CWLS STEM Newsletter
Operation Gratitude: Mission Accepted By APUSH Students
By Drew Adams
Members of the military will soon be receiving letters of support as the Canal Winchester High School AP US History class took a trip to the elementary schools to work with the younger students on Operation Gratitude.
On May 16 and 17, Mr. Hamilton’s class went over to Indian Trail and Winchester Trail to introduce Operation Gratitude to the students.
Operation Gratitude is an organization that works to get letters and care packages from students to members of the military, first responders, and veterans. The job of the AP US History (APUSH) students was to help the elementary students create the letters.
“[Our job was relaying] the message and telling the kids how to write the letters,” said APUSH student Gabe French.
The entire event was organized by Mr. Hamilton, with the help of the staff at both elementary schools. He had mentioned this idea to his students, and they loved it. He organized a time, and the students all went over to help.
When asked about their favorite part of the experience, the students’ answers were very similar.
“Seeing how the kids cared and learned about this” was the best part said both Dawsyn Adams and Ashley Love of their experience.
Many other students agreed as well, adding that it was fun for them to read the letters when they were finished. One student enjoyed the entire experience for another reason.
Josh Merrill shared that this experience was special to him for one reason. Merrill said, “My dad served in the military, and for me it was an amazing experience to see kids care about this.”
Overall, it appears that the kids responded fairly well. There were a few that responded poorly, which the class thinks came from a lack of understanding, but most of the kids responded well.
French stated, “I felt the kids who knew people in the military cared much more and took it very seriously.”
The APUSH students hope that if the younger students took anything away from this experience, it’s that it is important to respect our country’s first responders. They hope that it gave them a sense of respect.
The high schoolers greatly enjoyed this experience, and are very proud to be a part of operation gratitude.
According to Merrill, “I’m very blessed to have witnessed this event, and to see the kids show their gratitude in such a great way. God bless America.”
Canal Winchester Middle School News Crew
By Alexis Kail, Sophie Baldwin
Under the supervision of Heather Baugess, the student-led Canal Winchester Middle School News Crew just finished their second year of making weekly announcements for their peers.
With the attempt of meeting every day, students collaborate to form a video broadcast that releases every Friday. The positions of the news crew include anchors, reporters, cameramen, and an editor.
The daily tasks tend to vary from each role. Anchors will write out the scripts for the upcoming video, while the reporters will prepare questions to ask an interviewee. Cameramen will video what is happening, while the editor prepares the program.
Mrs. Baugess makes sure everyone is on task and does a final check over their work. She explained that they try to “keep it student-focused and student-centered.” Since the news crew is student-focused, learning is better individualized to each student.
Many students have developed more confidence and life skills through the news crew. Seventh grader Nolan Wojciechowski said he learned typing skills by needing to write multi-page scripts. While student Jayme Parker mentioned how she learned how to put herself out there and break out of her shell.
Students have made great strides through the news crew with using the four C’s of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. By creating episodes to writing questions, the middle school students are communicating amongst each other to develop a weekly show.
While they have been learning, the students have also been making relationships with teachers and each other. Lorahlye Reeb has felt that the most meaningful part of the news crew has been “meeting new people and being with a giant family to a giant group.” Mrs. Baugess is “glad that they are three grade levels working together. They influence one another and they have built relationships.”
The newfound relationships stemmed from a district-wide meeting over video production and there were video announcements from the elementary school and high school. Luckily, Mrs. Baugess volunteered to create a team to bridge the gap.
Due to testing this year, it has been difficult for the news crew to create weekly videos, so they have created two special editions. The first special edition focused on the special needs kids at the middle school and was one of the more meaningful parts of the news crew for Isabelle Jackson and Crosbie Benjamin.
The second focused on Write to Read Week. All of the reporters asked students what they were reading and what they recommend reading.
Overall the news crew is a place that everyone involved enjoys. Mrs. Baugess noted that, “I truly enjoy working with these students. They keep me going, and they inspire me. They come up with ideas, and the way they work is so amazing.” She’s been delighted about how all three grade levels have come together to create something great.
Canal Winchester High School News Crew
By Madison Hardman, Hawa Aw
From morning announcements, to creating their own sitcoms and advertisements, the school media production team does it all.
The Media Production Team is run by Mr. Weidner, who also teaches French 2.
Weidner says that balancing both media production and French can be a challenge.
