Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Good Stuff

One of the best parts of the month for me is compiling the monthly Principal's Report.  When I became the Principal at New Milford High School in 2007 I felt that it was extremely important to communicate with various stakeholders (parents, BOE members, Central Office, staff, etc.) all of the great things going on at the school.  Not only has this been a great source of information for the community, but it also helps keep me in the loop as it is impossible to be everywhere at once.  Social media now makes it even easier to get all of this exciting information out to my stakeholders via our Twitter account and Facebook page.  The following are some highlights from February:
  • My Media Specialist (Linda Keesing) and History Teacher (Joe Manzo) collaborated recently to integrate Web 2.0 technology into a U.S. History 1 class’s study of the Bill of Rights. They developed a project in which students created VoiceThreads to demonstrate their knowledge. VoiceThreads are comments constructed around an image. Students, working in pairs, selected a recent event in the United States that had some direct application to the Bill of Rights. The teachers’ goal was for students to show the relevance of the Bill of Rights to their chosen event by citing a Supreme Court case and giving their own opinions about the matter. Students conducted research, wrote scripts, practiced reading their scripts, and then recorded them. For this project, students used MacBooks to record their audio comments. Students also were able to record additional comments on their classmates’ VoiceThreads. This web tool is highly interactive. Additionally, not only does it engage students, but also it gives students the opportunity to practice their writing and speaking skills. To learn more about VoiceThread visit http://voicethread.com/
  • Using the "New and Improved" Mac Lab in room 106, my graphics teacher (Walt Pevny) has been collaborating with the Social Studies Department by helping them create Facebook pages for historical figures. Mr. Pevny's students became the teachers, guiding Mr. Wilson, Ms. Perna and Ms. Milan's students as they collected their information and stored it in a Google Document. "This was a great experience for both parties," said Mr. Pevny. Not only did the social studies students benefit from a different style of learning, Mr. Pevny's students learned what it was like to be the teacher. "Students retain more than 90% of what they learn when they teach it to others," states Mr. Pevny. This was a great activity. Imagine 40 to 50 students working in a computer lab built for 30 and constant learning taking place over multiple disciplines. Next step...to do this over the network from computer lab to computer lab. Ms. Perna developed the Facebook template that was used while Mr. Pevny imported it into Adobe InDesign for class use.
How do you learn about and/or communicate the "good stuff" in your districts?


  1. Love that your students are using VT in history class! Any examples to share?

    Sounds like magic is happening in your Mac lab too! Nothing better than students actively engaged and teaching themselves, as well as others!

    Thoroughly enjoy following you on Twitter! Keep up the great work! You re the real the deal!

  2. I love this concept of a monthly report of the positive things happening at your school site. I am also excited to see multiple disciplines working together to increase interest in learning.

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