Todays Events - November 29, 2020

  • REMOTE INSTRUCTION – All grades and cohorts

Upcoming Events

  • Nov 23rd - Jan 15th, 2021 - REMOTE INSTRUCTION – All grades and cohorts

  • Nov 30th - Nov 30th, 2020 - Board of Education meeting
    6:30 p.m. - Mount Olive Middle School (tentative location)

  • Dec 14th - Dec 14th, 2020 - Board of Education meeting
    6:30 p.m. - Mount Olive Middle School (tentative location)

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MVS IN THE NEWS

 


Judge Michael Wright speaks to students on a video call

A look into the judicial branch

With the general election early in the month, November is a time when elementary teachers traditionally teach about aspects of the U.S. government. In Angela McCort and Kelly Wronko’s class, the third-graders went beyond learning about the three branches and the balance of power. They went inside the judicial branch and learned from a real judge what takes place.

The students virtually met with state Superior Court Judge Michael C. Wright. During the 30-minute conversation, Wright discussed the education and qualifications needed to be a judge and spoke about the types of cases that come before him in family court. He talked candidly, but in child-friendly terms and with an energy that kept students engaged every second of the virtual meeting.

At times, the talk became deeply personal, particularly when Wright spoke about the career support given to him by his mother and sister, and the happiness he felt when they were with him when he was sworn in. The judge also shared a bit about the emotional weight of making decisions that affect the lives of others. Unlike civil and criminal courts, which Wright has presided over in the past, family court does not have juries; justices are responsible for not only the proceedings but also the outcomes. 

“It's incredibly hard,” Wright said. “The decisions [I make] affect people so much. A bad decision can really destroy a life, and that’s not what I want to do. I want to help. Even when you do the right thing, though, it really hurts sometimes.” 

Toward the end of the meeting, a student asked Wright to give advice to kids. His words resonated with both the students and the adults listening in.

“It is not too early to work hard in school and position yourself to do great things,” Wright said. 
“I know you’re 8 years old, but it’s not too early. And also make sure in the next few years you take time to enjoy life, because life goes fast. Have fun, but while you’re having fun work hard. One day I was 8 years old and I went to sleep, and when I woke up I was 56.” 

Kelley Anthes-Smith arranged the virtual discussion. Anthes-Smith works for the judge and is the mother of a student in the class. Before the students met Wright, she delivered a brief introduction about the work done in family court.


And the winner is...

There was no Election Day drama for these Mountain View fifth-graders. After they cast their ballots in the New Jersey Student Mock Election, they were examining the results the very next day.

The opportunity to learn about the Electoral College and voting rights coincides with a presidential election only every four years, so fifth grade teachers didn’t waste the chance. 

“They’re hearing about the election at home and seeing the yard signs, so there was a lot of interest,” said Katie Goss, who co-teaches a class with Rebecca Day. “We completely stayed out of the politics. Our goal was for them to understand how elections work and see how the system gives everyone a voice.”

Fifth-graders learned about the qualifications necessary to vote, the uniqueness of the Electoral College, and the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. The suffrage movement is a particularly topical issue this year – the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote celebrated its centennial anniversary in August.

In some classes, including Day and Goss’ hybrid class, students examined the pros and cons or lowering the voting age. The fifth-graders discussed the issue in Google breakout rooms with their peers and as a class as a whole. They also read personal opinion essays for lowering or keeping the voting age, then wrote their own essays that included evidence to support their opinions. Each day during the week-long unit, students responded to personalized questions that asked them to clarify certain ideas and positions. This helped the teachers to tailor instruction to the unique needs of students.

Nearly 61,000 students in grades 4 – 12 participated in the mock election, which was conducted online. Results were tabulated automatically and mapped by congressional district and grade.

The election is sponsored by the New Jersey Social Studies Supervisors Association, the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies, and the New Jersey Center for Civic Education.


Emma Lindstedt gets a low, up close view of her experiment

Halloween science

The ghosts rose up in Melissa Ezro and Anessa Goldkind’s classroom and in homes throughout the neighborhood – not from magic but from Halloween science. The ethereal experiment came courtesy of baking powder and vinegar.

After drawing faces on balloons which the teachers had filled with baking soda, each fourth-grader attached one to the mouth of a bottle filled with vinegar. After a few swishes, the carbon dioxide created from the chemical reactions inflated the ghostly boo-loons. 

The simple project was planned more than a week in advance so that students both in school and learning remotely could complete the experiment together as a class. Ezro and Goldkind sent filled balloons home with students from the cohort learning in-person the prior week, along with instructions for parents to obtain white vinegar and an individual-sized plastic water bottle. The parents of Cohort C students who are learning remotely 100% of the time also had balloons and baking soda on their lists.

The lesson wasn’t just clever holiday fun. Conducting a scientific investigation is one of the fourth grade learning standards.

Tara McKenna shows off the balloon that she inflated using a simple chemical reaction


 

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