Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Amazing Students Create Cornhole Boards in Maker

Maker Space

A talented group of 7th and 8th-grade students spent several working lunch periods in the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School's Hive making cornhole boards and bean bags. The MVP brand was done by students as well using the vinyl cutter and the brand app. At the final dance of the year on May 6, these boards became part of the activities at the dance. 

I am so proud of these students.

Friday, May 6, 2016

What A Year It Has Been!

As the school year comes to an end, I look back over a year filled with good memories and bittersweet decisions. August began with our 7th grade adjusting to the new building and being on the Upper School Glenn Campus. September brings retreats, cross country meets, softball games, volleyball games, and last but certainly not least, football. GEAUX LSU TIGERS!! October's weather is still hot, but cooler days are ahead. Our middle school has our first dance of the year with, of course, a Halloween theme complete with a costume contest and awesome decorations. November brings the cooler weather we so, need along with Thanksgiving and football playoff games. November also signals the fast approaching end of the semester and exams. December, a time of excitement, showcased our chorus and band students; what wonderful sounds they make. Exams conclude the semester and everyone runs out of the building to begin Christmas break and celebrating Christmas with family and friends. It's January and the second semester begins. Students and teachers return and slowly get back into the daily routine of class schedules. February is the month most of the students look forward to with the ever popular Valentine Dance. As the students walked down the red carpet at Heritage Sandy Springs, the teachers were amazed at the transformation of both boys, coats and ties and girls in their party dresses. Teachers and students danced the night away; until 8:30 p.m. that is. March is a short month with class trips to Space Camp, Boston, and Washington, D.C. For some students, this is the first time away from home. Everyone had a wonderful time and created great memories. April was rainy, which is usually is, and spring sports are in action. Boys coming down the hall with bat bags and cleats hanging from their bats. Soccer, tennis, golf and lacrosse teams have filled the shelves with balls, rackets, golf clubs, and sticks. As April came to an end at our last middle school chapel of the year, I was totally surprised with an amazing tribute to me highlighting my 16 years at Mount Vernon. An AWESOME video with pictures of my colleagues and me, my family, student messages, and touching messages from my teachers and friends filled me with emotion and tears.  Last, but certainly not least, the "cherry on top" of an emotional day, former middle school chorus students and their teacher came on stage with blonde wigs (just like my hair) and sunglasses to begin singing "Dancing Queen", my favorite song. My counterpart, Tasha, put a crown on my head and a lovely purple boa around my neck and led me on stage so I could dance to my song. I felt like a ROCK STAR! I will always remember that wonderful day and my special and close friends who took time out of their busy schedules to put this special day together. 

As I end this very long blog post and wipe away my tears, I know in the last 16 years of teaching here that I have touched the lives of so many students and made some incredible friends. So, the bittersweet decision to retire is the right one I know, but on the last day of school, I will walk out of my home for the past 16 years and take with me a feeling of having made a difference to my students and my school. 

Thanks for everything my sweet, dear friends; I will miss you all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Student Led Conferences

Our middle school held it's first Student Led Conference on February 17, 2016, and what a win for us. We have worked all year to prepare our students to showcase their work through their e-portfolio, and to lead the conference with no assistance from their Student Led Conference Mentor. How proud I am of my 13 students!!

Read more about Student Led Conferences at this site:

Student Led Conferences

Monday, January 25, 2016

Student Engagement in Learning

Recently, I read an article from Brookes Publishing about keeping "students engaged" while learning. Five ways were listed to enable students to engage:

1. Connect learning to real life
2. Include students' interests 
3. Student choice
4. Present information in multiple formats
5. Teach students self-monitoring 

Our school is on the cutting edge of using these five ways to allow our students to be innovative learners. In my opinion, two of the five are most critical to student engagement; connection to real life and student choice. Students need to see how the information being presented connects them to real life or real life experiences in order for students to fully engage in learning. Also, students are more engaged when the choice is theirs rather than the topic is given to them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Empathy -- 'Tis the Season

There was a post on twitter from Edutopia that read "Teach empathy as a life skill, not as a lesson plan". With Christmas Season in full swing and our annual Toys for Tots Drive this week, I am reminded about how I "teach empathy". My English/Grammar/Composition classes completed a unit on empathy as it relates to the homeless, but have I continued to instill in my students the far-reaching effect of being empathic? Only time will tell I guess, in the meantime, I have challenged myself to "Teach empathy as a life skill, not as a lesson plan" in each event we research, each paper we write, and each project we complete. What can I do to enable my students to transfer the true meaning of empathy to everyday life? I will continue to work on this.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Class Discussion - Should cell phones be used while driving?

Today in class, my 8th-grade students were asked to agree or disagree with several topics; one of which was cell phones and driving. As usual, my students never cease to amaze me with responses. The overwhelming majority, all 20 of my students, disagreed with the use of cell phones while driving. When I asked why, this answer above all others amazed me: "Because Mrs. Couvillion, teenagers have way too many distractions while they drive". The solution then? All cars should be equipped with "hands-free" devices. Why I asked? Again, "because Mrs. Couvillion, my mom will always want to know where I am, am I safe, and when am I coming home". I wonder if the same answers, when posed the same questions, would come from high school students. Gotta love my students.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Student Council

For the past eight years, I have served as the Faculty Advisor to the 7th and 8th Grade Student Council. Some years, the officers had a vision of the direction they wanted the middle school to move and some years not so much. From election day in September 2015, this year's council has taken a strong leadership role in the middle school. In our weekly meetings, each officer brings to the table an idea for upcoming events, discusses ways to accomplish or implement these ideas and always having the student's voice in mind, have taken their positions seriously. Each week, I am more and more amazed at the independence and focus of the council. I am proud to be a part of this council and will encourage (not that they need it) them to continue to be an integral part of the Upper School Prefect program.