Teaching in a Modern Classroom~Love, Mom

With the school year drawing ever closer, I am excited to have not only my own children exposed to the personalized learning of the Summit Basecamp curriculum, but my 8th grade students as well.  This new and innovative curriculum is finally taking education into the 21st century and truly differentiating instruction based on individual student’s needs.  Not only are the software components outstanding, but the resources available are rigorous and academically profound.  Boone County schools and Camp Ernst Middle School are joining other states in implementing a learning process which will put us at the forefront in educational curricular design.

How will personalized learning benefit my student?  Believe me when I tell you it will.  My daughter who currently attends a district high school has been in the gifted and talented program for many years.  This type of personalized learning design allows students to take ownership of his/her learning and broaden the scope of his/her academic careers.  She would have had the benefit of knowing which style of learning she preferred and choosing the path which best suited her needs.  For certain, she would have had an opportunity to explore in greater depth a number of subjects and content areas.  Had she been struggling in any area, she would have had the time to explore those concepts in greater detail with her teacher.

This is where the teacher is now able to take on a more effective role.  I will become a facilitator of learning rather than merely giving instruction on information. Students will take ownership of their learning, and I will provide them with the support that they individually need.  With this new curriculum, I will be able better ascertain where students excel and where they could better benefit from my careful mentoring.  Research continually supports this type of classroom and environment.  How exciting that we are using it in our school!

Do not be alarmed, Parents.  I can assure you this is where education should have been a decade ago.  Classrooms are going to look different, as they should!  Teachers are going to have to teach differently.  We cannot teach our information age students with antiquated instructional techniques.  Our students at Camp Ernst Middle School are distinct individuals who demand an educational program that meets those specific needs.  I only wish that my daughter who is a senior would have had such an opportunity!

Personalizing Education

Welcome to the personalized experience!  As we begin our journey to personalize education for all students, every day we invite you to follow along, leave comments and grow with us!  To start, we want to provide opportunities to inform our students and parents about what personalized education is and why we are moving in this direction. We will inform you through blogs, emails, Q & A sessions, and one to one meetings.

Personalizing your child’s education simply means that we will provide a platform in which your children will learn the content in a rigorous, meaning-full way through projects, one-to-one mentoring, and a learning plan that is personalized for every student.

We are moving in this direction to meet the needs of our students.  Everyone learns differently.  Personalizing education to meet the needs of our students gives our kids a chance to move at their own pace and learn how they learn best by choosing the mode of delivery.  We will see high levels of engagement and student agency (ownership of their learning).  Students will acquire deeper understanding and skills through student agency. Student agency will help prepare our students for the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century!

Welcome to the future of education at Camp Ernst Middle School!

Growing Pains

Throughout the year we’ve looked at growth mindset for teachers but we haven’t looked much at the growth mindset for our students. The link below will take you to a wonderful article on teaching the growth mindset to students with a focus on brain development, growth mindset self-talk, and praising the process. 
This article reminded me of the conversation I had with my own children yesterday as their Odyssey of the Mind team did not advance to state.  I have been coaching the team since January and each week, I spent a good amount of time getting them all back on task.  They really didn’t put the time or effort in it to win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place which would advance them to the state competition.  As we sat waiting for the placements, the kids were excited in anticipation of their award.  It never came.  I felt disappointed for them but also realized that they received what they should have received given the amount of effort they put in.  The tears came and the defeat was all over their faces.  I felt bad but realized that I had the responsibility as their coach to use this opportunity to teach them how to fail. 
At that moment, the coach of Camp Ernst was walking by so I stopped her and asked her to tell our Thornwilde team how much time the CEMS kids practiced for Odyssey.  CEMS took 2nd place and advanced to the state competition which will be held in Bowling Green on April 2nd!  Our team rocks!  The coach explained that the kids put 5 hours in each weekend and some time every night after homework. The Thornwilde team quickly recognized they did not put that kind of time in outside of our practices.  When the CEMS coach left, I shared with the kids that it takes a LOT of time, effort, and dedication to be awarded the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placements.  I asked them to think about if they truly felt that they put in the kind of time it takes to advance to state?  I also shared that if they form a team next year and they want to advance to the next level, they would have to have the dedication it takes to get there and that they did a great job this year and had fun but that they weren’t ready for the next level.  The tears eventually dried up and the lesson that hard work really does pay off was made. 
This is something teachers are really good at when it comes to classrooms and teaching the kids about hard work.  We know, as educators, that if they work hard, they will grow!  Read the article for a little more information on teaching the growth mindset to students!!

Welcome to our Home

As I began to think about the various topics that would be the beginning of my blog, I wondered what people would want to read.  I came to the conclusion that people are most interested in their children.  What better way than to use this blog as a window into our school to show our community what our students are doing?  As I walk through the hallways on any given day, I am encountered with very active and engaging service learning projects.  One particular project that speaks to me is the construction of the birdhouses in Mrs. Holly Baker’s enrichment class.  These are no ordinary birdhouses, these are special houses. They will be home to new life in the spring.  At first glance, it sounds typical of any other birdhouses but there is a significant purpose behind these very special houses.

Camp Ernst Middle 6th graders researched native and non-native bird species in Kentucky and learned about the benefits or harms each species has on our ecosystem.  They learned that the non-native species have exploded in numbers and many of these species are invasive and have wreaked havoc on our native bird population.  Due to the lack of predators, non-native birds like the House Sparrow and the European Starling, thrive in Kentucky and have had rapid reproduction patterns.  They are a threat to the native birds like Bluebirds, Wrens and Chickadee’s as they destroy their nests.  Using a satellite map of our school, Mrs. Baker’s 6th graders have mapped out the best location  for their birdhouses, according to nesting requirements, to attract native species.  They have built nest boxes specifically engineered to keep the Starlings out to promote native bird nesting.  The students will install the nest boxes fully equipped with webcams to monitor nesting in each one in February and March.  They will collect data that includes species of bird, how many eggs, how many hatchlings, and how many fledged.  You will be able to monitor the nests at www.nestwatch.org to watch their progress.  Each year Mrs. Baker’s classes will enter data to compare to previous years to see the impact on the population of native birds in our region.


As you can see, these bird houses are special indeed!  Stay tuned to see how Camp Ernst Middle school students increase the population of our native bird species!!