The Rocket Flame

Senior Trip to Cedar Point

Outside+the+Kalahari+Resort+and+Hotel

Outside the Kalahari Resort and Hotel

The senior class traveled six hours to Sandusky, Ohio for one last hoorah together May 23 to 25. The Senior Class trip was voted on by the class and Kalahari Resort and Cedar Point Amusement Park was chosen.

 

The senior class officers, Abigail Mackling (12), Renee Sollenberger (12), Saige Eckard (12), Rachel Manikowski (12), and Madelyn Hissong (12) worked to plan the best trip they could with the help of their advisors, Mrs. Lynn Fleury-Adamek (Faculty) and Mr. Matthew Riegsecker (Faculty).

 

“It took a lot of collaboration between all of us,” Mackling said. “We had to represent the whole class, not just what we wanted.”

 

The trip began with departing from the school at 6:30 A.M. on Wednesday. After one stop the class arrived at Kalahari Resort around 12:00 P.M. The resort consisted of an indoor waterpark, outdoor waterpark, an arcade, and several restaurants from which to choose. There was plenty to do to keep busy.

 

“I really enjoyed the arcade,” Claire Alfree (12) said. “There was a lot to do in the arcade like laser tag, bowling, and games.”

 

On Wednesday the day was spent in the resort for time to enjoy the waterparks and other attractions. The resort even held a private pasta bar for the class as a free meal.

Lobby of Kalahari Resort and Hotel

 

Thursday, the class then traveled to Cedar Point Amusement Park and spent the day there. Cedar Point is known as, “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

 

“We thought Cedar Point would be a great place to go,” Sollenberger said. “The park is huge and there are plenty of rides for everyone, whether you like roller coasters or not.”

 

The park had many attractions, including restaurants, roller coasters, games, and animals.

 

“One of my favorite parts of Cedar Point was the petting zoo,” Caitlin Heise (12) said. “It was very hands on you could pet goats, sheep, llamas, and even ride horses.”

 

Thursday night and Friday morning were spent in the resort. After a long day at Cedar Point, the class was ready to head back to Kalahari to relax. Departure from Kalahari was at 3:00 P.M. Friday, and arrival back to the school was 9:00 P.M.

 

The class officers saw all their hard work pay off after the trip with positive feedback from the rest of the class.  

 

“Everyone seemed to love Cedar Point,” Mackling said. “People also liked how we didn’t have strict schedules and we could do whatever we wanted.”

 

After months of planning and four years of fundraising for the officers and advisors, the trip was finally complete.

 

“I personally believe the trip went really well,” Mackling said. “Everyone was just there for one last good time as a group.”

 

After one last time as a class the James Buchanan Class of 2018 is ready to graduate and open new chapters in their lives.

 

Breaking Out

Breaking+Out

Times are changing and with technology on the rise, students are becoming more and more tech-savvy. Teachers are innovating new ways to keep their students engaged in the classroom: gamification of the classroom, or using games to enhance student learning, has been getting very popular more recently.

 

A way teachers are gamifying their classrooms is by using digital breakouts. Teachers at James Buchanan have been beginning to use these for an entertaining way to review material. Mrs. Emily Poffenberger (Faculty), Ms. Kelley Reeder (Faculty), and Ms. Nicole Myers (Faculty), and Mrs. Erin Martin (Faculty) have all found their own ways to use digital breakouts.

 

This idea was inspired by escape rooms that can be found throughout the United States. A group of individuals are put into a room where they have to use clues to unlock puzzles and riddles to “escape.”

 

“I heard of them when the escape room started becoming a pretty big thing,” Myers said. “Once we had the idea of the Escape Room we started coming up with ways we could use them in the classroom.”

 

Digital breakouts have been created for education. Teachers can create their own or use ones they find online. These escape rooms have puzzles, riddles, and questions based on what their class may be learning.

 

Poffenberger, a Biology teacher, uses digital breakouts in her classroom to review material learned before a test.

 

“I use digital breakouts by having students solve different codes I have on a Google Form,” Poffenberger said. “They solve those codes using different resources that I make available to them. Some resources are embedded with links online, some are within resources I have handed them to help them unlock the different locks.”

