"Freshman prep" class helps ninth grade students 9.19

Written by David Green.

Any homework today?

“I don’t have any homework; I have a test tomorrow.”

Wrong answer, says Morenci science instructor Kerry Neiman. If you have a test tomorrow, then you have homework.

That answer might be classified as a freshman mistake. It’s one Mrs. Nieman doesn’t want to hear again as Morenci’s ninth grade class members advance onward toward their senior year.

Along with the help of two other teachers, she’s doing her best to improve the study habits of the school’s freshman class—the first to face the stiff graduation requirements set by the state education department.

Math and science teacher Kim Mohr came up with the idea for what’s being called “Freshman Prep,” a high school readiness class. She read about the concept in an education magazine and it made a lot of sense to her.

It sounds simple—taking notes, reviewing notes, following directions, studying, preparing for a test, taking a test—but those skills aren’t specifically taught in the lower grades.

Some kids might come into high school with good study skills, but many don’t. Even if it’s something they’ve been taught in the past, most students could benefit from learning how to better put the skills into practice.

As a practical example, Mrs. Mohr points to the new requirement in mathematics. General math isn’t even offered anymore. To graduate in 2011, students needs to pass algebra II.

“We want to make sure they know how to use their textbook,” Mrs. Mohr said. “Rather than raise their hands and wait for a teacher, they’re going to need to be able to take a more proactive approach.”

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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