Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday March 28


I hope everyone has recovered from the snow. We have been very busy here in A212, I wanted to recap a few things and go over some date changes.

First off, the last two weeks have been MCAS central around here. I have to say how very proud I am of the effort my students put forth on the test. They really utilized their time and really took it seriously- bravo to you parents and guardians, you should be proud as well!

Yesterday we had the pleasure of going on a field trip with the entire team. We saw an awesome 3D Movie on the Galapagos Islands at the Imax and then had a delicious lunch (where we got to view more exotic animals) at the Rainforest Cafe.  The students were extremely well behaved, especially given the fact that we had over 90 students together in the restaurant, again you should be proud of your student and their excellent behavior, they represented their families and the school very well.

Next week we are back to normal in terms of Coursepacks and projects. I have moved a few due dates around to hopefully give students more time. I split the Rome Courespack (at the request of the students) into smaller chunks. The first chunk was due today. The second part will be due Friday, April 12th (before vacation). The third part will be due Friday April 26th and count towards 3rd term. I have also moved their project due dates to third term, also to be counted towards 3rd term.

As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Have a great weekend,

Ms. Miller

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4th

Hello! My apologies for not updating since the New Year- we have been busy in A212. I find it hard to believe we are halfway through the year, I feel as though we just started!

We are about halfway through our unit on Ancient Greece. Students have been working hard on projects centering around the Trojan War, Greek homes, the Olympics, and many other topics. Some students have been writing myths and others have been creating posters and writing research reports.

Last week in class: Students watched CNN student news, had a student news quiz and worked on projects related to the Week 4 lectures. Students also should have started their 7th Mastery Test.

This week in class: We are going to be picking new projects for the week, Yankee Swap style. We are also going to be setting our Term 3 goals today. Students are going to be asked to reflect on what they have been doing well in history class, and what they can improve on for this term. They are then going to come up with three concrete goals and the ways in which they are going to achieve them. They will also be thinking of how I can help them, as well as their friends and family. If you have a chance tonight please ask your student to share their goals with you. With both in-school and at-home support it is my hope that students will feel supported and meet success in accomplishing these goals.

Parent/teacher conferences will be on Wednesday from 2:30-4:30, I look forward to seeing many of you there! As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday January 4, 2012

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season. I know I was glad for the chance to recharge my batteries and catch up on some grading. Speaking of grading, I am working my way through the projects that the students handed in for Egypt. They are fantastic so far, however there are 400 in total, so I am doing my best to get them done as quickly as possible, they will be completed by next Friday.

In class this week: It was a short week and we had had some problems with lectures for the New Kingdom, so we watched an in-class film that covered those Pharaohs. I was very impressed with the knowledge that the kids pulled from it, they really got into the "human side" of the story, which I always like to see. If you get a chance ask them about Amenhotep IV's tragedy or why Queen Nefertiti was different from other queens.

I changed Mastery Test 5 for the students and decided to give them a chance to write their own test question. I usually don't do this until the unit on Rome, but students really seemed to get into Egypt so I thought we would give it a try. Students wrote their questions in class today and will be answering them over the course of the next week. I will be available after school on Tuesday and Wednesday next week if students need help outlining their answers.

Next week: We are starting Ancient Greece! I've very excited as this is usually my student's favorite unit. The ENTIRE unit is up and available on Schoology, which I'm especially pleased about since we've had some technical issues in the past. I will be handing out Coursepacks on Monday, but if students wish they may get a head start this weekend. Some of the sound quality in the videos is a bit fuzzy, I'm doing the best I can with the equipment I've been provided, if students had trouble understanding something I'll be happy to clarify it in class. Overall the notes are fine, its just on some of the videos that I show within the lectures. Those video clips are more for students to visualize things any way so they are not really missing if they can't hear what is going on. I am working to fix this (as I got a new microphone from the tech department) and will repost video lectures as I alter them.

Have a wonderful weekend, I am excited to embark on a journey to Ancient Greece with students next week!

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 03


It was wonderful meeting many of you at Parent Teacher Conferences last week. It is always a pleasure to meet the support system behind my students. Thank you for all you do for them every day!

I should probably rename this blog, "Chats" as Fridays never seem to be long enough to write one then. At any rate, I haven't updated in a while so I thought I would let you know what's been going on in history class.

In class: Students are working on 4 projects between now and winter break. They have a Choice Board that they are using. There are a total of 9 project options, they are picking 4. They have all the rubrics for each of the projects in advance, when they finish one project they move on to another.

We are studying Ancient Egypt this term so we are also viewing several films in class. This week we will be watching Egyptian Secrets of the Afterlife. It is a National Geographic film depicting the Pharaoh's journey to the underworld as well as expert archaeologists taking us to current "digs' in Ancient Egypt. If you have Netflix and would like to view it as well it is available on there.