 

The English Department used their digital breakout to prepare for the Keystone exam and media bias, using newspaper articles from the time of Jack the Ripper. In their final review of the unit, students had to go through a journey to prove their innocence to getting out of jail.

 

“They had to escape from being prosecuted by the people of Whitechapel, London. They had to convince the guard they were innocent, using persuasive appeals. Then they had to figure out the layout of the jail and how to get out of that,” Myers said. “They had to figure out different puzzles to then get on a boat, and codes to get into the governor’s house and convince him they are innocent.”

 

 

Students breakout of these situations by being able to complete questions they have already learned in class and using their brains for advanced thinking.

 

“We worked with the idea of author’s claim, author’s purpose, and author’s bias,” Myers said.

 

It is not easy to create your own digital breakout, Myers and Reeder found. There were a lot of steps to take in making their digital breakout successful and how they wanted it.

 

“We already had the idea to do this, but then we got the chance to go to a Google Summit workshop where we got to see it in action first,” Myers said. “We luckily had a snow day after so I could build it all. That was our big push, we had the time, and we had the endurance.”

 

There are also websites you can find pre-existing digital breakouts that you can buy or use in your classroom. Poffenberger used the website,  Teachers Pay Teachers for her first digital breakout. Teachers can create their own digital breakout and allow other teachers to buy what they have created.

 

Digital breakouts cannot only be used to teach material learned in class, but also life skills.

 

“It teaches them to not be dependent on a teacher, but trying to figure it out on their own with the technology, tools, and the peer they have with them,” Myers said. “It really teaches students problem-solving skills and relationship skills.”

 

Gamification is about creating a fun atmosphere for learning so that students do not actually realize that learning is taking place. Digital breakouts are not just a resource for teachers to review material they have taught but also allow students to have fun while also learning.

 

“The best part of the day is when my kids say, ‘Ms. Myers, that was really fun.’” Myers said.

 

With the times always changing teachers must be on top of what works best for students when it comes to reviewing material. With digital games at the fingertips of students at all times, a digital breakout can allow students to have fun while also using their video game skills and skills they learned in the classroom.

 

Walk Up For a Cause

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Going over the powerpoint, Mackenzie Layton (11) explains their cause for doing the Walk Up.

Students across the country have taken a stand in what they believe by showing their support to the victims of the Parkland Shooting last month. On Wednesday, March 14, the survivors of the Parkland shooting, along with tens of thousands of other kids across the nation came together for a National School Walkout.

To remember those who lost their lives, Alyssa Blair (11) informs the audience of the students’ and teachers’ lives.

 

To show support to the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, James Buchanan held a ceremony to honor the students and teachers who lost their lives February 14, 2018.

 

Mackenzie Layton (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), Kali Rotharmel (11), and Kiersten Siko (11) organized the ceremony during activity period, called Walk Up, Not Walk Out.  Students were able to go to the auditorium and watch a presentation focusing on the 17 lives lost a month before. Each victim had a poster with their name on it as well as a slide to remember their lives. Following this, there was also a moment of silence.

Posters for each of the seventeen victims were taped to the chairs.

 

Layton, Blair, Barnett, Rotharmel, and Siko organized plans for a walkout throughout social media.

 

“I went to Mackenzie, and asked her if she could explain the walkout to me when I saw it on Twitter,” Blair said. “She asked if I would be interested in planning and organizing a walkout, here.”

 

The girls went to the principal, Mr. Rodney Benedick (Faculty), to discuss their options when it came to walking out of school. He informed them a protest that disrupts the school day could result in disciplinary actions.

 

“We saw articles about kids getting in trouble, and we wanted to do it in a productive way,” Blair said. “We still wanted to make a difference so we went to Mr. Benedick about it.”

 

The girls and Benedick worked together to formulate a way to support the Parkland victims but not cause a disruption to the school day. That is when they created the idea of a Walk Up.

To explain their cause, Mackenzie Layton (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), and Kiersten Siko (11) made posters

“We wanted to show that no matter your political view, we could all come together and prevent it from happening again in the future,” Blair said. “We wanted to slowly make a difference in our school.”

