MAP Testing Is It Helpful?

                Over 1000 international schools use the MAP tests, our school is one of those. I really don’t like the MAP tests, but they help teachers monitor how much you know. Here are my and others’ opinions about the map test.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Almost all of the seventh grade teachers here at McDowell say that they have mixed feelings about the test. The main good thing teachers said about the map tests are that they help them see how much you have learned. The main bad thing that they said was that the tests take away valuable time that the teachers need to start new lesson plans.                                                                                                                                                                 Most kids had very negative things to say towards the map tests. All of my friends despise the MAP tests, because of how long they take. Honestly when ever I take one I get bored at around the twenty-first question. The only reason I think most kids aren’t completely against it, is that it helps most teachers seeing what they might have to recover. Most kids see the MAP test as a negative thing, because no kids wants to take tests. Our teachers I would say would like it if we didn’t get so many snow days this year.


Track Info For McDowell

Track Info For McDowell Middle School.

Do you like to run? If you do then track is for you.

Track has many different categories like 100m dash , 200m dash ,   400m , and 1600m meter or one mile dash! There are many more like the long jump and discus. Track tryouts For McDowell are in march. I will be attending this. I will likely be doing the 200m dash. 200m is about 656.168 feet! Track is a spring sport which you can probably tell from the month for tryouts. The shorter the length of the run the faster you have to be. If a run is longer the more endurance you have to have. To be on the McDowell track team all you have to do is sign up and not quit. If you do this you have a guaranteed spot on the track team. You can also join if you did not make the baseball team. Even if you did not sign up you can still be on the team. This is when, what, and where track is.  This is also how to get on the McDowell track team.


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8th Grades Boys Basketball

For the first game of the tournament,  the Braves played a tough match against the Falcons, but one team ended up crushing the other!  Which team won?  Which team lost?  Keep reading to find out!


On Saturday,  February 10,  the Logan Elm  eighth grade boys basketball team played the Fairfield Union Falcons.  Before the game even began, something strange happened:  the Fairfield Union bus was about 15 minutes late!  Once the game finally began,  Logan Elm started off strong by winning the tip off.  At the end of the first quarter, the score was seven to four, and Logan Elm was winning!  The second quarter,  Fairfield caught up a bit,  and at the end of the half, the score was sixteen to ten,  Logan Elm winning.  During half-time, the Fairfield Union cheerleaders did some flips, and before we knew it,  it was the third quarter!  At the end of the third, the score became 28 – 23 Logan Elm.  What will happen in the fourth, though?  You can probably guess! Logan Elm wins 42-28!!!  They move on to the second round


Now I told you what happened in the game, so it’s time for statistics!


Konner Starkey- 23 points,  and 2 fouls


Conner Thompson- 1 point, and 2 fouls


Tristan Emerson- 6 points, and no fouls


Landon Long- 5 points, and 1 foul


Peyton Anderson- 3 points,  and one foul


Garret Summers-  3 points, and one foul


(The rest of the players didn’t score or foul, but they all got playing time)


In the end, Logan Elm pulled off a good game.  They will advance on in the tournament,  and if the win the next game, they’re going on the championship!  This will be all of their last games as middle-schoolers, and their last games unless the play on the varsity team, or the junior varsity team!  The next game in the tournament will be on Thursday, February 15, so be their!

A Good Start to Some Great Games

Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

By: Nathan

     As many of you probably know, the Winter Olympics are happening this year.  What you might not know is the location it is being held in.  This year’s Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.  For every Olympics, the hosting country creates and performs their own opening ceremony that tells of that country’s history and culture.  Today, we will be talking about South Korea’s opening ceremony, which was held on February 8th.

     As I said before, opening ceremonies typically revolve around the host country’s culture and history, and this one was no different.  The theme of South Korea’s ceremony was to blend the old with the new.  They achieved this by merging their old culture with modern day technology.  The performers, who were surrounded by 35,000 spectators in the stadium, made great use of objects and instruments common in Korean culture.  Fantastic special effects were also incorporated using a projector, which projected moving pictures on the stadium floor.  Songs were also sung, such as traditional Korean songs, and the Korean national anthem.

     After this, the Parade of Nations were held, where every nation’s athletes marched through the stadium.  Greece went first, then countries marched in order of the Korean alphabet.  This meant that, instead of the U.S. marching under the letter U, they marched under the letter M, because the Korean word for our country starts with the letter M.  After all of the nations marched through, it was Korea’s turn.  This is where it gets interesting.

