Joan Nyland asked her students to create short iMovie films to review their unit on Ancient China. The videos included words and pictures representing a variety of major features of each dynasty and cultural aspect they had studied. The resulting videos were fabulous! Not only did the students enjoy reviewing the material, they provided ready-made visual study guides for their classmates. And Joan was able to quickly assess whether the students had actually absorbed the material during the unit.
Patty Gorman and Beverly Kiesel collaborated on digital projects for the 9th grade Integrated Book Project that helped create a multi-media experience for the students and staff who attended the Book Blessing in January. For instance, students videoed an interview an elderly female relative or family friend and created a QR code for the video that was included in the book. They also created photo essays about homelessness and Weebly websites about strong women in the Bible.
Mike Bedney has been busily working with the Tech Club to explore wearable technology, lego robotics and coding. He also began teaching Introduction to Computer Science this semester, and is currently exploring app creation with his class.
Inspired by the discussion during our January TechBreak, Sara Salvi has been offering her students a "genius hour" (not quite an hour, but close!) once per week to work on anything they wish.
Mike Bedney and Ian Park are actively recruiting freshmen for SMA’s second trip to the Cyber Discovery Camp at PSU this summer. It will be exciting to see how the students perform this year!
Maria Fleming has continued exploring eDesign projects with her Social Justice classes this year, and to her great satisfaction, reports that students were brilliant at finding the right tools for their needs. Some created Weebly web sites and Flowboards, while others chose to use more concrete presentation tools. Either way, Maria discovered that the best option was giving students the choice to work with the tool that best suited their abilities and needs. The resulting projects blew her away.
Anne Hainley harnessed Google Forms to collect data on student independent reading patterns in her English 10 classes. This was an excellent example of how technology can help teachers perform quick assessments and gather meaningful data to guide their planning.
The World Languages Department is exploring unique ways for students to engage in conversations outside the classroom through Twitter, Voxer, and other audio or social media tools.
Ellie Gilbert, Patty Gorman, Carrie Yerton, Alyssa Tormala, and Mike Bedney, along with several other teachers, are running paperless or near-paperless classes by harnessing the powers of Schoology and other tools for assessment, feedback, and information sharing. A bunch more have experimented with formative assessments using Kahoot, Socrative, and SurveyMonkey.
Anne Hagge and Amy Romm in our Counseling Center have created a Schoology resource group for students to access information and communicate with each other more easily about their academic and social experiences at SMA.
SMA’s librarian Cindy Daniels has been creating short instructional videos using Tellagami and GoAnimate to help students with frequently asked research and location questions. She plans to post QR code links for the videos around the SMA Library so students can access them anytime.
Matt Vannelli, Ben Peterson and Alyssa Tormala have been collaborating on a new Media Communications class (formerly Journalism) that will offer a “new media” approach to introducing the fundamentals of interviewing, writing, producing, and editing for online environments.
Of course, this is just a sampling of all the great work that is happening. And the benefits? Teachers report that students are getting more organized, taking more responsibility for tracking their work, and finding faster, more productive ways to show what they know.
Ah, summer. The time for teachers to kick back and relax. Except for SMA superstars Mike Bedney and Ian Park.
Bedney and Park led a team of six SMA students at the CyberDiscovery Camp from July 7-12 at Portland State University. The week-long, overnight camp focused on exploring the challenges of national cyber-security and the ethics of robotics.
Throughout the week, Bedney and Park harnessed the power of social media to share the team's process and discoveries with their parents and the SMA community at large. Bedney kept a running feed going on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as emailing parents daily with details about their daughters' experiences.
The SMA team won first place, securing a prize of $1250 for SMA's Tech Club activities. The team was then featured in The Oregonian on July 18.
This success would not have happened if Bedney and Park had not contributed a full week of their summer to the experience. They demonstrated the commitment and passion that truly great teachers can offer. Rock on, gentlemen, rock on!
Welcome to the SMA Showcase
This page is dedicated to showcasing the innovative, creative work of teachers at St. Mary's Academy, an all-girls high school in downtown Portland, Oregon.
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."