One Wacky Christmas Tree

By: Jacob Brown

My name is Michael. My family members are pretty normal most of the time. I was the exception too there normalcy…

So one christmas, my mother and grandmother took me to get a tree while my father and grandfather got special ornaments based off of our family. I was 3, and was in charge of picking out what type of tree that we would decorate that year. However, I thought mom said fur tree, like on an animal so, on the way to the tree farm I was hyping up for something soft. 

We got there 15 minutes later, and we had reached the tree farm. My mother went and talked with an employee and we walked over to a fenced area of the farm. I saw many luscious trees and the needles were soft like little pieces of fabric. I looked around and found one that was like a throne of swords, perfectly serrated that were as sharp as a needle haystack. The tree had a big blank spot to make it look like a prickly throne. I said, “Death tree, death tree, death tree, let’s get a death tree.” 

My mother and grandmother looked at my and they asked, “Are you sure this is it? We can still-”

“No this is it,” I interrupted. I waddled over to the car and sat down and said nothing and they bought the tree. 

We headed home and when we got inside, we learned my father and grandfather never left to get ornaments. We had to improvise since the store would be closed by the time we would get their. We used colored paper, so our tree looked like a spiky triangle with little torn up pieces of paper. And the rest was pretty weird as well.

On Christmas night, I heard rustling so I woke up and I assumed it was Santa. I stayed quiet and quickly moved down toward the top of the stairs. I saw two people put presents around the tree and assumed it was Santa and Mrs. Claus, so ran back to bed.

Sleeping until morning, I woke up and Christmas and the rest went like a normal everyday Christmas.

Getting to Know You: Mr. Wellman Edition

A picture of Mr. Wellman at the “Pink Out” volleyball game

Mr. Wellman has been teaching math at O.L. Smith for six years. He loves the “Avengers” and has a large collection of “Avengers” pop toys. Mr. Wellman went to Mason Middle School in Waterford MI. Mr. Wellman has a wife, and grew up with Mr. Petrusha. Mr. Wellman’s favorite subjects in school are math and science. He also plays golf and softball. We hope you enjoy this article and enjoy learning about Mr. Wellman!

Interviewer: What is the most fun part of your job?

Mr. Wellman: The most fun part of my job is being able to help students understand concepts, and being able to see that moment when they finally… it just clicks. And you can just see that in their eyes, and their emotions. That’s probably the best part of my job is that moment right there.

Interviewer: What is the hardest part of your job?

Mr. Wellman: The hardest part is, I would say, the motivational aspect of it. Motivating kids to be interested in your topic – particularly with math – getting them interested in what you’re doing in the classroom.

Interviewer: What memories do you have of middle school?

Mr. Wellman: I actually remember my favorite subject when I was in middle school was actually science. And that was Mrs. Robinson’s class, actually. Seventh grade. That was the first time learning about – in math, in particular – learning the pre-algebra concepts. That was a new chapter for me. Another memory that I have from middle school, actually, I was in middle school when 9/11 happened.

Interviewer: What advice would you give a student who loved your subject?

Mr. Wellman: Challenge yourself. Always. Always, challenge yourself. Once you feel like you’ve mastered something, push yourself farther, and that’s when you’re going to really go places.

Interviewer: What advice would you give a student who is struggling with the subject you teach?

Mr. Wellman: Keep working. Don’t give up on it. You know, things don’t happen overnight. It takes time, and it takes dedication.

Interviewer: Why did you pick your classroom theme, if you have one?

Well, I would say my theme is… there’s a lot of superhero stuff around here, because that’s my thing. I like Marvel. I actually own all the movies. Seen them all more than once. I enjoy it.

Mr. Wellman, thank you for all your hard work this year. You are doing a great job teaching 7th and 8th grade. Your hard work is showing in the student’s report cards through this years class. Thank you for your hard work and keep it up, Mr. Wellman. Thank you for reading all about  Mr. Wellman.By: Myrna Burkhalter, Molly Holland, and Ella Ballheim

Time Management Tips

By: Dalia Nedzinskas

Are you always feeling stressed and unorganized? Well, the Viking Press has come up with some tips to help you get the most out of every minute of the day. Let’s begin.

  •  Set a time limit for your tasks – If you set a time limit for certain tasks, it will most likely help you to stay focused, and to get things done faster. If you decide to do this, you should give yourself some time in between each task, so in case you need a little bit of extra time to complete a task, you will have it. You can also use this extra time to take a break so you can focus better on your next task.
  • Create a to-do list – You can create a to-do list with all the steps that you need to take to complete your project/goal. Having a to-do list will help to motivate you to keep going because you will know what you have completed, and what you still need to do.
  • Plan out your day ahead of time – Instead of just going through your day without knowing what you’re going to do next, make a plan. During your morning routine think of the 3 most important tasks that you have to do that day. Then, work on those tasks when you feel you are being the most productive that day.
  • Change your schedule – If you feel stressed even though you have a schedule, you might want to think about changing your schedule around. Make sure your schedule is right for you. If you don’t have a schedule that you follow, you should probably think about making one.