Some other things they may have told you about class: I've been experimenting with music in class. Many studies show that soft classical or instrumental music can help students focus. I have been playing Vince Giraldi (the man who created the music for Charlie Brown) softly while students work on their projects. I have seen an enormous success with this. Overall it has kept the volume level of class down, and I've noticed without the awkward silence students are able to focus and start their work. As a test one day last week I did not use music and I saw an increase in volume, extraneous conversations and found myself having to redirect students more than usual. If your student struggles to focus on homework at home, this may be something you want to try with them.

BYOD: A few classes have been doing a "test run" of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) more information and permission slips about this will be going home later this week. Not every class is doing it this term, I will implement it in classes based on maturity, responsibility and cooperation being displayed on a daily basis. My goal is that by the end of the year all classes will have BYOD.

Last week's projects looked great, please encourage your student to use their creativity and enthusiasm, it makes for better, more interesting projects!

At home: Students should continue working on Schoology Lectures. This term there are 4 per week, however they are shorter than usual (around 5 minutes) so the time spent on them shouldn't be more than last term.

December 21st is a big "due date" for us. The Schoology lectures and coursepacks are due that day. Also they must turn in their in class projects. This is the 1/2 day before break so I will be taking the projects home over the break to correct.

There are only 3 Mastery Tests this term, students should have already taken Mastery Test 4.

As always please let me know if there are any questions, comments, or concerns.

Happy Monday (yes I just said that)!
Ms. Miller

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday November 2


I hope everyone made it through the hurricane with minimal damage. Since we had Monday off and a delayed opening Tuesday this week went a little differently than originally planned.

This week:
Tuesday we just reviewed Mesopotamia with those classes that I saw. Wednesday we started our "Bullying Lesson" which we concluded today. Each core subject area is required to teach one bullying lesson a year and this week was history's turn. We covered empathy and putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

A small change in our lecture schedule. I had technical difficulty with the lectures from Mesopotamia: Week 3. Students have been told that they do not need to watch those lectures and fill in those notes. Instead they are to watch two videos this weekend (they are cartoons that cover Mesopotamian history) and summarize them. Students were assigned this on Tuesday. Due to the change I did not post on Edline last week as I was unsure how I was going to solve the technical problem.

Next week:
Students will be watching lectures on Phoenicia and the Hebrews at home. They will then have a Mastery Test due no later than Monday evening at midnight.

In class we are going to learn about military empires, Phoenician legends, and finally in class on Friday we are going to have our "Mesopotamia Day" Students will be bringing in music, food, culture and clothing from ancient times. You will see a permission slip come home about that on Monday as well.

As always please let me know if you have any questions. Students are always welcome to approach me with concerns. Please remember also that because their grade in my class is "Mastery Based" it changes right up until the time that grade's close. I cannot give you an "average" for your student, I can only tell you what work they have completed. Please check in with me if you are ever concerned about their progress.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, enjoy the nice weather that's coming!

-Ms. Miller

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday October 5


I can't believe its Friday already, where are the weeks going? We just wrapped up our Early Man unit in class this week. We spent a day learning about a very unique culture the "Naciremas" (ask your student all about it)! We also tried our hand at Cave Painting. Students crawled into our "cave" and left their mark. We also watched the Flintstones and discussed the Old vs. New Stone Age.

Next week: Students will get new coursepacks with checklists for what is due. We are starting our unit on Ancient Mesopotamia. They also received their projects in class today so they should be filling out their "project proposal forms" this weekend if they didn't in class. Please have them check in with me if there is a problem with this, however we should be good to go on Tuesday. They may want to bounce ideas off of you, the project they design should be something they can complete in class in three days.

Progress reports went home today- they are always difficult for my class as we don't really have a "grade." I just put if they completed the first Mastery Test or not and how many lectures they completed online. Remember they may still turn in anything to me, they just need to have it done by the end of the term.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and as always let me know if there are any questions or concerns!

Happy Friday!

Our Cave Painting:

Our "Cave":


Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday September 28

Hello all!

You're student may have told you I was out sick Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Luckily with the flipped classroom they don't miss any content when this happens, but it is still disappointing to not see the students each day! I am back today though and we had some great Critical Reading discussions!

This week: They listened to three lecture videos on Early Man and we learned about some early developments (such as the ability to make fire). We read an article about a new fossil find that is changing the whole way scientists think about Early Man. We also watched the News and saw a NOVA program about famous fossil finds. Students should have submitted, or will submit their first Mastery Test to me this weekend.

Next week: We will continue to study Early Man. We will be comparing the Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras (The Old vs. New Stone Age). We will watch an episode of the Flintstones and categorize things in the episode by which Stone Age they really would have belonged in (or if they wouldn't have been there at all). We are also going to try our hand at "Cave Painting" and look at some famous examples. Finally we are going to study a very "foreign" culture and learn to be culturally aware. At the end of the week they will get their first project assignment, and we will begin our in-class projects when we come back from Columbus Day weekend.

Students should complete their second Mastery Test before next Friday so please encourage them to begin working on things this weekend.

As always feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Stay out of the rain!

-Ms. Miller