Podcasts have gained considerable popularity these days. As an instructional medium they are effective for language teaching because podcasts bring words into focus--how they are spoken and expressed.
Professora Gabriela Gonzenbach has done impressive podcasts with her Spanish students for the past few years. The photo below shows a few of her Spanish students recording a podcast at the Podcast Garage, a community recording studio, an amazing facility in Cambridge.
This project is a great example of instructional practice that builds on traditional technologies (theatre and radio) while incorporating digital technologies and connecting a classroom lesson with community resources.
At the beginning of the school year, the librarian and academic technology specialist provided a library orientation and taught information literacy and technology classes to all 7th and 8th graders. Our curriculum supports the middle school’s 1:1 laptop program and ensures that our students have the skills to succeed in our technology-enriched school environment. The program includes:
"Two technology initiatives, facilitated by and co-developed with Svetlana Grinshpan, are now mainstays in the English curriculum. The first initiative is the To Kill a Mockingbird blog, which enables students to share their analysis of complex ideas in the novel. During the course of their reading, each student posts and comments several times. The blog not only enriches students’ dialogue about the novel, but it also creates a lasting resource as they need to pull those ideas together and organize them into a final essay. They are much better prepared for this final essay in terms of organization, crafting thesis statements and providing quotation for support as well.
The second initiative, The Outsiders Yearbook, has been adopted by most of the English department. Students “research” an assigned character thoroughly and create a yearbook page that demonstrates understanding of the complexity and nuance of that character. In addition to writing a short essay in that character’s “voice,” students dress as that character and use green screen technology to create yearbook-style photographs of that character. They compile their writing and photographs and create a layout of their work on a “yearbook page.” Students have great fun with the project, and it elevates their understanding of subtleties of characterization and motivation in the novel. "
This year Stefanie Haug, MS Counselor (called "Ms. Stefanie" by students) is piloting an artsy way to help kids explore parts of themselves and relax. It's a monthly drop-in activity in the Makerspace called "Wellness Wednesday." She already hosts with Nurse Joanna a weekly drop-in lunch, called Mindful Lunch, where students can chat and explore the ways their bodies and minds are connected and how to navigate stressful experiences that arise. Wellness Wednesdays is a monthly drop-in where kids can create things on a similar theme of mind-body and stress reduction.
The first of the monthly Wellness Wednesdays explored the power of positive messages and random acts of kindness. The new Head of School inspired the idea with her story of Kindness Stones. Building on that, Ms. Stefanie and Ms Grinspan, the MS Tech Specialist, led students to consider uplifting messages and how to display them on rocks. Over 15 students dropped in and decorated rocks with messages for friends, family and for the community. Strolling around the MS campus, you'll come across many rock 'pep talks' sprinkled around the building with messages like "you rock!"
Upcoming monthly crafts remain a surprise until the week they're announced.....however the next craft combines socks and sleep......to find out more, stop by the Maker Space on a Wednesday. The next Wellness Wednesday will be Nov 15th and then Dec 6th.
At the end of September, MS Maker received a much needed update to the space – installing a sink, cabinets, new workspace, and a better organized flow for students.