Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Travel to Mexico and Back in a Class Period

Photo by L. Lafond
Sixth grade students in Mr. Quezada's classes recently took a bus tour of Mexico City, Mexico while studying Latin America.  They started off sitting in seats on his "bus" in the library while he showed a power point and audio that pointed out different features around them in the city.  Once they came to their first "stop" students were allowed to get off the bus and had an assignment using Google Earth.  They had to travel from Deerpark Middle School to La Plaza de las Tres Culturas, where they had to answer questions about what they saw in a drawing.  When they were done, they were allowed to examine the street view of the Plaza and see what it would look like if they were actually in Mexico City.  The next day of the bus tour took them to La Basilica de Guadalupe where they were able to get off the bus and explore their surroundings.  Check out a video of what they saw.  

LA EMBAJADORA RONDALLA DEL AMOR DE SALTILLO. "Con Tu Amor Por Siempre." Royalty Free Music Downloads - Jamendo. Web. 26 Oct. 2011. .

Engineering, Robotics and Food

Deerpark is on it's third year for our robotics program, and we have two amazing teams this year.  In the fall, teams compete in the First Lego League Tournament where they are judged in three categories, Robot Design/Programming, Core Values/Teamwork, and a research project presentation.  This year's theme is Food Factor and our teams have been working hard contacting chemistry teachers from McNeil High School, researching the production of coffee and alternative ways to keep it fresh, building two extraordinary robots entirely out of Lego pieces, and figuring out the trials and triumphs of working together in large groups.  In November, 160 teams come together through various qualifying tournaments to show off and celebrate all of the hard work that they have done.  Teams who perform well in all three of the categories will move on to the championship tournament in January.

Robotics isn't for everyone, it takes up a great deal of time, students must be passing all of their classes, and they have to be able to work cooperatively with other students.
Students work on team building to learn how to work as a team better. 
John is working on the team's research project
Rachel works on her program to pick up Pizza and Ice Cream off of the  competition mat.
Rachel's Flow Chart for her program

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Virtual Tutorials

Have you ever gotten home and started working on your homework and then thought, "What did my teacher say about this assignment?"  Mrs. Engelke has started solving this problem by having virtual tutorials using her online course in a program called Moodle!  Mrs. Engelke sets up a time with her students that she will be online.   Students can log in to her Moodle course using a computer from home or a smartphone and ask her questions just like a face to face tutoring session.    It's also beneficial for students who can't always stay after class or come after school to ask questions because of prior engagements.  
Example of one of the tutorial sessions

Mrs. Engelke has come a long way in her trek to become a 21st Century Educator over the past few years and we are very proud of the great things she is doing for our students at Deerpark!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Beyond Blackboards

Mr. Nissim is one of Deerpark's new 7th grade math teachers, and he is paving the way for Deerpark to move into the 21st Century using his Smartboard when he teaches.  While other teachers may use a dry erase marker on a white board for notes, Mr. Nissim takes in interactive approach to taking notes in math class.  Students don't sit behind their desks as active listeners, they are in front of the class as active participants!  

The interactive Smartboard is like a white board, only better!  It is hooked up to his computer and displays what is on his computer screen.  Instead of using dry erase markers, students use special pens that "write" on the screen.  The image, letters, numbers etc, that they write can then be saved onto the computer for later use.  

After taking the notes during class, Mr. Nissim places screen shots of them on his webpage for Unit Help!  Here's and example to the left.    Students are seeing the same notes they saw when they took them in class!

Each of our 7th and 8th grade math teachers has an interactive white board and Mr. Nissim will be giving a lesson on how to better utilize Smartboards in math this week!

To learn more about Mr. Nissim's 7th Grade Math class, visit his website.