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December 2010  
MMS students encourage community to read Found
MMS: Got Metal?
Beginning Band at Elementary Schools
Kindergartners at Riddle Elementary Learn Math Through FUN & GAMES!
Hard Works Pays Off
Williams Elementary Welcomes Taylor Wagner!
Candy Cane Lane
Moving Forward with New Standards
Christmas in Room 404 MHS
Mattoon CUSD #2
1701 Charleston Avenue
Mattoon IL 61938
Tel: 217-238-8850
Web: www.mattoon.k12.il.us
Email: Newsletter@mcusd2.com
MMS students encourage community to read Found

      After nine years of promoting literacy across Mattoon, the student led Mattoon Middle School Reading Committee admits that the quest to find the right book continues to prompt spirited and lengthy debates.

     This year's title selected for Ready to Read Across Mattoon is Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The selection was officially announced Wednesday afternoon during an assembly at Mattoon Middle School.

     The author describes the premise of the book Found on her official website http://haddixbooks.com/home.html: "Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adopted, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you. Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere -- and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives."

     The reading committee comprised of 39 students, a couple of community members and teachers and advised by MMS librarian Anieta Trame, reads a plethora of books and discusses those books during meetings throughout Fridays in the fall. The titles are then kept or tossed off the list.

     Some students assumed they were attending the final meeting and a title would be selected but that wasn't the case.

     "It took two different meetings to pick Found," said Brianna Eller, eighth grade reading committee member.
Nicolas Helms, sixth-grade reading committee member, loved the debate surrounding the book "Found." The avid reader, who is completing his first year as an MMS reading committee member, said the discussions about books especially the books Found and other Read Across Mattoon contenders "The Boy Who Dared and Mailbox became very involved.

     "I would do this again," said Helms who is looking forward already to serving as a seventh-grader. It is fun to see people get so heated about different books they like. I am the only one in my family who reads so I can't talk about books with anyone. But this is awesome. These people in the reading committee are really passionate about books."

     During the discussions, the length of Found and its genre prompted some concern from some committee members.

     "This year we picked a longer book pages wise," said Eller. "We usually pick a book that is not so thick because we don't want students in different reading levels to be intimidated."

     The adult committee members believed adults would be able to finish the book but they weren't sure students would finish.

     "In the beginning, it drags on but it picks up," said Helms.

     He was not concerned that students wouldn't read it because they are already reading it.

    "If you look at the library where Haddix books are at, you will not see any copies of the books because the books are always gone," said Helms.

     For those students who have already read Found, Trame recommends they continue on with the series by reading the second and third books titled Sent and Sabotaged. She encourages adult readers who enjoy Found to do the same.

     Another potential hurdle is Found is the first science fiction book the committee selected. The reading committee knows the MMS student population devours science fiction however they understand adult readers aren't always apt to pick up a science fiction book. The idea is to promote reading not repel readers.

     Trame explains that although Found is considered science fiction, it reads like a fiction book. The reader really doesn't realize they are reading a science fiction book until the final chapters.

     "I think it will appeal to adults even though it is science fiction," said Eller. "It also has mystery in there. Our adults in our community trust us to be able to pick the right book for them."

     Although Found is the book that will be the focal point of Read Across Mattoon, the students wanted to share some of the other titles that they read.

    Taylor Warf, seventh-grader, said one of the more unique titles the committee discussed was All Shook Up, by Shelley Pearsall.

     "It's about a boy who goes to live with his dad and his dad is an Elvis impersonator," Warf explained. "The boy is embarrassed and he doesn't want anyone to find out. The dad's girlfriend has a daughter who goes to the same school so the boy tries to get her not to tell anybody."

     Helms recommended Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

     "It's set during World War II," Helms explained. "This boy imagines the war as a younger boy would believe it is all glory and fame and being a hero. He sees that it is not that great. It is awful."

     However, Kate Gosnell, seventh-grader added Boy Who Dared had something to say about religion.  "I didn't enjoy it because it said something (bad) about my religion," Gosnell said.

     Trame is very proud of the work the committee does each year and the emphasis they place on promoting literacy. She recalls when she started Ready to Read Across Mattoon nine years ago, that it was only supposed to last one year but the groundswell of enthusiasm and support from both the district and the community propelled it forward year after year.

     "We passed out 100 books in the community that first year and now we pass out 1,000 books," said Trame. "We would pass out more but we only have funding for that many."

     In the programs early years, there was no blueprint.

