Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Electives Choice: Third Trimester

Today we presented the classes which students can choose from for their third trimester electives. The selection sheet can be found at the link below:

Third Trimester Elective Selection Sheet

Please have the completed selection sheet handed in to Mr. Skeen by Friday, February 24.

Middle School Leadership Conference at Canterbury

We are excited to announce that Canterbury has partnered with East Ed, a collaborative of educators whose "mission is to serve as a resource to schools and agencies and support the establishment of equitable, anti-bias, multicultural environments," and other Greensboro area schools to host a Diversity and Leadership Conference on Valuing Our Differences: Let’s Be Real. As you know our mission states we will “develop the whole child by challenging the mind and nourishing the spirit in a diverse community guided by Judeo-Christian values.” We believe the Diversity and Leadership themes which will be emphasized fit perfectly with our mission. The tag line for the conference reads,
“We can make our schools better by working together. Like a Smoothie, schools can be a place where differences can create something unique. Many is Better than One!”

Open Mind

Students who attend will learn skills to bring back to their grade and the division. Furthermore, we hope to ingrain in our student a desire to put their new insights into action through their leadership. In this way we not only develop a deeper understanding of each other, but also provide an opportunity for real student leadership.

On March  15, students will be on campus for the conference and will spend all day with middle school students from around the Triad region discussing ways to confront bias.  The best thing about this conference is that is has been planned by students from area schools. We will have student facilitators leading small group break out sessions on how to making valuing differences a reality in their schools. It truly is student leadership in action. This should be prove to be a great experience for those involved and through their engagement and leadership a great experience for the middle school as a whole.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Science Olympiad Success

Erin Ringrose, our 7th/8th Grade Science Teacher took a group of our middle schoolers to the regional Science Olympiad competition this past weekend. The students have been preparing every Monday afternoon since the start of the school. She reports on their day below: 

We had a wonderful day at the Science Olympiad regional competition yesterday.  The event was held at UNC-G and the weather couldn't have been better - unlike today.  I took a team of ten kids to compete in 19 of the 23 events, and they were awesome.  First and foremost, they conducted themselves with maturity and enthusiasm, just as we expect all Canterbury students to do at all times.  Second, they placed and received medals in FIVE events!

Brad B. and Caroline C. placed 2nd in Forestry
Laura S. and Nithin G. placed 1st in Mousetrap Vehicle (with an assist in building from Brad B.)
Brad B. and Carolina C. placed 3rd in Road Scholar
Brad B. and Nithin G. placed 2nd in Water Quality
Claire C. and Sarah B. placed 3rd in Write It Do It

In addition to our wonderful successes, Joe G. and Kevin B. were interviewed by a News 14 Carolina reporter and the segment was aired last night and posted on the web

Canterbury Students on News 14 Carolina

I am so very proud of these Canterbury students for their hard work, dedication, and positive attitude.  During the competition, McGill C. was talking with a friend of hers who attends the Academy at Lincoln and discovered that the Lincoln team had forgotten to bring a vital piece of equipment for one of the events.  McGill immediately asked me if we could lend her one of ours.  She said, "It's ok, Kevin and I can share the other one."  McGill also noticed a hole in the event schedule where we did not have a student to compete in an event.  She asked to see the rules and decided to go and try the event on about an hour's notice!  Several other students went along to events as moral support even though they had not prepared for that event.  Hats off to them for being brave and trying things to help the team!

We also had many wonderful parents who stayed and helped at vital moments throughout the day - many thanks to Don and Leean Simon, Bob and Mary Buccini, Laura Burton, Libby Brewington, Suja Ganji, and Julie Gesell. 

I'm attaching a picture of our tired but victorious team.  Please congratulate these students on a job well done!

Friday, February 17, 2012

8th Grade Trips: ETA to Canterbury

I just spoke with John and Tricia: Florida should be arriving around 1:00 and New Orleans should be arriving around 1:30.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CSI Begins This Afternoon

The Canterbury CSI Wiki
Our 7th grade has begun their annual Crime Scene Investigation unit. Since both the 8th and 6th grades are away, they have the run of Armfield Hall. New this year is the 7th Grade CSI Wiki which holds all their evidence including lab procedures, evidence check out requests, suspect interviews, job responsibilities, and evaluation rubrics.

Students have been studying forensics in Science and reading Sherlock Holmes in Literature, so this mini-unit combines the two in a real life problem solving experience. Another example of 21st century learning (one which has been going on for some time here at Canterbury).

