Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sportsmanship at LPHT

According to the Webster dictionary, sportsmanship is defined to be “fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in or observing a sport or other competition”. From my observations so far this year our student athletes here at LPHT are showing good sportsmanship.  Not once have I seen a player berate an official for what may have been a “poor call”.  I applaud them for their self-control and their efforts.  Now if we can only carry this quality of sportsmanship over to the fans (students and adults).
Before every LPHT home basketball game the announcer reads a sportsmanship creed speaking to this very subject.  Are you listening to it while it is being read?  It goes like this: “Lester Prairie and Holy Trinity Schools encourage positive sportsmanship and behavior at our activities.  Please encourage players and coaches with positive comments and acts and also by respecting the decisions of the game officials.  What you do and say during the contest reflects on your team, school, and community.  Enjoy the game by being a good sport.”
Are you being a “Good Sport”?  Are you applauding the efforts of the athletes?  Are you respecting the calls of the officials?  Are you being positive with your comments directed towards the players, coaches, and officials?  If not, then what kind of example are we setting for the student athletes of LPHT?

Let the Coaches coach.  Let the officials officiate.  Let the players put forth their best effort.  Do not embarrass this community by yelling things like “you guys are terrible”.  Let’s be positive and proud of our teams no matter the call or the outcome.  Let’s make our section of the bleachers a “Good Sportsmanship Zone”.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Band Members Serenading students and staff

Members of the LP Band are serenading students and staff as they enter the building

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trying to Catch Up to My Students With Technology

Mike Bjork – LPHS Science Teacher
Remember the old adage, “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”?  Well when it comes to technology, I am that old dog.  I can remember vividly sitting in the computer lab at Dassel-Cokato High School back in 1986 trying to create some sort of animated figure on a new Apple IIe and then trying to print out that image on a dot matrix printer.  FRUSTRATING does do it justice.  But, that was the “new” technology of the day and, looking back, we were pretty lucky to have what we had.  I went kicking and screaming into the computer era.  I am pretty old school in many ways and I didn’t like these “new contraptions”.  Little did I know then that it wasn’t that I didn’t like them, I didn’t understand them.
Now, fast-forward about 30 years.  The Apple IIe is long gone, as is the old dot matrix printer.  Computers now are much faster and do so much more of the work for you.  I can’t imagine not having one.  The bad thing that I face now is that my students are more technologically savvy than I am.  I often times have to ask a student or younger co-worker how to do things on a computer.  Becoming better at using this technology in my classroom is so vital to the success of my students; I am working hard at catching up to them.
One of the pieces of technology that I am becoming more familiar with and using with my 6th grade class is Google Classroom.  Google Classroom allows me to post assignments into a classroom that I set up and the students can go in, complete the assignment and share it with me electronically.  Probably one of the best features, that I have figured out so far, is that I can share feedback with students by posting individual comments to them about their assignment.
The 6th grade students are working on their Science Fair projects at this time in the school year.  There are lots of small assignments that they need to complete as they are progressing through their projects.  They are writing Scientific Questions, Hypotheses, research papers, material lists, and procedure lists.  In a few weeks, they will be tabulating their data into data tables and creating graphs to show the results of their experiments.
By putting these assignments on Google Classroom, my students can create rough drafts and submit them to me.  I can comment back and forth with the students, answering questions and providing suggestions and ideas on how to improve what they have submitted.  Instead of having them write things out on paper, have them turn it in, spend a few days reading and commenting, and then giving them back to corrections.  What used to take days, I can do in a matter of a few minutes.  The kids get instant, well pretty close to instant, feedback and I get to communicate better with all of my students.  It’s a win-win for all.
So here I am, the “old dog”, learning new tricks right along with my students.  That’s pretty cool.

Boys C Squad Hoopsters Start Out Strong

The Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity Boys “C Squad” sits with a 5-1 record in the early going of the winter season.  That record will carry through to the new year as they will sit through a three-week break during this holiday season.

While the team made up of mostly 9th graders has a nice record, they have played in many close games thus far.  The season started out with a non-conference road win over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 52-34, and then the boys rallied for three straight close wins over Norwood-Young America, Trinity, and New Life Academy.  The squad’s lone loss was a 24-21 battle at Southwest Christian.  LPHT will get a chance for payback against SWC on February 1st at Lester Prairie.
Led by a trio of guards, and some hot shooting, the team is averaging almost 45 points per game, with Tyler Scheevel (15.3 ppg), Parker Bayerl (8.7), and Dylan Ruzicka (7.2) leading the way.  Both Trevor Schuette and Matt Fasching have held down opposing big men with a nice presence in the lane.  Speedster Nathaniel Hausladen has added good minutes while battling a series of early season injuries and ailments, and 8th grader Evan Lee adds a spark to the lineup and will be used more as the year progresses.  The C team will return to action on January 7th at Cedar Mountain-Comfrey, and returns home on January 12th vs. Legacy Christain at 4:45.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Essay Contest Winners Annouced

The Veteran’s of Foreign Wars of the U.S.A. sponsored a fall essay contest for grades 6 through 8, and for grades 9 through 12.  Lester Prairie Public Schools was fortunate to have three winners in the contest:  Paige Bayerl (Grade 7), Arlene Nowak (Grade 10), and Renee Ahlbrecht (Grade 10).  Congratulations to these young ladies and their accomplishment.

