Explore Testing

EXPLORE testing will take place for 8th grade students tomorrow. We will begin promptly in the morning. Students who are late will not be able to take the test.

More than ever before, it is important that all students have the skills needed to be successful in college and the workplace. Becoming college-ready does not happen overnight; students develop these skills by taking rigorous courses in high school.

EXPLORE helps 8th and 9th graders build high school course plans that will prepare them for college and work and introduces them to career options that are relevant to them. It shows your son or daughter:

  • areas needing extra help or additional courses;
  • suggestions for improving skills;
  • careers that match the student’s interests

EXPLORE scores provide early indicators of whether students are on track for college. With plenty of time before students graduate, teachers can use this information to focus on areas of need.

What is the ACT?

The ACT is an important test that colleges use to help them make admissions and scholarship decisions. Students who take EXPLORE are more likely to score higher on the ACT test.

Why is it important for your child to do his/her best on EXPLORE?

Your child’s teachers and counselors will use your child’s EXPLORE results to help him/her build plans for the future. They want to see what your child knows now, so they know what your child is ready to learn next.

What should your child bring on test day?

3 sharpened #2 pencils with good erasers

a 4-function, scientific or graphing calculator for the math test

ACT regularly updates information about which calculators are prohibited. To be certain their calculators will be permitted on test day, students should visit their website or call (800) 498-6481 for a recorded message.

Tips for helping your child do his/her best on the EXPLORE

  • Make sure he/she gets plenty of sleep the night before the test.
  • Tell him/her to listen to and follow directions exactly.
  • EXPLORE is a timed test, so tell your child to pace him-/herself. He/she shouldn’t spend too much time on any one question.
  • If he/she isn’t sure of the answer, he/she should first rule out every wrong answer. Then, pick the best answer from those left.
  • If your child finishes early, he/she should go back and review his/her work.

Want to learn more about EXPLORE?

Check out some EXPLORE sample test questions at here.

 

 

Attendance Matters!

Is your child in school today? Education officials raising awareness of impact of chronic absenteeism.

Is your child in school today? The Alabama State Department of Education reports that in the 2013-2014 school year, there were more than seven million absences in public schools across the state. That’s more than 49 million hours of missed instruction. September has been proclaimed Alabama Attendance Awareness Month, according to the state Department of Education, in support of the national campaign. The National Attendance Awareness Month was established last September to raise awareness of the link between attendance and academic achievement.

 

Poor attendance can start early, the state Department of Education said, and can affect a student’s performance throughout his or her scholastic career. Chronic absenteeism is considered missing 10 percent – 18 to 20 days – of school or more in a year. Research indicates that attendance is a major indicator for students eventually dropping out of school. Missing just two days a month can predict lower test scores and poor retention of knowledge in later years.

 

Attendance works, a national organization dedicated to improving attendance, offers materials, research and success stories about reducing chronic absence on its website. The group also offers technical assistance to school districts and communities.

2014-2015 8th Grade Information

A few notes for the closing of the 2013-2014 school year:

  • All band students should make sure to retrieve their instruments from the band room by noon on Friday, May 30.
  • All medications must be picked up from the nurse no later than noon on Friday, May 30. We are required to destroy any medications not picked up by that time.
  • Parents of students who will need to attend summer school will be notified via phone call.
  • Parents/students may not pick up report cards–they will all be mailed on May 30.
  • If your child has any outstanding fees, his/her report card will not be mailed.
  • If you do not receive your child’s report card, you will need to come and pay his/her fee in order to pick up his/her report card.
  • The office at MJHS will be open on Tuesdays during the summer, 8am-3pm (closed for lunch from 11am-12pm).

Following you will find necessary information for our 8th graders for the 2014-2015 academic year:

English Language Arts (ELA) info:

Beginning next year, all 8th grade students will be required to participate in the Moody Jr. High School Career Fair. Students will write a research paper on a career of their choice in their English classes. They will also be required to complete a project on the same career. There will be a school-wide Career Fair, during which the projects will be displayed and judged. Specific guidelines for this project will be released at the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year. However, students should use the summer to think about the career they would like to focus on, as well as ways to show evidence that they have had some type of hands-on involvement in the career (for example, tangible experiences in the career, interviews, observations, shadowing, etc.) for their project. Projects will be displayed on a tri-fold display board.

