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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…)
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…)
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…)
Students on Film (in order of appearance): Charlotte Wood, Jenny Deveaux, Joey Smith, Amanda Christie, Josh Loveridge, Gabe Brower, Janelle Carmichael, VI Form
Video Oral Arguments: Literature on Trial
Editor’s Note: This is a highlight reel from Ms. Matthews’ Literature on Trial class (2016 VI Form fall semester English). The course is divided into two sections. In the first half, the focus is on trials, plaintiffs, prosecutors and defendants, reading works of literature and brainstorming criminal or civil wrongs committed by characters in the text. Students work in trial groups to gather evidence, prepare witnesses, and put on their best case. The second half consists of appellate work where students focus on the after effects of a trial, reviewing lower court records for Constitutional issues, drafting briefs for appeal and preparing for a final oral argument.
By Coco Zephir, Head Librarian
The Future of Libraries and the St. Mark’s Library
Libraries are ever changing in both form and function. One aspect currently at the center of library innovation is user-experience (UX). UX focuses on meeting the needs of patrons to improve their experiences by making them more impactful and meaningful. UX is a reiterative process that involves constant conversation with your community. Libraries using UX are implementing human-centered design, or design thinking, to better understand their patron base. Human-centered design, “focuses on defining and then resolving concerns by paying attention to the needs, aspirations, and wishes of people” (Peet 2016). (more…)