Stay Tuned....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Orleans Service Begins

Tricia Fisher is leading a group of 8th graders on a service trip to New Orleans to help clean up after Katrina. She will be sending a more complete report later this evening. Here is a teaser for the parents:

A Report From Florida 2012

John Schoultz, our Middle School Technology Coordinator, took a group of 8th graders down to Florida as part of a marine science trip. His first report is below:

Dave, so far things are going very well.

The trip started in Savannah.  The group went for dinner in the historic section and then went took a brief walk. Downtown Savannah was really cool, but the cold temperature ended the evening stroll.  After that, we headed to Florida.

We made it to Florida looking for some warmer weather, but it was not to be.  Hopefully it comes today.  The open water divers got off and running and actually accomplished more than last years group in the same amount of time.  They have gone on their first open water dive and are heading to Rainbow Springs as I write this for more of their dives.  It is a beautiful place with some of the clearest water in the world.

The advanced group of divers, James and Duncan, went on a night dive last night.  Wayne and I joined them and it was just amazing.  The water temperature was significantly warmer than the air temperature, so the boat ride back to the dock was very, very cold.  We think the air temperature was in the mid to low 40s.  The price you pay I guess for a wonderful experience.

The four of us are off shortly for the deep dive of around 70 feet and this afternoon we will actually be riding underwater vehicles like you see in the movies.  Pictures are coming, but we also might have video as well of the underwater fun.

Tomorrow we will be looking for manatees and then scuba diving for fun as a large group.  The kids really have been great and they have worked very hard.

I hope you are well and I will send another note before we leave Florida.

If you want to forward this note on to parents that is great.

John Schoultz and team

Monday, February 13, 2012

21st Century Track: Mock Trial

This summer, we unveiled our new Electives organization with three tracks: The Arts, A 21st Century World and Leadership. Last week we had the culminating event in one of our 21st Century track class, Mock Trial led by Burns Jones, Head of School. Below you will see a slideshow from the event, where the Honorable Bill Osteen, a United States Federal judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, presided.

The students were broken up into two teams - plaintiff and defense and given a case file to study. They spent the first part of the trimester learning the ins and outs of courtroom protocol and guidelines and the second half of the trimester developing their case. Neither side had practiced against the other until last week in front of Judge Osteen and the jury made up of teachers, staff, and administrators.

This was a real world experience in front of a real audience with a real expert providing input (both Burns, who, as he states, is a reformed lawyer, and Judge Osteen) and a real outcome. There could not be a better example of a 21st Century learning experience than this.

Check out the slideshow:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Launch & Learn: Take the Sleep Challenge this February |

As we all know sleep is hugely important for proper development. As you may also know, our kids don't get nearly enough of it. From the makers of The Race to Nowhere comes a Sleep Challenge worth taking a look at:

Launch & Learn: Take the Sleep Challenge this February |

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Reading Comprehension E-Mail Chain Debunked

I came across an article on the Dana Foundation blog this afternoon discussing how the brain works when it comes to reading comprehension.  It begins with a reminder about this well-traveled email:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

I remember receiving this email which said  study at Cambridge University had proven that the human brain can read any sentence or paragraph no matter what order the letters in the word appear as long as the first and last remain in the same place.

It turns out there is a lot more to the story...check it out.

8th Grade Trips: New Orleans Information

Below are some links for the information sheets for the 8th Grade trips to New Orleans.

New Orleans Itinerary
New Orleans Important Phone Numbers
New Orleans Packing List

iPads Allow Students to Tell Mr. Skeen to Pipe Down
About a week ago, Erin Ringrose, our 7th and 8th grade science teacher, asked me to take a look at the website As the website states,

"ShowMe is an open learning community where you can teach or learn anything. Watch great lessons for free, or create your own with the iPad app."

Erin asked her 7th grade students to use their iPads to create review lessons using the ShowMe app. What she got was students spread all over Armfield, trying to find a quiet place to record their lessons. I couldn't walk ten steps before I was shushed or given a stern look from a 7th grader for being too loud in the hallway because they were trying to explain photosynthesis or respiration for their ShowMe lessons.

Let me put that in perspective: in a middle school (remember ages 11-14...), the Director (theoretically I'm supposed to be in charge) was being told by students that he was being too loud in the hallway. 