“You have to be singularly focused. You have to learn to compartmentalize, mentally put stuff aside so you can focus on the task at hand, not everything else.”
When asked about the transition from solely being a French teacher to leading media production, Weidner said that it seemed only natural for him. He originally studied film in college before changing to a French major.
He goes on to discuss, “ Even when I didn't teach video I was always involved in it outside of school. The transition was only natural.”
A current media production student, Bryce Motter, was asked about why he chose to join the media production team. He answered with, “It seemed like a fun activity and I wanted to help the community in a way.”
When asked what the hardest thing about being a part of the media production team, Motter answered with “ the editing and filming of videos”.
There are three main projects that the media team produces. A T.V ad, a PSA, and a music video. When creating the T.V ad, the class learns about the history of commercials, how they are used, and the most effective way to get people to remember the service or product.
Before creating the PSA, they learn how organizations create ads that address a social issue and examine examples of well made PSAs. Students then choose an issue and create a PSA that are then broadcasts during the morning announcements.
For the music video, they study the history of music videos, how they began as simple film clips to promote music, and gradually evolved into the artistic art form they are today. They watch examples of revolutionary videos that pushed the envelope in their time, and learn different categories and techniques that video directors use to create their pieces. The students then choose a school appropriate song and shoot their own music video, with actor(s) lip syncing to the lyrics.
Weidner states that for him, the hardest part is keeping track of the many projects. “You have to create a system of files so none of it is lost and easy to find. Everything has to have a name, it is very time consuming.”
However, the most rewarding part is the final product. “When something is turned in and you can watch it, you forget all the hard work you put into and all the stress it caused.”
Creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking are the elements that put this together this team.
The Media production team meets everyday in a classroom setting to work on many projects. Some days they work on completely new projects and other days they spend editing and going over previous projects.
The Canal Winchester Media Production team is not currently huge, but with a lot of hard work put in by all the members and Mr.Weider, the media team is flourishing specifically this school year.
Throughout this year the Canal Winchester Media Production team was able to get a grant that allowed them to get new and improved equipment.
On May 17th 2019, at 7pm the media production class held the Indie Awards celebrating the work that has been produced throughout the year. The categories included best tv ad, best PSA, best music video, best editing, best photography, best performance in a short video, and best performance in a long video. Also, best sitcom, student choice award, indie spirit awards, exceptional use of comedy, production of the year, and finally outstanding students in all three media production classes. The future of the Media Production team is only on the way up from here.
Garden PBL Grows New Opportunities for 8th Graders and Teachers
By Jason Schmitz
Canal Winchester 8th grade students build containments, move dirt, and plant a variety of plants to help the local food pantry at a new garden outside the CW Human Services Building.
While the students work on the garden at around 9:30 in the morning on May 6th, the seeds for this project were actually planted far in advance. Students began to grow different types of tomatoes and peppers in their science classrooms in order to prepare for the hard work they put in on their day in the sun.
The project was organized and run by Mrs. Mariscal. “I was a little nervous about it this morning,” she commented, “but things are turning out pretty good.”
She wants to do big things with the project, with plans to make it a yearly project with students volunteering to help keep the garden in shape during the summer. This idea seemed to have support from the students, with many of them saying they would be interested in signing up to help out. Another plan she had for the future of the project was to have the students present what they learned in showcases around the area.
The project allowed for the students to learn many different skills that they would not be able to learn in a normal classroom setting. Besides lessons in how to set up the garden itself, they learned leadership skills that will help them for years to come.
One of the students that took a leadership role was Ellias Legasby. “I oftentimes have to help some of the other kids figure out what to do and stay on track,” he stated, “like whatever is going on over there.”
He pointed over to a small group of kids wandering around the area off task. After laughing at the scenario, the teachers were able to get the students back on track. Elias said he had an interest in landscaping so he was naturally led by telling other students what to do when the teachers were not around to help.
Like Ellias, other students that took leadership roles had already had an interest in gardening. One of those students was Elijah Bagley, who’s done gardening work for his grandparents which helped him already know what to do with the garden. One of the unintentional benefits of the garden project came when he was just messing around with his friends and they came up with the idea of putting a garden on the boat. The idea was called boat garden and was used for a project the kids worked on.
The students we interviewed had a lot of good things to say about the project. They really enjoyed being outside and thought the teachers were doing a good job leading the project. With it being the first year of the project, there was some uncertainty of what to do, however as the project continues throughout the years it is sure to keep being a great learning opportunity for everyone involved and will be sure to help out the community.
