Accelerated Reader (AR) Goal Race


    In Language Arts class at McDowell Middle School we have a program called Accelerated Reader. This program is where you have to reach a certain amount of points or reach a goal by the end of the each nine weeks. Usually in 7th grade you have a pretty low goal the first nine weeks then it gets higher as you go throughout the year. So how this works is you get a book from anywhere and go to a website that tells you how many AR points it is worth. After you read the book you go to the same website and take a ten question multiple choice test. Depending how good you do on your test the better score you get. So for an example if you had a eight point book and got a 10/10 on your test you get the whole eight points!

    So far this year we have had most of the students complete their AR goal. Mrs. Caudill and Mrs. Binkley have a chalkboard that you write your name on after you are completed with your goal. At the end of the nine weeks they look at who all got their AR done and see what class has the highest percentage. This nine weeks fourth period won the race with a percentage of 96%!

    In conclusion, even though some kids don’t like AR it is always fun to see who comes out on top. Maybe my period will win this upcoming nine weeks!

A Whole New World?

In technology at McDowell, we are going through different stations of fun things to do with technology in Mr. Barne’s class. Each week you will go to a new station. One of the stations is virtual reality, also known as VR. We are lucky to have smartphones and virtual reality headsets here at McDowell for students to use. Anyways, if you didn’t know what virtual reality is, virtual reality is a 3D image/environment that can give you a realistic experience, but what do we use VR for here at McDowell?

The main reason we use VR is to “travel” to different places and use it to educate students. We use an app called “Google Expeditions” for our VR. In the Expeditions app, there are hundreds of different subjects/places you can “travel” to. With each expedition, there are descriptions about what is going on and it gives facts about what you’re seeing. In science class, we have used VR multiple times to help students learn. The first time we used virtual reality was to travel to different biomes, since in science we were working on biome projects. Then we used it to dive into the ocean, and we learned about how global warming causes coral bleaching. Finally, we also have used VR to travel up into the stratosphere. It helped students better understand what goes on in our atmosphere. You can also travel to many other famous landmarks or ancient places. It is a good way to learn visually and many students enjoy using virtual reality here at McDowell! What do you think about using virtual reality to learn?

Inspired To Be Creative



    At McDowell Middle School, each semester students in seventh grade have impact classes, technology or art.  The first half of the year I took technology and now I’ve started in art class.  Here is some information about art class.


      Art class is just not about drawing and painting, you also learn history and vocabulary. So far this semester we have learned about cavemen and cave art. We have talked about how the cavemen created these types of art. For example, we have learned about Room Of Bison, dated between 15,000-10,000B.C. The style was primitive cave art and it was found in the Altamira Grotto in Northern Spain.

     We have also learned how to do a blind contour drawing and a partial look contour drawing. A blind contour drawing is where you look at a picture and do not look at your page while drawing (You can’t even peek!).  A partial look contour drawing is a where you can partially look at your drawing but most of the time your eyes are looking at the object.

     For vocabulary we usually have three to four words each week. We learn the definition and look at examples on the board while our teacher, Mrs. Helsel explains it to us. Some of the words we have had are hue, intensity and color scheme. One other thing that we do in art class is a thumbnail sketch. Now a thumbnail sketch is not a picture of a nail, it is a little drawing of the picture you are learning about.

    Although we are doing a lot in art already, here is something I want to learn in class in these upcoming weeks. I want to improve my drawing skills. I’m sure I will improve with techniques with lots of practice.

    McDowell has a great art program.  It’s fun having an interactive class where each student can use their own imagination while learning specific techniques. I’m sure this will be a great class where I’ll learn while expressing my creative side!


Cinnamon Rolls for Good Grades…Yum!

It is always nice to get a reward for hard work, right? On January 19th, students who made the honor roll were rewarded with a special breakfast.  The honor roll breakfast is given to anyone who got only A’s or B’s on their report cards. The breakfast served was a cinnamon roll with chocolate or white milk and orange juice. 132 students attended the breakfast during our first or second class of the day. The students on the honor roll also get a star with their name on it presented on the wall next to the entrance of the school so everyone could see their achievement. McDowell hosts this breakfast once every quarter and there always seems to be even more students than last time. It helps to give students something to earn for their grades, because who doesn’t want to take a break from school to have fun with friends?

McDowell Winter Sports Pep-Rally!

Recently here at McDowell, there was  a very interesting and fun winter sports pep-rally! At this pep-rally, the winter sport teams and all of the players were announced, and then there were a few different competitions which included prizes. Firstly, the teams were announced. When the teams and players were getting announced, the teams would go on the middle of the floor in the gymnasium and then wave to everyone when their names were announced. The winter sport teams that were announced at the pep-rally were boys basketball, girls basketball, cheerleading, and wrestling.

