Mark Your Calendar for the Upcoming Band/Choir Concert!

Extracurricular activities, such as Band and Choir, can be an important part of a student’s life.  Which is why at McDowell, these classes are offered and up for any student to join.  Both the Band and Choir have been working very hard for their upcoming concert at McDowell, on March 8th, which begins at 7 P.M.  Although the 7th and 8th Grade Band, and the 7th Grade Choir will be the main discussion, there will also be a performance from the 8th Grade Choir.  Up next, are the pieces that are going to be played by the 7th and 8th Grade Band, in the upcoming concert.

The pieces that are played, are what make every concert different from one another.  These pieces  are practiced over and over, in order to entertain the audience.  It takes bands months in order to perfect everything about a piece.  The pieces that the 7th and 8th Grade Band will be playing are Night Flight by Bill Calhoun, which is a piece that is fast-paced and very aggressive.  Above and Beyond by James Swearingen; this piece is exciting with a lot of dramatic melodies.  Ancient Echoes by Ed Huckeby, which is a combination of the two pieces Ahrirang and Simple Gifts.  This piece is very slow and soothing to the ear.  The final piece the 7th and 8th Grade Band will play is Mi Casa Es Su Casa, which is another piece by James Swearingen.  The title is Spanish for, “My home is your home.”  This piece has rhythmic energy, and is Percussion oriented with an array of instruments.  There is more than just the 7th and 8th Grade Band for the upcoming concert, there is also the 7th Grade Choir.  There will be more detail about the songs that the 7th Grade Choir will be singing next.

Along with pieces making every concert different, songs can make them different as well.  Which is why singing different songs at every concert is important in separating your performances.  The different songs that the 7th Grade Choir will be singing are All Star by Smash Mouth.  This song was originally featured in the movie Shrek.  Lean on Me by Bill Withers, is a song from the 1970’s.  The song is about hope and overcoming pain.  The final song that the 7th Grade Choir will be singing is Hallelujah.  Although the 7th Grade Choir will be performing less songs/pieces than the 7th and 8th Grade Band, their performance will be just as good.  That wraps up everything about the 7th Grade Choir, time to conclude about the entire concert.

All in all, make sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming concert at McDowell.  The 7th and 8th Grade Band, and the 7th and 8th Grade Choir have worked very hard and have been preparing for months.  From aggressive fast-paced pieces, to songs that were featured in a popular kids movie, this upcoming concert will be different from every other.  So, make sure to be at McDowell on March 8th, at 7 P.M. for the future concert.     

McDowell’s New Major Math Modification

McDowell Exchange School is always focusing on preparing students for the upcoming AIR Assessments (American Institute for Research).  Recently, the teachers at McDowell have decided to better prepare students for the Math AIR Assessment through an online program called ALEKS.  The McDowell Staff have also constructed a board in one of the hallways to showcase students’ progress.  Before going into too much detail, here is a description about the ALEKS Assessment Program.

Firstly, the ALEKS Assessment Program is a website that helps students with their Math skills.  The website was founded by McGraw Hill, the same company that produced a few of the Math books at McDowell.  The program helps develop Math skills in young minds all the way to seniors in high school and higher education; grade levels ranging from Kindergarten to 12th Grade.  The goal of the ALEKS Assessment Program is to determine what a student already knows in their Math level, and what they need to learn.  Students learn new Math skills through a process of learning topics.  Once the student spends enough time and learns a certain number of topics, they take a Knowledge Check and master the topic.  The goal is to fill the entire Pie Chart by mastering every topic.  The Math Teachers have also decided to make ALEKS count for a grade.  There will be more detail about ALEKS counting as a grade next.

The Math Teachers have also set a goal for the number of topics the students have to complete in a certain amount of time.  Some of the Math Teachers decided to set a number of topics to be completed every quarter semester, while others set a goal to be completed every week.  Either way, all of the Math Teachers made ALEKS count as a quiz grade.  So, ALEKS can either make or break a student’s grade.  A few of the Math Teachers also count extra topics completed as extra credit.  This can also boost a student’s grade if their grade is suffering.  Along with topics completed, the teachers set up a board to represent each student’s progress in the ALEKS Assessment Program.  More detail is to come about the ALEKS Board soon.         

In McDowell Exchange School, there is a board in one of the hallways that compares student’s progress in the ALEKS Assessment Program.  This board is divided into six sections: 7th and 8th Grade, and whether the student is in advanced.  Every section of the board is broken into different parts, based how many topics a student has completed, whether it is 100, 200, 300 and so on.  The ALEKS Board is a recent addition, as it was added last Wednesday, January 31st.  The more topics completed, the higher up the student’s card with their name advances on the board.  Enough talking about the ALEKS Board, time to conclude about the ALEKS Assessment Program at McDowell.

