Saturday, March 31, 2012

WLMS Pride! Debate Team Wins, Again!

Debate Team Wins Competition!
The WLMS Debate team defeated Patapsco Middle School on March 29 at the Spring Countywide Middle School Debate held at Murray Hill Middle School.  The debate team has spent may hours preparing to defend the affirmative resolution, "Be it resolved that Howard County Public Schools should institute single gender classes."  The students did and excellent job delivering the speeches, arguing head to head with their opponents during the Crossfire questioning session and then provided a convincing conclusion to impress the judges.  The judges praised and complimented the team on their thorough research of the resolution and defense of their position.  It was an excellent competition and great learning opportunity for the students.  As this was the last countywide debate for the year, the eighth graders on the team are looking forward to participating  in debate in high school, and the returning members are anxious to continue developing their debate skills next year.  Students interested in participating on the debate team next year should contact the GT Resource Teacher, Mrs. April Motaung.

Congratulations to the following students:


Rules of Possession

I have to tell you, sometimes middle schoolers 
use this same play book... ; )

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome Dr. Foose!

"I would have started at 8 a.m. (Tuesday) if they would have had me," she said.
Pending a contract negotiation, an official vote and approval from the state superintendent, Foose will become superintendent July 1, following the retirement of current schools leader Sydney Cousin.

Foose, 45, was named the next Howard superintendent Tuesday, March 27, about 24 hours after she was first presented to the public as one of two finalists for the position.

The decision from the Board of Education, said Board Chairwoman Sandra French, came at around midnight Monday, and was a unanimous vote, made after several hours of board members poring over community feedback behind closed doors.

"She is our first choice, and we are so thrilled she said yes," French said.

Foose is currently deputy superintendent of Baltimore County schools — the 26th largest school system in the country, about twice the size of Howard's 50,000-student system. She's held that position since April 2011, and prior to that was associate superintendent for Montgomery County schools.

She will be the 16th superintendent in the county, and the first woman superintendent in the system's history.
The other finalist for the position was S. Dallas Dance, chief middle school officer for the Houston Independent School District in Texas. On Tuesday morning, Dance was named as Baltimore County's next superintendent. (See accompanying story).

A 1993 graduate of Towson University, Foose began teaching in 1996, after leaving the state police, and received a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University in 1997. She became an assistant principal in Frederick County in 2000. In 2004, she earned a doctorate of education from the University of Delaware.

She was a principal in Washington County from 2003 to 2006, then started her career in Montgomery County as principal for two years before being promoted to Director of School Performance. In 2010, she earned an master's degree in business administration from Loyola University.

"I know education, from driving a school bus, to being a school secretary, to being a classroom teacher," Foose told members of the public Monday. "My experience, my passion and my ability to move a great school system even farther along (are my qualifications)."

Foose, who is single and has no children, joined Baltimore County in 2011 — amid some uproar over her salary, which at $214,000 was about $20,000 more than her predecessor had earned — after serving as director of school performance, director of shared accountability and associate superintendent in Montgomery County.

Salary specifics have yet to be discussed for the job here, Foose said. In December 2011, the Howard board approved a pay scale "in the range of $265,000" for the position.
Favorable reviews

Foose's experiences impressed local community leaders, who said they were pleased with the board's decision.

"This is a smart person who has obviously worked very hard and achieved a lot," said Paul Lemle, Howard County Education Association president. "My first impression is admiration; going from a school bus driver to a state trooper to a teacher to a principal to, ultimately, a superintendent in 15 years is a meteoric career path. It speaks to someone having a lot of drive and a lot of skill."

Lemle said Foose's work in Montgomery County was of particular interest to him, in part because of that county's practice of interest-based bargaining and also because of a program known as Peer Assistance and Review — a system designed to provide frequent and helpful feedback for struggling teachers. Howard County currently does not have a collaborative effort between the union and school system to review employees, he said.

