Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Holidays!

We cannot believe it is time for holiday break! Time DOES fly when you are having fun! We've been wildly busy, delighting in all the ways our learners are demonstrating their curiosity and love of learning.

Our 9th grade Digital Wellness unit, co-taught with New Canaan High School health teachers, wrapped up this week. Students collaborated and used BookCreator to design dust jackets for "the ideal book on stress." Familiarizing themselves with the research journal template they will use again and again throughout their career at NCHS, they evaluated provided resources and created bibliographies.

English Junior research paper is in full swing. Many students submitted their final drafts this week. Several teachers told us that students' works cited lists were much improved this year. While we strongly suspect that this is attributable to the online student-paced learning experience we developed last year, we will investigate this in detail after the break through an exit ticket. Student after student voiced their appreciation for the MLA 8 Help Page we revise on a daily basis, and specifically the value of our growing sample citations document.  

Ninth grade English students used nonfiction lit circle reads to inspire them to investigate a line of inquiry and deliver a speech on a controversial issue. 

Sophomores researched many historically significant revolutions. Ms. Patrizzi's students collaborated to create 3D monuments to the revolutions they researched. AP World students examined mid-19th century Latin American revolutions from multiple stakeholder perspectives, Ms. Browner's students analyzed intellectual revolution by highlighting the contributions of the Enlightenment's great thinkers, Mr. Stevenson and Ms. Greco's students investigated technological revolution by comparing the pros and cons of late 19th century industrial change to current technological innovations, and Mr. Phillips' and Ms. Cohen's students evaluated the aftermath of the French Revolution by trying Napoleon for crimes against humanity in a courtroom simulation.

Ms. Patrizzi's students' monument

Ms. Patrizzi's students' monument
It was another busy makerspace month! Five departments made use of our maker resources by assigning students to demonstrate their learning creatively. Through this innovation, students are challenged to think critically about resources and presentations in a way that deepens their understanding of critical curricular concepts. As the semester winds to a close, students and teachers will be invited to complete an exit ticket to articulate how making impacted learning this semester.

AP Economics classes investigated market structures, specifically monopolistic competition, by creating hamburgers. The student's work demonstrated why fast food restaurants are excellent examples of this type of market. Very similar, but with important differences, students worked to create the "best" burger and then marketed their design to the class in the following period.

Sidney Sheffield facilitated two lunchtime workshops during which students designed illuminated objects with LED circuits.

As you can see, December has been a busy month and we are deeply grateful to the New Canaan community for sharing such enthusiastic learners with us. Our days are filled with creative and original intellectual challenges and we relish in collaborating with students and faculty to work through them. We wish you a joyful and restful break. See you next year!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lots of Learning Happening in the Library!

Freshman Health: Freshman health classes are close reading about stress, completing research journals, synthesizing information and expressing new understandings about stress and the health triangle: mental, physical and emotional well-being. They are also self-reflecting and using teacher and peer feedback to revise work. The health teachers and the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) team are collaborating to integrate both health and ICT standards in lessons, using the WISER Research Process, whereby students Wonder, Investigate, Synthesize, Express and Reflect. Students are using technology to present findings on how to manage stress, as they create a hypothetical book by a reputable author on stress and video tape an original book review using Book Creator.

Students self-assess, use feedback, revise and edit work.

Students use Book Creator to design a book cover
and video tape an original book review about
stress and how to manage it.

Makerspace Activity:  
Earth Science students researched an element and created pictorial representations of various elements.
Civics students created an informational poster on the Marshall Court.

Psychology students were developing a study on color and emotions.

TechXperts: NCHS TechXperts are available to help with digital learning needs. They offer tech support for teachers and students. They also create tutorials and instructional materials. 

Visitor from Newtown School District:  A library media specialist from the Newtown School District visited NCHS to check out the Makerspace and engage in academic conversation with the ICT team.