 

The Walk Up was created for students and adults to make a difference in other’s lives, by showing kindness to strangers or people you may not normally talk to.

 

“The Walk Up isn’t going to end today,” Layton said. “We want it to continue throughout the year and throughout the rest of your lives.”

 

Students were challenged to walk up to 14 new kids and 3 adults they may not normally talk to, disregarding differences. Students were challenged to walk up to the kid who sits alone and ask him to join your group, to walk up to the kid who never has a partner.

 

They did not just stop at kids, but also walk up to their teachers and thank them.

In this way, the students of James Buchanan came together to make everyone feel a part of the school community.

Hannah Mellott

#walkup Not #walkout

Leader Mackenzie Layton (11) discusses the reasoning behind our Walk Up, Not Walk Out

Dancing the Night Away for Valentine’s Day

At+the+Sadie+Hawkins+dance%2C+Tia+Campbell+%2810%29%2C+Victoria+Hutchison+%2811%29%2C+Mercedes+Shank+%2811%29%2C+Kristin+Embly+%2811%29%2C+and+Jade+Hornbaker+%2811%29+enjoy+their+time+together.+

At the Sadie Hawkins dance, Tia Campbell (10), Victoria Hutchison (11), Mercedes Shank (11), Kristin Embly (11), and Jade Hornbaker (11) enjoy their time together.

It has always been a tradition for the boy to ask the girl to the dance. However, modern times have proved to change this tradition, now it is has become common for a girl to ask a guy. It hasn’t always been this way, but a chance could arise for a girl if there was a “Sadie Hawkins Dance.” A Sadie Hawkins Dance is designed for a girl to ask the guy to the dance, but Sadie Hawkins was not originally a dance.

 

According to Sporcle’s blog article, Sadie Hawkins is a character from, Li’l Abner, a comic strip during the Great Depression. Sadie Hawkins was a young adult, in a fictional town called Dogpatch. Sadie was having trouble finding a husband, so her father held a race for marriage prospects. The men would run and whoever Sadie could catch would become her future husband.

 

This comic interested many women who did not want to marry traditionally, and choose their own husband. The comic strip features Sadie Hawkins in 1937 and the first Sadie Hawkins dance in 1938 at the University of Tennessee.

Dancing to a slow song, Chelsea Wareham (11) and Dean King (10) smile as they talk to one another.

Since it was the final Student Council-hosted dance of the year, dance chairs Kristin Embly (11) and Shaelyn Kaiser (11) decided they wanted to do something different than past years, a Sadie Hawkins Dance.

 

“As a dance chair you want to make each dance different and have one aspect that makes it stand out so people will want to come,” Embly said.

 

Embly and Kaiser then had to choose a theme for the dance to base decorations around, as well as the time of year.

 

“We chose Paris as the theme, because you think of love and happiness when you think of Paris,” Embly said.

 

It is not easy for Student Council to have a dance; it requires months of planning, making and buying decorations, creating posters, decorating the cafeteria, as well as finding chaperones.

 

“My favorite part about preparing for the dance is the design concept. I love to make decorations, and place them in certain areas I think will work,” Embly said. “I’ve always loved to design layout and decorations”.

 

Embly and Kaiser kept other students’ suggestions in mind while they were planning the dance.

“Lots of students love the idea of a Sadie Hawkins Dance,” Embly said. “We have also gotten a lot of positive feedback for the theme, as well as having food at this dance.”

Enjoying the music Erin Copenhaver (12), Izabella Fuller (10) and Samantha Mumper (11) dance and sing to the music.

Student Council planned to make it one of the best nights ever for the students, carefully planning everything from the DJ to the decorations.

 

“Over all, the dance went really smooth,” Student Council member, Tia Campbell (10) said. “We had a lot more people attend than we thought we were going to have.”

 

The Sadie Hawkins Dance took place February 10 and the student body danced the night away under the red gossamer hung from the cafeteria ceiling, with the ladies having first choice of their dates.

World Trade at James Buchanan

In+Mr.+Lum%27s+Economics+class%2C+Dakota+Blair+%2812%29%2C+Sierra+Suffecool+%2812%29%2C+and+Sarah+Hoffeditz+%2812%29+are+working+together+to+plan+their+next+purchase.

