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Allowing you to be "the fly on the wall" and experience the Overview, Operations, and Outcomes in Rm 63

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

TECHnically Movtivating


I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with 6th gade classes classes this year teaching Technology. This class has been a tremendous learning opportunity and has allowed for us to explore technology in many various ways.  On recent way we utilized technology was by working to create motivational posters to challenge students in various ways do either do their best, act kind, or be a positive role model for others.   


Students began by brainstorming ways they wanted to challenge their Hinsdale peers to improve.  The students worked to an action or idea that reflected positive behavior and then created a title and saying for their own personal motivational poster they would create.

 The students then created photo opportunities to illustrate the particular behavior they wanted to address, and used a digital camera to take photos of that behavior.  After taking photos, students uploaded them and utilized Big Huge Labs to create a personalized motivational poster.  


 These posters are now displayed through the halls of the school and are encouraging all who see them in the building to work on improving their actions and character. They serve as a constant motivational reminder to others and are a great example of something technologically simple that can have a tremendous impact.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Presidency


Government class was able to learn and experience the Presidency in a new and interesting fashion this year. Students were given the chance to share their democratic voice in multiple ways. They had the opportunity to create a presidential candidate, learn and discuss various political issues, focus on the power of the presidential position and how to use that power to create change, and ultimately students were able to cast a vote.


Student worked together to brainstorm the traits they believed would make a great president. They focused on everything from upbringing and family, to education and work experience. The assignment was then to create a fictitious person who would represent these qualities and traits the students wanted a candidate to posses. They worked collaboratively to write a resume for their candidate, identify major party issues as well as the position their candidate would take on them, and put forth an agenda and platform that their candidate would work towards accomplishing should they be elected.

An life like outline of their candidate was then created and students filled in the space with all the information they had collected. This made it possible for students from other classes to have an opportunity to get to know both candidates.

Then on Election Day as classes were held students were given the chance to vote for one of the two candidates.


This activity enabled students to see the person behind the position. It was amazing to see and hear how serious they were when it came to construction their fictitious candidates. They focused on so many aspects of their personality and character and conveyed how these traits would enable their candidate to be effective in the position.

Another outcome was the way they wrestled with resolving who to vote for. Both of the candidates certainly leaned in opposite directions, but the specific issues and the powers they would use to promote them caused many students to be wary of who their vote would support.

Ultimately, this activity allowed students to feel the democratic process, see the impact of decisions, and realize the power of the position in a way they would never have been able to through a flat text.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A New Beginning


We are starting the 2011-2012 with a focus that combines technology and resources. Our goal as a classroom is to limit our consumption of non-renewable resources and utilize the technological and digital components at our disposal to move towards a paperless classroom environment. We recognize and realize that this journey and transition will not be as simple as we would like, but we are determined to minimize our educational environmental impact as much as is within our control to do so.


So how exactly are we attempting to do this? First we have been able to create student email accounts for all the students in our 11th and 12th grade classes. Class notes, outlines, activities, and projects are distributed through email attachments. Second, traditional assessment is taking place using response systems such as Google forms and Dropbox. Third, we are editing and storing using devices and/or Google docs.


This type of distribution, assessment, and storage eliminates the excess photocopying and allows students to be more organized with class material. Losing an assignment or having it end up in the trash does not occur since a digital copy is always be readily available, and record keeping is easier and streamlined.

The main challenge that we are facing is the accessibility to wireless carts, net-books, and the computer lab which are not always available for use. Since the district has many resources at their disposable I believe this presents a good challenge because it reflects the fact that many teachers are continuing to integrate technology. If this continues we will have to wait and see what the future may hold, maybe a 1 to 1 program down the road? For now however we will remain steadfast in our approach to limit consumption and move towards being paperless.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

End of Year "Student Choice"


Students were given the opportunity to work individually or in groups to create any type of project they desired, using any type of technology they wanted to. There were no specific tools or design elements that need to be used. The only criteria was that their finished product related to historical events that took place in the 20th Century.


Students decided whether they would work together or alone, and discussed what historical event they wanted to complete their project on. While discussing the technology mediums that would and could be used there was a few individuals who ended up switching groups or working alone. This was very interesting as the decisions were based on the tech tools more than the content. Students then had one week to complete their various projects to be displayed to the class on the last day of school.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Project 49

The Hinsdale Central School Sr. class started the 2010-2011 school year questioning school spirit, participation, and what they felt was a negative reputation forming around many classes. They purposed that they would work to change as many of these things as they could, and wanted to leave behind something tangible that would encourage students who followed them to take Pride in who they were, and where they came from. The class brainstormed ideas and Project 49 was born.