BPA Students Perform Well at States and Nationals
By Zach Miles
At the national leadership conference, all four of the students who qualified placed in the top 10 in the nation, with Ben Mathys taking 2nd place overall in his competition.
Ben Mathys, Jared Tomlinson, Tristan Graber, and Will Jenkins placed in the top four in their respective competitions at the state Business Professionals of America (BPA) leadership conference in March.
This qualified them for the national leadership conference held in Anaheim, California where they will compete against other BPA members from across the country May 1st-5th.
BPA is an organization that supports business and information technology educators by offering co-curricular exercises based on national standards. At CWHS, the program is run by teachers Mrs. Thomaschek and Mr. King.
“We get state funding for BPA and then just decided because we’re career tech funded through a couple classes that we would would offer that,” said King.
The program is offered as an extension to business and networking classes, and students are encouraged to join to challenge themselves. Last year, CWHS had 40 students enrolled, but this year the number has expanded to almost 70 students.
Graber explained that “I got involved through my networking class because Mrs. Thomaschek offered it as an extra club or activity that we wanted to do, and she said that it had networking competitions. And I was good at networking so I decided I might as well do that.”
Students are given the chance to compete in various events and competitions. In total, there are about 60 events including accounting, networking tests, interview, speech, and several others. If they choose to do so, they can compete in these events at the regional level. King stated he was pleased with the results at the regional level, but looks to improve next year.
“The regional conference was good, I wish we’d have had more people go from regionals to state, but out of the 67, maybe 40 competed at the regional level. 20 went on to state, and then four to nationals. Next year now with our region I could see where the events aren’t as busy. So, I can kind if gear students towards those as well. Plus, we’re going to add an accounting class next year so that’s an event that we can get in that we don’t currently do.”
At the state leadership conference, Canal performed very well with six students placing in the top ten in their events.
Tomlinson stated that “For the amount of awards we won compared to the amount of people we have in the club we did extremely well which I think is due to the CISCO and technology programs we have here at the school.”
All of the students that qualified for the national conference competed in networking events. They had to place in the top 5 at the state level in order to qualify. In the CISCO test competition, Mathys placed 1st, Graber placed 3rd, and Jenkins placed 4th overall. Tomlinson competed in the computer network technology test and placed 2nd.
For Canal, this is the school’s first time competing at the national leadership conference, and students and teachers aren’t really sure what to expect.
Tomlinson explained that he is “Kind of unsure of it. States are allowed to send 5 candidates for each of the tests that they have. There’s only about 24 or 26 states that actually have BPA clubs and supposedly Ohio is one of the most competitive, so I’m hoping we have a good chance of placing in the top 10.”
King stated that he was also unsure how the conference will go.
“I don’t know yet. I’ve taken students to nationals 4 out of the 7 years that I was at my last school and didn’t have anyone win. Our region is a lot more competitive here than it was there so for them to rank in the top 5 for their events was pretty impressive. I hope they do well, I think they will, so we’ll find out for sure.”
PBL Changes Students' Perspectives on People
By Allena Klamorick
Every morning, we wake up, get ready for the day, and put on our shoes. But the reality is we never stray from this. We never put on shoes that somebody else is wearing, somebody who is different than us, somebody who is less fortunate than us, somebody who is treated differently than us.
Ms. Mielke’s 10th grade Pre-AP English students stepped out of their comfort zones and into the shoes of others to get a real life perspective on what it was like to grow as a person.
They went different places and completed different tasks to allow them to see the world from a different perspective as an outsider.
The students began the whole process by reading the book, “The Glass Castle,” in which gave them the perspective of how author, Jeannette Walls grew up with an outsider’s view.
Jeannette Walls grew up on the go. Her family was never stationed in one place because her father, Rex Walls, was always running from the tax collectors. Jeannette and her family traveled and lived in nine different locations.
They were a very unstable family and it affected how she saw things growing up.
After reading the book, the students were given two weeks to come up with a situation where they were put into the shoes of an outsider. Examples sprouted like crazy: mute, deaf, pregnant teen, going to church, etc. Anything that would make them feel left out from society.
“Students were excited to be doing something different in English,” stated Mielke. However, she felt some did not understand the true meaning of what they were supposed to do.
Mielke initiated the project based on a similar one her OSU professor did. She wanted to make them smarter consumers of information so they better understand how others influence them and how they influence others.
