Bulldog Barker https://bulldogbarker.com The Student News Site of Freedom Area Middle School Tue, 02 Jun 2020 13:53:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Summer reading suggestions for middle school students https://bulldogbarker.com/1579/editorial/summer-reading-suggestions-for-middle-school-students/ Tue, 02 Jun 2020 13:53:42 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1579  

Books are a wonderful source of imagination.  Many people don’t like to read, but they might change their minds if they read one of these fictional works. Redwall:  In this twenty-two book series by Brian Jacques, the quests of Redwall Abbey’s animal inhabitants are chronicled.  In these tales of good versus evil, warrior mice, hares and badgers battle rats, foxes and ferrets.  In the first book, called Redwall, a young warrior mouse, Matthias defends the abbey from a rat, Cluny the Scourge.  Written over twenty years, the popular books were turned into a television cartoon series in 1999. 

Harry Potter: Harry Potter is a wizarding world battle of good vs. evil. Filled with magical creatures, spells, and potions, these books are action-packed and funny. The first book, The Sorcerer’s Stone, (which was first called The Philosopher’s Stone) is about a boy who lives with his rude, non-magical aunt and uncle who hate him. When Harry gets his first letter from Hogwarts, a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, his aunt and uncle don’t want him to find out that he’ s magical, so they burn the letter. Then more and more letters come. Will Harry find out that he’s magical? Will he go to Hogwarts? Read the books and find out! The author is J.K Rowling.

The Penderwicks: The Penderwicks is a five-book series about a family of four girls, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty, growing up with their father and their dog.  Author Jeanne Birdsall is as funny and enjoyable in the series conclusion as she is in the first book.  In the first book, called “The Penderwicks, the young family goes to spend the summer at Arundel Hall, owned by a rude lady named Mrs.Tifton. Her son, Jeffrey, ends up becoming the Penderwicks’ friend, and with him, they get into a lot of trouble.  In the last book, called The Penderwicks at Last, the girls have grown up.  Rosalind and Skye have a double wedding.  In between, the family goes on many exciting adventures as they grow up together.

Sign of the Beaver: Sign of the Beaver is about a boy in the pioneer time who has to survive in his house in the forest by himself while his dad is away. During that time, he meets a Native American boy who teaches him to live in the forest without a gun to hunt for food. The author’s name is Elizabeth Speare.

I hope one of these books interests you! If not, maybe something at your local library or bookstore will.

District meal distribution to end on June 30. https://bulldogbarker.com/1575/news/district-meal-distribution-to-end-on-june-30/ Tue, 02 Jun 2020 13:52:01 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1575 Ever since school has been canceled for the year, meals have been distributed to those who need them at select locations. These locations include the old Big Knob Elementary, the Conway Municipal building, and Freedom Middle School and were passed out between 4 and 6 pm. A collection of staff has passed out these meals that have included enough food for someone to eat lunch and dinner. Meals are available for anyone age 18 or under who lives in the school district.

The meals were provided by the Freedom Area School District and the YMCA and used up what remained of the food from the cafeterias. As many as 600 people have received meals in one day and many rely on them to eat. Although these meals are necessary the school year is coming to a close and so are the meals. Starting on June 8, breakfast and lunch will be served at the middle school only from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. This will go on until June 30 when the meal distribution will stop for the summer.

Board games are far from boring https://bulldogbarker.com/1572/editorial/board-games-are-far-from-boring/ Tue, 26 May 2020 14:25:27 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1572  From Monopoly to Root, the gaming world will probably offer something exciting for you. You probably already know about Monopoly, but you might not know about Root and other challenging games. The Board Gaming World (BGW) is a big world. There are awards for board games like Germanes Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year). There are also websites for board games like BoardGameGeek. There is probably something for you!

Kingdomino is a Gateway game, which means it is a pretty easy game. It takes about 15 minutes to play and is for ages 8 and up. Kingdomino is a two to four player game. This game won game of the year (2017) which is a big accomplishment. You are a king (or queen) of your kingdom. You place tiles to build your kingdom. You can only place the tiles into a 5 by 5 grid.   

Ticket to Ride is also considered a Gateway game, but is a little more complicated than Kingdomino. This game won game of the year in 2004. There are many different versions of the game including Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries, Ticket to Ride Japan and Ticket to Ride Europe. This game takes about 30 to 60 minutes to play and is for two to five players. This game is suitable for ages 8 and up. 

