— Seventh grade student got her first picture book published

Congratulations to our seventh-grade student, Isabella Murphy, on the launch of her first picture book, which features a pumpkin’s journey from seed to jack-o’-lantern!

Her book launch will be on Tuesday, October 10th at 6:00 p.m. at Ink Spell Books in Half Moon Bay. All proceeds will go to a children’s charity.

She will also present her book at Books, Inc. in Burlingame during Storytime on Sunday, October 15th at 11:00 a.m. Click here to visit her website.


 

— In the News: Coaches flag benefits of non-contact sport

Middle schools offer alternative to full-contact sports. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on September 6th, 2017.

The August sun warmed the quad at Sea Crest School as boys and girls donned blue practice jerseys in preparation for the first flag football practice of the season.

Flag football is offered at both Sea Crest and Cunha middle schools. The lessons learned on the field often can translate to stellar performances on the high school gridiron.

“It’s 9-on-9 here, regular football is 11- on-11,” said Sea Crest middle school flag football coach Craig Strong. “It’s two less linemen, that’s the big difference.

“You’re still blocking, passing, running the ball, throwing the ball, catching the ball,” he continued. “On defense, you’re attacking, when you’re pulling the flag, that’s the equivalent of tackling. You’ve got to read offenses and move your body in such a way so that you’re heading where the ball is going.”

“The biggest difference between playing high school football and middle school flag football is the competition level and the intensity,” said Gabe Giacotto who played flag football for Sea Crest Middle School before joining the Junipero Serra High School football team.

“The coaches expect more from the players at a high school level and they rely on you to keep yourself and your fellow teammates in check,” he continued. “The other big difference was adjusting to both wearing and hitting with pads. It gives a whole different feel in running and movement. You also have to learn how to hit and tackle with them if you haven’t played tackle football before.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Kaiya Hanepen (7th grade) practices with athletic director Craig Strong watching during flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Full-contact youth football organizations have taken great care to ensure the health and wellness of their athletes. From capping the weight requirements of heavier players to ensuring all equipment is in excellent working order, athletes par ticipating in full contact football have never been safer or better prepared.

Still, some parents are hesitant to allow their children to play. For middle school-aged children, flag football may be just the ticket for those hoping to one day step foot on the high school field.

“Flag football gives athletes the opportunity to throw and catch the football on a regular basis and get a foundation for the game,” said Keith Holden, varsity head football coach at Half Moon Bay High School in an emailed statement. “Players learn a lot about angles, schemes and about how to move on the football field.”

“The players are learning the rules of the game as well as an understanding of the game,” said Strong. “Full contact is different in terms of some techniques, such as tackling techniques. We don’t tackle, we pull flags. However, we still block, without pads. Some of the techniques and skills developed in flag football absolutely translate to full contact football.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Coach Dan Halepen shows a diagram to the team at flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Strong stated that a big part of the flag football season includes teaching aspiring athletes intricacies of the game, including how to move and defend the ball.

“They are learning the actual skills, laying groundwork that, if the athlete didn’t have, might present more a of challenge if they played full-contact football without the foundation,” he said.

“I learned a lot on the flag football field that helped me to recognize plays when on defense, such as the difference between a deep pass, short pass and runs both outside and up the middle,” said Giacotto.

“It also helped me to pick up and pursue a quarterback when he is scrambling,” he continued. “Playing flag football helped me on offense when getting the hang of memorizing plays and adjusting to different defensive formations.”

As to how to bridge the gap between flag and full-contact football, Holden believes that the best supplemental training is playing other sports.

“Also, I believe that strength training is beneficial to any athlete, not just football players, for preventing injury,” he said.

“My advice for kids playing flag football, who aspire to play in college, would be to stick with it and to not give up,” added Giacotto. “At first, the sport is going to seem tough and brutal, especially in a program like Serra’s.

“Although, if you work hard and stick with it, you will be surprised at how fast you catch on and make the necessary adjustments,” he continued. “The other thing would be to always hustle and give your best effort because that is what the coaches are really looking for.”


