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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Faculty Hub For Academic Support

Our goal in creating a Power School Page/Site entitled Faculty Hub For Academic Support was to create a central location for faculty to access information related to Academic Support Services. By using technology and asynchronous learning, we wanted to facilitate faculty engagement that might otherwise not happen. We wanted to create a resource that faculty could come to on their own time, as needed and when it worked for their schedule. We set out to provide resources regarding learning and development, diverse learning styles and approaches to respond to a range of learners.

The Launch Grant project included the generation and curation of information about terms, strategies, current research, relevant websites and TED talks. It also served as a central location to post useful documents and materials, such as how to interpret ERB scores. In addition, we have generated podcasts and screencasts on particular subject areas which faculty can listen to when the timing works for them. So far we have developed a podcast on Working Memory and a screencast on interpreting ERB test results. We hope to create a podcast about ADHD and its presentation in girls this spring/summer. The time needed to develop the podcasts was significant as we had to learn the technology and generate content and script on the topics. That said, we have learned a lot to now be able to more efficiently create future podcasts.

We expect the site to provide faculty greater access to support materials, to create a common understanding and shared language around learning and support, and to better coordinate efforts in addressing student needs.

Jamie Wallace
Monika Wilkinson
Learning Specialists

Friday, April 13, 2018

Stress Reduction Launch Grant

The launch grant this year supported me to think creatively about how I share stress-reduction, mindfulness-based interventions with kids at the MS. I thought about how I could incorporate elements of arts & crafts, science, technology, - using the Maker Space, the MS campus location, etc.

I piloted this by designing a monthly drop-in "Wellness Wednesday" for kids to test-run, create, explore different dimensions of stress-reduction, mindfulness, etc. We launched with the idea of random acts of kindness and how they create big blips of pleasant feelings even indirectly. Kids designed and decorated 'kindness stones' that they then placed around the campus for people to view, move and even take with them. 

Another month we expanded on positive feelings by viewing a video experiment on the connection between gratitude and happiness and then, in a slightly devious way, having them do the experiment themselves and see the impact on their own ratings of happiness. We also looked at physiological aspects of stress that sparked curiosity and some creations. For example, we tried experiments that tracked body temperature and the connection with feeling stress and tracked it. 

We explored the connection between tiredness and desire for more sleep which resulted in creating weighted, scented eye pillows. Other explorations continue to look at tech/science ways to track physiological markers of potential stress and crafts to ameliorate it, - for example, by universal demand, we will create the highly scientific, evidence-based stress reducer called, in layman terms, slime.

Stefanie Haug, MS Counselor

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Assessment in the Language Classroom

There are many topics within a language class that need repetition in order to achieve mastery. This repetition is and should be a part of the learning process. However, often it is logistically difficult to give a student instantaneous feedback in order for them to adjust as they learn rather than practicing independently via homework or in a group setting in class, both of which often lead to natural missteps and a necessary unlearning and relearning later, hopefully in time for a test!

My grant project aims to improve upon this situation by increasing instances of immediate and useful feedback. The website ProProfs allows a teacher to make “assessments” for both “practice mode” and “exam mode”. In “practice mode” there are many settings that allow for question-specific feedback, and the chance for a student to try again. In both modes, the website keeps track of many valuable statistics both as class averages and per student, per question and for the whole “assessment”. For example, it provides information such as the time taken to complete a question or an “assessment” and the questions answered correctly and incorrectly; it provides the answer itself so that a teacher can also see how a student went awry. It also gives the student immediate feedback: their grade, which questions were answered incorrectly, and the correct answers for those questions.

If a teacher chooses the appropriate setting, the student has the chance to try the “assessment” again. The teacher also has additional capabilities such as giving certain “assessments” a password, or setting an expiration time, or allowing only a certain amount of time for an “assessment”. In addition to providing valuable and instantaneous feedback to a student that is class specific because it is all written by the teacher, this tool also ultimately gives the teacher more time to prepare other class materials.

Since the website auto-corrects, a teacher can spend less time grading and more time preparing other materials or helping students one-on-one. This website also has the ability to incorporate media, such as audio and video, thus giving more potential for broadening types of practice and test questions.

Lourdes Fernandez , MS World Languages Chair

Monday, April 9, 2018

Dr. Baum's Launch Grant Video Library

Dr. Baum used a launch grant to create a lecture video library for one of her upper level courses. Her videos of foundational knowledge serve as a resource for students.

Here is a brief video she made describing this process:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Building Lamps in 7th Grade English

In English class the focus and priority is always reading and writing. It is important, however, to engage students in multiple methods of exploration and multiple ways to express understanding. Our “Choice Read Unit” provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with different modes of this exploration and expression. All students choose their own novel, so the challenge is to create a project that both honors the individual texts and unifies the class in creating something together.

This year students build lamps. The lamp shade has four sides, each depicting plot points and themes from the student’s novel. The class spent four days in the maker space constructing the bases and then decorating their shades using a wonderful wide range of materials, including decorative paper, paint, glitter, marker, googly eyes, etc. The students then wrote comprehensive “artist statements” that explain their novels and the creative choices they made in their lamp design. They are displayed in the LLC.

Betsy Canday
English Department Chair

Made with Padlet

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Springtime in the MS Makerspace

Our Middle School Makerspace is clearly a multi-purpose resource, not just for circuits!