Then at the pep-rally we had competitions. The first competition was to build a human snowman. A few players were randomly chosen from each of the sports team to build the human snowman. So there was a team with people from girls basketball, and team with the boys basketball players, a team with cheerleaders, and a team with the wrestlers. One person from each team would be the “snowman” and the rest of the people would help build them. The materials they had to build a human snowman from where toilet paper, paper buttons and a paper nose, a few pieces of tape, and a hat with a matching scarf. All of the teams wrapped toilet paper around the person who was supposed to be their “snowman”, which made a lot of people laugh. After everyone finished their snowman, people would cheer for the snowman they liked best, and the team who had the most cheers would win. At the end, the girls basketball team had the best snowman, but the boys basketball team, the cheerleaders, and the wrestlers all had good snowmans to. Since the girls basketball team won, they got Logan Elm t-shirts!

The final competition that was held at the McDowell winter sports pep-rally was a 3-point shooting contest. To start the competition, the people that wanted to participate lined up on the court (winter athletes could not participate, though) and the first six people to make a 3-pointer would win and get a prize. It got intense when the first five people made it, and there would only be one more winner. After the sixth person made the shot, they all got Logan Elm t-shirts as their prize! So, that was the McDowell winter sports pep-rally!

Watch the video below with all of the photos and videos from the pep-rally!


Haven House Donations


At McDowell, we are collecting donations for a group called Haven House.  Haven House is a place for woman to go if they have been abused and need to leave.  They take their children and the clothes on their backs.  They need your typical everyday things such as toilet paper, tissues, cough drops, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, face wash, and chap-stick.  They also need hats and gloves for winter along with cleaning supplies.  

Haven House has moved their location.  They have some supplies but not enough for all the women that are their. They ran out of room at their old location which is why they have moved.  They need those supplies that I listed in my first paragraph.  McDowell cares about our community, that is why this Christmas season we are not forgetting the meaning of the season, which is to give.  To motivate us the teachers have decided that our lunch monitors will dress up as Santa and his helper.  The students here at the McDowell have to collect 500 different donations in order to have Santa and his elf show up to school.

As you can tell Haven House needs some donations.  Hopefully we can collect 500 donations to make Santa and his elf show up to school. We can give by donating an item on the list or by donating money.  Anything helps and Haven House will be grateful for everything.  Organize a donation for someone or someplace in your community to help out.  This Christmas make sure you give as much as you get.

What Is Your Family Like?…

Families all around the world differ in so many ways.  In ways of tradition, religion, and just everyday life.  Families aren’t always the same at home as they are out in public. Some families have very strict rules while others don’t have hardly any, then there the ones in the middle.  The way families celebrate traditions, do their religion, and just anything in general is really in their own unique way.  They get passed down from generation to generation and they just continue on.

What is your idea of a tradition?  Your idea may not be the same as the person next to you.  Have your ever even thought about how other people celebrate the same traditions you do but maybe in a completely different way.  An example of two different traditions are mine and my friend’s.  For New Years Eve my family watches the ball drop on T.V. but while we wait for the count down we play board games and make a lot of food, then my dad and I open a present since both of our birthdays are on New Years Day.  While my own friend celebrates it by being with her family and friends in a cabin watching the ball drop.  How would you celebrate New Years?

Now on to holidays. Something everyone loves right?  There are presents, good food {my favorite part of the holidays}, music, games and just so much more to celebrate.  Although holidays can be fun, they can also be very stressful at the same time.  I only know this because I have such a big family. By the time it comes to an actual holiday it can be a little stressful.  Trying to get nine people to get out the door, in the car, and actually pull out of the driveway before someone realizes they forgot something is a pretty hard task for my family.  But anyways, some different holidays are Chinese New Year, Christmas, and even Valentines day are just a few of them there are so many more than that.  The way they celebrate Chinese New Year is by making big dragons and going around dancing  and listening to music.  To learn more just research about it because you might even find it interesting.

Holidays, traditions, family fun and good food all together in one.  Everyone’s family differ in almost every way but it only makes them better.  In ways of tradition and holidays and so many ways that I can’t even name.  So whenever you think your family is weird, just remember that there is a family that has you beat.  Think about how you celebrate traditions and holidays differently from other families.

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Subjects At McDowell!



Some of the teachers here at McDowell.


