Category: Middle School

7th Grade Orienteering

On Friday. October 10th, the seventh grade ventured out on their annual orienteering trip. They could not have asked for a more picturesque day to spend outdoors.

Students put their map reading and compass skills to the test as they tracked through the wooded trail in search of obscure posts.

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While traveling between posts, the students looked for a unique object in nature, which was later used as inspiration for a free write.

Students transformed their objects through the art of figuration; for example, “small homes of mushrooms”; “the fern is like a Christmas tree”; “the leaf was the color of a candy apple that had been burned / dark spots of sadness”; “red-backed salamander / like a little dragon”; “my pine cone smells like nature from a valley.”

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After an autumn day of adventure and activity, everyone was treated to ice cream at a local creamery and cow farm.

Learning Outside the Classroom

On Friday, Oct 3rd the middle school traveled to the UMass Fine Arts Center to hear the Multibands concert.


During the concerts first half we heard over a dozen UMass ensembles including the orchestra, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, dancers and choirs.


The second half brought much excitement to the audience as the incredibly large marching band took the stage with exciting and electrifying renditions of Queen, Frank Sinatra and the UMass chant.


After a lunch by the pond the 8th graders continued on their campus trip to see the sun dial installation.

Middle School Excursion

On September 17th, the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades traveled to Dufresne Park in Granby for a day of camaraderie. When we arrived at Dufresne park the grass was damp but the students’ spirits were not! Mr. Vennell worked his magic and transformed the students into chickens, dogs, cows, and a few other animals, as he guided them through a number of team building activities.


There was plenty of laughter to be shared as Mr. Rivera led the students in a variety of entertaining relay races.

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It is unclear if it was the potato sack race or the spoon and egg race that was more enjoyed by the students.


Ms. McNerney and Ms. Hastings prepared individual puzzle pieces for each of the middle school students who then adorned the pieces with symbols that expressed their individuality.


Later, students worked together in silence to put together their beautiful, patchwork puzzle, representing the middle school student body as a collective entity. This artwork is currently on display in the middle school lounge.


And a school day would not be complete if teachers did not take advantage of teachable moments. What better time and place to talk about community, and the other CIRCLE values, than at an event such as this? Each class, 6th, 7th, and 8th, chose two CIRCLE values to depict visually on poster board. Afterwards, the middle school came together to discuss their ideas of how these values fit in as part of daily MacDuffie student life.


The excursion was a day of bonding, fun and games, laughter and memories.


2013 Middle School Outing

The entire Middle School took a break from their academic work and spent Wednesday, September 18th as a community on the annual Middle School Outing.

Shortly after our morning meetings, we loaded the school buses for the drive to Dufresne Park in Granby.   Upon arrival each student was whispered the name of an animal, and as Greg Vennell led us to the open field for our first activity, they soon understood the meaning of the animals.  The students were instructed to close their eyes and by reproducing the sound of the animal they were given, form into 6 different groups.  For those of us not participating in this activity, it was a huge source of entertainment as the kids gathered blindly in the open field moo-ing and neigh-ing to each other!

Mr. Vennell led the students in a few other activities, including the infamous “lap sit”, and then the students were divided by grade for activity three stations:

CIRCLE writing exercise: Each grade was assigned two words of the MacDuffie Circle – Community, Integrity, Respect, Creativity, Leadership, and Excellence.  The discussion and brainstorming focused on what does “community” sound like, feel like, look like, etc.  The results of these sessions are hanging on large pieces of paper in the Middle School locker area for all to read.

GAMES: Relay races and other games, encouraging a competitive spirit within the grade levels.

T-SHIRT PERSONALIZATION:  Each student was gifted a special Middle School Outing t-shirt, which many student opted to decorate with drawings or signatures.

The stations were followed by the design and assembly of the Middle School Puzzle, led by Ms. Hasting. Every sixth, seventh, and eighth grader at MacDuffie brings something special to the middle school. Each one is an individual but learns to work together to become part of the community.  During the Middle School Outing, each student receiveed a puzzle piece. They decorated their piece with artwork that is important to them. When finished, without talking, puzzle piece in hand, they built the puzzle. Each began by finding just one person whose puzzle piece connected to their piece, they then located another middle schooler’s puzzle piece until the entire puzzle was built.

Everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch in the sun.  The day ended with plenty of free time to explore the park, play a pick-up football game, participate in parachute games, or just talk with friends.  Over 20 teachers dedicated at least part of their day to participate in the Outing – overall it was a huge success!

Middle School Outing

Wednesday, September 19 2012: The MacDuffie Middle School had its annual Middle School Outing at the nearby Dufresne Park in Granby, MA.

Much like the boarding department and their trip to Camp Becket, the Middle School had the opportunity to participate in several activities that centered around teambuilding, problem solving and bonding. There were 3 stages with different activities including a parachute, relay races and t-shirt designing.

Overall, the Outing was a great experience for our younger students to get to know one another during the early weeks of school.