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No Math Textbook Philosophy

posted Feb 9, 2013, 11:32 PM by wescottj@rsu5.org   [ updated Feb 9, 2013, 11:32 PM ]

Grade 8 [Math] | Academic Year 2013
For the Students in 8th Grade Math a textbook is so last year! So are the days where a teacher stood up at the front of the classroom and taught a con formative lesson that would hold back the advanced students and leave those that needed more time in the dust. In Mr. Brinn's Math class students sit down at their desks next to their friends, dig out their laptops instead of a 5 pound 700 paged expensive textbook. After collecting a few worksheets and logging into a custom made program that is interpreted by Chipmunk Basic —Students get to work as they are presented with a set of problems and example of a solved one.

With no textbook and no traditional teacher at the front of the room the students biggest resource is ...their peers. learning in this situation is much like a buisness group where students work together to solve each problem as a team. As individuals they still need to do all the pronlems showing all the work which gets chaked by the teacher as they complete a lesson, but the concept of them talking throught the problem ensures that they are working on the problem actively rather than sitting quietly and left in the dust if they didn't get one of the concepts. With this method, groups of students can work at their own pace which will always keep make interesting and challenging.


The Robot Revolution

posted Feb 9, 2013, 10:50 PM by wescottj@rsu5.org   [ updated Feb 9, 2013, 11:33 PM ]

Grade 8 [STEM] | December 2012
Freeport Middle School has always been an institution that has pioneered a curriculum that presents a 21 century education for its students and the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] Program is a perfect example of changing curriculum from their parents. One of the biggest units taught by Mr. Nicholson is the robotics unit which is a rapidly growing program in many schools. At FMS students group up into teams where they build robots using the Lego Mindstorm Kits and then need to program their contraptions using their 1-to-1 laptops to complete several challenges like go from Location A to Location B but not bump into any walls along the way and get to the destination in a certain time. As they start to mastermind the challenges they get trickier like pick something up or go over a simulated hill.

Fairy Tales in Comic Form

posted Feb 9, 2013, 10:35 PM by wescottj@rsu5.org   [ updated Feb 9, 2013, 11:38 PM ]

Grade 6 [English] | February 2013
After reading short stories from the Grimm Fairytales, Students in Mrs. Alvarez's classroom were challenged to make a summary of one of the fairytales that they liked. Using only 5 story board boxes they needed to tell the complete story so that a lay person could understand the story when viewing the comic strip. To do this they were told that they could not use other's images (no trips to google images) instead they made ...finger puppets, drawings, created masks and drew on their fists then photographed them in action. Using the iPads and simple publishing application called Comic Life they were able to organize their story boxes, make call outs/thought bubbles to represent dialogue, and add cool text that formed the comics.


posted Feb 9, 2013, 10:18 PM by wescottj@rsu5.org   [ updated Feb 9, 2013, 11:58 PM ]

Grade 7 & 8 | 2013 Academic Year.
In Mrs. York's Band class Students interact with their computers using the Smart Music software which provides them with a 1-on-1 virtual music tutor. This program listens to their playing providing them with all the music right on the screen and a built-in metronome to help them keep time. As a student plays the program is aggregating their playing using the built in microphone. At the completion of the their played section it will give the musician individualized feedback -it is so smart the software will correct their practice session like a quiz showing the notes they played superimposed on the digital sheet music.If they mess up on a note it will display the wrong note in red and then they can click on the picture of the right note and a popup window will show them how to finger the right note and how it should sound.

The great thing about this software is that students can use this at home as a practice tool which is catered to their individual needs and pace and can challenge them at an appropriate skill level. Student's say that this way of learning is more like a game which makes them more interested and excited to play their instrument than it would to practice without this tool!

QR Coded Video Book Talks

posted Feb 9, 2013, 9:32 PM by wescottj@rsu5.org   [ updated Feb 9, 2013, 11:43 PM ]

GRADE 6 [English] | January 2013.
Students in Mrs. Alvarez's english class chose a book that they wanted to review. Using the camera on the iPads each student proceeded to speak about that book reviewing the plot, their opinions of the book and an excerpt that might draw viewers interest to that book. Once they had completed the filming it was time to edit the videos using the iPad iMovie app into a video that was no longer than 1 minute and 30 seconds. To publish and access these videos each student created a simple QR code that could be scanned from a display by any smart phone or tablet with a camera.


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