“I wanted to mimic what a student that had learning disabilities felt like to be in class where they don’t understand anything,” stated 10th grade student, Abigail Harshman.
For the project, she decided to sit in on a college level math class; Math 1149. She mentioned she had to take notes and go along with the class as if she were one of them.
Harshman dreams to be an intervention specialist: a teacher who helps students with learning disabilities. She wanted an insight for herself to see the life of a student she will later in life help.
Overall, Harshman enjoyed this project. She got to see what it was like to struggle. She faced challenges such as other students being way ahead of her, actually knowing what to do on their worksheet, and keeping up with the class.
With the interests of students during this project, it brought about the four C’s in STEM: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.
Students had to communicate with their teachers before doing their project to let them know what they would be doing and why. Also, they had to communicate with Ms. Mielke to let her know what it was they were exactly doing for their project.
While working with Ms. Mielke to get the perfect idea for the project, students collaborated with her to come upon new ways to improve their ideas to have a better experience.
Creatively, students got to come up with their own project. It was their decision on what they did to make them seem inferior to others. Some went to cultural places, and others went to church for the first time.
Lastly, students had to think outside of the box to find ways that made them feel isolated against another group. Students used critical thinking in other ways too, such as, picking apart different information they found and finding the deeper meaning into how it related to them, personally.
Harshman mentioned this project had so many opportunities to open kids’ minds to how others live their lives and how it helped in giving some empathy towards those people.
Overall, this project was a huge success and the students enjoyed getting to mix things up. It was good for students to see the different ways people live their lives, everyday; it gave them an inside look on what life is really about.
Winchester Trail News Crew
By Ian Lewis, Drew Adams
The fifth graders from the Winchester Trail ‘News Crew,’ led by Mrs. Tokarz and Mr. Phillips, work together to create a weekly news broadcast involving school news, interviews, weather, sports, and entertainment segments to share every Friday with their school.
Eight fifth grade students, with the addition of Mrs. Tokarz and Mr. Phillips, are all thrilled to be a part of the WTES ‘News Crew.’ The Winchester Trail ‘News Crew’ was created six years ago by Mrs. Tokarz with the goal of finding a fun and exciting way to share the news.
“We were really just looking for ways to bring the school community together,” stated Mrs. Tokarz. “With being such a large school, we want to showcase many of the different learning opportunities at the school.”
The program has really begun to take off. Out of about 400 fifth graders, 117 sent in audition videos. The videos were reviewed by Mrs. Tokarz and Mr. Phillips and based off of predetermined criteria, a small group of students were selected each trimester.
This trimester, Lilliana Lortz and Avery Rapp get to open the news each week with their bright smiles. They are the news anchors, the faces of the ‘News Crew,’ and they love the experience. Lilliana shared that she gets to introduce people and thank people, and she enjoys getting to help the school. Avery agreed, adding that she enjoys the “all-around experience.” They both felt that the hardest part of their job was always showing the right emotion for the news.
When watching the news, Ashton Houston-Taylor can be found sharing the weather with his fellow students. Ashton shared that he was initially nervous to be on the news, saying that he was afraid to do something wrong. He realized, however, that it’s much easier to be in front of the camera than to be in front of a live audience. He said that the best part of being the weatherman is learning new things about the weather and inspiring his classmates.
If you’re looking for information about sports, look no further than Grant Hamilton. He is the sportscaster for the ‘News Crew’ and loves it. He enjoys getting to watch sports, working on his script, and then getting to share his information with the school. He realizes that it’s a lot of work, but he makes sure to set aside time for the news.
The news broadcast always comes together, but they all start with the gathering of ideas for news stories; these are obtained by Cammie Burnett, Emma Hamilton, and Violet Homan. As the reporters for the ‘News Crew,’ they get to go around the school and see what the other students are doing. Lately, Emma and Violet have been focusing on various PBL projects. Cammie was very excited to share a segment she’s been working on, called ‘The Masked Teacher.’ Similar to the ‘Masked Singer,’ each week, the ‘News Crew’ gets one teacher to come on and sing, and the school gets to try to guess who the teacher is.
“I like making the whole school laugh,” said Cammie, when explaining the ‘Masked Teacher.’
