Tag Archives: Middle School

Students and Artificial Intelligence: A New Frontier in Essay Writing

By Ryan McKinney

In the digital age, the educational landscape is continually evolving, with technology playing an increasingly significant role in the way students learn and teachers instruct. One notable development in this context is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in essay writing by students, particularly children. This innovative approach has transformed the writing process, offering both advantages and challenges. In this essay, we will explore how kids use Al to write essays and examine the measures that teachers are taking to adapt to this new paradigm.

Al, in the form of natural language processing and generation algorithms, has become an invaluable tool for students of all ages. Kids are no exception. They have been quick to adopt Al-assisted tools that streamline the essay-writing process. Some of the ways Al is impacting essay writing for kids include:

– Generating Content Al can assist kids in generating ideas and content for their essays. Al-powered content generators, like ChatGPT, can provide inspiration and help structure the essay’s key points.
– Proofreading and Editing: Al-driven grammar and spell checkers can significantly improve the quality of kids’ essays. These tools help identify and correct errors, ensuring that the final product is polished and well-structured.
– Plagiarism Detection: Al tools are employed to detect plagiarism in students’ essays. This not only promotes originality but also encourages kids to develop their own critical thinking and research skill.
– Language Translation: Al-driven translation tools are instrumental in aiding non-native
English speakers, allowing them to write essays in their native languages and then translating them to English or other languages.
– Accessibility: Al-powered text-to-speech and speech-to-text tools have made essay writing accessible to kids with learning disabilities or those who struggle with traditional writing methods.

While the integration of Al in essay writing offers numerous advantages, it also raises some important challenges and ethical concerns. These include:

– Overreliance: There is a risk that students might become overly reliant on Al, potentially stunting their development of essential writing and critical thinking skills.
– Plagiarism: Some students may misuse Al to plagiarize content or take shortcuts in their essays, undermining academic integrity.
– Quality Control: Al-generated content is not always of high quality, which can lead to © Regenerate essays if not adequately reviewed and refined.   
– Data Privacy: Concerns over data privacy and security arise when students use online AI tools for essay writing. These tools may collect and store sensitive information.

In response to the growing use of Al in essay writing, teachers and educators have been taking proactive measures to ensure that students benefit from this technology while maintaining the integrity of the learning process. Some of the strategies employed by teachers include:

– Education and Awareness: Teachers are educating students about the responsible use of Al in essay writing. They emphasize that Al tools should be supplements, not replacements, for their writing skill.
– Assignments and Assessments: Teachers design assignments that are less prone to Al assistance. They focus on topics that require critical thinking, personal reflection, and creativity, making it challenging for students to rely solely on Al tools.
– Encouraging Ethical Use: Teachers emphasize the importance of ethical writing and proper citation to discourage plagiarism.
– Monitoring and Evaluation: Teachers utilize plagiarism detection tools to ensure that students are submitting original work and are not taking undue advantage of Al.
– Skill Development: While embracing Al, teachers continue to focus on developing essential writing, research, and critical thinking skills in students. They teach these skills alongside the use of Al tools.

The integration of Al in essay writing by kids is an exciting development that has the potential to enhance their writing and learning experience. However, it also poses challenges and ethical concerns that must be addressed. Teachers play a vital role in striking the right balance, ensuring that students use Al tools responsibly and continue to develop essential writing and critical thinking skills. The future of education will likely involve a harmonious coexistence between students and Al, where each complements the other to create a more enriching and effective learning environment. In fact, this whole story that you read was entirely written by AI.

Homecoming Week Information

By Ryan McKinney

Homecoming week is this week, and the Oak Hall Student Government Association (SGA) have already prepared for the action-packed series of events. The week begins on Sunday, Oct. 8 starting with “Deck the Halls” at the Upper School (US) from 1 to 4 p.m. This event features the US student body interactively decorating the halls in the upper school to fit the homecoming theme of “Glow Back in Time”.

On Monday, Oct. 9 US students can dress as the theme of “Prince/Princesses vs. Pirates” where students have the choice to display their buccaneer-like characteristics or royal emergence. The Middle School (MS) students can also participate in by dressing up in their favorite sports team attire, while the ECLC and Lower School (LS) can wear their silliest socks for “Silly Sock Day”.

During lunch, SGA will participate in a “Stuff the Bus” activity for the US students outside the gym. The same night, the US ladies will participate in the old fashion tradition of the Powder Puff football game. In this activity, each grade level will form a football team of girls with five male coaches from each grade and face off against each other, flag football style, until one team wins it all. The game will be held at 7 p.m. at the Oak Hall Stadium. It is strongly encouraged that students come out to support their grade levels team even if they’re not involved in the actual game.

Next, on Tuesday, Oct. 10 the US student body will dress up to fit idea of “Mathletes vs. Athletes” where students can either portray themselves in their favorite sport gear or as a certified geek. MS students can show off their best burgundy and gold, and the LS gets in on the action by representing their grade for color wars. During lunch, US will engage in the dodgeball tradition held in the gym with teams separated by grade level. The championship dodgeball game will be a head-to-head matchup between the victorious grade and the team full of faculty and staff members.

Furthermore, the week just keeps on getting better. On Wednesday, Oct. 11 US and MS students can take part in dressing up as their designated decade. The LS might see a lot of Gator gear on Wednesday as the LS students can wear their favorite sports jersey or shirt.

During lunch, on Wednesday, US students can participate in “Minute to Win it” games in the gym for prizes. In contrast to the Powder Puff girls football game, the Powder Buff boys’ volleyball game will take place at 7 p.m. in the Oxborough Gymnasium. The games will consist of close battles between each grade to see which team contains the best chemistry and volleyball skills. Also, any Upper School girl may volunteer in coaching the volleyball teams.