Students decided they wanted to paint a mural of the school in Room #49. This is the room that is dedicated to Study Halls throughout the day and is frequently visited by all members of the student body. The desire was to keep it a secret and reveal the mural during an assembly that would focus on having pride about yourself and your school. At the completion of the painting the Sr. class inscribed their names in bricks that make up the school, laying the foundation for the classes that would come behind.

Day 1 -

Day 2 -

Day 3-

Day 4 -

As Project 49 gained momentum it turned into a project that extended beyond just the current Sr. class painting a mural. The assembly enabled the current seniors to take turns reflecting about their school career as they shared "Proud Moments" about academic, athletic and community involvement. These moments were opportunities or them to share about something that made them proud to be part of the Hinsdale family. After these Proud Moments Sr. class member Troy Hillman challenged the students to be proud of where they come from and put forth their best in whatever they do in life. He told then that in order to make a change they first need to be the change.

A band was brought in to perform at the assembly. It consisted of three members of the 2010 graduating class and a current senior. They performed "Chain of Pride", a song written by the Civics/Government class that tells the story of the challenges faced by an incoming student and how he was encouraged to always do his best and help those who come behind.

As I begin to walk these halls for the first time in my life, I feel scared and out of place it just didn't seem right.

Then a Senior took my arm and looked me in the eyes, He told me not to be afraid and gave me some advice.

Reach out to those around you and forget what others think, If you try to stand alone all you is sink

Let me share my father's words to me when I was in your shoes, "Others will always see your best when you take Pride in what you do"

I told him I was grateful for those words he spoke to me, When I said I felt I owed him, he just answered quielty

You don't owe me anything I've been there too, Someone once helped me out the way I'm helping you. You relly wanna pay me back? Here's what you can do, dont let the Chain of Pride end with you.

Everything soon became easy I guess I had nothing to fear, No matter where I stop to look Somone was always near,

I wathced so many leave this place they left their mark behind, As this happened year to year these thoughts came to mind,

You don't owe me anything I've been there too, Someone once helped me out the way I'm helping you. You relly wanna pay me back? Here's what you can do, dont let the Chain of Pride end with you.

As I walk across this stage dresseed in my cap and gown, Been thinking bout the past few years ready to leave this town,

Saying goodbye to all my friends Won'dring what to pass along, Bobcat Pride comes to my mind and the lyrics in this song.

As the band performed the song the following slide show of the painting project was played on the big screen revealing Project 49 to all those in attendance.

The assembly was also the time that the additional aspects of this project were shared. Room #49 not only has a mural, but would also be receiving additional updates on a yearly basis. A Chain of Pride will be painted with a new link being added every June. This will be a time when the outgoing Sr.'s and the incoming Sr.'s (current Jr.'s) will together add a link to chain and the new Sr. class will inscribe their names pledging to not the let the chain end with them.

What started with some simple questions and desire, turned into an event that created excitement and energy throughout the entire school. Project 49 will hopefully leave a legacy that will be remembered for years by those who come behind...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Writing on the Wall


The Spring 2011 Government class took some time to explore the Constitutional Convention in a 21st Century way. Utilizing students created Face book style pages of particular members of the Constitutional Convention. This was a simple activity to gather information, incorporate technology, and do some simplistic writing.


Students researched individuals who attended the Constitutional Convention. They gathered information about their age, education, family, and additional information and then constructed a profile of the individuals. Students were encouraged to be creative with their comments and posts, and kept a good balance between humorous and serious.


Here are links to some of the walls that were created during our study of the Constitutional Convention.

William Livingston

Richard Bassett

Luther Martin

Gouverner Morris

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Different Way to Write


Our focus for U.S. History class for the past two weeks has been writing. In an attempt to increase creativity, incorporate technology, and infuse history we have turned our attention to YouTube and to This assignment was to focus on the creative elements of writing and inferring.


Students examined primary source document to gain background information, and then were given net books and instructed to watch the following clip from YouTube about the Battle of Wounded Knee. They were instructed to act as a newspaper reporter and prepare to write an article about what is taking place.

After watching the clip students then used the Fodey Newspaper Clip Generator to write a reflective piece to their audience. They were challenged to be descriptive in their writing and create meaning for their audience.


The student generated articles provided for a fun way to utilize simulation in a simple technology exercise that focused on writing. Below is just one example of the student pieces that resulted from this assignment.