     Education and going to school is a very important thing for students. The things that you learn in school now can affect you for all of your life. Education will help you graduate high school, then go to college, then after that you get a job to help support your family. So that comes back to my point, which is students education is important. But  what exactly do students learn and what subjects do students take here at McDowell Exchange Jr. High School?

     At McDowell every student has Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, Technology or Art, and WIN. Each class is about 50 minutes long and each student has 3 minutes in between classes to get the items they need for the next class. During Language Arts class, students would probably be reading, working on vocab, or working on a writing assignment. In Math, you’ll find students working on a new math lesson, taking a quiz, working on IXL, or doing homework. Next is Social Studies. In Social Studies, students are learning about Ancient Greece and Rome. In Science, we have been learning a lot about animals, food chains, ecosystems, adaptations, and so on. The next subject is Technology or Art. Students will either have Technology for the first semester of the year and Art for the second semester, or they will have Art first and then technology. So, you will not have either of these classes for the whole school year. In Art, we are currently making walking sticks. In Technology, I don’t know what students are doing since I have Technology for the second semester, not the first. Finally the last class is WIN. WIN is a class that every student has at the end of the day. During WIN period, students can work on homework or any assignments, read, or ask teachers for help.

     Every students takes the subjects I just mentioned, but there are subjects that students get to chose if they want to take them or not. The classes that you get to chose from are Guided Study, Choir, Band, or both Choir+Band. In Guided Study, you get extra time to work on homework/assignments and study for tests. In Choir, you sing. In band, you get to pick an instrument that you want to play and then you practice playing songs and getting ready for parades. If you take Choir and Band, you will switch from singing to playing an instrument. These are all of the classes that McDowell offers to each student. McDowell is a great place for students to learn everything they need to know to succeed.


Featured Staff Member: Mr. Barnes

          Mr. Barnes is a great technology teacher at McDowell, however there is a lot more to know about him.  I wanted to know what he used to do and what he was actually like.  I knew he got a huge grant last year to get everything has this year, but what did he do when he did not have VR headsets or a green screen or the makey makeys or even the 3-D printer.  Let’s find out!


Question – How did you get all of the technology you have?

Answer – A lot of it is from a class that I took to allow the school to get special funds from the state.

Question – What did you do before you had all the technology you have now?

Answer – We did work on the computer and learned a lot about google and practiced typing.

Question – How long have you been teaching?

Answer – This is going to be my twenty-ninth year.

Question – How many people are in your family?

Answer – Me and my wife live in my house with a dog and a cat.  However I have two daughters that are both teachers.

Question – How long have you been married?

Answer – I have been married for twenty-eight years to Beth Barnes

Question – Where did you go to college?

Answer – I went to Ohio University, and attended the Chillicothe and Lancaster campuses for most of college.

Question – Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

Answer – Yes, but while I was in college I worked many jobs such as: working in a shoe repair shop and a factory as well as laying carpet.

Question – If McDowell did not have technology would you still teach here?

Answer – Yes, I hope so.

Question – If you did still teach here what would you teach?

Answer – I would probably teach science again, since I taught science before technology.

Question – What all have you done at McDowell?

Answer – At McDowell I have taught science, technology and I have coached football and high school wrestling.

Question – What sports do you like to watch?

Answer – I like to watch football and baseball.

Question – What is your favorite sport to play?

Answer – I enjoyed football and wrestling when I was in high school.       

These are all of the questions that I asked Mr. Barnes and his answers. Hopefully you learned something about Mr. Barnes as I did.  If only every school could have the same technology that we did.  

Brave Builders

This year at Logan Elm, our counselor Mrs. Bunting chose me to be in the Brave Builders Club. This club is all about spreading positivity throughout the school year. So let me tell you first about what it means to be a brave builder. Being a brave builder means that you want to help people and you want to spread positivity not because you are told to but you want to do it. It also means that you care about your school and want to make it better. Second, I want to tell you about what we do in this club. We have only had a couple meetings so far but here are things we have done. We have made posters with inspirational quotes and have hung them on the walls. We have also went to the art benches outside of our school and painted pumpkins for our booth at the Pumpkin Show this year. At this last meeting we have made posters for drug free month. I am really excited for things that we are doing in these upcoming months like, making card for Valentine’s Day and tie dying t-shirts. Lastly, I want to tell you why I like this club. I like it because we do a lot of fun things and I like helping people and having a fun time doing it. I also like it because it gives me something to do and something to look forward to. In conclusion this club is really fun. I feel like this club gives students an opportunity to do something good for other people and enjoy having a fun time with friends and doing things for our school at the same time. Like I said I am excited for things we are doing in these upcoming months and I hope we can make this school year fun! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog! If you did enjoy it leave me a comment below and I’ll see you later!