Thank you for reading! I hope that this article can help you become less stressed, more organized, and help you get better grades in school. 

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Top 10 CNN Hero: Najah Bazzy

Najah Bazzy is the founder of Zaman International and she taught more than 250,000 women a skill or trade and educated many children. She was a graduate of Dearborn Public Schools. Najah Bazzy is helping people who do not have the money to buy what they need all throughout the greater Detroit area. She is in the top ten CNN heroes of making the world a better place. Use this link to help her become the number one hero. Please Vote! Go Najah!

Ella Ballheim, Molly Holland, and Myrna Burkhalter 

Parent-Teacher Conferences and The 24 Hour World Tour Culture Fair

On Monday, Parent-Teacher Conferences and the 24 Hour World Tour Culture Fair were canceled due to the weather, but they still had them on Wednesday. Parent-Teacher Conferences and the Culture Fair were very successful.

On Wednesday, parents and guardians could come in to talk with teachers about their child’s grades and how they are doing in class. If you attended Parent-Teacher conferences you received your report card for card marking one. Some students were happy when they received their report cards because they could show their parents/guardians how much they know and learned throughout the card marking. Other students were nervous and upset because their parents/guardians looked at their reports cards in front of them and they might not have the best grades. Overall, teachers and administration were happy with the turnout and got to speak with many parents and guardians. 

Also, anyone that applied for the 24 Hour World Tour presented a project they made about a country of their choice. They presented to teachers and parents. Many students enjoyed presenting their projects, and many teachers and parents enjoyed listening to the students present. Some students presented about France, Germany, Cuba, Indonesia, and so many more countries!

If you are upset about not getting a chance to go to Parent-Teacher Conferences on Wednesday, do not worry! You can still go on Monday, November 18. You will also have a chance to see other people present their reports at the 24 Hour World Tour Projects on Monday. Hope to see you there!

–Dalia Nedzinskas

Getting to Know You: Ms. Tate Edition

Ms. Tate and her former students riding rides at Cedar Point.

Ms. Tate is currently teaching 6th grade Language Arts in room 22. Ms. Tate has been subbing for three years. She has two children. Julia, her daughter is currently in 7th grade, and she has a son named Trevor. Trevor is 16 and a junior at Edsel Ford High School. Ms. Tate also has a dog named Shelby, who is a silver lab.  Ms. Tate has many outside hobbies that include baking, making treats, traveling, spending time with my family, and, as she says: “obsessing over Harry Potter – that’s like a full-time job in and of itself.” We hope you enjoy this article and enjoy learning about Ms. Tate!

Interviewer: What is the most fun part about your job?

Ms. Tate: The most fun is getting to know students really well, and creating relationships with them, and helping them build confidence to learn things that they think that they’re bad at or are not confident that they can learn.

Interviewer: Why did you pick this theme for your classroom?

Ms. Tate: I don’t have a specific theme exactly, but I think that some of the things that I’ve latched onto, and been really interested in, are sort of young adult genre fiction/literature anyway. And I figure it’s an ELA classroom, so it’s a great place to display some stuff that… I don’t feel like I have to have Twilight Barbies up in my house anymore, but I’m very happy to share them here. And gives a little bit of privacy to the room back there. So that’s cool. They were sitting, literally, in storage for several years. So now I can share them a little. Same with my Hunger Games Barbie Dolls. And I’ve got oodles of Harry Potter stuff. Looking at that makes me feel young, and it gets my students interested in some of it. And, I don’t know, I feel like it just sets a nice mood, and makes people kind of happy to be here. Because there are lots of kids that will tell me that they don’t like ELA, and that they’re terrible in the subject, but they like being in my room. So if we can start there – maybe if they like being in the space, then they can come around to enjoying some of the work that we do. And if they enjoy what they’re working on, then they’ll end up getting a better  grade in what they’re learning.

Interviewer: Do you have a teacher who influenced you to become a teacher?

Ms. Tate: I do, and she was actually my English teacher in high school. Her name was Mrs. Henziac. And also Mrs. Kasanowitcz. She was also a language arts teacher, but our theater… for plays and musicals and stuff. Both of them were excellent teachers, and I feel like I teach in a very similar style to both of them.

Interviewer: What is one memory you have of middle school?

Ms. Tate: One memory I have of middle school is… So I grew up in Oak Creek, and during the summer after fourth grade we moved out to Connecticut for a few years. But we came back to Oak Creek during winter break when I was in seventh grade. So when everybody came back to school from winter break, I started in the middle school. And so I knew a lot of people, because I’d gone to elementary school with them. But, just like at Smith, where there’s several schools that feed into Smith, and I didn’t know a lot more people than I did know.

