Most of the students and I have PCs and internet connectivity at home, therefore, classroom efforts were supported in large part by technology in the home. Additionally, at school we had use of 2-iMacs in our portable classroom and the 24-station iMac computer lab in the main building of the school (which is NOT connected to the internet).
Our greatest challenges for technology "in the classroom" are:
Still, we persevere...
The election process provided a unique learning experience. Many teachable moments occurred, with students critically examining their role and responsibilities as citizens of the United States. Throughout the school year students wrote the mayor of Amityville, their Congressional leaders, President Bush and Senator Clinton. I’m happy to report that my students received replies from all of our political leaders.
Literature is another area students explored throughout the school year. Our first quarter theme of “Heroic Adventures" provided them with action packed stories as well as books with characters who exhibited bravery and courage. Throughout the year students read a variety of novels, made dioramas of their books and made word banks of challenging words.
The first week in March 2001 marked our fifth annual World’s Fair Program. The students in my Social Studies classes were student ambassadors for countries in the Eastern hemisphere. They worked on this project, beginning in December by writing to the foreign embassy of their chosen country. During January and February, students researched their countries, wrote reports, designed and made brochures, organized their information and materials on project boards, found recipes of native dishes, and rehearsed their presentations. The event was a huge success! Students in grades 6-8 visited each booth, sampled food, gained important information and had a wonderful time!
We also visited Washington D.C. March 14-16, 2001. This has become an annual trip for our sixth grade students. Students got a firsthand look at their government’s historical sites. They saw the buildings, built in the Greek style that adorn our nation's capital. We even saw President Bush in his limousine on the Capitol grounds! On our return trip to New York we also visited the Baltimore National Aquarium. This trip provided another valuable learning and writing experience. Students wrote and chronicled this trip as a part of their sixth grade experience.
In April we visited a well-known New York landmark, the Bronx Zoo! Here students actually saw some of the animals they researched for their Endangered Species Project. They participated in a scavenger hunt at the zoo and had an enjoyable day trip.
In April, 2001 I was notified that I had been selected for jury duty. I would have to serve for approximately 4 weeks, four days a week! This presented a dilemma, as those of you in the classroom know. How could I provide a good learning experience for my students without being in my classroom? The answer to this question was - technology, technology, technology!
I read an article in Family Computing Magazine, that explained how a Middle School in Fayetteville, North Carolina made a CD-Rom about their city. This year-long project had the students interviewing business people, politicians, and residents about their city. The result was a CD-Rom chronicling and extolling Fayetteville, North Carolina.
My students made a CD-Rom of our school, Edmund W. Miles Middle School. They interviewed everyone, from the principal to the custodians. The result is our Multimedia Project here on our site.
This year has been like many others, what teachers live for, the success and enthusiasm that children experience and display in the classroom.
I hope that you will enjoy your visit to our site. Entering the world of the middle school student enables you to appreciate their unique voice and opinions .
Click here to visit the 6th Grade Class of 2000-2001 website, and marvel at their exceptional work!