Critters at the SOC

At the SOC most teachers don’t have their own classrooms rooms.  Most, if not all, teachers switch classrooms at some point in the day.  Some teachers switch classrooms every period, some just once a day, but it makes it more challenging to personalize the classroom space.

One way the science department has personalized its space is to have several different animals in the science lab. The first animal to arrive was Cornelius. Cornelius is a male corn snake about 7 years old. He’s been in a classroom most of his life and is very gentle. Students enjoy taking Cornelius out of his tank and learning that snakes are not scary.

The next pets acquired were the goldfish. Ms. Blackwell uses the goldfish in an experiment (no fish are harmed during the experiment) in her aquatics class where students learn about oxygen concentration in the water and its effect on the fish. But an aquarium also has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety by bringing the calming effects of nature right into the classroom.

The next animals we added to the science lab were the leopard geckos. They are a male named George and a female named Gracie. Students are generally not allowed to handle the geckos as they are very sensitive and skittish. When frightened, they can drop their tails which no one wants to happen!

The birds were the next animals added to the lab. There are three parakeets, Curie, Faraday, and Einstein, all named after famous scientists. They can get rather rambunctious at times, but are very fun to watch.

And lastly, our newest animal addition is Darwin, the red footed tortoise. Right now Darwin is a baby but will eventually grow to about 12 inches across. We can’t tell yet whether Darwin is a boy or a girl but it is named after Charles Darwin who studied tortoises on the Galapagos Islands. There is a bit more space for another animal or two so maybe we will be adding to our animal staff soon.

PSAT/NMSQT

On Tuesday, October 11, 2017, tenth and eleventh grade students at the SOC were given the opportunity to take the PSAT test.  Students can only take the PSAT once per year, and most Frisco ISD students take the test in both 10th and 11th grade.

The PSAT is a great tool that will help students become familiar with the SAT exam and its format. The PSAT will help identify academic areas that need improvement as well as enhance appropriate test-taking strategies.  Testing skills in reading, writing, and math, the PSAT is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Unlike the SAT, the highest score possible on the PSAT is 1520. Here’s how the test breaks down:

60 minutes, approximately 48 questions are dedicated to World Literature, Social Studies/History and Science.

35 minutes, approximately 44 questions cover expression of ideas and standard English conventions.

The final 70 minutes (45 of which students may use a calculator and 25 unassisted) is 47 questions, with a combination of Algebra, Data Analysis & Problem Solving, as well as Advanced Math.

The PSAT is more than a practice test for the SAT. The highest performers on this exam are eligible to earn scholarship money toward their chosen colleges. This is also the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program for students in the 11th grade-$180 million dollars in merit scholarships are awarded to students each year! In fact, 45 students in Frisco ISD have achieved the standing of National Merit Finalist for 2017.  Congratulations to them all and good luck to those who recently took the test.

Choices

“The 3 C’s of Life: Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.” ― Zig Ziglar

This year at the SOC, we made a choice at the campus-level to offer SMART period. This opportunity allows our students to choose where to spend this 25-minute period in the afternoon: outside in the courtyard (supervised, of course), in Room 113 for Art, in Room 110 for Study Hall, or in the gym.

As a gym chaperone, it has been fun and inspiring watching the camaraderie grow alongside the competition. These young gentlemen talk smack to one another but also congratulate each other when someone gets in a well-earned shot. The hustle on the court is time and energy well spent. And, though a formal study has not been conducted (yet), some teachers are saying this has been a VERY good choice for the school and especially for our students!