Miller classroom has students bouncing in their seats

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Students in the 8th grade literature classroom of Shea Hill at Miller Middle School are pictured on yoga stability ball seating, which was put in place in the classroom before Thanksgiving.

Bouncing in your seat is the point in the classroom of Miller Middle School literature teacher Shea Hill.

Hill received a Donors Choose grant of $380 to purchase yoga stability balls to use as seating in her classroom. The balls arrived just before Thanksgiving.

Hill said these balls, which are a nationwide trend, allow many students to avoid daydreaming in class as it keeps them on alert. She said some students get bored sitting in a traditional chair all day and this allows them to fidget in a positive way. Students also say they help with their posture.

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Shea Hill

“They love them,” Hill said.

There are still traditional chairs for students who don’t want to use the stability balls and Hill said there have been some growing pains, such as the noises the balls make on the floors. Overall, she said it’s been a positive thing for her classroom.

“It’s different and it’s a change,” Hill said.

Lindsey Roberts, who is also an 8th grade literature teacher at Miller, received a similar grant and purchased alternative seating as well for her classroom such as stools and also standing tables.

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Students compete in Lego League event held December 3

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Members of the Miller Middle School Lego League team are pictured, from left, Coach Ann Jackson, Lilly Duff, Marcus Barker, Marek Jablonski, Maggie Stansberry, Ethan Benscoter, Derek Peng, Isaac B. Lopez and Jacob Swartz. This team earned honorable mention in robot design and qualified for the state Lego League competition.

Teams from the Marshalltown Community School District participated in the FIRST Lego League competition on December 3. Two teams competed at Marshalltown Community College while one competed in Council Bluffs.

Miller Middle School’s team, the Robocats, earned an honorable mention in robot design and qualified for the State First Lego League tournament with its performance at Marshalltown Community College.  The team is coached by Miller Extended Learning Program teacher Ann Jackson and team members include Lilly Duff, Marcus Barker, Marek Jablonski, Maggie Stansberry, Ethan Benscoter, Derek Peng, Isaac B. Lopez, and Jacob Swartz.

The team Siberian Tiger Soldiers, made up from a group of Lenihan Intermediate School students, competed in the event at MCC as well. They were coached by Lenihan Extended Learning Program teacher Vanessa Engel and parent Connor Reynolds. Team members included Josh Reynolds, Adrian Juarez, Braden Stewart, Jay Helton and Jason Montes.

A parent-led team made up of Miller and Lenihan students competed in the competition in Council Bluffs and qualified for state. That team, known as Medieval Gamer Puppies, was coached by Amanda and Travis Bloomquist and featured team members Quinton Lacey (Miller), Kaiden McWilliams (Lenihan), Taylor Vaughn (Lenihan) and Locke Bloomquist (Lenihan).

FIRST Lego League is a competition in which students research a real-world problem, this year animal and human interaction, and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build and program a robot to compete on a tabletop playing field.

Along their journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills.

 

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The team from Lenihan Intermediate School included, from left, Josh Reynolds, Adrian Juarez, Braden Stewart, Jay Helton and Jason Montes. Back row are coaches Vanessa Engel and Connor Reynolds.

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This parent-led team competed in the Lego League in Council Bluffs and qualified for state. Pictured in front row, from left, Taylor Vaughn and Kaiden McWilliams. Back row, Coach Amanda Bloomquist, Quinton Lacey, Locke Bloomquist and coach Travis Bloomquist.

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MHS to present holiday concert on December 11

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Choir members sing during last year’s holiday concert at Marshalltown High School. This year’s holiday concert featuring vocal and instrumental music will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 11 in the MHS/Community Auditorium.

Marshalltown High School will present the annual holiday concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 11 in the MHS/Community Auditorium.

It will feature performances by the combined high school choir, holiday singers, treble choir, concert choir, symphonic band and wind ensemble. There will be various selections featured during the concert including holiday music.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students with activity cards honored.