Agricola is one of my favorite games because you are trying to build the best farm. Agricola is Latin for farmer.  This game is for one to four players and ages 12 and up. It takes up to 90 minutes to play. Each player takes resources to help build his/her farm every turn. You also have to keep in mind that you must feed your people about every two to three rounds.

Root is a war game. It is for ages 10 and up and two to four players.  It takes about 60-90 minutes to play.  In this game you can be one of four different characters: Vagabond, Marquise de Cat, Eyrie Dynasty or Woodland Alliance. If you buy the expansion for this game, it introduces the Lizard Cult and the Riverfolk characters; and the game expands to one to six players.

 Phil Glotfelty, owner of Game Masters in Ross Township, predicts that the biggest games of 2020 will be Mariposas which is about monarch butterfly migration and Frosthaven, a sequel to the 2017 dungeon-crawl adventure hit Gloomhaven.

I hope that, when you read this article, you might have found a board game that interests you!

Fourth Annual Freedom Science Conference Online https://bulldogbarker.com/1568/news/fourth-annual-freedom-science-conference-online/ Wed, 20 May 2020 01:47:09 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1568 On Thursday, May 7,  Freedom Area School District held its fourth annual Science Conference. The Conference is a great time to let kids show off their scientific talents. Kids from as young as fourth grade all the way up to grown adult alumni create projects. You can create any project from any subject as long as the answer can’t be found on Google. Students work on their projects for the majority of the year. The participants conduct experiments and create a slideshow to present on what they found. 

This year’s conference was different. All the presentations were pre-recorded. Some teachers decided to make watching some of the presentations mandatory,along with a graded evaluation. Once again the conference was run by Dr. Brian Wargo, high school physics teacher,  and Ms. Jeanine Ging, sixth grade science teacher. 

The purpose of the science conference is to celebrate the work of young people engaging in authentic scientific practice. The norm in education is to teach facts, memorize equations, and re-create exercises that verify what is already known. The science conference is for original research where the answers are not readily available. Every long-term project is a struggle and the conference brings together everyone who has labored to create something new,” said Wargo. 

The two middle schoolers that completed projects were Alexa Davis, eighth grader, and Bryson Deal, sixth grader. 

I have done two science conference projects before. It has taught me efficient ways to conduct experiments, how to make charts and graphs, and it has also trained me to be a good public speaker,” stated Davis.

There were 53 projects completed and displayed on the conference website: https://www.sciconhs.org. The conference is a great thing to participate in and I hope that many more people create projects next year.

Sixth grade welcomes local game commissioner https://bulldogbarker.com/1563/features/sixth-grade-welcomes-local-game-commissioner/ Mon, 11 May 2020 17:06:06 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1563 On March 12, 2020, the sixth grade enjoyed their yearly visit from Mr. Matt Kramer,  game commissioner from the Southwest Region State Game Warden office.  The event took place in the auditorium. 

Ms. Ging,  a sixth grade teacher, invited Kramer to the school to talk about Pennsylvania wildlife. She tied his visit in with their science lessons on biomes and habitats. She also thinks it is a good time for people who enjoy being outside to see that there is a career path that includes outdoors, animals, and different habitats.  Usually, the Freedom High School Naturalist Club comes to see the program but wasn’t able to this time due to a scheduling conflict.    

 ¨I think he is a really good presenter,” said Ging.  Kramer comes in every year and presents to sixth grade. Ging says that she thinks he interacts very well with kids. He also brought in animal skins and they are fun to see. 

“He is definitely one of my favorites,” says Ging.  “It is hard to pick just one,”   Ging said she really likes the speakers from Ocean Expert Day such as scuba divers and other people.  CSI Day usually has speakers who come in, but they won’t be able to this year. 

Ariella Hayden, sixth grade student, says she feels she learned things from his visit. Hayden said she had fun from him being here. 

Chromebooks help the teachers and students learn online https://bulldogbarker.com/1557/news/chromebooks-help-the-teachers-and-students-learn-online/ Sun, 10 May 2020 11:49:07 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1557 Chromebooks were issued to all fifth grade students at the beginning of the year. They were given to the fifth graders to complete school work online. The Chromebooks allow students to go online for schoolwork and to take different tests. The Chromebooks give fifth grade students a  chance to explore the virtual world. This gives them more opportunities for learning. 