     By accidents we did a lot of things right, Trame said. "One of them was involving community volunteers that were instrumental in growing the program. They brought a great deal of enthusiasm and support to the table.
Two individuals Trame credited were Bonnie Eades and Belinda Hendrix. Hendrix a retired teacher continues to volunteer.

     Trame also thanked Dalena Hall for scheduling the presentations throughout Mattoon where the students have the opportunity to discuss Ready to Read Across Mattoon and distribute copies of the books.

     "We already have 18 commitments beginning with the Mattoon school board meeting in January," said Trame.
The books will be distributed throughout the community at various businesses and at the January school board meeting.

     Trame appreciates the financial support each year from organizations, individuals and from grants. It is not paid for through school district funds.

     Anyone interested in supporting the program may contact Trame at 238-5850.

     "I am concerned about funding of this program because of economic issues," she said. "Many grants have been cut and that leaves us without funding."

     Trame said everyone wants to read it's just a matter of finding the right book and it is especially challenging to find students the right books.

     "A goal of the reading committee is to not just to get students to read one book but encourage them to buy into reading and read more books," said Trame.

Pictured from left to right are Nicolas Helms, Kate Gosnell, Brianna Eller and Taylor Warf.

MMS: Got Metal?

by Jamie Willis, MMS Art

      MMS was recently awarded an EIU Jaenike Access to the Arts Grant. Administered by The Tarble Arts Center, this grant was started by Vaughan and Ruth Jaenike of Charleston. These competitive grants are designed to bring the arts to the people of east central IL.

      23 outstanding MMS student artists were chosen to work with EIU sculptor professor, Jeff Boshart, to understand the process of completing an outdoor public sculpture from the beginning models to the final steel sculpture. These 23 7th and 8th graders arrive promptly around 7 a.m. to begin work with Jeff at 7:30. Students have measured and graphed the courtyard area where it will be installed, solved unique problems with balsa wood and role played entering these small sculptures in a competitive bid to receive a commission by a client. The student sculptors sketched ideas based on the work of American sculptor, David Smith, and his Cubi Series for the final design competition. These sketches were crafted in balsa to scale (3/4"= 1').

     On Sat. Dec. 4 the students will enter the sculpture studio at EIU to execute these ideas in 4? box steel. Parent volunteers, Catherine and Mark Phillips (Ameren) will assist in helping Jeff teach students to weld, fabricate, and clean steel. Steel and other materials were donated by Jeff Boshart and Roger Willis of Ameren.

     On Dec. 13, WCIA will film a session for broadcast on their 5 p.m. segment, "Kids to Know" on Dec. 14. WEIU is also scheduled to interview Jeff and the student sculpture team on 12/4 at EIU.

     Students will design the graphics for the invitations for the dedication of the sculpture in the courtyard. This date is currently not scheduled. Vaughan and Ruth Jaenike will hopefully be in attendance as our students and resident sculptor present this to our MMS community.

Beginning Band at Elementary Schools

The 5th Grade Beginning Band members from Riddle and Williams Schools have been busy as they prepared for their Winter Concert held on Saturday, December 11 at Riddle Elementary School. Students performed Marching Together, The Bermuda Triangle, In the Calm of the Starry Sky, and Christmas Medley.

Assistant Principal Chris Bough offered, "A big thank you to all band students, their families, and Mrs. Ferguson the band director. The band sounded wonderful."

Kindergartners at Riddle Elementary Learn Math Through FUN & GAMES!

     Yes, that's right. The kindergarten students are learning important math skills by playing educational games provided to us by our math program, Everyday Mathematics.

     We love how this series lets us have a lot of fun while we learn to identify numbers and count. This program also helps the children learn how to problem solve and create solutions by using manipulatives as tools. We are learning numbers, counting, patterns, shapes, money, and much, much more.

     We are even learning how to create our own number stories. One of our favorite things to do is create graphs based on all kinds of information. We have done graphs about birthdays, apples, and our favorite colors. We can sort and graph the colors of M&M's and Skittles. We love to eat them when we are done! Yum yum!

     The kindergarten students are also learning how to estimate amounts of objects. The more we practice the better we get. We are also learning how to take surveys of information using tally marks and come up with a total.

     Have fun at home with numbers too! Count objects while you drive in the car. Estimate how many things are in a bag from the grocery store. Make a pattern with your vegetables. You can even write number stories about things that happen around the house. Be creative and have fun with math!

