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Tag Archives: Innovation
By Izzy Kim, VI Form
Penny the Penguin: Parents’ Best Helper!
This summer, I attended a tech + business program at MIT called LaunchX, formerly
known as MIT Launch. I was admitted as a “hacker,” with my specialities in app development and virtual reality. The ultimate goal of the camp was to create a start-up and pitch the business idea in four weeks. I worked with three other students and together we co-founded Ami. Ami has an ambitious vision of “keeping kids happy and healthy,” and we are taking a first shot at our vision with our pilot product Penny the Penguin. On the outside, Penny might seem like any other penguin plush. Yet, Penny is a kid’s best buddy and the parent’s best helper: Penny can speak parent-crafted messages through a phone-connected bluetooth speaker. Through these messages, children will adopt healthy habits, and parents will find parenting less of a difficulty and more of a joy. Busy parents who accidentally forget to remind kids to “brush their teeth” or “wash their hands” can simply set up a reminder on our accompanying app to have a message played specific times. We tested our products on families living in the greater Boston (more…)
By Samantha Sarafin, VI Form
ASL Sign Language to Popular Songs
In the spring term of St. Mark’s Saturdays, I created and taught this course: “In this course you will learn and practice the foundational elements of American Sign Language, from alphabet-based finger-spelling to more specific signs in vocabulary units. You will learn essential questions and phrases to communicate effectively in ASL and engage with various activities to practice ASL with your peers. You will also learn the history and social contexts of American Sign Language to develop an appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the deaf community.”
I designed the final project to be a video performance of an ASL song cover. Each student
found resources and learned the signs to perform one whole song in ASL. Students spent time in and out of class working on the project and presented their videos in the final class. The goals of the assignment were to learn ASL vocabulary, understand how to sign songs, understand ASL word order, and practice sign fluency. This video is a compilation of each of the covers created by the students.
By Keely Dion, Cooper Sarafin, Dylan Sotir, & Charlotte Wood, VI Form and Reevie Fenstermacher, IV Form
The School of Athens’ Tableau Vivant . . . & Memes!
Χαιρετε! Over the course of this school year, we, the Greek II class have put together our Classics Diploma Project, an analysis and celebration of Raphael’s The School of Athens. Our inspiration for this project came from many different places. In class, we’ve read the works of great Greek writers, such as Aristophanes, Plato, and Xenophon, three authors who present different accounts of Socrates’ life. Charlotte Wood, one of the students in the class, had traveled to Rome in the summer of 2015, and while she was there she saw Raphael’s Rooms in The Vatican. She was awestruck by the scale, perfection, and beauty of each work, The School of Athens in particular. She then began studying the work in Art History, and her love for it grew. Once the class started learning about Plato and Aristotle, she shared her enthusiasm for the painting, and the class appreciated the work as much as she did. We then decided to frame the project around Raphael’s awe-inspiring masterpiece.
By Ms. Casey Pickett’s III Formers
20% Time (Genius Hour) With Freshmen: Civic Action
Editor’s Note: In Ms. Casey Pickett’s III Form English classes, her students pursue 20% Time (or “Genius Hour”) projects. Below are Ms. Pickett’s instructions, a student’s reflection, and several artifacts from the experience. Please keep scrolling!
The purpose of the project is to give you time to pursue something that you are passionate about, interested in, or something you’ve always wanted to do. It is a time for you to be creative and to take ownership of your learning AND your education. If it is important to you, it has value.
What does it mean to be a citizen (global, local, digital)?
What are civics? Why is it important that we are civically engaged?
How can I be a voice for and/or create social change?
A Reflection by Paige LaMalva
As a student, I feel as though there isn’t enough time after academics and athletics to pursue something a student is interested in. At a school like St. Mark’s, for example, we are in class from 8:30am-3:00 pm and then at sports from 3:30-5:00 pm, which is followed by a short period of time to relax before study hall at 7:30 pm. With the 20% Time project, my fellow classmates and I were permitted to explore a topic of our interest. For me, I chose to research pancreatic cancer. Without the 45-minute block per week working on this, I wouldn’t have learned why pancreatic cancer is called “The Silent Cancer.” (more…)
By John Camp, English Department Head
Redesigning Learning Spaces & Flexible Seating
As difficult as it may sometimes be to relinquish the manacles of some tradition(s) in education, I have focused on a main mantra when considering change: what is best for students and learning. Thus, driven by this guiding principle and my teaching methods, I decided to pursue a critical trend in 21st-century teaching and learning: the importance of space, flexible seating, and classroom design. The rub, however, was my particular classroom; since I arrived at St. Mark’s in 2008, I have been fortunate to teach in Room 8/Room 136, which historically had been the “Sixth Form Room” until 1995 (read the partner piece to this article on the history of this room here). Hence, making changes to the “seminar” classroom would be bold, as the beginning move would be removing the large, classic seminar classroom table that has been a fixture since 1995. When I teach, I do not often lecture (if at all), and while seminar-esque discussion is a crucial element of my classes, it certainly is not the only element. In all of my classes (VI Form electives “Getting LOST,” “Getting LOST II: The Writers’ Room,” “Rebels with a Cause,” and V Form English class “Books Without Borders”), students work in small and medium groups, write on their own, present to the class, do activities that include movement and interaction, utilize media, collaborate on writing and projects, watch videos/films, brainstorm and note take on the whiteboards, and conference one-on-one with me (see images below for most of these activities in action!). The large oval table was not conducive to quality student learning in these endeavors. My first stop en route to change was John Warren. (more…)