Summer Reading – The Giver by Lois Lowry (this book should be completed during the summer, as a test will be given during the 1st week of school)

Other books required for 8th grade ELA:

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (2nd 9 weeks)
  • Night by Elie Weisel (3rd 9 weeks)
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (4th 9 weeks)

Research paper – Students will complete a research paper focusing on the Holocaust and WWII during the 3rd 9 weeks.

Supply List

(2) rolls of paper towels

(2) boxes of tissues

ream of copy paper

12″ locker shelf

flash drive (1 gb minimum)

Expo markers (black or colored)

tri-fold display board

5 jumbo book covers

wide ruled paper

graph paper (4 squares to the inch, loose leaf, 3-hole punched)

black pens

pencils

colored pencils

pencil bag with grommets to fit inside a binder

Calculator (should be a TI-30Xa)

(2) 2″ binders

(2) 1.5″ binders

tab dividers

(3) composition books

high lighter

$3 agenda

$15 school locker rental

$20 P.E. uniform

$10 P.E. locker rental

$15 science donation

$25 class donation

First Aid Requests

Students often come to the office requesting personal and first aid supplies. If we have the supplies, we are happy to provide them. School faculty and staff often purchase these items from their personal money for students. It is very helpful if parents can donate a few items from the following list, as almost all students use these supplies at some point throughout the year.

  • Band-Aides
  • Pads and/or tampons (in addition, it is best if all young ladies keep a personal supply in their lockers)
  • Non-medicated chapstick
  • Cough drops (or peppermints)
  • Dental wax
  • Sandwich bags
  • 3 oz. paper cups

2014-2015 Dates

Tuesday, 07/29/14-Wednesday, 07/30/14 – Donation Days, 8:30am-2:30pm ($25 donation + $15 locker fee)

Tuesday, 08/05/14 – 8th grade Orientation, 4:30-5:30pm

Thursday, 08/07/14 – School begins

Monday, 09/01/14 – Labor Day, no school

Thursday, 09/11/14 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Monday, 10/13/14-Tuesday, 10/14/14 – Fall Break

Tuesday, 11/11/14 – Veteran’s Day, no school

Monday, 11/24/14-Friday, 11/28/14 – Thanksgiving Break

Monday, 12/22/14-Tuesday, 01/06/15 – Winter Break

Wednesday, 01/07/15 – Students return to school

Monday, 01/19/15 – MLK Day, no school (Weather Day 1)

Monday, 02/16/15 – President’s Day, no school

Monday, 03/30/15-Friday, 04/03/15 – Spring Break

Thursday, 04/23/15 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Friday, 05/22/15 – Last day of school

Tuesday, 05/26/15 – Weather Day 2 (if needed)

Wednesday, 05/27/15 – Weather Day 3 (if needed)

2014-2015 7th Grade Information

*The office at MJHS will be open on Tuesdays during the summer, 8am-3pm (closed for lunch from 11am-12pm).

7th grade English Language Arts (ELA)

Students will be reading the following books during the 2014-2015 academic year:

  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (this book should be completed during the summer, as a test will be given during the 1st week of school)
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (2nd 9 weeks)
  • Selected Short Stories by O’Henry and Edgar Allen Poe (3rd 9 weeks)
  • From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (4th 9 weeks)

*Students will complete a career-based research paper during the 3rd 9 weeks.

7th grade math

Students should be proficient with multiplication tables by the time they begin their 7th grade year of math. Please make sure your student reviews basic math facts and studies his/her multiplication tables over the summer.

7th grade band

Any student who would like to enroll in band but has not yet done so may call Dr. Sargent at 640-1995 or email him at brad.sargent@sccboe.org.

7th grade Supply List

12” locker shelf

(4) jumbo book covers

Calculator (should be a TI-30Xa)

Flash drive (2 gb minimum)

Ream of copy paper

Large binder with dividers for each class OR (4) 1” binders

(4) composition notebooks

Wide-ruled paper

Plastic folder with pockets

Mechanical pencils

(2 packages) wooden pencils

Blue or black pens

Highlighters

Colored pencils

Pencil bag with grommets

Expo markers

Expo eraser OR Expo board cleaner

(2 packages) 3×3 post-it notes

3×5 ruled index cards

(2) rolls of paper towels

(2) boxes of Kleenex

Clorox wipes

$3 – agenda

$15 – school locker rental

$20 – P.E. uniform

$10 – P.E. locker rental

$15 – science donation

$25 – class donation

First Aid Requests

Students often come to the office requesting personal and first aid supplies. If we have the supplies, we are happy to provide them. School faculty and staff often purchase these items from their personal money for students. It is very helpful if parents can donate a few items from the following list, as almost all students use these supplies at some point throughout the year.

