways to assist new 6th grade students to their classes and help with locker combinations.
Prior to the first day of school teachers and staff attended a workshop during Superintendent Conference Day. The workshop was a continuation about mindfulness and how to not only use it in everyday lives, but how to incorporate it into education as well. A second presentation by Connetquot Security reviewed some of our lockdown and lockout procedures. Teachers used Teacher orientation Day to set up their classrooms and take care of any last minute details.
RMS went through some changes over the 2018 summer break. All classrooms now have a new phone with the ability to call outside the school, including 911 in the case of an emergency. The main gym was completely redone with new paint, finished floors, and all new banners will be up soon. Most rooms now have updated Smartboards.
On Wednesday, September 12, R.M.S. administration held an assembly for each grade level. Students were reminded of the school rules and the expectations of them for the upcoming school year. So far we've had a great beginning to this year and students seem excited to learn.