"That practice provides lots of feedback for improvement and working toward the right goal, the goal of helping a person along to be the best teacher they can be," Lemle said.

During public sessions, Foose discussed ways to engage the community through social media and focus groups to gain input on an array of subjects, including the capital and operating budgets. That interest on parent and community involvement impressed Chaun Hightower, president of the PTA Council of Howard County, who said Foose struck her as a warm, personable candidate.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica stops printing after more than 200 years

Source: The London Telegraph

The publisher is ditching its weighty tomes to concentrate on an internet version, after recognising that knowledge was changing so quickly that the they were becoming obsolete as soon as they were issued. Its handsomely-presented volumes have been in print since they were first published in Edinburgh in 1768.
They will stop being available when the current stock of 2010 editions runs out, the Chicago-based company said. Executives said the end of the printed, 32-volume set had been foreseen for some time.
Jorge Cauz, president of the Encyclopaedia Britannica company said: "This has nothing to do with Wikipedia or Google. This has to do with the fact that now Britannica sells its digital products to a large number of people."
The top year for the printed encyclopedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold, Cauz said. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996, he said. The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.

Just 8,500 volumes of the 2010 edition have been shipped. The final hardcover encyclopedia set remains available for sale at Britannica's website for $1,395. Online access to Britannica will be available for $70 a year.

"The sales of printed encyclopedias have been negligible for several years," Cauz said. "We knew this was going to come."

The company plans to mark the end of the print version by making the contents of its website available free for one week.

Online versions of the encyclopedia now serve more than 100 million people around the world, the company said, and are available on mobile devices. The encyclopedia has become increasingly social as well, Cauz said, because users can send comments to editors. "A printed encyclopedia is obsolete the minute that you print it," Mr Cauz said. "Whereas our online edition is updated continuously."

Britannica has thousands of experts' contributors from around the world, including Nobel laureates and world leaders such as former President Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It also has a staff of more than 100 editors.

Mr Cauz said: "To me, the most important message is that the printed edition was not what made Britannica. "The most important thing about Britannica is that Britannica is relevant and vibrant because it brings scholarly knowledge to an editorial process to as many knowledge seekers as possible."

Lynne Kobayashi of the Language of the Hawaii State Library said: "While Wikipedia has become ubiquitous, the Britannica remains a consistently more reliable source."

A.J. Jacobs, who read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica for his book, The Know-It-All, told the Financial Times: "I am a bit heartbroken. "There was something so wonderfully concrete about the print version, and I loved the idea that all the world's knowledge could be contained in those pages."
Explorer Ernest Shackleton took a volume on his doomed Antarctic expedition and is said to have burnt it page by page to keep warm.

"You can't do that with the internet," said Mr Jacobs.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Madness 3 on 3 Tournament Pics as seen in the Howard County Times

WLMS Pride!

Check out this link:,0,6319567.photogallery

Thanks to Jen Rynda, Howard County Times Photographer, for attending our event and taking these great photos!

Wilde Lake Middle students raise funds for Darfur refugees

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Madness at WLMS!

Just like the rest of the nation, here at Wilde Lake Middle we love March Madness. As a result of our love of basketball, four years ago, we began the tradition of holding a 3 on 3 basketball tournament to showcase our ball playing skills and to raise money for our media center. 

Last Friday evening, the tradition continued. This year, we had the largest field of teams enter the tournament. 33 teams registered to play. We had 29 student teams, a police officer team, two teacher teams and one principal team made-up of some of WLMS's feeder schools and me. It was a great event which raised money to support our media center and brought our community together to celebrate basketball, wellness and school pride.

I want to extend a huge thank you to those people who made this year's event so special - Ms. McNeill, Mrs. Todd and Mr. Spicher for working to organize this event along with parent volunteers from the WLMS PTSA. 