  • Band-Aides
  • Pads and/or tampons (in addition, it is best if all young ladies keep a personal supply in their lockers)
  • Non-medicated chapstick
  • Cough drops (or peppermints)
  • Dental wax
  • Sandwich bags
  • 3 oz. paper cups

2014-2015 Dates

Tuesday, 07/29/14-Wednesday, 07/30/14 – Donation Days, 8:30am-2:30pm ($25 donation + $15 locker fee)

Tuesday, 08/05/14 – 7th grade Orientation, 6-7:30pm.

Thursday, 08/07/14 – School begins

Monday, 09/01/14 – Labor Day, no school

Thursday, 09/11/14 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Monday, 10/13/14-Tuesday, 10/14/14 – Fall Break

Tuesday, 11/11/14 – Veteran’s Day, no school

Monday, 11/24/14-Friday, 11/28/14 – Thanksgiving Break

Monday, 12/22/14-Tuesday, 01/06/15 – Winter Break

Wednesday, 01/07/15 – Students return to school

Monday, 01/19/15 – MLK Day, no school (Weather Day 1)

Monday, 02/16/15 – President’s Day, no school

Monday, 03/30/15-Friday, 04/03/15 – Spring Break

Thursday, 04/23/15 – Early dismissal for students (Faculty Professional Development), 1pm

Friday, 05/22/15 – Last day of school

Tuesday, 05/26/15 – Weather Day 2 (if needed)

Wednesday, 05/27/15 – Weather Day 3 (if needed)

The Summer Learning Challenge

Strong reading and math skills are essential to a student’s success in school and life. It is important that we use all the resources available to help build and improve our students’ skills of these subjects. For Alabama’s students, summer is a time of fun, but those months away from school can result in a loss of previously learned skills in both math and reading. To combat summer learning loss, the Alabama State Department of Education, along with local libraries and schools, is excited to announce The Summer Learning Challenge.

 

The Summer Learning Challenge encourages students to pledge to read 5-8 books selected from a personalized reading list and to actively engage in math practice every day for a portion of the summer. The Summer Learning Challenge also provides access to a variety of free resources to support targeted reading and math practice.

 

Parents can take the opportunity now, before the summer begins, to create personalized reading lists for all students and learn how to use the exciting math and reading exercises. Once the summer begins, all public libraries in the state can help find enjoyable and suitable books.

 

There are a lot of FREE ways to keep your student engaged and excited about education:

  • The Lexile-based Find a Book, Alabama tool offers students over 160,000 books from which to choose. This book-search tool enables individuals to build custom reading lists on their Lexile range and personal interests and checks the availability of books at the local library. The search tool includes a growing collection of English literary and informational books. Find it here: http://www.lexile.com/fab/alabama/
  • This program includes a free email-based math skills program for children who have just completed grades 2-5. Parents and other summer care-givers can begin registering for the program today. Beginning June 23, parents will begin receiving daily emails with fun activities and resources to help their children retain math skills acquired during the previous school year. After the program ends on August 1, parents will be able to print an award certificate to celebrate their child’s summer accomplishment. Register here: http://quantiles.com/accounts/registration/
  • This summer, Stride Academy is free to all students in the state from May 1 to August 8. Prevent “Summer Slide” with a cool blend of online math, reading, and science skills practice; spectacular video games; and peer competitions to pass the lazy summer days. Students may access the Stride Academy learning platform online anytime, 24/7, on tablets, PCs, and Macs. Register and login here: http://www.alabamasummerstride.com/ The Parent Support Line may be reached at (855) 382-6528 if you need help.

We want all of our students to be successful in school and in future careers. The Summer Learning Challenge offers tools to help your students create a love of reading and math to help them be better prepared for a lifetime of success. Find more information here: http://www.alsde.edu/sec/comm/Pages/summer-learning.aspx

4-Year Plans and EXPLORE Results

Beginning today and continuing through next week, I will be discussing 4-year plans with your students. During this time, students will have the chance to familiarize themselves with the opportunities they will have in high school. This process is simply to get them thinking about the classes they would like to take–the classes they select now are not their schedules.