 

— Seventh graders volunteered sorting out food at Coastside Hope

Coastside Hope Coastside Hope Coastside Hope Coastside HopeThe 7th grade visited Coastside Hope’s warehouse on Tuesday, June 6th. The purpose of the visit was to unload and sort over 35 barrels of food. The students worked tirelessly pulling barrels off pallets, emptying those barrels onto tables, and checking dates on all of the products they were sorting. Overall it was a very productive day. It was a collective effort with each student doing their best and using their strengths to help each other. With all of their hard work, Coastside Hope will now be able to hand out the food to families in need on the Coast.

 

Here is just some of what the students took away from this field trip…

“Fun, nice to help. It was hard work”
~Callisto

“ It was inspiring to see how much would or could get done as a group. It helped us work together and collectively collaborate”
~Shea

“It felt good that every can I packed helped a family”
~Mari

“It made me feel good because I was helping people who may have less than me”
~Ryan M.

 


 

— Another year of making History

By Wendy Connolly, 7th & 8th History Teacher.

This trimester, 7th grade history is focusing on Medieval Japan and Imperial China. Currently, students are in Japanese clans for a simulation entitled, “Warlords of Japan”. Each clan strategizes to take over provinces and castles all while feeding the people in their provinces and armies. To earn koku or rice, students show honor and calm all while collaborating with their fellow teammates, research topics students have chosen, surprise attacks by answering questions, study samurai, and like good samurai create Haiku poetry. A field trip to the Asian Art Museum where students analyzed primary artifacts on samurai along with a trip to the largest Chinatown outside of China with lunch rounded out their study of China and Japan.

The 8th graders are currently studying the causes of The Civil War, the war itself and Reconstruction this trimester. They will be creating a Civil War “museum” that will be dedicated to the Civil War through different lenses. Using primary and secondary sources, students will take an event and explore the perspectives of multiple people and their interpretations of each event.

Towards the end of the year, each 8th grader writes a letter to their future selves to create a primary source of information that will be mailed to them when they graduate from high school. It is a look into the past, what their interests were, goals, and what was happening in the world as they head off to college and beyond. This year’s graduating seniors will be receiving their letters shortly and they can be reminded of what their life was like as an 8th grader and the simpler times.

 


 

— Managing our middle schoolers’ screen time and use

By Jessica Patti, Director of Middle School

Our Middle Schoolers are digital natives – they have grown up immersed in technology. However, our students’ familiarity with technology may unintentionally mask their need for guidance with how to engage appropriately with peers in ways that support boundaries and maintain personal integrity. Among Snapchat, messaging, Instagram, and group texting (or grext) there are a myriad of ways for students to connect with one another and share (at times near constant) communication.

While our students are growing up in a social construct that invites sharing profusely, the screen (vs face-to-face) simultaneously creates enough separation such that students’ inhibitions are lessened. This results in exchanges that would be deemed “over-sharing” in person, but are socially acceptable when sent electronically. Middle School is also the time when many parents are grappling with providing a personal device to their child and then with how to monitor use while supporting the emerging adolescent need for perceived “space” and personal privacy.

Here are some helpful tips and things to think about for navigating these sometimes tricky waters:

  • Have regular conversations with your child(ren) about social media.
  • Find out about the new apps they are using and how they are being used.
  • Ask your child to share current examples of how they have recently communicated.
  • Ask if your child has ever had interactions with others on social media that made them uncomfortable and why.

Create clear parameters around social media use:

  • Tell your child what you think is and isn’t appropriate to say and do online. (A helpful framework: If it would be uncomfortable in person, it should not happen on social media.)
  • Explain the difference between bystander and upstander. A bystander may “like” or “favorite” something hurtful an upstander calls out cruel and hurtful behavior and supports targeted students.
  • Let your child know if they may not use certain apps or sites.

Limit access to the device; students should not have cell phone and computer access 24 hours a day.

  • Set a time when you take the device in the evenings and when it is returned in the mornings.
  • Charge personal devices outside of student bedrooms.

Create clear expectations about the expectation of privacy.

  • Have students work on the computer in a communal space in your home.
  • As parents you should decide how frequently you will check the phone.
  • Go through phones and computers together with your child(ren) and talk about topics as they arise.
  • Always ask about new apps or apps you don’t recognize.
  • Have your child(ren) share all passwords for phones, computers and apps.
  • For more extensive resources, Common Sense Media has wonderful information.

For more extensive resources, please visit other related articles from our Parent Education Series: Parenting in a Digital Age, and more to come!


 

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