With each of these students completing their jobs, there would still only be separate segments of the entire news broadcast. Each segment then needs to be put together in order to create the broadcast. This meant that the WTES ‘News Crew’ needed an editor, and they found one in MaKenna Lybarger. As the editor, MaKenna gets to work with computers and various technology to put the individual news segments together to finalize the news broadcast. She has always enjoyed working with computers, and really likes getting to work with Mr. Phillips to put the news segments together.
This entire operation is overseen by Mrs. Tokarz and Mr. Phillips. They believe in a “gradual release model,” meaning that at the beginning of each trimester, they both work with the students to help them learn the process, and help each student find a job that’s fitting for them. After that, it’s up to the students to create the news.
Mrs. Tokarz referred to herself and Mr. Phillips as the Editors-in-Chief, stating that, “Everything [that the students create] will go through us at some point.”
Arguably the most impressive part of this process is that the students do not have a class period to work on the news. Many children would not be responsible or self-motivated enough to get these weekly assignments done, but that is not a problem for the ‘News Crew.’ Most of the students work on the news during lunch, and many often give up their recess.
“Sometimes it can be difficult to write a script because I also have school work to work on,” said Grant Hamilton when asked about the amount of work. He mentioned how he has to set aside time every night to work on schoolwork so that he can then keep up with sports for the news. This type of thinking is just one of the skills Mrs. Tokarz hopes the students will learn from this experience.
“Critical thinking, communication, and leadership are all skills we hope that they will take with them,” said Mrs. Tokarz. “And we hope it sparks a passion in them.”
The Winchester Trail Elementary School News airs every Friday, and the students are thrilled to share all of their hard work with their fellow classmates and continue to bring the school community together.
By Josh Browning and Walter Kalinowski
Kids always have dreams. However, not often do they get the chance to make them come true. She was born in Ohio, raised in Vermont, went to college at Harvard, played professional basketball in Egypt, and worked at Sesame Street. That is the life of adventure that children’s book author Sarah Albee has taken and made the most of.
Growing up with three older brothers, it was hard to get respect some of the time. They didn’t acknowledge her athleticism, success, and her dreams. It took up until high school, when she showed great success in basketball that her brothers started respecting her.
She then went on to play basketball at Harvard while writing for The Harvard Lampoon, the humor magazine for the University.
After Harvard, she went to Cairo, Egypt to play professional basketball for a year. She loved the travel and new experiences, leading her to work at Sesame Street for nine years as a writer.
Becoming a writer is something that she loves, whether it is all of the research, travel, or all the drafts that come with it. To start off, she chooses a topic, then dives into all of the research. As she is doing this, it usually takes a wild turn because of her abnormal topics. Then, she starts her writing process, one of the longest processes of making a book. On average she rewrites the story 30 times, changing the story to make it a little bit better every time. This approach to making a book takes about three to five years.
Now, Sarah Albee lives in Connecticut with her husband, three kids, and their dog, Rosie. She is still writing books with her latest release being Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends. Other top selling books of hers are Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines, Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up, and Why'd They Wear That? Fashion as the Mirror of History.
Sarah Albee has the opportunity to share her knowledge to the younger generation in a way that is very special.
Medical Detectives Collaboration
By Matthew McKeon
A new patient stumbles into the room looking pale, sweating, and running a high fever. It is the job of CWMS students to try and diagnose these patients in an ER simulation led by Mrs. Lukich.
Mrs. Lukich teaches the medical detectives class at CWMS and she led this PBL. “We’ve been practicing vital signs, professionalism, and how an emergency room is conducted,” said Mrs. Lukich.
Next, desks and chairs were reorganized and medical stretchers were set up in an effort to mimic the sights and sounds of a real emergency room. Students were educated about a variety of different kinds of diseases that they could encounter in an ER, and the symptoms for each one.
Before even beginning the activity though, students not only had to learn about the different diseases and symptoms, they also had to learn the proper conduct of how to speak to and treat a patient in a real ER setting. “Basically there was a lot of preparation and it was a long process,” said one student.
The project did not come easy for all though, as project based learning is a new experience for many students. Mrs. Lukich explained how many students are often used to only a right and wrong answer instead of an open ended project. “In some ways we have taught students just to look for the right answer,” Said Mrs. Lukich. Despite this, through projects like these, students are learning to think outside the box more often.
Additionally, the project heavily covered the 4 C’s of STEM, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Students had to learn how to collaborate and communicate with each other and how to creatively use critical thinking come up with solutions for patients outside the box. “I don't like talking in front of people and it (the project) really helped me not be shy,” said one student.