If you remember back to your junior high days you'll realize that the relationship had been completely flipped on its head! At its root this lesson had engaged the students so deeply that they wouldn't stand for any distractions.  

The products were of high quality and the students had an audience for whom they were creating - both their own class and the online community of ShowMe. This is 21st Century teaching and learning enabled through the iPad. Most importantly, the technology was not the focus of the lesson, the content of how photosynthesis or respiration works was. The iPad made that learning more meaningful.

Check out one of the presentations:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life is a LEGO Set: A Sermon
Yesterday we gathered to hear PM give his 8th grade sermon. One of the best things that come from these moments are the insights into a student's passions outside of school. Furthermore, you realize how closely meshed those passions are with the life they live at school.

PM's sermon, which you can read below, is an example of that type of personal sharing which enables all of us to examine our own approach to life. How great is it that this is a place where14 year olds can paint such a vivid picture and challenge us to be better?

A sermon by PBM

Before I begin this sermon I would like to tell you little about myself.
I have been at Canterbury since kindergarten and I have enjoyed being taught by all of my teachers. Some of my hobbies consist of basketball, baseball, remote controlled helicopters, and Legos.

All of my hobbies have been around since I was young but Legos have been a huge part of my life since I was four years old. Ever since I got your basic Lego box with the basic colors I have been fascinated by how all these little tiny pieces could join together any way you wanted to make something extraordinary.
As I got older I received much larger and intricate sets providing more of a challenge. Legos have provided me with a great sense creativity in the way of building well… what ever I thought of.

Creativity. What is that really?
It means inventive. Imaginative.  Visionary.  Original.  And in life creativity means you do things differently.  For example, when it was snowing, 15 degrees, and everyone else was sitting by the fire sipping hot chocolate or in their nice, warm comfy beds… my friend PS and I -- on the other hand --decided to camp outside.  Although it wasn’t one of our brightest OR warmest ideas, we made the most of a cold, snowy night. 
Legos have also taught me patience, because in life when you get frustrated it’s important to have patience.  Many times have I gotten frustrated with legos when I couldn’t find a certain piece and then it ended up being right in front of me.

In life, certain situations require patience such as school and sports. In school if you get a bad grade you can’t change it over night. You have to work at it every day up to the next report card to try and bring up your grade.
When I was young and playing baseball at Pleasant Garden, I remember I learned how to catch, throw and hit a baseball off the tee. But I could never seem to hit the ball when the coach threw it.
Being little, I got frustrated easily.  But my Dad had the alternative solution. We would go to the batting cage until I got it. “AND WE WENT A LOT.” What little patience I had did pay off.   So, of course, ….did growing 18 inches.
When I was 11 I received the largest Lego set I had ever gotten from my Grandmother. When I unwrapped it on Christmas morning both of my parents said, “That is going to take you days to complete.” When they said that I had sudden determination to build it as soon as possible. The day after that Christmas was Sunday so I went to church and after that I went straight up to my room and worked on that Lego set for a solid three and a half hours until it was finished. 
In life it’s important to have determination because when you want something done you need determination to drive you forward. If you are a businessperson who comes up with an idea to help your company, for example,  you need determination to drive you forward in doing the work to make that happen.

So, in short, LIFE IS LIKE A LEGO SET. You need creativity, patience and determination to build it. Use creativity to be imaginative, patience when things are not going your way, and determination to push you forward to your goals.
So how is all of this tying back to my relationship with God.  God has made us our own Lego set. It’s up to us to create ourselves in our own unique way.   At birth, God gives us the first pieces. Throughout life, as we build our LEGO sets they get more complicated just like life. To guide us through our lives I always thought of God as the Direction Book.  It told me how to build my life.  It gave me a sense of direction guiding me to build the right thing.  
So when you leave this chapel today ask yourself: 

How is your life like a Lego set?
Do you know what your building?
Are you following your instruction book and are you employing creativity, patience and determination in building your final product?

Think About It……..


Is The Internet a Human Right?

Brett Yasko
Yesterday I covered Father Finnin's Ethics in Leadership class and we discussed whether we thought access to the Internet rose to the level of a human right. This conversation was brought on by the op-ed in the New York Times by Vinton Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, who says it is not. I thought it was a fascinating discussion with many nuanced perspectives which the students were able to identify and discuss in a civil and understanding manner.

Check it out for yourself: Internet Access is Not a Human Right