Friday, October 13, 2017

S.T.E.A.M.4 T.E.A.M.
Our S.T.E.A.M. 4 T.E.A.M.  (Science, Technology Engineering, Art, Math, for Talented Enthusiastic Adaptable Makers) met this week as they do on the 2nd Wednesday of each month after school. Our new Club Fair recruits joined our veteran Maker Majors and Techxperts to review short term and long term projects for the year. They set up shift rotations on a Google calendar. It is our hope to have someone "on duty" every period of every cycle. We still have many slots open so we are still in recruiting mode. Please contact the Techxperts if you have an interest in joining the TEAM.

Texchxperts recruit new STEAM TEAM members at the club fair

We held our second Somewhat Virtual Book Club meeting on October 4 at 6PM in the library. The club meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 6PM in the library, but students who cannot attend the face-to-face book group can join virtually via Google Hangouts. This month's discussion focused on the book, The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas which sparked a deep discussion between members of Dorman High School in South Carolina, James Caldwell High School in New Jersey and members of our club. Our next book is Light Years by Emily Ziff Griffin who will be joining us. We will meet on November 1 at 6PM in the library, we serve pizza and the meeting is open to anyone. Please consider joining us, but please RSVP so we have enough food for everyone.

#SWVBC meets with other schools to discuss The Hate u Give

Maker Magic:
So far this year, 16 classes have schedule makerspace time. Projects have ranged from creating 3D name tags in Earth Science to 3D representations of  Absolutist rulers for history class. Here is the list of makerspace-created projects since August. To document curricular connections for these innovative learning experiences, we link the teacher sign-ups to their assignments on the Makerspace calendar.

  • Earth Science: McLellan - 3D Nametages - 3
  • Earth Science: Haag - 3D Nametags - 1
  • Economics: Staffaroni - Posters/Economic Principals - 3
  • Civics: Goldhawk - What is Democracy - 1
  • Film as Literature: 3D writing prompt - 1
  • Global History I: Shwartz - Is Geography Destiny? - 2
  • Global History I: Bacon - Is Geography Destiny? - 1 
  • Global History II: Patrizzi - Absolutism - 3
  • Earth Science: McLellan - Timing Devices - 1
  • Game Design: Honohan - Board Games - 1
The Many Faces of Absolutism

MLA 8:
Last year, starting in February and based on student reflections provided through a research project exit ticket, we made several changes to our approach to teaching students how to document their research process. We moved away from online citation generators, we created a substantive MLA 8 Help Page, we created a template for research journals to facilitate consistency among disciplines and teachers, we started collecting and providing feedback on bibliographies from students twice per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), then created a script to expedite feedback retrieval for students, and we developed a series of lessons documenting common errors and instructing students how to avoid them. Some of those posts follow.

What we learned from collecting and scoring 380 bibliographies over the course of the last academic quarter of 2016-2017, was that students need more instruction on how to create bibliographies. Unfortunately, taking scheduled instructional time away from teachers to teach students how to perform a fairly mechanical task is inefficient. Instead, we developed a student-paced instructional experience in which students will be asked to participate at home. The virtual lesson (sign in as guest) is comprised of 14 mini-videos (1-2 minutes each; 22minutes in total), each followed by a 1-4 question "Check" (quiz that requires NCPS log-in and is thus not visible to the public). The entire experience should take 30-60 minutes depending on student retention of the video content. As a follow up activity, the teacher will administer a brief (5-7 minute) quiz in class to students to check for understanding. Once students have participated in the experience, they will receive a digital badge which will qualify them to submit bibliographies for librarian review and feedback.

This new system will serve grades 9-11. By June 2018, all NCHS freshmen, sophomores. and juniors should have earned a digital badge for mastery in constructing MLA 8 bibliographies.

A Lesson on MLA 8 in 14 parts
Our new 3D Printer!
We have a new 3D printer, and it works beautifully, silently, and quickly! Students can moitor their project's progress through the built in printercam which broadcasts to a phone app or through their computer browser. It is a work horse and it has been working all day every day. Students are encouraged to reach out to the Techxperts to learn more about becoming certified in 3D printing. and designing and programming their own projects.

Flex furniture:
We've hosted quite a few classes in the lower library (#lowerlib on Twitter) this year, the new furniture facilitates scheduling multiple classes at one. The new ColLabA is open for business and students and teachers alike are making great use the new flexible learning spaces for a variety of learning experiences. Even after school the space is in full use. The football team watches video, the math team meets regularly. the TED Club meets there too,  just to mention a few uses.

Double-Header of Global I "Is Geography Destiny?"

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