Mocking Up A Trial

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The eighth grade students in Camille Pedersen’s personalized learning class at Westhampton Beach Middle School recently participated in a mock trial session with their principal, Charisse Miller, serving as the judge.

The students were given binders that contained statements, evidence photos, medical reports and transcripts of interviews that they reviewed in advance of the trial. They also studied courtroom procedure, public speaking, persuasive language and basic rules of law. In addition, they heard from school psychologist Allaine King, who spoke about the psychology of body language and how to be a good witness. Also presenting to the class prior to the trial was Danielle Reinbachs, a practicing defense attorney. She held a presentation via Google Meet on courtroom procedure, different types of objections and various questioning techniques.

“After two months of planning, the student ‘lawyers’ were able to clearly present their cases and the student ‘witnesses’ really embodied their characters,” said Pedersen. “I am so proud of them.”

The idea for a mock trial was generated by the students as part of the new personalized learning class, which is offered to students in grades 6-8 in lieu of a study hall or band/orchestra enrollment. Through the project-based class, students research a topic of their choice and design an action project surrounding it.

Date Added: 4/18/2022

Supporting Troops In Ukraine

Founder of I Love Ukraine stands with students and teachers and show cards they made thumbnail215934
Westhampton Beach Middle School students did their part to help Ukraine by assembling 1,000 care packages for troops in the war-torn country over a two-day period.

Each package included cards carrying messages of hope that students penned, along with snacks and personal care items that were donated by Rocco A. Carriero Wealth Partners, with shipping by Get Moving USA.

Students also learned more about the culture of the Eastern European country from Natalie Massa, a Ukrainian, who is the founder of the nonprofit I Love Ukraine organization. She spent time discussing her life in Ukraine and the current war.

Date Added: 4/13/2022

Pizza Time

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Westhampton Beach Middle School students gleaned some real-world lessons in sustainable farming when Hamptons Aristocrat, a farm-to-table catering company, and Early Girl Farm, based in Brookhaven, visited the school on March 11 for a special event aimed at sparking interest in greenhouses, the basics of growing a variety of foods and connecting fresh ingredients to cooking.

Along with making their own pizzas during the event, the students learned about the locally grown produce and herbs that Hamptons Aristocrat uses in their catering business and participated in a discussion about the impact of temperature and humidity on yeast. They also spent time with Patty Gentry, owner of Early Girl Farm, who provided fresh kale and basil for the students taste and add to their pizzas. In addition, they planted basil, which they will grow in their classrooms, and learned more about farming and the importance of eating local.

“Growing and cooking your own food is not only fun and tech-free, but it also teaches self-empowerment, responsibility and the importance of local farming and eating vegetables,” explained Hamptons Aristocrat co-founders Lexi Ritsch and Louisa Young.

Students worked in pairs to create their personal-sized artisanal pizzas by rolling out dough and topping it with sauce, cheese and fresh herbs, before Hamptons Aristocrat baked the pizzas in two mobile, outdoor pizza ovens.

“It was a very exciting opportunity for students,” said Kathleen Ciancio, family and consumer sciences teacher.

All of the ingredients were donated by Hamptons Aristocrat and Early Girl Farm. Students also received goody bags with a recipe, pizza dough, pizza baking tray and toppings to make their own pizzas at home with their families.

Date Added: 3/16/2022