 

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Niehouse to be honored by National Art Educators Association

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Kirk Niehouse

Marshalltown High School art instructor Kirk Niehouse has been selected to receive the Western Region Secondary Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association. Niehouse was nominated for the regional award after receiving the Outstanding Secondary Art Educator award from the Art Educators of Iowa recently.

“I am very excited about this award,” Niehouse said of the award from the NAEA. “I am beyond words as to what this means to me.”

Niehouse credits past MHS art teachers and the current MHS staff for making this award a “team effort.” He also credits his family for their support and belief in his work.

“I never in my wildest dreams saw myself winning an award like this,” he said.

Niehouse said his goal each day when he arrives at MHS is to do what’s best for students.

“I come to school every day to do my best and give all my efforts to helping students succeed and learn to love and enjoy art,” he said.

Niehouse will be presented the award at the National Art Educators Association National Convention in New York City in March. Niehouse was nominated for the Iowa award by Marshalltown elementary art teacher Maggie Parks.

Niehouse is instructor of pottery and graphic design at MHS. He has taught at MHS since 2001 and is a 1978 Marshalltown High School graduate.

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Teach your parents to code event set for December 7

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Former Hoglan Elementary School student and current Lenihan Intermediate School student Braden Stewart shows his dad, Travis Stewart, and Hoglan Principal Amy Williams some coding work he learned during last year’s Hour of Code. This year a special “Teach Your Parents to Code” night will be held for all district families preschool through 12th grade from 5 to 6 p.m. on December 7 at Miller Middle School. 

Families in the Marshalltown Community School District are invited to an event titled “Teach Your Parents to Code” night from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7 at Miller Middle School, 125 S. 11th St.

The free event will feature computer coding activities, robotics demonstrations with hands-on work and other computer science activities. These activities are designed for all school age children and their families.

No reservations are needed, just visit that night and have some fun.

This event is held in conjunction with the worldwide Hour of Code as part of Computer Science Week, designed to get students interested in computer coding and other computer science activities.

Interpreters will be available for Spanish speaking visitors as well as for languages from Burma.

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JBS and UFCW donate $1,000 to each Marshalltown elementary school

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Pictured presenting Rogers Elementary School Principal Mick Jurgensen (center) with a $1,000 donation check on November 30 are, from left, Margarita Heredia and Roger Kail of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1149, Stacey Santillan of JBS Human Resources and Michael Graves of the UFCW. JBS and the UFCW presented $1,000 donation checks to each Marshalltown elementary school.

Representatives from JBS and the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1149 delivered $1,000 checks to each of the six elementary schools in the Marshalltown Community School District on November 30 and December 1.

The money comes from a multicultural fund at JBS and the UFCW, which is typically used to support the community.

Roger Kail, president of the UFCW Local 1149, said as the town’s biggest employer JBS and UFCW wanted to support the schools that serve many of their families.

“We are just giving back to the community,” Kail said.

The checks were met with open arms from each school principal. Plans are being made to spend the donations in a variety of ways to help students in the classroom and beyond, including library books, playground and school supplies, food pantry needs, fitness programs and more.

Thank you to JBS and the UFCW for your generous support of Marshalltown Schools!

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Presenting to Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis, center.

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Presenting to Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren, center.

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Presenting to Woodbury Elementary Principal Anel Garza, center.

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Hoglan Principal Amy Williams accepts the check from Michael Graves, left,  of UFCW and Pete Charboneau of JBS Human Resources.

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Presenting to Fisher Principal Vicki Vopava, center.

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MHS students attend leadership conference

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A group of Marshalltown High School students participated in the Jostens Leadership Conference in Ankeny on November 29.

A group of 30 Marshalltown High School students representing Student Senate and the National Honor Society attended the Jostens Leadership Conference in Ankeny on November 29.

MHS staff members Meri Edel, Val Hunt and Emily Hunt went with the group as part of the conference designed to build student leaders.

“Our students were captivated by motivational speaker, Kelly Barnes, who shared a message of life lessons and experiences that develop leaders,” said Emily Hunt.

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