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Grey Matters, October 5, 2015; Volume 4, Number 5

posted Oct 4, 2015, 11:01 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:32 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

This year’s 24 MacArthur Genius Grant award winners were announced last week, and included some talented individuals pursuing their craft in many fields including science, photography, and literature. While unconfirmed, I get the feeling that I was, once again, number 25 on their list of worthy recipients, and must continue to take solace in knowing that if they could have awarded just one more grant, I too would have received the no-strings $625,000 prize that accompanies the award.  That money would have been more than enough to construct the heated canopy for the morning drop-off site that I designed in my head all during last year’s endless winter.  To be sure, this past weekend’s cooler weather was, while not terribly uncomfortable, still a bit of an unwelcome reminder that we will soon enter a winter season that I hope won’t be a repeat of last year, but that the Farmer’s Almanac predicts will indeed be “snowy and bitter cold.”    What I think is a safer prediction is that we’ll continue to witness on a daily basis the perplexing decision by many of our teenage boys to wear shorts through the entire winter season.  

A couple of calendar reminders to highlight for everyone:

  • There is no school next Monday, October 12, as part of the Columbus Day weekend.  

  • A reminder to 8th grade families that Minuteman Technical High School will be visiting RJ Grey this Tuesday and Wednesday to provide students with a brief overview of the school and the application process.  For those who want to know more about this option, I would encourage you to email your child’s counselors.  

  • A quick heads up to 7th grade families -- starting October 16, every 7th grade team will be traveling to the Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State.  This is a trip that we take every year as part of the science curriculum, and very much emphasizes the importance of communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.  If you’d like to read a bit more about the McAuliffe Center, you can visit their site by clicking here.  

In last week’s Grey Matters, I provided everyone with a brief overview of our commitment to daily Silent Reading.  As a follow up, I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to two resources that are available for our students and families who might want some additional guidance on young adult literature, and other resources for parents of students who might be reluctant readers.  The first is our school’s Library website, which is continually updated by our librarian, Louisa Latham, to include information about new and popular titles.  The other is a Literacy @ RJ Grey website that is maintained by our Reading teacher, Ms. Celebi, and includes a number of links to resources, online apps, and general strategies for those who might be interested in learning more about how to provide encouragement and support in this area.  

We are entering our fourth year of AB Schools. This is a significant aspect of our District's efforts to engage students and teachers in learning activities that utilize a digital platform. Each student has an AB Schools account that includes a suite of Google Apps for education. Most students who attended an Acton elementary school or Blanchard Elementary have had some level of exposure to their email accounts, and have developed some familiarity with AB Schools.  Last year, we purchased enough Chromebooks so all eight teams could each have its own mobile cart, and your students will more than likely find themselves conducting online research, collaborating with peers on shared documents, and submitting work to teachers using the AB Schools platform.  There may even be a few teachers who use the Google Classroom dashboard, which is designed specifically for classroom use.  Last week, we started sending a copy of our daily announcements (that we send to all of you via Constant Contact) to every student’s AB Schools email account, so that students will also have those reminders available to them.  We’re hoping that as they become more comfortable with AB Schools, they’ll get in the habit of utilizing it on a more frequent basis. If you’d like to learn a bit more about AB Schools in general, and some of the parameters and expectations that have been established for student email accounts, click here.  

Finally, one year ago today our RJ Grey Twitter feed had 162 followers.  We are now at a respectable 381 followers, and looking longingly at the 400 mark.  If Tom Brady can throw his 400th touchdown this season, surely we can get 19 more followers for our Twitter feed.  

Have a great week, and a nice upcoming long weekend, everyone.