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Deep Work in Practice at St. Mark’s (Part 3)

By Dr. Colleen Worrell, Director of The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Deep Work in Practice at St. Mark’s (Part 3)

Deep Work is a skill that the Center is hoping to build into each student’s “learning playbook.” The first two LEO articles (Make Deep Work Your Super Powerand Productivity, Neuroscience, & Deliberate Practice) aimed to introduce the term and core concepts to the St. Mark’s community. This third article focuses on deep work from the perspective of two St. Markers, 6th Former Sophie Haugen, and Classics teacher, Dr. Harwood. Each of them responded to the following questions:

  • What are some ways that you deliberately practice deep work at (or beyond) St. Mark’s?
  • What is the value of deep work?
  • What recommendations do you have for St. Marker’s who’d like get started with deep work?

Sophie Haugen, 6th Former:

I am not an expert on “doing” deep work, but I do try to practice it and I have learned about its importance, especially as a student at St. Mark’s where our schedules and lives are extremely packed and do not easily enable us to practice deep work all the time. Last year, I fell into a multi-month-long rut of frustration and lack of satisfaction from everything I was doing in my academic courses. I was putting in excessive time and what I perceived to be effort and hardwork but was not seeing the results in my grades or my actual understanding/engagement with the material. (more…)

Self-Paced Learning in Latin III and III Honors

By Jeanna Cook and Dr. Heather Harwood, Classics Faculty

Self- Paced Learning in Latin III and III Honors

The Classics Department is trying something new this year: self-paced learning. We kicked off this departmental goal almost accidentally as we planned for separate courses in separate places this past summer. Dr. Heather Harwood was working on revamping the Latin III Honors course to better support students who continue with the language in Advanced Latin Readings thereafter. Jeanna Cook was looking for a way to restructure the Latin III course to better serve incoming students who place into Latin III. In our first department meeting of the year, we realized that we were attempting to solve different problems, but that we had designed curricula that pulled from the same methodology. Self-paced learning, assisted by the module structure in our LMS, Canvas, offered a common means by which we hoped that we could achieve our individual course goals. (more…)

How the Adolescent Brain Works: In Annotated Diagrams

By Hannah Hassara, Katherine Gao, Kennedy Petties, Ryan Yang, Mary Flathers, Nathan Laudani, Cecily Bradley, David Ragone, Caitlin Lochhead, Teresa Meyer, and Steven Sinchi, V Form

How the Adolescent Brain Works: In Annotated Diagrams


Editor’s Note:
In the culminating assignment of the Biology 30 unit on Learning and the Brain, the students created Annotated Diagrams of their brains and how their brains learn new information. An Annotated Diagram is a formal sketchnote that aims to demonstrate understanding of the information by demonstrating how the information was processed. The following question was posed: “How might the fact that you are an adolescent help you craft learning strategies that work for you and are effective?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll down for large images of the Annotated Diagrams. (more…)

Constructing a Flowchart in Biology

By Amy Wang, V Form

Constructing a Flowchart in Biology

Editor’s Note: The following description of the assignment provided by Ms. Kimberly Berndt, STEM Faculty–

It can be challenging to understand the complex physiological mechanisms and pathways we explore in Biology.  One effective strategy to synthesize, organize, and review information is through visual thinking.  We employ visual thinking in a number of ways.  In this assignment, students were charged with constructing a flowchart to illustrate their current understanding of how carbohydrates are metabolized.

An effective flowchart takes a complex process and simplifies it in a manner that makes the information more accessible.  Flowcharts can be found in many Biology textbooks for this reason.   However, the process of constructing a flowchart can be an even more effective tool for learning.  Constructing a flowchart requires multiple intellectual tasks. (more…)

20% Time (Genius Hour) With Freshmen: Civic Action

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! 

Purpose:

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.

Essential Questions:

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?

Please click here for the full assignment explanation.

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…)

Redesigning Learning Spaces & Flexible Seating

By John Camp, English Department Head

Redesigning Learning Spaces & Flexible Seating

from The Space: A Guide for Educators (Hare & Dillon, 2016)

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…)