Piedmont celebrated the many years of service of Ms Johnston and Ms Self after school today. When I think of Piedmont without them, not only do I get a little misty-eyed, I also think of how we are all so different and how each one of us contributes to the magic that makes Piedmont Piedmont.
I’m sure we will have more official remembrances but I want to write a few words of what I’ve learned from them personally in the 20+ years I’ve known each of them.
From Ms Self I learned that being a hostess is not something that can be entered into lightly. Ms Self has a gift at making every event special and of giving of herself. And I don’t just mean her delicious homemade recipes - I mean giving thought and planning and care and attention throughout. She extends that same care to everything at Piedmont - from the MMIS reports, to the supplies, to the infamous “Lou’s cart” which will forever be called such.
Dawn and I knew each other before I went to Piedmont. We both met in Gaston county in 1993 or so. Who would have known we’d end up teaching together just a few years later? So many ways we’re opposite: from our hair (mine perpetually messy, hers always done) to our politics (mine liberal, hers conservative) yet our differences only make me respect her more. And I don’t mean that I wish that I could look so put together every day or explain math with flair or drive a fancy sports car. I mean that I wish that I could eyeball a class and know in seconds who will be trouble, who to separate, who will work for candy, and who needs an extra hug. I wish I could be so confident and kind, I wish I knew how to hold my tongue when the situation called for it and to also express my mind when someone needs a good telling-off. (Who knew she got sent to the principal’s office for it?) I wish I knew how to teach with the steadfastness she does so that even the toughest kids remember her with love generations later.
It makes me think of another friend of ours, Dee Gardner, and her old Piedmont motto, “Together we can!” Because separately we’re all awesome in our own ways, as we saw as we honored Dawn and Lou today, but together we are superheroes.
I was told Dawn didn’t want to cry (she did) so not to say anything sappy but I'm going to miss you, Dawn and Lou. We all are.
At Piedmont we are big proponents of experiential learning. from recreating (safely) wars and revolutions in individuals and socieities classes, to walking field trips of Uptown historic and modern business sites, Piedmont students learn by doing. In math they don't just study prisms, they build them, blow them up and go inside. In science, they don't just study heat and geothermal activity on the earth, they make smores to exerience it.
Here are a few recent examples of special events our teachers created for their students:
FinancE: Money Math in Real Life
Guest speakers teach Financial Literacy to sixth Grade and 8th grade
Thanks to Ms. Styles and Mr. Reddig, the 8th graders spent the days before Winter break learning about a topic that will help them for the rest of their lives. The teachers arranged a two day participatory experiential lesson in finance from the experts at Wells Fargo. Students learned about timelines, what you can and can't control, how quickly money goes when you are an adult, and how to guard yourself from unexpectd setbacks.
Thanks to Ms. Swift and 6th grade math team for inviting in a Piedmont parent and finance expert to be a guest speaker to 6th graders. Money math in real life, and a good lesson about the way debt can spiral out of control. Here are a few photos from that event.
Titanic In the Gym
Thanks to Mr. Chandler, Ms. Hash, and Ms Tapia for the Titanic in the Gym event where 6th graders used their knowledge of math and reading to stay afloat. I heard only a few survived but everyone enjoyed the chance to compete and cooperate in the multi-class simulation!
Wonder Field Trip
Thanks to Ms. Kryszak and the 6th grade team for organizing a trip to see the new release film of the summer reading blockbuster novel Wonder. Students enjoyed seeing the book come to life on the big screen almost as much as the popcorn and having the theater to ourselves! They were able to cheer for the heros and boo the villains together and also learn a little about the importance of empathy for those who are different from ourselves.
Thanks to Mr. Carpenter, students were able to go with their Career and Technical Education classmates to the 2017 Geek Fest. Students loved being on a college campus. They attended lectures on Minecraft and Movie Making, toured a high tech automotive center, and particpated in hands on tech sessions like:
I don't have photos of this year's leadership trip to Queen's University, or drama's trip to see the high school play, so please understand this is only a small slice of the work teachers here to do make learning real every day.
The competition season has only just begun here at Piedmont! We are proud of our recent Mock Trial participants and coaches for winning third place. They got a chance to research and practice trial law at the county courthouse and coaches report their work was excellent!
Congratulations schoolwide spelling bee participants and winner Johnathan Thomas and first place Juliana Reali. Competition organizer and emcee Ms Whiting Reports that the winning word was “merengue” ! (Which didn’t sound too hard until I had to write this blog and realized that I had no idea how to spell it) Now I for sure that six and seventh graders know how to spell better than I do. Great job!
Weve also had some classroom competitions this week. Students in 7th grade fought the French Revolution and debated the wisdom of the reign of terror. Teachers brought the event to life with costumes and props, but don’t worrry, French teacher Mme Coriale still has her head!
As much as we like to win, we also love to help each other. Mr Cherry, Ms Peterson, And the 8th Science PLC shared their work with rubrics during a staff PD and all the faculty opened their doors of their classrooms to display the learning during a recent visit from other schools who wanted to learn from each other.
Here are some more photos of these and other recent competitons and cooperation at Piedmont!
Celebrating Piedmont : a blog of Happy Happenings
"Celebrating Piedmont" logs only a small fraction of the learning magic the teachers of CMS' Piedmont Middle School, an IB World School. create daily. In that sense, it is authored by all the staff and students of Piedmont. It is curated by Ms. Gurthie who can be reached at the icons above. She'll be happy to brag about Piedmont's teachers and students any chance she gets! Please note this blog has only just begun and we have so much to show off! Come back again soon!