Hard Works Pays Off

      Hard work pays off for student-athletes of Mattoon Middle as a month of practice dribbling, shooting, and passing finally resulted in a 48-17 victory as several Wildcats of Mattoon Middle School recently competed in a Special Olympics basketball game against Effingham on December 6th at Wildcat Gym. The Wildcats look to travel to Effingham as a part of the home and home exchange for the teams and hope to have more games scheduled over the next 2 months. From there, the team hopes to compete in March at the Special Olympics State Tournament in Normal, IL. The team would like to extend huge thanks the Mattoon Police Benevolent Society for purchasing their uniforms.

Williams Elementary Welcomes Taylor Wagner!

Former Mattoon High School student, Taylor Wagner visited Williams Elementary on Dec. 22nd for our Holiday Assembly. Taylor is now a student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tn. and was home for holiday break when she greeted our 700 students and 100 staff members with a holiday song, an original song entitled, "Neverland", and sang the cover song of Justin Bieber's "Baby" for our Holiday Assembly. At the closing of our assembly, Taylor joined our students and staff by singing, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" while students shared the school motto of, "Together We Can" with Taylor. We would like to thank Taylor for the sharing of her talents with our students and staff! 

Candy Cane Lane

On Thursday, December 16th over 115 Williams Elementary 2nd Graders transported an audience of over 300 people to Christmas on Candy Cane Lane.

"During this delightful holiday musical by John Jacobson and Allan Billingsley, there is a dispute as to what color candy canes are better...the red or the green," said Williams music teacher Jessica Closson. "Through catchy dialogue and toe tapping tunes, everyone learned that we are all special and wonderful, it doesn't matter if you are red or green."

The second graders took the stage dressed as candy canes, elves, soldiers, scarf dancers, and trees with special appearances from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and even Rudolph! Closson offered words of praise to her students, "Way to go second graders on an amazing start to a wonderful holiday season!"

Moving Forward with New Standards

     Illinois, along with 39 other states, recently adopted the Common Core Standards for English, Language Arts and Math. The Standards were developed by elementary, middle, and high school teachers in an effort to align college and career readiness skills. The purpose of these Standards is to prepare our children for a global world and continue opportunities for learning and growth. The Standards will replace the current Illinois Learning Standards in 2014.

     The implementation of the new standards will be a gradual process. Over the course of the next three years, Mattoon teachers will learn how to incorporate the Standards in their instruction. The state of Illinois is continuing to look at changes to the existing testing process (ISAT/PSAE) with efforts to make changes as early as 2014. For additional information, please refer to: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/common_core/default.htm or contact Tim Condron, Curriculum Director, at 238-8883 or your child's school.

Christmas in Room 404 MHS

It was a very special Christmas in room 404 this year. Profits that were made in screen printing were used to buy Christmas gifts for the less fortunate children in Mattoon. Almost $1400 was spent to lift the spirits of those kids. It turns out that by joining in on this even, the spirits of the Graphic Arts II High School students and their instructor were lifted as well! Shopping and wrapping presents for these kids was an outstanding experience that made Christmas more tangible for us all and it was the best way to start out the Christmas season! 

Important Dates in Dec. & Jan.

Jan. 03: School Resumes
Jan. 07: Report Cards Home (except MHS)
Jan. 14: Dismiss 2 1/2 hrs early
Jan. 17: Martin Luther King - NO SCHOOL

Feb. 04: End of 3rd 5-Week Progress Period
Feb. 11: 3rd 5-Week Progress Reports Home
Feb. 18: Dismiss 2½ hrs early – Teacher In-service
Feb. 21: Presidents’ Day – No School
Feb 28-Mar 11: Illinois State Achievement Testing (ISAT)

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Lake Land to host Financial Aid Night

      Lake Land College has scheduled a Financial Aid Night for Mattoon High School beginning at 6:30 p.m. Jan 5 in Webb Hall 081 at Lake Land College.

      At the event, Lake Land's Financial Aid staff will present information on the 2011-2012 application process, including information on state, federal, institutional and local financial aid programs. Parents, high school seniors or anyone planning to attend Lake Land or any two or four year college during the 2011-2012 school year are encouraged to attend.

     "We will provide information about scholarships and grants that are available," said Danielle Downs, advisor for Lake Land College financial aid and veteran services. "We will also walk them through the steps of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid."

Important Phone Numbers

Administrative Service Center:
(217) 238-8850

Hawthorne School:
(217) 238-8800

Mattoon Middle School:
(217) 238-5800

Mattoon High School:
(217) 238-7800

Riddle Elementary School:
(217) 238-3800

Williams Elementary School:
(217) 238-2800

Transportation Office:
(217) 238-3270

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