When asked about her plans for the rest of the year, Mrs. Lukich explained how the Medical detectives class will next be moving into the nervous system. Students will explore the nervous system and how it correlates to and communicates with the brain. Students will also take part in a brain dissection to better understand the nervous system.
High School Students Take on Teacher Role in Science Manikin Challenge
By Allena Klamorick
The Canal Winchester High School Human Body System (HBS) students visited the Canal Winchester Middle School science classes on Friday, February 15, to educate sixth graders about the digestive system by creating manikins made out of clay.
Sixth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Greta Bryant consulted with high school human body systems teacher, Mr. Douglas Harmon to come up with a collaborative project that furthered the middle schoolers learning on the digestive system. With the help of the high school students and their knowledge on the digestive system, they were able to teach the sixth grade students all about it.
Both students and teachers alike enjoyed this project. “I really like this interaction and I hope we can continue this in the future,” mentioned Bryant.
First, the sixth grade students learned about all the systems in the body. Each group of students was given a body system to research and create a presentation to deliver to the class over the span of a week.
“They’re the experts in their system. They have to be prepared for questions and they don’t know what I’m going to ask them. So they need to really feel that they understand the system completely, and they also have to explain what happens when their system doesn’t work properly,” explained Bryant.
Specifically with the digestive system, 6th grader Gavin Crouse from Mrs. Bryant’s class stated, they “watched a video and took multiple notes” to learn more about it.
The high school students explained how to form the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. Additionally, they described how each body part worked within the system.
High school student, Anna Ratliff claimed that it took about 15 minutes to complete one full manikin, and the students were very responsive to learning how to make them and to learning new information. She said it was fun to watch how the students wanted to put their own little spin on it, whether that was changing the colors up or making it unique in their own way.
With the engaging interests of students on the topic of body systems, an idea sparked in the teachers' minds to creatively go hands-on for a new teaching method. The sixth graders enjoyed the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning method, and it opened the eyes of many on how to use this information not only in school, but in the real world.
“If I were to become a doctor, that would be very useful,” stated Crouse. Not only did careers come to the minds of students, so did health.
Sixth grade student, Ava Riddle, from Mrs. Lisa Smith’s classroom stated, “I could probably use what is healthy or not to know what will go into my body and digestive system."
With all the interest from students going hands-on, it brought about the 4 C’s of STEM (Communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking).
“They [The middle schoolers] get more of in-depth knowledge and understanding of the topic,” stated Bryant.
It took a great amount of communication for students to work together to get the end result. Mr. Harmon stated, “Communication between the high school students and the sixth graders were excellent. The older students would describe what to do exactly and the sixth grader would fulfill the task asked of them.”
Collaboration was needed from everyone. The teachers came together to communicate details to make the project possible. While the sixth graders joined groups to build the parts of the digestive system out of clay, they worked together with the high schoolers and motivated each other to complete the tasks given to them.
Creatively, students used clay to mold the shape of the body parts, then piece to the manikin; they had a bit of freedom with this part of the project. Some chose to follow the directions specifically; however, others decided to use their imaginations and switch up the colors of the clay for the organs to make their own.
Finally, students thought critically throughout the whole project. They ultimately were also challenged to make connections from the project in front of them to the real world around them. Most of the students could answer every educational question the high schoolers asked them.
Ratliff mentioned the younger students responded a lot better than what she thought they would due to the fact that other students were teaching them.
The project was a success and the students had a way of thinking differently, as they have never made models of the digestive system before, which in fact, was a great way for our Canal schools to interact and learn with one another. Hopefully this is a project that continues in the future and improves with other ideas.
Indian Trail Art Museum
By Gage Barringer
Museums, gateways to the souls and minds of those in the past, are now being used as tools of creative expression for the present Indian Trail elementary students, as past artists’ works live on vicariously through their art.
In a project spearheaded by Mrs. Janie Kantner and Mrs. Alyssa Locker, the students of Indian Trail Elementary School have taken part in a school wide PBL focused around picture book museums. The inspiration for this came after Mrs. Kantner visited the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio over the summer as well as after she and Mrs. Locker visited the University of Miami exhibit.
The original plan for the project was to have each class in the school, with guidance from the teachers, create their own art instillation based on a particular picture book and/or illustrator that they admired. From this, students became inspired from the likes of Eric Carle, David Shannon, Jason Tharp, and Jared Lee for just a few of the many projects created. The art was created by the students but reflected that of the illustrator, allowing their art to be recreated as an homage to their works.
