2016-05-12 / Front Page

Not anti-social

SMS students embrace Facebook
By Ben Meiklejohn
Staff Writer

Eighth-graders Noelle Conlon, Amy MacDonald and Elizabeth Wise are the student-run social media team for Saco Middle School. The girls develop content for the school’s social media sites during their enrichment block. (Ben Meiklejohn photo) Eighth-graders Noelle Conlon, Amy MacDonald and Elizabeth Wise are the student-run social media team for Saco Middle School. The girls develop content for the school’s social media sites during their enrichment block. (Ben Meiklejohn photo) SACO – A newly formed social media team at Saco Middle School is hoping to get the word out about student talents and school activities that don’t get as much visibility as sports activities. Eighth-graders Noelle Conlon, Amy MacDonald and Elizabeth Wise have signed up to help develop the school’s ongoing social media campaigns.

Eighth-grade English and Language Arts teacher Noelle Gallant, who advises the team, said she had signed up to be a media liaison for the school, and thought to herself, “Why not have students do things to find out what’s going on?”

Gallant said the team has been focusing on trying to uncover the hidden skills and projects that may not gain as much exposure publicly.


Elizabeth Wise captures students explaining how a virtual replica of the middle school was being designed for Minecraft as part of a school project. (Ben Meiklejohn photo) Elizabeth Wise captures students explaining how a virtual replica of the middle school was being designed for Minecraft as part of a school project. (Ben Meiklejohn photo) “We want to show other students what’s happening in our schools,” Conlon said.

Amy said the social media team wants to connect youth to what other students are doing, but one obstacle they’ve discovered so far is that many social media sites are blocked on the school’s Internet.

“We’re mostly doing Facebook,” MacDonald said, “because we can’t access Instagram and Snapchat.”

Although, MacDonald added, Facebook is not as popular among students as it is with adults. Gallant said the girls have also helped create a new Twitter account for the school.

“It’s good to show people more of the exciting things that are happening,” Wise said.

The girls meet during enrichment block, roaming the school to find interesting students and projects. Last week, the team wandered into the band room to film video of the school’s jazz band rehearsing, which they posted later that day onto the school’s Facebook page.

Then, they visited the Augmented Reality Sandbox, a STEM project for eighth-graders where a 3D camera and digital projector will show topographical landscapes in the sandbox.

While visiting the project, MacDonald suggested that the team should visit the students once a week to record the progress they are making.

The social media team then went to the school library where students were developing a virtual replica of the school in Minecraft, a game where virtual blocks are used to build new worlds.

Students working on the project explained to the social media team how they measured dimensions of the entire school before designing the virtual building to make an accurate replica.

The team has also covered a sixth-grade sugar cube art project.

Conlon said she appreciates learning about students’ individual talents and has discovered that one of the school’s students is a champion dart player.

Wise said as the team explores new projects to cover and highlight on social media, teachers and students are taking notice. They’re even starting to approach the team to suggest that their activities be covered.

“I feel like this will get students more involved with the activities in other parts of the school,” said Conlon.

To view the school’s Facebook page that the team develops content for, visit https://www.facebook.com/sacomiddleschool/

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