Thursday, Oct. 12 the US students will have their own color war, MS students can dress up as different versions of Barbie or Ken, and the littles get to wear their favorite Disney gear. Once again, a favorite homecoming tradition for the US is capture the flag. Students, faculty, and staff can participate at lunch at the stadium.

The last school day of the week all students can dress in the usual “Oak Hall Spirit Day” theme representing the Eagles. In addition, first graders through seniors will join together in the gym for our homecoming pep rally, which begins at 2:30 p.m.

Just because the school day is over doesn’t mean the fun doesn’t stop! OHS is hosting a tailgate from 5-7 p.m. at the fountain in front of the US (you can register for free tickets by clicking here), it’s senior night for the cheerleaders and football players, and, of course, the football homecoming game. In addition, the homecoming king and queen will be announced at halftime.

In closing, the busy yet extremely fun week comes to an end with the traditional homecoming dance on Saturday, Oct 14 at the Tailgate Terrace in UF’s football stadium.

Lastly, a big thanks to Oak Hall’s SGA, the division directors, and Mrs. McTureous for planning this fun-filled week!

Color Wars:

ECLC/LS (Tuesday, Oct. 10):
Preschool – Yellow
Junior Kindergarten – Blue
Kindergarten – Pink
1st Grade – Green
2nd Grade – Red
3rd Grade – Orange
4th Grade- – Purple
5th Grade- – White

Upper School (Thursday, Oct. 12):
Freshmen – Neon Yellow
Sophomores – Neon Orange
Juniors – Neon Green
Seniors – Neon Pink

Decades Day:
Middle School and Upper School (Wednesday, Oct. 11)
6th Grade – 1980s
7th Grade – 1990s
8th Grade – 2000s
Freshmen – 40s – “We Want You!”
Sophomores – 50s – “At the Hop/Greasers and Pink Ladies”
Juniors – 60s – “Groovy Baby/Peace/Love”
Seniors – 70s – “Boogie Nights/ Disco Fever”v

New Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Aims for Greatness

By Sirderick Farley

Oak Hall’s varsity girls’ basketball team has turned over a new leaf. After more than two decades, head coach Eric Ringdahl retired from coaching the team after last season. Ringdahl coached from 1992-2023 and led the Eagles to 11 District Titles, two Region Final appearances, one Region Championship (2002), and one Final Four appearance (2002).

Taking over the reins is the former Eagles varsity girls’ basketball assistant coach Barry Hutchinson. Before coming to Oak Hall, Hutchinson was the coach of numerous teams at Hawthorne High School. Hutchinson is most excited about “being able to be a positive leader to this team and help build positive chemistry,” he said. To get a jump start on the season, Hutchinson and the players are already conditioning and enjoying team bonding activities.

“This is a really good group of girls that I enjoy coaching and have a lot of respect for, and I believe that they respect me and everything else is mutual,” the new head coach said. Oak Hall junior Lunden Warmack appreciates her new coach’s patience and understanding. “The team is ready to use the skills [we’ve] been working on and transfer them onto the court and be the most successful we have ever been,” she said.

While the success is achievable, Hutchinson wants his players to learn more from him than just playing the game. “[I want them to know] that they can do or be whatever they want to be if they just focus and stay true to the things that brings happiness and success,” he said.

One School Musical Presents: The Battle of Boat

By Kyleigh Lewis

One of the best traditions at Oak Hall School hails from the theater department. The One School Musical allows students from third grade until senior year to participate, and they always deliver an outstanding production.

This year’s musical The Battle of Boat is set in the midst of World War I. “[The musical] follows the adventures of a group of children trying to do their best to help the war effort,” said musical director and Upper School music teacher Erin Cushing.

“We think an interesting fact is that there are no adult characters in the show, all the characters are aged from eight to 18 – just like [the kids in] our One School Musical,” she continued.

This specific musical was chosen for the importance of connecting families and performers, and to accommodate the size of the cast. In fact, more than 100 students are participating in this year’s musical. In addition, The Battle of Boat was chosen to bring the performers out of their comfort zone and get them into their characters that hold a significance for the theme of the musical. In addition, Cushing and US theater and One School Musical director Brooke Molitor wanted to try something new and less out of popular demand. “Unlike last year’s funny and very popular show [Seussical: The Musical], this year’s drama is new and has only been performed a few dozen times internationally,” said Cushing.

Seventh grader Caitlin Broska has participated in the One School Musical since she was in third grade. While Matilda is her favorite musical she has acted in, she feels The Battle of Boat is deeper than other musicals. “While there are funny parts, overall, the plot just hits different,” she said.

The actors have been on an emotional rollercoaster throughout each scene they uncover; these feeling have made the actors and directors appreciate this musical even more. “We didn’t realize how impactful this story would be on us,” noted Cushing. “The material is thoughtful and beautifully written, and we are so excited to share the story of these characters!”

Some challenges the actors have faced, is getting into the mindset of what it was like for children in 1916, trying to survive and help the war effort during World War I.  As they go through the process of separating the character from themselves, they have learned the motives and life circumstances of these young characters who are the same age as they are.

Overall, the thing that The Battle of Boat cast want their audience and supporters to take away from this show is that the story touches on numerous feelings; yearning, lost, forgiveness and redemption. They want their audience to feel the emotions and energy of the characters they play. “We want our audience to leave having laughed and cried with our characters on stage,” Cushing expressed.

The Battle of Boat will be performed Oct. 19-21 at the Cofrin Theater. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by clicking here!