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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Digital Literacy for Digital Natives

Do young people need to learn digital literacy? Young people after all are facile with devices and technology. Where is the necessity with digital literacy? This article draws a necessary distinction between facility with social media skills and digital literacy. The author, Clifford L. Green of writes: "
Social media skills are vastly different than digital literacy skills such as proficiency in keyboarding, spreadsheets, database, and word processing. These are basic skills necessary for success, and unfortunately those that are sorely lacking. Schools increasingly report the lack of these skills is creating a barrier to student academic performance ...Read More

3Doodle in the 8th Grade Art and Tech Class

In the 8th Grade Stephanie Moon's Art and Tech Class students are exploring 3D Printing Pen and are giving an Art Challenge to design a 3-dimensional "drawing" that communicates a personal and social message to the viewer through the use one of the following concepts:
  • merging multiple images to create symbolic meaning
  • words as visual forms to communicate meaning
  • a close examination to make us more aware of something

Made with Padlet

Use of Padlet at the Middle School

Padlet is a virtual wall, it works like an online sheet of paper where students and teachers can put any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page and from any device. Key features include customizing the wall and the background; choosing how the posts appear on the wall; setting up privacy settings

At the MS teachers use Padlet in Advisory as a way of getting feedback about various units. For example, here is the teacher feedback on 7th Grade Orientation 2016-2017

Students in Sasha's Bergmann Dinnerware and Wheel classes uploaded their photos and inspiring quotes to the class Padlets Dinnerware Hump Mold Set Project and Wheel: Cylinder Project

More Ideas for using Padlet in the Classroom:
  • Use it as a portfolio to share with parents. Snap pictures of student work and share them.
  • Have students sort pictures on Padlet to classify them 
  • Use it as a class back channel and have discussions on it.
  • Have students work a problem, and snap a picture of how they worked it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

6th Graders Share & Provide Feedback on Their Scratch Challenge

2nd Grade Robot Day

Using Scratch and Legos, 2nd graders design, build and program their own robotic creations.

Prototyping Phase - 4th graders design think their own generator.

Algebra 2 Class Uses Online Tool to Visualize Equations

Upper School math students use old-school blue/red 3D glasses to see GeoGebra in 3D. GeoGebra is a dynamic mathematic manipulation application that allows students to visually explore geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus equations. Here's a photo of Christine Oulton's Algebra 2 class using the 3d glasses:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What is Gerrymandering and who was Gerry?

On NPR’s Fresh Air program: Understanding Congressional Gerrymandering, author David Daley discussed this key question:

"When President Obama won re-election in 2012 and a Democratic tide gave the party a big majority in the Senate, why did the House of Representatives remain firmly in Republican hands? The result was even more striking since voters cast 1.3 million more ballots for Democratic House candidates than Republican ones".

Building off of a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics lesson, students in Randi Currier's 8th Grade Math class discovered a major factor behind the House of Representatives’ incongruous outcome: Gerrymandering.

They masterfully led a discussion about the brilliant Republican strategy, operation RedMap, following the 2010 census. Using the architectural software SketchandCalc, students calculated ratios to objectively evaluate the likelihood that a district had been gerrymandered. They learned the layout of their own Congressional district, how districts are often manipulated, the effect of technology on re-districting, and various relevant analytical ratios. 

Randi Currier's most valuable take aways from the lesson: "Exemplars for us all, they thrived on data-driven, respectful, productive discussions around a hot political topic".

 If you see one of them, ask them who Gerry was!

Gerrymandering Scoring PDF

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

MS D.I.Y. Zone is Now Open for Students

The new D.I.Y Zone at the Middle School is now open for students use. D.I.Y. Zone (Design Inspiring Youth) is a program designed to encourage our middle school students to design, create, and innovate using a variety of tools in our new Makerspace.

This promotional video was created by Kelley Schultheis. Kelley is a MS science teacher. Kelley is also helping with setting up and coordinating all maker space activities at the MS

Interactive Digital Displays at the Middle School

Middle School campus has 3 Interactive Digital Display Boards. We are excited about the new ways of sharing updates, announcements and projects with our community. To create these great looking, dynamic and interactive digital displays we use a web based management tool, Rise Vision.

MS Digital Displays:
  • Terrace Level - general information, schedule, announcements, updates
  • 1st Floor 7th Grade Foyer - September & October presentations
    • Wellness Collaborative Week with Will Slotnick 
    • Banned Books by LLC 
    • Arts for Social Change Elective : Save the Turtles by Guerilla Artists 
    • Andrea Pinkney, Visiting Author by LLC
  • 2nd Floor 8th Grade Foyer - an opportunity to "display" / share current/past work/project: 
    • Arts (Quarterly)
    • Winterfest (December) 
    • Film night (January) 
    • Festival Play (end of April, May) 
    • Spring Concert (May) 
    • Musical (May) 
The morning of October 31st MS digital screens were haunted!  ....  I love remixing scratch programs. In Halloween spirit, I remixed A Song for Halloween. I've added backdrops of the MS images to create a haunted ghost effect in the school!

Full length quicktime played on all the screens

Halloween breakfast sponsored by MS parents