On February 25, Mrs. Winship, one of the high school counselors, will be meeting with the 8th grade class as a whole to discuss 9th grade course selection. There will be a parent meeting that evening at 6pm. At that time, students will select courses for their 9th grade schedules and you will be involved in the process.

In addition, I am returning EXPLORE results as I meet with the classes. The results, the test booklet, a booklet on how to read the results, and a parent letter should come home with your student by the end of next week. Most students scored “below benchmark” in most areas of the test–this happens every year. It is not the same thing as scoring “below average.” Benchmarks show college readiness–most 8th grade students are, of course, not ready for college curriculum. Unlike other standardized tests, ACT allows us to send home the EXPLORE test booklet. The purpose of this is to help the students identify their weaknesses so that they can better prepare for the PLAN in 10th grade, which leads into the ACT in 11th grade (this is also a college entrance exam).

Test Anxiety: How to Deal with Test Anxiety and Actually Do Better on Tests

Tests can be stressful even for the most prepared students, and, unfortunately, test anxiety can actually have a negative impact on your performance. Well, fear not: the following test anxiety busters can help you get through your next test with much greater ease—and likely more success!

First, identify why you are feeling anxious…

  • Did you prepare or study efficiently?
  • Are your family expectations or personal expectations more of a source of distress rather than encouragement?
  • Are you over-extending yourself? Are you involved in too many activities?
  • Are your expectations realistic?
  • Are you studying daily or just right before a test?

Study for the test, but if you find yourself becoming confused, unable to concentrate or unable to absorb the material, take a break. Try taking a walk in the fresh air or a “power nap.” Space out your studying over a few days or weeks and continually review class material. Don’t try to learn everything the night before. Remember that studying the material you are to be tested on is by far the most effective way to combat test anxiety.

Study Smarter
Being organized with your studies can help you keep from pulling all-nighters to get all of your studying in and blowing the test because you’re exhausted (see above). How do you study ‘smarter’? Make a list of the most important things you need to learn, in order of importance, and hit the items at the top of the list first. (That way, if you run out of time, you’re mostly covered.) Make a list of all the work you have to do, estimate how much time each item will take, and compare that with the amount of hours you have available; this will tell you if you can carefully read (or just skim), how many times you can afford to revise papers, and other ways to pace yourself so you can get everything done. Oh, and turn off the TV until your tests are behind you.

Get Enough Sleep
Getting 6 hours of less can put you into what’s called a sleep deficit, or lack of sufficient sleep. Having a sleep deficiency can actually make you less sharp mentally, which can negatively affect your performance on tests, even if you spent those missed hours of sleep studying. So it’s very important for you to get all of your studying done so you can get a good night of sleep before your big day.

Taking the Test

Read the directions slowly and carefully. If you do not understand the directions, ask your teacher. Skim through the test so that you have a good idea about how to pace yourself. Write down important formulas, facts, definition and/or keywords in the margin first so you don’t worry about forgetting them. Do the simple questions first to help you build your confidence for the harder questions. Don’t worry about how fast other people finish their test; just concentrate on your own test.

Visualize Success
A great way to build your confidence as you fall asleep each night is to visualize yourself taking the tests and doing wonderfully. Detailed visualizations can help you feel like you’re really experiencing something, and visualizing yourself doing well is a way to ‘practice’ success in a way that can actually help you perform better. (Being confident as you take your exams can keep you from choking because of the stress.) Visualizations can also help you to remember facts: you can create detailed scenarios that involve the information you’re trying to remember, and this can help cement the facts in your memory.

Eat Before the Test

Not only does your body require proper nourishment to function as it should, so does your brain! Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, as these only increase feelings of anxiety.

Stay Calm
Because stress can impair your memory, it’s important to stay calm before and during tests. While that’s easier said than done, there are several stress relief techniques that can help you calm down quickly whenever you feel overwhelmed. For example, breathing exercises have been shown by research to reduce test anxiety, and can be extremely effective in helping you relax and reverse your stress response in a variety of situations: just take deep breaths, expanding your belly on the inhale, and let the stress come out with your exhales.

Keep the Situation in Perspective

Remember that, no matter how important the test is, it will not be the end of the world if you do not do as well on it as you would like. Just do your best. You can’t do more than that.