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Writing Rocks—June 2018 Calendar


posted: Thu, Feb 14th, 2019

Ambassadors from MOMS win awards

All seven teams of MOMS gifted and talented students earned awards at the Junior Model United Nations Conference at Drew University. The groups were honored for diplomacy and outstanding position papers.

The model U.N. gave students an opportunity to immerse themselves in issues now facing the world and a chance to practice the art of negotiation. The students were divided into delegations from different countries. Each delegation addressed one of three global problems that are among the real U.N.’s global priorities: food sustainability, gender equality, and affordable and clean energy. The young diplomats spent months researching their countries and designated issues, then wrote draft position papers and resolutions that they would like to see passed.

Once at Drew, MOMS’ delegations met with like delegations from other New Jersey middle schools to hammer out the content and wording of final resolutions that would be later voted on by the model U.N. General Assembly. The research that the students conducted and the statistics they compiled for their position papers provided the MOMS’ delegations with the power to make compelling, evidence-based arguments.

“I feel we did a lot more research than everyone else,” said Emily Aghabi, a member of the German delegation which won an award for outstanding position paper. “We were really prepared.”

It was hours of debating, collaborating, and compromising as the delegations tried to realistically represent the unique positions and interests of the countries they represented. 

After the resolutions were finalized, it was time for the main event. One school delegation from each subcommittee spoke at the General Assembly and answered questions about its proposed resolution. Not all resolutions were greeted warmly. While it was disappointing for some students to see their hard work turned down by the other delegates, after the conference all the MOMS students understood that the experience was the important part.

“It showed us how hard it is for a lot of people with a lot of different points of view to agree on anything,” said Daria Cucu, part of the delegation representing China.

Ann Greszczak teaches the MOMS gifted and talented program. Before the competition, she led students on a field trip to the United Nations in New York to help them better understand its importance and the way it functions.

The Junior Model United Nations Conference is an annual event sponsored by the New Jersey Consortium of Gifted and Talented Programs and Drew University’s Political Science and International Relations Department.

When disaster strikes, find a seventh-grader

Through a popular 10-week course called Surviving Natural Disasters, MOHS seventh-graders are learning real-life emergency preparedness and survival skills that they can use if the unthinkable happens.

Health and physical education teachers Kelly Buck and Carly O’Reilly walk students through a variety of exercises such as researching specific natural disasters, their causes and warning signs, and the safety precautions that should be taken if you live in an area prone to such occurrences.

The students also plan detailed emergency and evacuation procedures for their own homes. They create floor plans and label all the utility shutoffs, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, exits, smoke detectors, and safe meeting places outside. The seventh-graders compile all essential emergency phone numbers, too. These include the contact numbers for the water company, fire department, animal control, and poison control.

But this course isn’t just sitting in a classroom and learning about what-ifs. Students go hands-on into the woods near MOMS to spend a week building emergency camps. It’s an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned about the types of shelters that can be constructed from typical fallen branches and other forest debris.

Working in small teams, the students pick their site locations, build their shelters, create fire pits (no fire is made), and devise water collection systems. After the camps are completed, the students critique their own work and reflect on their obstacles and successes. They also critique the work of their peers and vote for the best shelter.

For a generation raised inside on video games, social media, texting, and television, venturing into the great outdoors to learn is novel and fun.

“They really enjoy getting outside the classroom to do something that they find useful,” said Mrs. O’Reilly. “You read about people getting lost all the time. They travel somewhere and miss the ride back to the cruise ship or veer off the trail and get lost hiking. How are you going to survive? How are you going to signal for help? This course gives them some important tools and the time to stop and think.” 

This the second year that MOMS has offered Surviving Natural Disasters. 

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Mount Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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