In Mr. Lum’s Economics class, Dakota Blair (12), Sierra Suffecool (12), and Sarah Hoffeditz (12) are working together to plan their next purchase.

The simulation that continues to thrill James Buchanan Economics students was created 42 years ago while Mr. John Lum (Faculty) was a student teacher. World Trade Simulation has evolved over the year to what it is today, teaching students how a third-world country develops.

 

“I was trying to do something innovative and different,” Lum said. “I wanted to do something unusual so I put together this game.”

 

He found a lot of success in playing the game with his students. He has continued to play it for the past four decades and will continue in the future.  

 

“It’s original, in fact some of the currency we use, the dollar bills are the same ones from 42 years ago,” Lum said.

 

The aspect of the game continues, but he has had to evolve the game to match the times.

 

“Every year I had students write a paper and one of the questions was, ‘How would you improve the game?’’ Lum said. “Some of the improvements came from that, some came from things I was noticing after playing the game.”

 

He has began facing a new obstacle with the game, one he has not faced before.

 

“Students now are so much more game-savvy because of playing online,” Lum said. “It’s harder to keep their attention with it.”

 

Lum has always tried to make his game better and better each year, always making improvements. The business opportunities a country can receive were not always present in the game. More recently, Lum added war to the game, as well, to add more elements.

 

The game, however, can be very complex and even random. He explained it may be difficult to implement it online due to this.

 

“It is exciting. While you’re trying to prepare for what is to come, you also are trying to grow,” Lum said.

 

The game is played by students that are split up into teams, with three or four people to a team. Lum tells his students to choose any African country they would like. The country they choose will be the country they represent in the simulation. The “countries” will buy certain developments that may be found in real life. Countries can buy education, travel resources, fishing resources, and public buildings that would normally be useful. The more of these resources the country has, the more developed it becomes. When a country buys these resources, they also get money during a pay round. Every three rounds, each country receives money to continue growing. The money comes from resources they have purchased throughout the game. The game does not just consist of buying resources, though; there are also many business opportunities and hurdles that Lum throws at each country.

 

Some of the business opportunities included can be beneficial, like the Toyota Car Factory. A dice is rolled to choose a team at random, and whichever team is chosen Lum gives a certain amount of money to allow a car factory to be built. The factory is able to give the country money throughout the rest of the game, as well.

 

However, there are also bad business opportunities. Lum rolls the dice again he gives the chosen team $200,000 to store toxic waste. This opportunity results in a toxic waste spill a couple rounds later and costs the country more money than they received.

 

Three countrie’s folders and the dice Mr. Lum (faculty) uses to give a fair chance to each team during business opportunities and war.

Lum also allows countries to buy natural disaster insurance. In case  a natural disaster were to happen to your country, which is decided by what team is rolled on the dice, the insurance saves you from having to pay for damage. Some natural disasters that happen are forest fires, floods, and droughts.

 

Countries also can create treaties with one another, because there is also a possibility of war. Countries can buy weapons to accumulate battle strengths. Battle strengths are used if a country does go to war. Whatever side has the most battle strengths has a bigger possibility of winning.

 

He also gives incentive when playing the game.

 

“The object of the game is to have the highest market value,” Lum said. “The stock money they produce, plus whatever cash they have, plus three times their last pay round.”

 

There is not just one way to win the game, nor is there a set way to win.

“No two classes end up the same. Because of the different variances of the game, each winner can win a different way,” Lum said. “People have used war to win, people have used their stock to win, others have used their investments.”

 

While the main lesson was to show developments of these poor countries, he found the game taught more valuable lessons students could use in the future.

 

“It teaches negotiating skills, working as a team with new people, budgeting skills, thinking into the future, and looking at value on what to invest in,” Lum said.

 

He has bigger plans for the simulation, as well: he would like to put it online for others to play and enjoy.

 

“I have been talking to a former student here who is into graphic and game design, and we would like to put it online,” Lum said.

 

He has found success in his game, and enjoys teaching it. Students will remember it years to come and the lessons they have learned, whether it was how exciting the game was or skills they use in the future.

