Friday, March 26, 1999
Eighth-grade focus is on teamwork
Teamwork among teachers and students is very important in the eighth grade at the Carlisle School. That was the focus of the presentation that the eighth-grade teachers made to the Carlisle School Committee at their March 16 meeting.
Language arts teacher Paula Ewers explained how the grade-level teachers work as a dedicated team, meeting regularly together to talk about students who need extra help and other issues of concern to students. They also use interdisciplinary activities that link the subject areas. The culminating ecology research project, which spans several months, combines skills the students have learned in all areas and prepares students for high school research.
Having the teachers model how to work as a team has helped the students to work as a team as well. Ewers commented on what a great job the eighth grade did putting on a dance recently, organizing the whole thing from tickets and music to clean-up.
Science teacher James "Tree" Trierweiler told the school committee about the advisor-advisee program they call "breakfast club" that has been evolving since it started on a small scale four years ago. Now it includes all of the eighth-grade teachers plus guidance counselor Kim Reid and Principal Andy Goyer so that all of the students can be accommodated in small groups.
In eighth grade, "peer groups are everything," Tree said. When kids get upset about other things that are happening in their lives, they cannot concentrate on school work. The breakfast clubs provide a place to work on these other issues. The goal of the program is to help the teachers and students get to know themselves, to know each other and ultimately, to learn how to help each other, he said.
Special education teacher Trish Comeau talked about how they have been looking at learning styles recently, getting the students to determine what their own learning styles are and trying to do the same with the teachers. Math teacher Rob Quaden added that it is also helpful for teachers to know students' learning styles.
The program is continuing to evolve as the teachers see what works well and what does not, Quaden said. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson commented that the students are aware of how the teachers, administrators and staff treat each other. When the adults work as a team, it helps the students to work as a team as well, she said, reinforcing Ewers' previous thought.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito