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This week’s post features images from Cactus Canyon’s third-quarter spirit week and pep assembly.


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This week’s post features photos from the yearbook class’ assignment to get photos of teachers, as well as some other student life-type photos.


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.

By Abriann RiosPineda
Cougar News Blog

     Jason Davis’ Journalism 2 students are doing a new project starting the first quarter of the school year. These students will be working on an ad campaign. This project is individual with some help of others.
     Mr. Davis wants the students in his class to learn that there’s other things to journalism than just writing for a newspaper. Mr. Davis says he gets a lot of talented kids in his classes, and especially in J2. There are some really good writers who don’t necessarily want to be writers for their career. He would like his students to see that they can use their journalistic skills for something not involving a newspaper.
     “I know the job of newspaper reporter doesn’t sound interesting to most junior-high students, but there are a lot of fun college majors and jobs that utilize what students are learning in their journalism classes,” said Mr. Davis.
     The Journalism 2 students will first complete a website with a press release to go with it, for their business such as a restaurant, shop, bakery, etc. Then they will be creating a Fakebook page. After they finish those activity parts of the project, they will make a magazine ad.
      “I learned the importance of advertisement when it comes to selling product. I chose to be the CEO of a company that designs and manufactures reinforced cardboard which I named Guardboard. I chose this business because it seemed original and was different,” said Harrison Talbott.
     “I have learned that it’s not so easy just to open a business and have a web site. But once everything starts coming together it’s nice to see all the hard work you put into it. I chose to have a cafe because I wanted to not just have a certain product but have a whole business that I put together myself,” said Samantha Groneberg, a J2 student.
     There is also three other activities that will continue on into the second quarter. The ad campaign will be completed some time in the second quarter, but the activities are going to be more spread out. This is because the second quarter will focus a lot on writing for the Cougar New Blog
     “We have five activities during the first quarter and will do three more in the second. The second quarter will focus heavily on writing for the Cougar News Blog, so the activities will be a little more spread out as opposed to doing them once per quarter this week,” said Mr. Davis.
     This is a new project Mr. Davis came up with and its’ the first time he’s given it out to his students. He hasn’t done it with any other students because he has some students who take J2 twice.
     In the second quarter Journalism 2 kids will also be working a lot on Edublogs. The students will be doing almost one Edublogs Challenge every week.

By Riley Duncan
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon volleyball team is serving up a new season with high hopes at the DMSAL championship.
     Regan Roach and James Gibson are returning to coach the team in hopes of finally winning a championship. The team hasn’t’ had much luck in prior years, but this year’s team has a lot of promising athletes and the coaches are in high spirits.
     The athletes are in the conditioning stage of their training and are mainly running and working on fundamentals like passing and serving. The seventh graders are also getting a feel for the team and the importance of transitioning from offense to defense is also being stressed.
     “We focus practices around conditioning and developing the fundamentals of volleyball,” said Coach Gibson. “Passing and transitioning from offense to defense is crucial to the success of a volleyball team.”
     Returning athletes are excited to learn new rotations and skills. Coaches say that all the athletes are dedicated and will work hard. The goal is to show the athletes to work as a team for a common goal; coaches also want to teach self-confidence, personal goals, and overcoming obstacles. The coaches are stressing the importance of communication and trust and want to show that hard work is rewarded, so at the end of practices they will occasionally play games.
     “Sometimes at the end of practice we will play fun games such as queen of the court,” said eighth grader Morgan Farsolas.
     Both coaches and students are very enthusiastic and are sure that they will compete for the title. They are determined not to lose to Maricopa Wells in the tournament again. Maricopa Wells is expected to be the team’s biggest rival again this year, but both coaches are confident in their athletes.
     “We have a good group of athletes and with some hard work and dedication anything is possible,” said Coach Gibson.

By Elisabeth H.
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High School is doing a thing called reteach to help students get the extra help they need in a certain subject.
Students take a test after an objective has been taught and those who need more time to master the standard get it during their Study Skills time. Reteach has helped many students master objectives they might not have learned before.
     “I want my students to have a better grasp of the math concepts that they didn’t score as well on the first time,” said math teacher Marla Aehlert.  “I hope that they will see reteach as a valuable tool to help them accomplish them.”
     In all there are seven teachers doing reteach, four teachers in eighth grade and three teachers  in seventh grade.  The students are able to see alternative ways to learn the material in a smaller less distracting setting.
     “They are able to focus more and receive the assistance they need to earn better grades,” said eighth-grade math teacher Jeremy Seaman.
There have been some adjustments to reteach since it’s a new program, but overall it’s been successful in getting students extra help. For example, students who don’t need reteach take classes like cooking, CSI, or modern warfare.
     “I also like the fact that students who do not need reteach are allowed to sign up for interesting enrichment classes with the other teachers,” said Mrs. Aehlert.  “It’s not just boring study hall. I wish it would have been like that when I was in junior high a long time ago.”
The math teachers have a shared document that has all of the students’ scores for the whole grade level.
     “We filter out students who earned a score of four or five, and the remaining students will need reteach,” said Mrs. Aehlert.
Some teachers teach different in reteach than in different classes to help them understand the material better.
     “Sometimes we do,” Mr. Seaman said. “We expose the students to alternative ways to think about or solve the problems.”
     Students have found reteach helpful for learning better.
     “I am grateful for reteach because it has really helped me improve on my math a lot,” said eighth grader Angel Meeks.

By Maddie Chilson
Cougar News Blog

This year, the NJHS members at Cactus Canyon are going to try something new to raise money.
NJHS members will be selling VIP tickets to staff and students for $1 each. The tickets are for a chance to watch a CCJH sporting event on a couch while being served all the snacks they can eat. NJHS members are hoping to raise enough money to pay off most of the Disneyland trip that will be taking place at the end of the school year.
“We have no set expectations for the amount of money we raise,” said Ms. Howard. “We are just hoping to earn some funds since we have lost the majority of our funding resources.”
The purpose of the VIP tickets is for students to be able to be catered to at their advantage. Once a ticket is purchased, it gets put into a drawing. The VIP tickets are beneficial in two ways. One being that it’s going to help raise money for the trip and parents won’t have to pay for everything out of their pockets. Two, because kids will be served popcorn and soda while sitting on a couch watching a game with two friends of his or her choice.
“I bought a ticket, and I hope that I’m able to get drawn,” says eighth grader Wyatt Bradford.
The first drawing for the VIP tickets has already occurred, and the winner was Mrs. Cindy Wilson, a seventh grade teacher.
“We sold 10 tickets but hope to do better as students learn more about becoming a VIP,” said Ms. Howard.
The VIP tickets and other fundraising should help raise enough money for the kids to be able to take a two-day trip to Disneyland and do a leadership program with the Disneyland staff.
“I think this is a cool way to earn money,” said Bradford.
For the first game, a couch was borrowed because they do not own one currently. In the future, Ms. Howard and Ms. Reesor, the NJHS directors, hope to do more fundraisers, possibly a chili supper.
“I will be looking into buying a couch so we will not have to borrow one in the future,” said Ms. Howard.

Welcome to the Cougar News Blog! We are very happy to be hosting this week’s challenge on our site. The activities were all designed by Cactus Canyon Journalism students and we hope you enjoy them. Please feel free introduce yourself in our “Questions for Edublogs Visitors” section. We’d love to know who is visiting us.


This week’s topic is all about memories. Whether they are good memories or bad, they come from the experiences in our lives that shape the people we are and who we continue to become. As you choose your activity – and which memories you write about – think about the impact those experiences have had on your life and the lessons you’ve learned from them.

1. What is your favorite childhood memory? Was it baking cookies with Grandma or visiting the community pool during the hot summers? Write a script and act out your memory with a few classmates in a short video of 2-3 minutes.

2. If you had to trash 2-3 memories to clear storage in your brain, what memories would you permanently delete? Write three detailed paragraphs why you chose that memory/memories to delete?

3. Who have you shared many memories with growing up? Create a slideshow comparing and contrasting two memories you’ve shared with one person, one good memory and one bad.

4. In your own words (not a dictionary) describe what memories mean to you and how they can affect people’s attitude, thought process, etc.

5. Create a comic strip with images that represent one of the strongest memories in your life.

6. Write a post that shows how one of your memories – even one from a long time ago – helps you make a decision today. Maybe it’s mistake you made and don’t want to make again, or perhaps a positive feeling you got from an act of kindness. Post your message in the comments below.

By Kyle Sanor
Staff writer

During Jan. 19, Apache Junction unified School District held its spelling bee for elementary and junior high students.
Last year, the champion was Bernardo Vidana. But now, a new speller took his crown and her name is Casey Smith. Although she claimed she “lost her packet and was unable to study,” the Cactus Canyon eighth grader emerged victorious and took the crown. Second and third place students were Dana Carlson and Gabe Morris.
Vidana, however, lasted only half the way and was eliminated in the middle rounds.
Smith said she didn’t expect to win and was surprised when she was the last one left.
“I lost my packet, so I didn’t really get to prepare,” said Smith. “It took about seven or eight rounds and I faced the second and third place winners. I felt scared at the beginning and felt relieved at the end.
Smith, Carlson, and Morris all went to the next level, the Pinal County bee, on Feb. 17.