     You have probably heard a lot about North Korea lately in the news, which is run by a dictatorship.  Relations between North and South Korea have not been good either.  Korea was once one country, until it was divided into two after World War II.  In 1950, North Korea wanted to unite all of Korea under communist rule.  This caused what was called the Korean War.  The two countries eventually signed an armistice, which ceased all fighting between the two countries.  However, no peace treaty was actually signed, so technically, North and South Korea are still at war.  Relations between the two countries have been tense ever since.  During the opening ceremony, the two countries put aside their differences and marched together under one flag for the first time.  This could be a sign of good things to come for the two nations.

     After the Parade of Nations, South Korea continued their performance.  This segment of the show told about South Korea’s advances in technology.  The props and performances in this segment were more futuristic.  After that, a video of programmed drones was showed.  These drones were programmed to form Winter Olympic specific images, such as a person on a snowboard, and the iconic Olympic rings.  This segment was actually filmed in December, so that it could not be affected by weather.  After this, the iconic Olympic Cauldron was lit.  However, for the first time, the Cauldron was lit by one athlete from South Korea, and one athlete from North Korea.  Another sign of unity between the two nations.

     Overall, the opening ceremony was very good.  It was well choreographed, and was visually stunning.  I learned a lot about Korean culture, and their advances in technology.  I also felt a sense of pride when the U.S. athletes marched through the stadium.  This was definitely a good start to this year’s Olympic games.

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Conditional Formatting: Behind the Pixels – Daniel


Conditional formatting is a very useful technique when making a spreadsheet. It can be employed through multiple programs, such as Google Spreadsheets. Conditional formatting can be used to make things like graphs. You can make graphs of the weather, economy, and more. Another thing that can be done with conditional formatting is pixel art. Pixel art is art created by coloring pixels, sometimes referred to as, “bits,” into certain patterns and arrangements. You can make pixel art of a video game character, an object, or a person. You can make pixel art of a classic character, like Pac-Man, or an apple. To make pixel art, select “format,” then go to “conditional formatting.” Then, select the corner box, top-left, and then make a new rule. This rule will be applied to all cells in the range (for example, A1:Z1000). Then, click the box under “Format cells if…” and select “Text is exactly,” and assign any number, letter, or combination, then select a text color. Once a text color is selected, set the same color for the background. It is also optional to change the column and row cell width sizes into small boxes (doing so will make the colored boxes look like pixels). Conditional formatting can be used for just about anything neat.

The Pen Was Powerful Last Saturday.

                                 Logan Elm Writing Competition

By: Nathan

     This past Saturday, our school hosted our first ever writing competition.  Members of McDowell’s Power of the Pen group could attend, as well as students from Salt Creek, where fifth and sixth grade students go, and students from the high school.  The competition lasted from about nine in the morning to one-thirty in the afternoon.

     The way that the competition worked is students were given a writing prompt, and were given 40 minutes to create a story out of it.  Overall, there were two different prompts, and each grade was given the same prompt.  The first prompt was called “The Wish”, and we had to center our story around some sort of, well, wish.  

     The second prompt was centered around bugs.  We had to tell as story from a bug’s perspective, and had to tell how bugs felt about humans.  What I thought was cool was that instead of calling us by our names, we were referred to as an author’s last name, and a number after it.  For example, I was given the name “Lowry 2”, which is named after the author Lois Lowry.  Once we were finished with those two prompts, we had lunch, and were given an hour of free time before the awards ceremony.

     There were fifteen awards handed out altogether.  Each of the three schools had a runner up, and a first place winner for each of the two rounds.  At the end, awards were handed out for the most striking stories from each school.  These awards were given to the people whose stories stood out the most to the judges.  I happened to win this award for my grade.

     Overall, this competition was very fun and well thought out.  It challenged the writers, and really made us think about how we could make our stories the best they could be.  There will be two more competitions this year, but they will be against other schools.  For a competition that is brand new to our school, it went very smoothly and I hope that it will continue for years to come.

A Christmas Carol

Mrs. Caudill’s language arts classes have been reading A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley for the past few weeks.  We started by watching the movie the day before Thanksgiving and finished one or two days after we came back.  It wasn’t  the original movie, but Mrs. Caudill says it’s the closest to the book.  Then we read the book on Pearson Text with earbuds and a few different creative ways that I’ll get to later.  But for now,  let’s talk about the book.


In 18th century England,  loads of poor peasants poured into London.  Most of them worked in factories with very harsh working conditions.  The few that owned a business, like Ebenezer Scrooge, were very wealthy.  Those who weren’t as lucky, either lived in the streets or lived in union workhouses,  which were terrible places.  This is the story of how a wealthy man changed over night.


