Is Windsor Mill the next Silicon Valley? In early December, students in Delenick’s 6th grade math classes forayed into the world of SDMs and KLOCs when they participated in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code, a global movement, is an introduction to computer science designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Observed Delenick, “The students might have never known a profession like this exists if they hadn’t had have the chance to try it.” Delenick’s students created their own adventures in the Star Wars Galaxies, Minecraft, and the icy world of Frozen and navigated through the challenges with perseverance and critical thinking. Delenick noted, “Students were frustrated at first if they couldn’t get a program to work the correct way, but they kept trying and were ecstatic and hungry for more when they realized their controls were creating their game. It is a misconception that you have to be a strong math student to code; learning to code makes you a stronger math student. The students didn’t realize they were improving their skills.”
Sixth-grade students became community leaders during the Windsor Mill Middle School Night of Innovation. Students, parents, community members, and stakeholders gathered for an evening of learning and fun on December 3rd. Discovery Ed, partners in education with BCPS, sponsored the event. Teachers dipped into their trove of Learner-Centered Environment lessons, and student leaders took it from there, facilitating sessions on digital tools such as Nearpod, Plickers, MakeBeliefsComix, and guiding visitors through a virtual archaeological dig on the Aztec, Inca, and Maya; a tutorial in Business Entrepreneurship; and hands-on science experiments with Spaghetti Towers and Marshmallow Catapults. The historic evening was captured by a Tweetbeam and a livestream via Periscope. Participants in the WMMS NOI Community shared words that captured the evening for them on a Word Cloud. The final verdict? Joyful.
6th grade Reading Teacher and Language Arts Department Chair at Windsor Mill Middle School, Sonja Jackson, reached out to the local Rolling Road Exxon Station to create a community-school partnership, and Exxon responded. Jackson asked the owners to support the WMMS Lighthouse conversion by donating earbuds for students. And support they did. Exxon owners gifted Jackson’s students with 100 pairs of earbuds for use in the classroom. Jackson infuses the use of technology daily in her classroom for collaborative, small group, and independent work. The earbuds allow students to expand their tools for learning beyond texts to videos and to work at their own pace without disturbing other students and activities in the classroom. “Students are now able to listen independently to audio and video,” said Jackson. “Today we studied about Japan, and students were able to listen to and actually hear the words of the Japanese national anthem. They can also use IReady, a reading intervention program that meets students where they are and increases reading skills. My students can personalize their learning and listen to oral instructions and have stories read to them.”
Ms. Hahn has eagerly embraced the use of small-group instruction and technology infusion in her 6th grade math classes at Windsor Mill Middle School. Hahn designed her furniture arrangement to house four stations in her classroom: Teacher Station—Hahn provides direct instruction with rigorous questioning to students; Activity Station—students take the skills learned with Hahn and apply them to an activity; Co-op Station—students may choose to work independently or with a partner or group on assignments housed in One Note; and Computer Station—students work on the Ascend Math program, an Intensive Math Intervention Program that begins work at each student's skill level. Hahn uses formative assessment to create groups that are responsive to student learning which affords her the opportunity to quickly and easily revisit the material with students who are struggling. She regularly revisits her classroom instructional model to tweak and fine tune the process and structure.
The downstairs hallway at Rodgers Forge Elementary has been buzzing with activity and excitement this year. Kindergarten (yes…Kindergarten!!!) students in Mrs. Guth’s class (@tcguth) are now able to access Wixie, use text boxes to type their names and sentences, and use backgrounds, stickers, and paint tools in order to express their ideas. Mrs. Guth often provides students with a word bank from which they can draw their ideas and learn new word spellings in addition to using their developmental spellings. The students have been working with Wixie for several weeks now and proudly show off their work and explore other students’ ideas through a gallery walk. Prior to learning how to use various Wixie tools during their “Tech Tuesday” time, Kindergarten students have also explored both the camera and video tools on their device, both the writing and drawing tools in activInspire, and have learned how to access both lesson tiles and digital content in BCPSOne These skills are taught in a small group format over a one-hour block each week.
Through a reading lesson in the fifth grade curriculum, students at Rodgers Forge discovered that our wonderful BrainPop database does not include a video clip for the historical event of Black Sunday. So, they were tasked with the job of creating one! Students were first engaged in authentic research using other databases through the BCPS One platform in order to learn about Black Sunday and take notes on the event. Then, they integrated this information, which was gathered from multiple sources, and drafted a script for their simulated BrainPop video. Some students chose the format of a recording a paper slide show, while others chose to act out their skit live and film it. This example of authentic learning was incredibly meaningful to students, as they took ownership of this project and were excited to share their new learning with others.
Created by Bennett Frank and Nora Sevidal, 5th Grade Students at Rodgers Forge E.S.
Submitted by Carolyn Dickerson
6th Grade Teacher, Cockeysville Middle School
In the Latin America unit in 6th grade World Cultures, students analyze the issue of deforestation of the Amazon rain forest in order to explain the trade-offs of using resources to pursue economic opportunities versus preserving the environment. For this indicator, students identify the characteristics of a tropical rain forest and identify the advantages and disadvantages of deforestation for people of Latin America. The summative assessment for this topic is a public service produce a public service announcement on the trade-offs of deforestation. The students used the Wixie for their public service announcement. The criteria for the Wixie was the students needed to describe the importance of the Amazon Rain Forest, state their position on deforestation, and describe the world with or without the rainforest. Once the students completed their public service announcement, they presented the public service announcement to their peers.
Public Key: q53q9d
Public Key: it5e8j
Public Key: j278mg
Reflections from teachers, administrators, and students at the Lighthouse Schools.