DeKalb Middle School RTI: Tier II Reading/Language Arts students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade advanced class have developed an online newspaper that is now available at www.thedmssaint.com.
The DMS Saint features articles by students on a variety of subjects from school news to current world events. " We have given them the reins to choose what they want to write about in contributing to the newspaper," said DMS Guidance Counselor Martha Melching, who is also a co-editor of the newspaper.
In developing the online publication, students were challenged by Assistant DMS Principal Amanda Dakas to create one that is different and more engaging than your average run-of-the mill school newspaper. "One way to do that was to tell the students that this would be ‘THEIR ‘ paper, and they would have the opportunity to choose the topics that interest them. Since the goal of Common Core and our Reading and Language Arts standards is to require students to read at grade-level and to write with proficiency, we believed that ‘inspiring’ students was the key to getting them motivated, and Mrs. Tena Davidson, Mrs. Martha Melching, and Mrs. Felicia Warden have done an excellent job of ‘lighting the spark of creativity and possibility," she said.
"We told the students to think outside the box and consider other topics beyond the four walls of our school. We directed them to think of topics of interest locally, at the state level, at the national level, and globally. The last challenge was for each student to think about their own personal talents and then share with their teacher what those talents are so that the entire school can benefit from those talents and skills. What happened next was amazing! One student, Trey Fuston, came forward and said that he had experience as a webmaster and wanted to know if we might be interested in posting our stories online and on our own site. The students voted unanimously to create their own website, and then individuals began coming forward with their talents and sharing their own unique ideas. Once the students realized that this project really belonged to ‘THEM’ and that we were excited about hearing their ideas, their perspectives, and their individual voices….. it was like a wild-fire! The enthusiasm has been contagious and our own DeKalb Middle School students have proven that talent, student learning, and academic excellence are not limited to larger schools with unlimited funding. Through the online weekly polling that every student will participate in and with the student-body reading these articles, these students have actually become inspirational teachers for their peers."
"It’s a funny thing….. we set out to inspire our students, and they have ended up inspiring us! I am so proud of them and of the standard of excellence they are modeling for all of us and for future DeKalb Middle School students," said Assistant Principal Dakas.
"We created this paper to truly give DeKalb Middle School a voice. We did this to get more students more involved while having fun, talking about popular topics, and learning. All of us are proud to say we did this, and we hope that others can carry it on and have the same experience that we did," wrote Blake Mitchell.
"The goal of this is to inform readers about things going on locally and even worldwide. In the newspaper, you'll find an inspirational section, polls, and many student written articles that people can relate to," wrote Hannah Anderson.
Articles range from a biography of John Phillip Sousa, a world renounced musician to Student Council events. The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade links on the site include other interesting articles, interviews, and even poems. A "submit your own section" will soon be available where students may offer ideas for future articles.
The following story by seventh graders Raiden Martin and Daniel Puckett is an example of what readers will find at www.thedmssaint.com.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
By: Raiden Martin and Daniel Puckett
We’re sure you have seen many videos for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but are you aware of what ALS actually is? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gherig’s disease, is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. With this disease, you are getting no muscle nourishment, as the word amyotrophic implies. It affects the motor neurons throughout your body. The degeneration of these neurons will eventually lead to death. The patients in the later stages of ALS can even experience total paralysis. The cause of ALS is not completely understood, however, scientists are working to learn more and may find a cure for this awful disease.
Symptoms of ALS may include: muscle weakness, twitching, thick speech, and more. It varies from person to person. Muscle weakness though, is the most common, occurring in approximately 60% of patients. ALS normally occurs in people between forty and seventy years old, but can strike anyone at any age. ALS is also more likely to happen in men, but will start to equal out between men and women as age increases. Forms of ALS include Sporadic and Familial. Sporadic is the most common in the U.S.-about 90-95% of all cases. Familial occurs more than once in a family lineage-only about 5% of all cases.
There are things you need to know about ALS. ALS is not contagious. If you come in close contact with a patient, you will not “catch” ALS. It has no racial or ethnic boundaries. Also, ALS can strike anyone; young, old, man, woman.
The Ice Bucket Challenge started to get popular on social media in the summer of 2014. For the challenge, you are filmed stating who you nominate to complete the challenge, nominating a minimum of three people. Then, you pour a bucket of ice water on yourself of have someone else pour it one you. The people challenged have twenty-four hours to complete the challenge and donate a minimum of $10. If they do not complete the challenge, they must donate a minimum of $100 to the ALS association.
We spoke to Mr. Jennings and Mrs. Dakas and they both agreed to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, as long as the school can earn enough for a large donation. We need to raise at least $500 and they will both do the challenge. That is less than $1 per student! Keep in mind, the more the better for a good cause!
The RTI: Tier II (Reading to Intervention) Reading/Language Arts students at DeKalb Middle School urge you to visit their new online newspaper often for regular updates at www.thedmssaint.com.