A Christmas Carol is about an elderly, selfish, money poisoned man.  His business partner, Marley, who died about 7 years before the play took place, came to visit him as a ghost to tell him that if he doesn’t change his ways,  he will be like Marley, doomed to never rest peacefully. Marley warns him that the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future will haunt him that night.  Scrooge was visited by the spirits, and after the ghost of Christmas past came and showed him visions from the past, he regretted bad decisions that he had made previously,  especially for letting his girlfriend go, but did not show signs of changing the future.  The second ghost showed him the home of his employee, Bob Cratchit.  Bob  receives a very meager salary and has 6 children and a wife to provide for.  His smallest son, tiny Tim, is lame and possibly about to die.  Scrooge notices his mistakes and shows signs of changing, but he hasn’t all the way changed, for he has not found anything concerning him. Then the ghost of Christmas future comes and shows Scrooge what could happen.  He spots his own body and, since he was selfish, starts to weep knowing that no one out of their own free will come to his funeral.  This sort of shows that he won’t fully change unless something happens concerning his own welfare. The picture below shows what the ghost of Christmas future showed him, which scared Scrooge to the point that he wept!   After this he goes back to his room and lays eyes on a boy outside.  He tells him to get the biggest turkey in the butchers shops and deliver it to Bob Cratchet but not tell him that he sent it.  Then the next morning, Christmas morning, Scrooge pretends that he hasn’t changed but then surprises Bob by doubling his salary.  In the end, Scrooge learns the meaning of kindness and Christmas within himself.

Ebenezer Scrooge's gravestone, Shrewsbury

12 Days of Christmas

At McDowell Exchange School, since the past week, through this week and the next, we have been doing something called the 12 Days of Christmas, and this is just something festive that McDowell chose to do. During the 12 Days of Christmas, for each day we have to wear something festive or of the Winter category for that day. For instance, as the picture shows, one day we had to wear ugly/regular Christmas sweaters, which may I say, some of them were highly amusing.

The first week started on Wednesday, December 6th, and you had to wear the colors red and white for a candy cane design. A couple of the kids even went as far as to put red spray-on hair dye on! Not very many people participated on the second day; you had to wear Christmas socks, and unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the people who did wear them. As I mentioned above, for December 13th, we had to wear the ugly/regular Christmas sweaters, which was my favorite. One girl had a sweater that had a reindeer body coming out of the front of it, and was surrounded by a wreath! Her’s is shown in one of the pictures I took, as well as a bunch of other people.

Of course, not everyone participated in all, or any of the days, as they didn’t want to, or they just didn’t have the items required. Me, as unfestive that I am, only participated in the Christmas Sweater day so far, will be the only one I actually do anything with. The only days we haven’t done yet are Christmas Headgear, and Festive Day. On Christmas Headgear, you, as it sounds, have to wear any kind of Christmas hat, as long as it’s appropriate. On the last day, Festive day, all you have to do is wish people a Merry Christmas, and spread Christmas Cheer.


Give Thanks for Thanksgiving!

There is one day every year where many American people get together with their family, friends, and maybe even someone that they just met.  They make a big turkey (or a ham for some families) and many other food items.  After the food is all made they sit together at the table and enjoy their feast.  This special day is called Thanksgiving.  Today, families still eat many of those various types of food that have been enjoyed for many years. The average American person eats 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day!  On a regular day people eat much less, 2,000-2,500 calories a day which is only half of what people eat on Thanksgiving Day.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. That was 396 years ago!  The first Thanksgiving consisted of ham, lobster, clams, berries, etc. Considering the time when they made those things, it sounds like it would take a while to make. To prepare that food you couldn’t just go to the store and buy what you wanted.  Instead, they had to go hunting, gathering, and have a fire to be able to cook their food. There was so much work that was put into that day. In the end, I bet they had no regret for starting a tradition that has lasted for such a long time.

Have you ever thought what life would be like if we did not have Thanksgiving Day?  I think it would be bad. First of all, we would not have a day off school or work.  I would still be sitting in a chair rather than being at home with my family.  I also wouldn’t get together with my family near the beginning of winter to make a lot of food.  Finally, I wouldn’t be allowed to be lazy all day and instead would be yelled at to get up or go outside.  I am  very thankful for Thanksgiving Day.

Let’s Talk McDowell!

Our class is participating in the Student Blogging Challenge, and this week’s theme is all about SCHOOL! Personally, I believe that our school, and our students, are the absolute best and there is no other place I would rather be. To give you some insight to our school, my students have written a variety of posts to give you a glimpse of McDowell.

We have used Flipboard to compile their individual posts. Please check them out. How does our school compare to yours? Leave us a comment!

View my Flipboard Magazine.