First, students were brought in for class meetings where they would, with the help of Mrs. Kantner, make important decisions based on locations for the museum, whether they can help, and when a celebration of literature could be held.
After making these important choices, students were given a taste of adulthood with a classwide contract. The contract asked them to agree that their class would produce one original project to be finished by October 11th, as well as what the exhibit they create would be about.
After this, students and their teachers got hard to work choosing an illustrator, and subsequently creating the collaborative art installation which, as the students decided, would be presented in the gymnasium during Family Literacy Night. This is a yearly educational event centered around the celebration and enjoyment of literature on the same night that the Scholastic Book Fair is held, given the common theme.
Around this time was when the project’s scope grew from just Indian Trail to an international interest in some ways.
About a week before literacy night, the curator of the Miami museum contacted Mrs. Kantner about the idea of the traveling exhibit which was introduced to them on their first visit in the summer. The exhibit is centered around the history of African American illustrations and picture books.
Upon hearing of this Mrs Kantner and companies’ interests were piqued and as soon as possible they made a trip to Miami to get the exhibit.
The importance of this addition is extraordinary. Canal Winchester Indian Trail Elementary School is the first school or institution in general to be allowed these exhibits from Miami University. Essentially we were a test, the success of which could help Miami’s future plans with the exhibit.
These exhibits, in the future, are to have 100 replicas with two being sent to every state for educational purposes. The state then having the power to divy them out as needed to schools or other educational programs/institutions.
At this point the project had reached a scale that no one saw coming previously. It truly was more important than just our school; our project was now a testing ground for a future project the rest of the nation could see in the near future.
Along with this statewide and national importance, this PBL also got outside attention from Saudi Arabian temporary students at Miami. They were both excited about the project and curious about how they could implement something like this. With educators from another nation now connecting with Indian Trail, the project became international. But this international attention did not come until the night of the grand opening, which was a booming success.
On the night of the event, parents and kids alike were amazed by the final products. Children were proud of their work, as were their parents and teachers who were nothing but proud of these students. These people got to view something original, something organic that blossomed in the school from a small seed, and eventually grew its roots into new ideas and new frontiers far bigger than its origin.
Feedback for the project was phenomenal. Mrs Kantner described how, “The kids got excited...they really drove [the project] and we've had multiple parents say, ‘Wow you know my kid was really excited about this.’” She went on to say, “They felt like they'd really done something that was different.”
The parents enjoyed the excitement that their students felt towards the project, while teachers fed off the joy of their classroom. Students at Miami, including those from Saudi Arabia, loved seeing the application of what they were learning in school which is a creative PBL based pedagogy that still has yet to be applied in many areas.
This project, however, was still rooted in the idea of STEM, so ultimately its success was based off how well it taught creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration.
Creatively, the project was a clear success motivating students to design, and form a project that required abstract thinking centered around artwork. They had freedom to make choices, and with it came creativity.
Collaboration was a key aspect to this assignment. Students had to work as a class to pull this exhibit together, and if they didn't the contract would be met. So with the guidance of the teacher the class worked as a cohesive group, teaching the importance of partnership early on.
Students though critically at many points in the project. Who should they base their art off of? What will their project be? How will they accomplish the project? These are all points of thinking that were critical to the overall success of the project, and the kids had to solve them, and that they did.
Finally the idea of communication is the last cornerstone of the stem philosophy. This ties directly in with collaboration, as the students needed to work on communication skills to ultimately bring together the final product and work effectively along the way, given that the project required a classwide effort.
All this would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts put in by Mrs. Kantner, Mrs. Lockner, the Indian Trail Elementary administration, and anyone else involved in allowing this to move forward and take shape.
The project started as a small seed that quickly grew to be of importance to more than just those students and teachers at Canal Winchester, but to us, the learning our students experience is of the utmost importance, and when they can learn learn valuable life skills such such as those taught in STEM (the 4 Cs) and have fun while doing it, then the project has already succeeded in every way, everything else is an amazing bonus to an already fantastic learning opportunity.
Peeps Reading Club
By Michael Hogrell
Books have the ability to transport us to far off lands and the Peeps Club will be utilizing books in the media center this year to learn more about the world around us.
The Peeps Club is a school club that helps high school students with disabilities by holding social events that teach them life lessons, like in the library they learn that it is okay to be different.