Interviewer: Are any of the subjects you teach your favorites in school?

Ms. Tate: Yes and no. Science… When I taught science last year, I was terrible at science in school, and so I was not very confident about getting it at all. But as the year went on, I loved it very, very much, and that’s actually what I want to pursue getting my teaching certificate in. That said, I loved English. I was very nearly an English major in college. So I enjoy teaching ELA, because I feel more confident in the subject. It’s something I did well in. But I like that with science, answers are cut and dry, and that’s it! They’re right or they’re wrong. In ELA, it’s not always like that. In ELA, if you can present an argument that your whatever should be correct because of… whatever, sometimes that works out.

Interviewer: What advice would you give a student who loved your subject?

Ms. Tate: I would tell them to read, read, read, and that when they find something that they enjoy, to keep reading more about it. Information is so easily accessible these days, compared to when I was a kid. If you’re looking for something fun to read, I find that I personally like the young adult genre of fiction. Which is why I have Twilight Barbie Dolls, and Hunger Games Barbie Dolls, and Harry Potter stuff all over the place. And it’s funny because, I think it’s a really, they can be really fun, universal stories… In my head, I’m still very much a middle schooler in a lot of ways, so I remember feeling just like I know you guys are feeling right now. But yet, I’m also an adult, and so I have a different appreciation for the professors at Hogwarts. Or the adults in Hunger Games. Or the adults in Twilight – or the vampires, I should say, because they’re several hundred years old (which I am as well – just kidding). So we have that in common. But yeah, I love that those stories were all so good. And there was another book. And then another book. And then another book. And so you could still just keep gobbling them up.

Ms. Tate, thank you for all your hard work this year, especially coming in the middle of the first card marking. You do such a good job teaching in 6th grade. Your hard work is showing in the student’s report cards.  Also, people get a warm feeling when you walk in the room. Thank you for your hard, hard work and keep it up Ms. Tate!

–Myrna Burkhalter, Molly Holland, and Ella Ballheim

Girls Volleyball Team

By: Molly Holland And Ella Ballheim

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Cartoon volleyball

The bleachers are full and the crowd is fired up for the big Volleyball game. Then, the two teams come out. First, the O.L. Smith team came out and the crowd went nuts. The other team comes out and the crowd went wild. This is how every home game began this season.

Coach Ulfers said that she never coached volleyball.  Coach Wellman said he has been coaching volleyball at Smith for 5 years.

When asked why she decided to coach volleyball, Coach Ulfers stated, ”I wanted to be more involved in sporting events at school.” Coach Wellman added, “I asked her because she had a good relationship with the girls.” Ms. Ulfers took the opportunity quickly and she did an amazing job! Our junior varsity team was undefeated in the season, which means they must have had a great coach.

The team played ten games and the varsity went to play in the City Tournament, where they took third place. When asked if it’s hard to play volleyball, the coaches said, “It is really difficult because you have to move quickly, control the ball, and communicate with your teammates.”

Coach Ulfers and Coach Wellman said that they loved what they did and that the team made them laugh. Coach Ulfers and Coach Wellman also loved making the team work hard, play hard, and watching how much the girls improve throughout the season.

Congratulations to the volleyball team!  O.L. Smith is very proud of you!

🎃 6 Last Minute Halloween Costumes 🎃

By: Myrna S. Burkhalter

Are you freaking out because you don’t have your Halloween costume ready? Do you need to put something together really quickly with the stuff you have in your closet? Well, here are some spooktacular ideas. 

  • Black Cat — This purrfect costume is super simple and cute. To pull off the meowtastic look you need to wear all black, with cat ears and a cat tail. Most of these items can be found at the dollar store, a clothing store, or a Halloween store.    
  • Morse Code — Dot-Dot, Dash-Dash. To make this costume you need white paper/cardstock cut in dots and dashes. Tape these onto black clothes and you are Morse Code! You can even write a bloodcurdling message!
A classic ghost costume modeled by some lovely puppers!
  • Ghost — This costume is a classic and a spooktacular surprise. Take an old bed sheet and cut holes for your eyes and mouth. (Before you cut the sheet ask your parents!) Then wear this over gray or white clothes. Cue the spooky music!
  • Crayon — Crayola? CrazyArt? What do these two brands have in common? They both make crayons!!! For this costume wear all of any one color and make a cardstock/poster board tube to wrap around your waist! Attach a paper cone or party hat as a pointy finishing touch.
  • Bee — Bzzzzzzzzzzzz! Wear yellow and black clothing with fairy wings. You can make antenna with a headband, pipe cleaners, and pom-poms. Bzzzzzzzzzzz!!!
  • An O.L. Smith student/staff — Be yourself, a friend or a teacher!!!! 
OL Smith Viking Mascot

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed these quick Halloween costume ideas, and will think about using these as your own! Go Vikings!