Success Stories Meaningful instruction supported by technology
Reinforcing Mathematical Language with Desmos Activities
Students in Lacey Surak’s Geometry class were learning about angle relationships with transverse lines. In order to reinforce their command of the language and the relationships, Lacey chose to use a Desmos Activity that challenged students to solve puzzles based on certain conditions given. The puzzles in the activity progressive became more challenging, but really forced them to understand how these angle relationships were defined. At the end, the students were asked to create their own transverse line puzzle that for other students to figure out and solve based on conditions they described.
Reading, Writing, and Rigor in a Physical Education Classroom
Sophomores in Coach Vince Brown’s PE Class tried to answer the question: is exercise the driving factor of human health or is diet the route to maintaining a healthy body?
Real World Design Challenge in Graphic Arts
Design students in Rose Ausa’s Graphic Design 3 Course were commissioned to create a poster/flyer for the Fall Vocal Festival this year. One was selected by the Choral Director, Chelsea Dehn, to be the actual promotional flyer. Students were asked to draw on skills they’ve learned from previous years on contrast, white space, alignment, font type, color, print layouts, and more. They were given a rubric as a baseline for their creative work, but were given the freedom to develop patterns and designs to communicate the event.
This was an excellent activity that mirrors design challenges that graphic artists deal with on a daily basis. Students had to consider the musical themes, needs of the client, work within boundaries, and practice the design thinking process.
Introducing Cultural Traditions with Quizlet
In Ms. Kendra Fisher’s Spanish 4 Honors class, students were learning about cultural traditions, and how those traditions and values help define communities across the world. Kendra started an open conversation with her students to identify traditions at Foothill High School, holiday traditions they celebrate with their families, and regular events they experience because of their native culture.
Kendra used a Quizlet activity that showed offerings for El Dia De Los Muertos, and navigated through the image to familiarize themselves with vocabulary terms that identified items on the table. They wrote a reflection on the major points for the day’s lesson, and think about how that ties into how these traditions contribute to the well-being of communities.
Flipping Instruction in French Class
Virtual Experiments Lead to Academic Discussion in SPED
One way to gauge comprehension and mastery in a science class is the frequency and intentional use of the academic language for that particular discipline. This is challenging in all levels of classes; even more so in a class consisting of students with special needs.
In Mr. Singletary’s Life Science Class, SPED students are able to engage in these high level academic discussions in science with the use of virtual experiments. Gizmos is an online resource for Math and Science teachers to be able to perform virtual experiments that would be limited or impossible to replicate in a traditional lab.
Students were tasked to build their own digestive systems on the app, based on their understanding on how the components of the digestive system works for animals. They had to access prior knowledge about mechanical and chemical digestion, as well as how the nutrients are absorbed in the body. They needed to order the components in the right way to best access the nutrients from food in the highest percentages.
Mr. Singletary was impressed with the level of academic discussion that was happening in class, and the high level of analysis from their experiments. This was a great example of how simulation technologies like Gizmos can engage learners, connect them to content, and give students with special needs the access to high level experiments that they wouldn’t normally have access to in non-science facilities.
Understanding Supply and Demand with Spreadsheets
Digital Collaboration and Live Feedback in Chemistry
In Gypsy Biller’s Honors Chemistry Class, all the laboratory write-ups are completed using Google Docs. Students are paired together to contribute to the online document, as they record data, perform calculations, and provide detailed analysis and reasoning for their results.
The power of using collaborative technologies like Google Docs, is that Ms. Biller is able to give feedback on the fly, as students complete their work. She is able to leave comments, provide instruction, and realign students’ thinking by accessing the laboratory write-up remotely. This shortening of the feedback loop gives students the proper instruction and guidance they need to be successful in their scientific writing.
A student stated “it’s nice to be able to get immediate feedback of our work from Ms. Biller, so we can make corrections before we submit the lab report.” Students are gaining valuable experiences using these technologies, as well as understanding how the immediate feedback can guide their learning for continued success.