The first theme covered by the media center is the circus, and the Peeps Club is reading The One and Only Ivan by K. A. Applegate this month, with the goal being to show how everyone is unique.
To help visualize the various circus animals, the Peeps Club members create art out of Oreos and animal crackers. The works of tasty art also double as a sweet treat for the members.
Mrs. Lehr, one of the high school librarians, said that their goal is to make the Peeps feel welcomed in the library and she hopes to expand the project to many more books.
¨The kids from the Peeps Club stop me in the hall and talk to me about the zoo and the animals from the book all the time,” said Mrs. Lehr.
She also said that right now the program goes month by month. The theme changes periodically, this month was a carnival theme and October is planned to be Halloween themed.
To help add to the surprise, the plan is to have teachers from around the school come in as guest speakers to surprise the Peeps.
The library will continue to be a place of adventure with its ever-expanding wealth of stories for the Peeps and anyone ventures to the library.
French Exchange Program
By Dylan Storts
Say, “bonjour,” people of Canal Winchester as we welcomed our French exchange students of the 2018-2019 school year this past month. We were fortunate enough to have 31 exchange students from the Bernay school in Normandy, France!
This exchange program is actually connected through Ms. Aldrich and Mr. Bonnaudet who actually switched jobs for the school year. Ms. Aldrich is currently in France teaching English and Mr. Bonnaudet teaches French here in Canal Winchester.
The students experienced America to the fullest while they were here. They visited Columbus and were able to watch their first American football game as the Indians defeated the Newark Wildcats.
They were very surprised at how much school pride was shown at not only the football game but also with clothing at school. The students were in consensus that this was the biggest difference between American schools and French schools.
The students actually don’t have high school sports at their school. “We don’t have high school sports. We have club teams that students may choose to play for,” said Maelys.
Our French friends were almost overwhelmed with how large America was when they arrived, but they were not afraid of being so far away from their parents.
They absolutely loved Canal Winchester and the people that lived here. Toma, one of the French students, said, “Canal is a very beautiful town. I really like it here,” when asked about how the town has been so far.
All of the exchange students were very excited to visit all of the many restaurants in and around Columbus. They were especially fond of Five Guys Burgers and Fries and the Canal Winchester staple, Shade on the Canal.
They had an absolute blast shadowing their host student. They found it very odd how high school classes in America were so engaged in individual learning rather than the college style learning that they were used to in France.
Our French exchange students loved everything about Canal Winchester and couldn’t wait until they were able to return!
By Matthew McKeon
At CWHS, Biology and English students are coming together to work on a project that is designed to teach them about both DNA in science and subject-verb agreement in English.
Mr. Bixler’s English class and Mrs. Collier’s Biology class worked together to add to their depth of knowledge of subject-verb agreement and DNA in a PBL environment. The classes met together in the media center to work on a collaborative project that combined the classes and allow them to work together.
The goal of this PBL was to help students better understand how subjects and verbs pair together just like certain bases in a DNA strand always pair together.
“We think it’s important that students make connections between the different areas of curriculum,” said Mr. Bixler.
The first day students learned lessons on understanding nitrogen bases in DNA and subject verb agreement.
The next day students worked in groups as they solved clues to piece together parts of sentences and then bind the pieces together with a verb. This mirrors how bases in DNA bind together.
“We went through the basics of DNA and how it’s put together and then Mr. Bixler talked about English and the subject-verb agreement,” said Mrs. Collier.
Through a project like this, students are able to develop many new life skills that will help them going forward in their time at CWHS and the rest of their life. Students learn to work together to achieve a goal with individuals they might not have collaborated with otherwise. Students also learn to problem solve and connect curriculum they may not have realized was related before.
One of the main learning objectives in the project was to have students branch out beyond what they are normally comfortable with and think outside the box.
“The overall objective, I think for us, was for students to be engaged and to be drawing connections between different parts of their lives. I think a lot of the times we separate ourselves too much,” said Mr. Bixler.
In addition to being a PBL activity this project also heavily hits on the four C’s of STEM (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical thinking). Students had to utilize critical thinking and creativity to put together their DNA sentences and solve clues. Additionally students also needed communication and collaboration while working together in groups.
The project went very well as students had fun in a new learning environment and were able to have a better understanding of how different curriculums connect. Mrs. Collier and Mr. Bixler have plans to further expand this new collaboration in the future and it is sure to be a success for years to come.