Students in Mrs. Roach's advanced science class. (Photo by Theresa VanPelt)

Students in Mrs. Roach’s advanced science class. (Photo by Theresa VanPelt)

Theresa VanPelt
Cougar News Blog

      Regan Roach has decided to have her advanced science class to to take a new, independent way of learning their standards. They are now making their own assignments, and working at their own pace.
     The students are given a rubric and a description of the standard and they decide what kind of project they want to do, this could be an online presentation, a model or sculpture, or some sort of poster. They can do any kind of project they choose, a long as it can show what they learned about that standard. This way of teaching is designed to make work harder, and become more independent thinkers.
      “It is a bit more challenging because if you have never heard of the subject before you have to research it and figure out what it means and what it does before you can start the objective,” said eighth grader, Marissa Gregory
      Mrs. Roach has all of the standards on her website and the students are required to to do all the research themselves and make their own understanding of the standard. This is to make the students take control of their learning and be responsible about preparing themselves for the formative tests.
      “The students are required to translate the standard into their own understanding,” said Mrs. Roach. “A small amount of instruction will be given on the standards for those who need more guidance from me.”
      In the beginning the students were asked to complete one project per standard, but now they are asked to complete three projects – one reading, one research, and one visual model to further challenge the students. It has been difficult for some students to adjust to the new methods, but now the students are getting used to the new way of learning.
      “I think I will be able to get used to it soon but for now it seems tricky to judge whether or not I’ve displayed enough information,” said eighth grader Kyle Oplinger.


CCJH students walk to Apache Junction High School to see "Little Shop of Horrors."

CCJH students walk to Apache Junction High School to see “Little Shop of Horrors.”

By Michele D.
Cougar News Blog

CCJH students went to AJ High Oct. 22 for the play Little Shop of Horrors that the drama class was putting on.
CCJH students from Paige Reesor’s drama class, Tammy Howard’s advanced language arts class, Gail McFarlands advanced art class, and Aimee Vining’s wind ensemble went to AJ High to watch the first act of the play so that they could see the similarities between drama and music and to see what the high school is doing in drama.
“I think it was just nice for my students to watch other musicians perform. They weren’t playing instruments, but there are a lot of similarities with singing,” said Mrs. Vining.
This was a good time for students to see how much work it really is to do a play and how much is needed to remember lines and dance moves. This experience is hoped to inspire the students and to give them a reward for all their hard work.
“I wanted my students to be able to see what the high school students are doing in drama class,” said Ms. Reesor. “I wanted them to get inspired by all the hard work and dedication the students put into the play. It takes a lot of practice to make a theater production happen.”
The students thought the play was a good play because of all the hard work that the high school put into the play and how funny it was.
“I thought it was good because of their great quality and speaking,” said eighth grader Alexis Helms.
“It was funny, but a little cheesy,” said eighth grader Carole Atherr.
They may be going to another play in the future. The students think that next year and the years after the students then should go on another trip like this one.
“I would recommend this trip for students in the future because it was a good experience,” said Helms.

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By Maddie Chilson
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon seventh graders sailed off to Catalina Island on October 3.
     The annual Catalina Island trip gives students the advantage to expand their knowledge on marine life.
     “I learned about the oceanography of not only the Catalina area, but of the whole ocean,” said seventh grader Robynn Vandekrol.
     This was an educational trip for the seventh grade students. They got to learn about marine life and did hands-on activities such as a fish lab, shark lab, an algae lab, and more. The teachers were aiming for the students to learn about how the ecology of a region can affect the plants and wildlife of that area.
     Students were able to interact with sea life during the labs that took place. During the fish lab, students were exposed to the fish that are found commonly in the Catalina area. The seventh graders were introduced to the classifications, anatomy, behavior, and other adaptive features of many fish. The shark lab is when students were able to touch live sharks and rays in a large tank.
     “This is an exciting time for all students and helps mitigate the myth that sharks are dangerous,” said seventh grade science teacher Marie Wilbur-Bowers.
     The students learned about things that they hadn’t already known. They learned about different types of fish and how that fish functions. When the students participated in the algae lab, they were able to learn about the different characteristics of algae, the many uses of algae, and principal adaptive differences between algae and terrestrial plants.
     “I learned a lot about sea life that I didn’t know before,” says Vandekrol. “Such as what certain kelp’s parts are and how they function.”
     Overall, the students who went said they had a good time and learned new things.
     “My favorite part of this trip was playing gaga ball,” says Vandekrol. “I enjoyed this the most because it was a very fun and challenging game that I’ve never played or heard of before.”