The fifth grade students were able to take home the Chromebooks on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Students had to pay $50 if they wanted to take them home. If they didn’t take them home,  they would leave them at school overnight. 

Many things are now online, from shopping to ordering food. This means exploring the virtual world and seeing what is possible sparks a lot of great ideas. Right now the Chromebooks are especially being used for online classes and schooling due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 Fifth graders have been using their Chromebooks since the beginning of the year. They already know how to log onto their classes and do their work. 

“They are far far ahead of most of their peers even in grades 6, 7 and 8,” said Mr. Ryan Smith principal of Freedom Area Middle School.  While this worldwide sickness goes on they can still do school and continue to learn.  This can help even more than using them sometimes. Now we have to use them daily and this can really help with kids who are not as good with technology, have fun and discover new worlds. 

 While the Chromebooks are very helpful during this current situation there are also a lot of issues that come with them. 

“I like regular school better. I like writing on paper and there are so many technical difficulties on the computer”,  said Lexie McGhee, a fifth grader. “It’s hard to get stuff turned in and logging into Pearson Realize. It goes down and then comes back up. I think kids understand their work better whenever teachers are talking directly to them in the classroom.” 

Students, teachers, and staff members have been working hard to overcome these issues. They are doing everything they can virtually to make this a smooth process. 

Although the Chromebooks were issued to all fifth graders, not all are using them. The students who did not take their Chromebooks home have the opportunity to pick them up. 

“The school has made times that kids can come and pick up their Chromebooks. We have all of their Chromebooks on a table in the lobby during food distribution from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday,” said Smith. The school has also set up hot spots in the main parking lot for high school middle and elementary. 

“The district purchased three external wifi points, so for any family that needs to come to the elementary, middle, or high school they can sit out in the parking lot, pull any information off of it or upload any information then go home and do their work,” said  Smith. Kids who do not have a computer or device at home were given a Chromebook from school. “We did a quick survey to all the students to determine who had a device at home who had internet at home for those that didn’t have a device at home. We took those names down and made phone calls and we were able to provide one to anyone who reached out to us.” 

If we take all of the information we do get an idea that the Chromebooks are very helpful and can be very essential during this dark period of time. Although there may be some issues the Chromebooks are working. Kids are getting work done and they can still meet with everyone if they have questions. There are different pros and cons but everyone is trying their best during the pandemic.  

Will the Principal’s 100 benefit the school now? https://bulldogbarker.com/1553/news/will-the-principals-100-benefit-the-school-now/ Sun, 10 May 2020 11:45:18 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1553 We can all agree that Mr. Smith’s Principal’s 100 was a great thing when we were in school but is it now? With all the things going on should the Principal’s 100 still be a priority? If it is still a priority what would it look like now? 

The Principal’s 100 program rewards kids who are constantly doing the right thing. Did you happen to notice the big red board with all of the white cards with names on them? It was when you first walked into the building. There white cards with names on them, what they did to deserve it, and who that card was from. One of those cards was for Trevor Denhup, fifth grader. 

“I like the concept of Principal’s 100 because it was good to reward kids who are doing stuff right,” said Denhup. “I don’t know how they would, but I think they should try to continue to do it through this pandemic.”

Ryan Smith, principal of Freedom Middle School said,  “As far as the principal’s 100, we are going to use the students from the first semester and the 20 or so that received cards during the second semester to draw names for the large prizes.  The winners can pick up their prizes the last week of May during food distribution.”  

“I think that the Principal’s 100 board celebrates the students who do the right thing all the time.  It lets others know who are the positive leaders within our school.  Plus it’s there for all to see who those students are.” said fifth grade ELA teacher Mrs. Tina Boyd.  “The board also allows us to celebrate those students with a party once the board is filled up.” 

In the middle of the year, our first board was filled and the party was watching a movie called “Middle School” in the auditorium. Obviously this is a program students aspired to when we were together in the school. Is it possible to continue this amazing program while we all sit at home every school day? Should this program keep going with our new school lives? 

“Yes, I think that we should still continue to do the program,” said Boyd. 

Obviously there is a lot that is unknown right now. The faculty and staff have been working hard to bring some sort of normality to the students’ lives. While the students can’t see the giant board right now, we know it is there.  