Thanks to:
  • Mr. Walsh, Mr. Helms, Mr. Spicher, Mr. Rankin, and Mr.Doherty for doing such a magnificent job refereeing and managing all of the games.
  • Ms. Berla for being our MC & Mr. Messick for providing the entertainment for event - you guys are awesome!
  • Ms. Middleton and Ms. McNeill for helping to maintain the bracketology!
  • Mrs. Ward, Ms. Hughes, Mrs. Todd and Mrs. Motaung for setting-up the book fair and running it.
  • Ms. Hughes, Ms. Ryan, Mrs. Ward, Mr. Douherty, Ms. Drakes, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Spicher, Mr. Ortega, Mr. Larner, Mr. Todd and Officer Littlefield for showing us your basketball skills.
  • Officer Littlefield, Ms. Creamer, Ms. Drakes, Ms. Nelson and Ms. Corbett for helping to monitor our hallways and provide student support.
  • To all the staff and parents who came to support the kid! 
  • To our wonderful student-athletes who participated!
  • To our amazing PTSA for their help with refereeing, concessions, crowd control and all of theother little details.

Food Art! View When Not Hungry! ; )


Amazing Creativity!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Getting Pumped for the MSA

On Friday, we had our annual MSA Assembly to share data from the previous year and get the students pumped for doing their very best on the tests this year. We shared motivational videos (WLMS Rappers and we held a competition between the girls and the boys to see which gender would reign supreme. The competition, a balloon blowing contest, served as a metaphor for taking the test. How, you might ask? are some of the answers our students came up with...

  • There is a strategy to blowing-up a balloon...the same as taking a high stakes test.
  • You have to get pumped-up to perform at your highest levels.

  • The test is a competition.

  • Every balloon does every answer.

  • You have to be quiet during the competition...and when taking the test.

  • You have to concentrate to do well. 

Congratulation to all of our girls. They beat the boys at each grade level. In particular, they were most successful in the 8th grade! Our boys really blew it this year. : (   While it was close, the girls proved to be better this year!

Here are some more pics from the assemblies:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Test Test Baby!

This coming week our students will begin taking the Maryland School Assessment.

As you can see, the WLMS staff really ROCKS!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Infographics: the new soil

 “By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes, a sort of information map. And when you’re lost in information, an information map is kind of useful.” David McCandless

Here is an example of an infographic:  How can these be used by students?

Monday, March 5, 2012


I don't have this particular addiction, but I know people who do!  
My problem is not being able to find a post-it when I need one.  ; )

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Maryland School Assessment is Coming!

Fueling Up for MSA!

Our staff is working very hard to prepare our students to be successful on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) this month. Here are some of the ways we are helping our students prepare: math and reading teachers have been meeting with all students to share their 2011 scores, Ms. Kelley and Ms. Warner have created “MSA Gauges” to help students visualize their performance from last year on the MSA, students are setting goals for their MSA achievement this year, and during extended homeroom time we have provided specific test taking strategies for students to consider.

This coming week, we will conduct MSA assemblies for each grade level to encourage all students to try hard and to do their very best when taking the tests on March 13, 14, 20 and 21.

You might be asking, how can I help my child be ready to perform to the best of their ability? Well, here are some simple things that will have a huge impact. Please keep the testing dates in mind when scheduling appointments. We will begin to administer the tests promptly at 8:10 a.m. and they will continue until 11:00 a.m. each day. It would be extremely helpful if parents do everything they can to see that their child is in school on time on these days since it is very difficult for students to have to make up these tests during other class times. A good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast are the best ways to help ensure your child’s success on these exams. Also, it is important to take time to talk with your child and reinforce the importance of doing their very best on the MSA.

Your support and interest mean a lot.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lego Man in Space!

Of course, this is not the first weather balloon trip to "space", but this is a pretty cool video none the less. It's important to remember that this is edited footage, the ascent alone probably took an hour. I also appreciate that you can hear and see the bursting of the weather balloon at the end of the video. Finally, as a huge Lego fan, I loved the use of the figurine to put this flight into perspective.