By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High’s Student Council has added six new seventh graders to their group this past month. The council now has a total of 15 members.
     Student Council adviser Jason Davis, calls himself lucky to have the new addition to the group.
     “I was very lucky,” said Davis. “Only six students turned in completed applications and they were all great kids. They were all accepted and I didn’t have to say no to anyone. Telling kids no is awful and I’m really glad I didn’t have to do it this time.”
     Davis was looking for students who want to be in StuCo because they want to participate and want to do things that StuCo does. He wanted people who were willing to be a part of their group and be excited about it, even if they have to give up some of their own time.
     “We have a lot of fun, but things like selling dance tickets during your lunch are not always so great,” says Davis.
     The new StuCo members began their first day on the first day of the second quarter, which was right after fall break. The returning students were busy working on the Halloween dance. The new members had to quickly get to work, without having any bonding time with the older members.
     “I wish we had more time for everyone to get to know each other, but we’re a small council at the beginning of the year and it’s hard to get everything done,” said Davis. “We are going from 10 members to 15, which will help us be much more productive.”
     Davis and the StuCo members were excited to have the new seventh graders come in. They think it’ll be easier to do future events with the extra help.
     “I never feel like we’re a complete group until we get the seventh graders in,” said Davis. “It sounds cheesy, but now that we have them, I feel like we’re “whole.”
     The next event StuCo is planning is the Winter Social on Wednesday, Dec. 17. This year’s theme is Candyland.

(Photo by Kaileah Goucher)

(Photo by Kaileah Goucher)

By Hannah Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     Student athletes are kicking it into boys soccer season at Cactus Canyon.
     After winning the league title last season, new coach Jeremy Seaman has high hopes for this year’s team and believes if they work together they can be successful again.
     “I have high hopes for this team. We definitely have the talent to be good,” said Seaman. “Now we just need to learn to play together in a system that will give us the best chance to win.”
     Seaman also thinks his team has lots of strengths, and returning players are one of them.
     “We have a lot of strengths,” he said. “I think we have the ability to score a lot of goals this season. I also believe a big strength is going to be the number of returning players we have.”
     Eighth grader Wesley McJunkin believes the biggest strength on the team are the goalies. He thinks that the team will be very good this year also.
     “We look like we will be a successful team this year because we have a lot of returning players who look better than ever,” he said. “We also have some strong new seventh and eighth graders who work well together.”
     Last year, the boys went undefeated on their way to the Desert Middle School Athletic League championships and they are hoping for the same this year.
     The team is off to a good start with wins in their first two games, one over Mountain Vista and one over Maricopa Wells. They will continue to have home and away games on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season.


By Sandy Meyer
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High is allowing seventh grader Nikki Hall to start a Bible Study Club on campus. She asked Cactus Canyon’s principal, Courtney Castelhano, if she was able to have the club.
     Castelhano is going to allow her to have the club as long as it’s with other students and no teachers are involved.
     Hall enjoys talking about her religion and wanted to have a chance to do so with people her own age.
     “I feel wonderful about talking about my religion because then there is nothing to hide,” said Hall.
     Hall got the idea to create the club after her uncle told her that he once had a bible study group when he was in school. She was inspired to create the group by other family members as well.
     “The people who inspired me to start this club are my mom, Lisa, my Uncle Dave, and my Aunt Robbie,” said Hall. “I got the idea when my uncle told me about how he created a bible study group here way back in time.”
     Cindy Wilson is the teacher that will be taking care of the club but not participating. The club will be held in her room but she will not be talking to any of the students.
     “Students use my room, but I cannot contribute to the club in any way,” said Wilson.
     Hall plans to run the club for the rest of the year, and she hopes to continue it next year.


What I learned from the Video

Abriann RiosPineda

     A computer can be used to do a lot of things like writing stories, drawing pictures, recording music, taking photos, and taking videos. When you draw a picture yourself, on paper, that’s the only copy or picture of it. Unless you give someone else a copy or sell a copy to someone. But if you create the drawing on your computer and decide to give a copy to someone or sell it to someone, they can make their own copies off the one you gave them. They can even change details in the picture if they would like.
     If you don’t want someone to make more copies or change details in your picture, you can use copyright law. It stops people from making their own copies and/or changing the details unless you give them permission. If you would like people to make changes to whatever you created, or be shared around the world, you can use Creative Commons. Creative Commons is an organization that gives out free content license. A content license is a document that tells the limitations of your work. You can tell them what they can and can’t do with your creation.


