"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. "
Betsy Canaday, MS English Department Head