Sixth graders learn science with Brain Stem https://bulldogbarker.com/1549/news/6th-grade-learn-with-brain-stem/ Sun, 10 May 2020 11:41:38 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1549 Brain Stem goes to schools to teach a subject. In our case, it was about space! The instructor told the students about how our planets are placed and performed a fun crafty activity. They used a long piece of paper to place stickers of planets to where they would be in our solar system, the Milky Way.

“The experience was very interesting! I had slight problems understanding the instructor because she talked very quickly,” Reese Neely said. She later explained that if the instructor talked slower, she would have been able to understand better. Reese Neely was the student who won the chance for Brain Stem to come and teach a class of sixth graders at Steam Night. The privilege was won from a raffle.

“Brain Stem mainly teaches S.T.E.M classes. I think it’s important to teach students before they actually need to apply to college and pick what they want to enroll in. I like giving students a learning break so they can also use their hands!” explained the instructor who did the activity. 

             In all, the students won a fun opportunity in Ms. Ging’s class that day. Hopefully, someday Brain Stem will teach at Freedom Area School District again.

COVID-19 helps the environment https://bulldogbarker.com/1544/features/covid-19-helps-the-environment/ Sun, 10 May 2020 11:37:36 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1544 The COVID-19 pandemic has caused 29,465 deaths in the U.S. as of April 15, 2020, though the Stay-at-Home order might be good for the environment.  Right now we are in lockdown, which means you are not supposed to be out, and most people have to work from home.  Americans are driving fewer miles and this lowers the amount of pollution in the atmosphere.   Since everyone is supposed to stay home there will be very few people needing transportation.  Transportation makes up 23% of global carbon emissions, which is a fair amount.   Driving caused 72% and aviation caused 11% of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Since people haven’t been driving around as much, there is a decrease in garbage on the roads. Garbage is not good for the environment and pollutes our world. When people throw garbage out their car window, an animal might eat it and could get severely hurt or die.  Garbage might also eventually end up in the ocean and then a whale or any sea-creature could eat it and be harmed or killed.   I spoke to an anonymous person who picks up litter alongside the road and he stated that he has picked up 40% of his usual load since the stay at home order was enacted.   Fewer cars on the roads means that there will be fewer accidents and fewer broken car parts on the side of the road. 

The air quality is improving due to factories being shut down, coal consumption and industrial output.  In China, carbon emissions have gone down about 18%  between early February and mid-March.  Pollution in New York has gone down 50% because of the stay at home order says Smithsonian and BBC.  Some say that the air quality level will not last long because we are trying to build up our economy.  Once we are not under the stay at home order people will go back to work and the pollution will go back to normal.  The world is a better place right now because there is not much pollution, good air quality, and less garbage. 

The Benefits of Students Sleeping in During Quarantine https://bulldogbarker.com/1541/editorial/the-benefits-of-students-sleeping-in-during-quarantine/ Sun, 10 May 2020 11:34:00 +0000 https://bulldogbarker.com/?p=1541 Virtual school has brought many changes. Schools across the United States have had to close as our nation deals with the reality of  COVID-19.  For students and teachers, this means more time to sleep in. Classes aren’t starting until 10 a.m. unlike the usual 7:45 a.m. For some students in the Freedom Area School District, on a typical school day, their day could start at 7 a.m with a morning bus ride. 

There are many benefits to sleeping in. We all know that feeling when you wake up from a nice nap. You feel refreshed and more relaxed. That’s because while you sleep your body is repairing and growing. When you take naps your body is relaxed but your mind is still running. Sleep is when your mind has time to catch up. Sleeping helps with so many things like reducing stress and can even help you lose weight. A sleep study showed that people who slept for at least an hour before a test got a better grade than those who did not take a nap before the test. When at rest you can relax and this will improve your mood as well.

A survey was sent electronically to students in Freedom Middle School. The purpose of the survey was to find out how late students were sleeping during virtual school days. This pie chart shows the results from 112 participants.

This data shows that nearly 80% of students surveyed are taking advantage of an opportunity to sleep past 8 a.m. However, this data does not show how late students are staying up. In order to get more sleep, you have to be going to bed at the same time. To have these many benefits you must get more sleep total rather than just sleeping in.