Overall, the ALEKS Assessment Program is a way to better prepare the students for the Math AIR Assessment at McDowell Exchange School.  The program is another way for the Math Teachers to help students perform better in Math class as well.  The ALEKS  Assessment Program has also lead to the development of a board that compares students’ progress on the website.  The total effect that the ALEKS Assessment Program will have on McDowell Exchange School should be positive, resulting in students having better scores on the AIR Assessment.          



Spectacular Summoner Series

Do you love fantasy books full of action, adventure, and magic?  If so, you should read The Summoner Series, by Taran Matharu.  This series, so far, is a trilogy (a series of only three books), featuring The Novice, The Inquisition, and The Battlemage.  I recently finished The Battlemage, and I cannot wait for the next book to be released.  Anyways, enough rambling, here is a little background information about the series (with no spoilers).

Firstly, all of the basic information in The Summoner Series: the setting, characters, storyline, etcetera.  The story is about a boy named Fletcher, who was abandoned by his parents as a baby. He was left in front of the gates of a city called Pelt.  Eventually, when Fletcher was older, there was a festival where a group of travelling merchants occupied the city of Pelt.  Fletcher bought a strange book that was all about demon mythology, and he accidentally…  The only other thing that I can say without spoiling the series is that the story takes place in the Medieval Times (buildings were made out of stone, territories were divided into villages, and most people were pheasants).  If you want to know more, read the series, it is well worth it!

Now, my opinion on The Summoner Series.  Personally, I love the series so much. In fact, The Summoner Series is one of my favorite book series of all time.  One thing that I especially love is how descriptive the author is during action/fighting scenes.  During these scenes, the author uses words that make the writing easier to imagine.  However, there is only one thing that I kind of dislike about the series, the cliffhangers.  At the end of each book, the author leaves each book on a cliffhanger, but this does make me even more anxious for the next book to be released.  If I had to rate The Summoner Series, I give it five stars.

All in all, you should definitely read The Summoner Series.  From the amazing storyline to the very descriptive action scenes, The Summoner Series is a great book series to read.  The occasional cliffhangers will have you dying to read more.  So, if you are looking for a great read, you should check out The Summoner Series, by Taran Matharu.

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Major McDowell Modifications


 Every school has different   characteristics that make it unique.  For example, a school may have a   dress code that is very strict and conservative, while another school might allow clothes like tank tops to be worn by students.  Some students vary on what they think is amazing and bad about their school.  So, what things would be great changes/improvements for McDowell Exchange School? 

Well, there are multiple improvements that could be made at McDowell, one of them being to change the school lunch menu completely.  The school lunch at McDowell lacks the quality and flavor of even a mediocre meal.  This results in a lot of students packing their lunch, which provides the school with receiving less “income” from lunch.  One thing that the school could do to increase lunch income, is to buy fresh ingredients or even grow their own food from a garden (Instead of food that is in the freezer and/or expired).  This way, the school would receive more income, and in return the students would be getting an excellent meal.

Secondly, McDowell could improve by creating a better class selection.  At McDowell, there is a small and limited amount of classes that a student can take.  There are other middle schools that offer far more classes to their students than what McDowell does.  If McDowell had more classes for students to take, maybe students would find school more enjoyable and fun.  McDowell should also allow for students to choose more electives, rather than just band, choir, and guided study.  With the responsibility of a student choosing their own classes, a student could also put themselves in classes suited for their needs. These changes, could allow for students at McDowell to have a better overall school experience.

Finally, McDowell could raise their band fund, to make school better.  The band at McDowell, only has a small and limited amount of money that they receive.  As a result, the band is not capable of achieving more.  For example, if the band fund was increased, the band could buy better and more equipment for their students.  This would make the band sound and look better.  Also, if the band fund was increased, the band would be able to go more places and get more experience.  If the band had more money to travel, the students would be able to compete with the result of learning that new knowledge that would help them in high school.  With a bigger band fund, McDowell students would have more fun and learn that necessary knowledge that they would need for a later date.

All in all, McDowell Exchange School would be better with a few changes.  These changes could make school fun for students who do not find school enjoyable.  That would need to: change their lunch menu, have a better class selection, and add more money to the band fund.  As a result, McDowell would be a better school overall if they made these improvements.  So, what improvements would make your school better?   

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