My Interests

Alyssa Flores

Raylan Nelson

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Photo by Hannah Wolfe

Photo by Hannah Wolfe

By Pauline Harner
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon has added some new enrichment classes for the second quarter. One of them is creative writing, which is taught by John Leal. The other teacher is Tammy Howard, who teaches digital storytelling.
     Mr. Leal’s class allows students’ creativity to flow. Neither classes use pencil and paper. Creative writing and digital storytelling are similar because they both offer a fun and creative way to help students become better with writing.
     Creative writing is basically a class to work on students’ writing skills. Much like the journalism elective, students get to write stories, but in creative writing they write poems as well, and the stories are usually fictional. Creative writing is where students can be themselves and write as much as students possibly can.
     “I plan to help students in the enrichment class by offering a safe environment to feel safe in sharing their creative and expressive ideas that many may be too shy to share,” said eighth-grade language arts teacher Mr. Leal.
     Digital storytelling is a class to get to know all the video creation tools and everything students will need to create a story through a video.
     “It will hopefully teach them to work better in groups and learn how to collaborate with others,” said eighth-grade language arts teacher Ms. Howard.
     Although creative writing is a lot of writing, digital storytelling is a lot of camera and video work. Digital storytelling can kind of help students with stagefright, to get over that fear.
     Even though students have only been in these classes for a month, they are really enjoying these new enrichment opportunities.
     “My favorite thing about that class is that it’s fun and we get to do something on a creepy movie,” said eighth-grader Lodi Marin.
     Enrichment classes are scheduled during the Study Skills time and are available for students who have demonstrated mastery on recent math objectives.

Photo by Hannah Wolfe

Photo by Hannah Wolfe


By Kenzie Serratt
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon has added some new and enrichment classes regarding Star Wars and modern warfare.
     James Gibson, an eighth-grade social studies teacher, is teaching a new Star Wars enrichment class and David McQuilkin is teaching a class about warfare. Both classes consist of around 40 eighth-grade students.
     Mr. Gibson plans on incorporating culture in with the movies. They will have discussions about how students feel the movies impacted them.
     “I think that enrichment is centered around student willingness and interest. So, I created a class centered around Star Wars, with its highly anticipated summer release of the seventh movie,” said Mr. Gibson. “I surveyed my classes to see who had never seen any Star Wars movie. I then asked if they (the students) would be interested in learning about and watching all six videos.”
     Mr. Gibson points out interesting things about the movies, and makes real-world references that help tell the story. He explains how art imitates life and how if it’s more realistic, the audience won’t question the movie’s legitimacy.
     “We will be discussing art (movies) and talking about our feelings and impact the film or films had on us. Whenever you are able to share about culture and art it is enriching,” says Mr. Gibson.
     Students in Mr. McQuilkin’s class learn about machinery in war. Mr. McQuilkin teaches them about planes, tanks, and other things used in warfare.
     “I learn about helicopters and things that fly,” said Samantha Marchese, who is in Mr. McQuilkin’s class.

Peter Piper Pizza EventFlyer (1)

By Shea Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon Life Skills class is having a fundraiser at Peter Piper Pizza. This event will happen on Friday, Nov. 7.
     They are doing the fundraiser for to support the class’ community-based learning program that includes grocery shopping and recycling.
     Ms. Davis’ Life skills class is welcoming everyone with a flyer to go to Peter piper pizza on Elsworth and Baseline. It will start at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. In that class they learn how to interact in public.
     Ms. Davis hopes to get at least $100-$200 from the fundraiser, which will include a raffle and other contests. The class will get 20 percent of the total bill if a supporter shows a flyer for the fundraiser.
     Some teachers will hopefully be working the price counter.
     “Staff will hopefully be working the price counter, so we are all involved in the community, also if anyone wants to come they are welcome to come,” said Ms. Davis. “(Being) inclusive with the community is involving them (in activities).
     The Life Skills students are excited about the fundraiser.
     “I’m most excited about the pizza,” said Josh, one of the Life Skills students.