Archives for January 2012

Math Team = Exponential Fun

At Skinner Middle School, one of the best ways for Skinner Scholars to enhance their math skills and critical thinking is to join the growing, competitive Math Team. The Math Team, comprised of 15 students from all skill levels and led by coaches Brad Smith and Sarah Poellot, gathers weekly to tackle challenging high school level math and a variety of thought-provoking team problems. These fun yet rigorous training sessions prepare the Mathletes for Mathletic tournaments during the year. Seventh grader Hugo Burciaga reported, “The practices and competition were challenging, but I had a lot of fun!”

The team just wrapped up a successful regular season of Mathletics competitions for the 2011-2012 school year. At the November competition held at TreVista, Skinner 8th grader Olivia Friedman brought home 1st place. The second competition, hosted by Skinner in January, brought more accolades to the Skinner Mathletes as they competed against TreVista, Centennial, and Kepner. Both the 6th grade and the 7th/8th grade teams finished 2nd place. Individual highlights included: Olivia Friedman defended her 1st place crown to secure an undefeated season, and Mia Leff received 3rd place in the 6th grade competition.

Now that the Mathletic regular season competitions are over for the year, the Mathletes will take on two challenging projects: the MathCounts District Competition, and building a robot. The MathCounts competition, February 11 at the University of Denver, will feature the top 4 Skinner Mathletes competing against top Mathletes from across Denver Public Schools. To end the year, all Skinner Mathletes will build the Skinner Math Team robot. The students will use robotics materials from Edventures to create a robot that will be programmed to complete a variety of tasks. Coach Smith noted that he hopes this activity will lay the groundwork for Skinner Mathletes to take part in robotics competitions and other engineering related projects.

One of last year’s Mathletes summed up the Skinner Math Team experience best by saying, “Joining math team was one of the best things I’ve done my whole middle school life. I gained friends, more knowledge and of course winning first place didn’t hurt either.” Go Math Team!

Published Poets at Skinner

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn,” as famous 18th century English poet Thomas Gray once wrote.

Turns out that Skinner students know quite a bit about writing breathing, burning poems – 24 6th grade poets will have their poems exploring personification published in A Celebration of Poets published by Creative Communication. These students are in the running for the competition’s “Top Ten” awards.

“We would like to congratulate you and your teaching efforts,” wrote assistant editor Shannon Hernandez to Skinner language arts teacher Jessica Goebel. “Clearly your students have a great talent for writing poetry but the teacher is the one who helps bring that talent to the surface.”

Consider this poem, written by 6th grader Avery Ahern:

The Rainstorm

A steady drum roll I hear
as your army chases the horizon
throwing a gray blanket over the world.
When you approach,
you unleash the fury of your crackling whip
and shower me in a thousand wet kisses,
which I return to you with a kiss of my own.
A welcome gift.
A goodbye present.
For soon you move on,
sharing your show with others
while the frightened sun curiously peeks out
from behind your gray clouds
boldly casting golden rays of light through the fading raindrops
creating a beautiful display of vivid colors;
after your thrilling performance

We are so proud of Avery and all the Skinner poets – and are grateful for outstanding Skinner teachers like Ms. Goebel! Stay tuned for more information about our poets and the contest. For more information, please visit

Fun for kids and adults at the Neighborhood Center

Did you know Skinner’s Neighborhood Center hosts educational and fun activities for kids, parents and the community – and they’re all free? Starting this week Skinner students can stay after school from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. for:

  • Robotics, Rocketry & Wrestling
  • Sports (Wednesdays)
  • Tutoring/Homework Help (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays)
  • Teen Ambassadors (Mondays & Wednesdays)
  • Scorpion Splash Swimming (Tuesdays)
  • College 4 YOU (Fridays & some Saturdays)

Adult, community and family programming includes:

  • Intro to computer software (Tuesdays 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.)
  • Quick Fix Family Cooking (Thursdays 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., starting 1/19)
  • Water Aerobics (Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.)
  • Community Basketball (Tuesdays 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.)
  • Mexican Folklore Music (Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.)
  • Adult E.S.L (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – noon)

Come enjoy what Skinner has to offer at the Neighborhood Center! For details, please call Sandy Baca-Sandoval at 720-424-1475 or Brittnee Kidder-Davis at 720-424-1435.


Skinner students learn about pine beetle problem in Keystone

Skinner Middle School 6th graders embarked on a three-day experience of epic proportions in December. Seventy students lugged enormous bags on to our busses to begin a learning adventure at Keystone Science School.

The focus of this trip was to investigate the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic that is devastating the higher elevations of not only Colorado, but most alpine regions of North America.

As scientists, the students prepared themselves with background information on the insect and the challenges it is presenting to the resident stakeholders. While at Keystone, we learned even more about all of the stakeholders and the beetle’s impacts and wrapped up our visit with a town hall meeting during which students role played as stakeholders to discuss possible solutions that would satisfy all involved parties.

An annual field trip, the scope of the Keystone Science School experience was not only limited to science but also allowed students to gain new responsibilities, meet new friends and experience things that will create a lifetime of memories.
– Christopher Martin, Skinner 6th grade Science teacher

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