Pictured from left to right are: Julie Weinbeck Baruch, Paige Bayerl, Arlene Nowak, Renee Ahlbrecht, and Shirley Fiecke.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Science Fun

                Wow! It has been a busy couple of months. The high school science department has been continuing with hands-on activities. We have been doing everything from learning about vectors to who discovered the shape of DNA. During second quarter, the biology students have made a variety of videos (including music videos and puppet shows) to prove their understanding of cellular respiration. Within the next few days they will have the opportunity to extract DNA from their very own cheek cells. This is a very simple process, maybe they will even show you at home!
            Physics students have been showing all they have been learning by creating problems for their fellow peers to solve. It was quite exciting to watch students complete this assignment, I got to see some of their creativity shine through. We are now moving forward to a chapter full of momentum.
            Chemistry students recently had a test. To review, we played a game, “Tortuga.” The point of the game is to write down the correct answer before the other teams. The winner of the round “builds” a turtle. First they may add a shell, then a head, legs, a hat, etc. Now that we have entered the Holiday season, we built a santa face instead.
            “When the Air Hits Your Brain.” an enthralling book about a young man's journey to becoming a neurosurgeon. The anatomy students have been working their way through this book for a few weeks now. They will be finishing this week and writing a paper about how this book relates anatomy to real world experiences.
            Well, that catches you up on what has been going on in the high school science classes. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Happy Holidays,

Science Department

Friday, December 4, 2015

Spanish Song Parodies

Spanish Song ParodiesWritten By: Janelle Afrasiab, High School Spanish Instructor

Google Translate can be both, a great resource, or a Spanish student’s worse enemy, all in the same sentence-or song.  Recently we watched a couple Spanish music videos that were parodies of popular English songs.  We watched a video of someone who had taken the lyrics to the song Let it Go from the Disney movie Frozen and translated it into other languages, took those translations and translated it back into English.  In what was supposed to be the most inspirational part of the song where she sings “Let it go”, it was translated as “Give up”.  

            Senor Ashby entertained us with his parody of Fergalicious by Fergie.  In his song Gringolicious he illustrated a lot of common mistakes Spanish students make by either using false cognates (words that look the same or similar in Spanish but have VERY different meanings in English) or how Google Translate may not always give you the word you are looking for.  For example if one were to look up “back” on Google Translate, it would tell you that in Spanish it is “espalda”.  However, that’s the word for the body part back and not the word you would use if you wanted to tell someone to sit in the back of the room.  Please, before trying to speak Spanish ask any of the Spanish students what embarazado really means before you try using it yourself.  If not, you may have some explaining to do.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lester Prairie Students Participate in the Largest Online Gathering

Students at Lester Prairie Elementary had the opportunity to be involved in an interactive online music presentation.  Students stayed in their individual classrooms to view a free, live, and interactive concert given by Dave Ruch and sponsored by ZOOM.  The live program was streamed over the internet and projected onto the classroom SMART boards.  Dave is a teaching artist who introduced students to instruments such as the mandolin and the jaw harp. Students followed his directions to sing along and add movements to the songs.   This gathering included 24,000-30,000 students from every state in the U.S. as well as countries throughout the world. 

Caption for photo:

Students in Mrs. Bayerl’s second grade sing along and do actions with Dave Ruch.

Lester Prairie School District Works to Promote Positive Lifestyle Choices Among Student-Athletes

This year, the Lester Prairie school district has been developing a Life of an Athlete Program.  Life of an Athlete is a nationwide program that promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages athletes to make good choices.  Life of an Athlete is a statewide program in both New Hampshire and New Mexico and is implemented by thousands of schools in thirty-nine states.  The life of an Athlete program manual describes the program as a comprehensive prevention program developed by olympic trainer John Underwood.  Life of an Athlete takes a proactive approach to improving school climate by coordinating all aspects of high school athletics including coaches, athletic directors, administrators, parents, and communities.

The Lester Prairie Life of an Athlete program has identified student leaders and developed an Athlete Code for the school.  We have developed support for student leaders to effectively enforce the athlete code and maintain accountability among student-athletes.  We are currently working on engaging coaches and the community to support student-athletes in making good life choices, working with athletic community as a whole to support positive lifestyle choices, proper fan behavior and the roles of coaches.

The goals of the Lester Prairie Life of an Athlete program are to gain an understanding among student-athletes of the consequences of their lifestyle choices both good and bad, provide training on character development, wellness, enforcing the athlete code, and engaging youth leaders in communicating with the community.

For more information on Life of an Athlete visit: http://www.lifeofanathlete.us/

Blaine Walstrom
Activities Director

REACH Coordinator

What’s Happening in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math?

                One of our schools goals is always to raise our MCA math scores.  One way we are trying to reach this goal is by implementing the Accelerated Math (AM) program in your child’s math class.  AM is a computer-based program that individualizes instruction.  The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math classes will be using AM to help build missing math skills.  AM has different grade level libraries that allow for students to work at their independent skill level.  Students are assigned a library based on the results of their September STAR test.    
At the beginning of October, students started working on AM.  They will continue to work on AM on the math day in their enrichment classes.  They can also work on these when done with their work in other classes, like their reading book.  Based on need, we may also work on AM in your child’s math class.  Please help us help your student by supporting this effort with AM.  Make sure your student is working on and keeping up with their AM worksheets and meeting their objectives.   
AM is a good way to get extra math help, see problems worded differently and will help your child build their missing math skills.  By now your child should be started on the AM sheets in class and be aware of how the process works.  If you have any questions for me about the process, please feel free to give me a call or send an email. 
Amy Smith
Math teacher