 

Warm Music for the Cold Weather

The James Buchanan High School Chorus make preparations for their upcoming Christmas Concert.

The James Buchanan High School Chorus warming up for rehearsal.

Christmas is one of the busiest seasons of the year, and it does not stop for the James Buchanan Chorus members. A lot is happening for the Chorus this time of year, which kicked off with District Chorus Auditions at the end of October, then to a trip to the American Music Theatre, and lastly the annual Christmas Concert in December.

 

Mr. Eric Poe (Faculty), requires junior and senior Messa Voce members to audition for District Chorus. Pennsylvania is split up into twelve different districts, and auditions are held for any high school student who would like to try out. Judges then rate each student’s audition, and if the singer’s performance is satisfactory, they will then be inducted into the District Chorus. He also makes it optional for tenth grade members of Messa Voce to audition if they feel prepared.

The Chorus taking a look at their parts in “Ding-a-Dinga-a Ding.”

“Districts is a great learning experience for students,” Poe stated. “Preparing the audition is a lot of hard work. It prepares them for future experiences when learning how to practice in advance.”

 

Poe gives the required students the music they have to sing in May of the previous school year. They have about five months to prepare their audition. The audition consists of two songs, one that is accompanied, meaning a pianist performs the piece with the singer, and the other song is acapella, where the performer sings with no instruments. They are scored on these two songs out of 450. The singers are scored on five categories, rhythm, intonation, interpretation, technique, and tone with each section worth fifteen points. If you are in the top 25 of auditioners, you make it into District Chorus.

 

Logan Williams (11) and Patrick Hicks (10) had a very impressive audition: they tied for place 26, only one spot away from making it into the District Chorus. Poe has the ability to send one student to the District Chorus concert as a representative of James Buchanan High School, and he usually chooses the highest scoring member; this year Williams will be representing the school in the District Chorus Concert.

There was not much time to celebrate after the auditions; the Chorus then had to begin preparing for their trip on Nov 15.

 

Many of the students in chorus went on the trip to the American Music Theater in Lancaster where we sang carols then watched their annual Christmas show,” Chorus member, Korina Williams (12) said.

 

Prior to the show the Chorus, directed by Poe, performed their carols for the audience.

 

“We sang Christmas carols in the rotunda as people got their drinks, refreshments, and found their seats,” Jackie Wagaman (11) said.

 

The chorus is now in full swing into preparing for their upcoming Christmas Concert on Dec, 17 at 3:00 p.m. They have spent a lot of time preparing a wide variety of genres and songs, including Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” “Christmas in de Tropics,” “Winter Song,” “The Twelve Groovy Days of Christmas,” “Ding-a Dinga-a Ding,” “Hallelujah Chorus,” and “We Need A Little Christmas.”

 

The James Buchanan High School Chorus is rehearsing a piece they will be singing at the Christmas Concert.

There are several featured soloists within these songs as well.  In Vivaldi’s Gloria Chelsea Wareham (11), Korina Williams (12), Lauren Fleming (12) will be performing solos. Kayla Myers (12) and Kierstyn Martin (12) also have a duet. Jackie Wagaman (11), Jacob Troupe (10), and Olivia Harmon (11) have also been given solos in Christmas in de Tropics. Sierra Suffecool (12) and Ella Heckman (10) also were just recently rewarded solos in Winter Song.

 

Learning and perfecting several different songs can be very demanding for the chorus. Some of the songs even have different languages within: Vivaldi’s “Gloria” is completely in Latin.

 

The most difficult part of preparing for the concert is Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria,’” Williams said.  “There are twelve movements all in Latin, and the music is intermediate to advanced.”

 

It is not just the difficulty of a song that the students struggle with, but also musical factors like tone, dialect, rhythm, and their own musicality.  For another Chorus member, Wagaman faces different obstacles in the music.

 

“I have to say personally for me it’s rhythm,” Wagaman said. “You can have the sweetest voice, you can have the best dictation of your pronunciations, but if you do not feel the music, what’s the point?”

 

The songs are not just difficult but also very enjoyable for the students to sing.

At rehearsal Luke Spurgeon is accompanying the Chorus while singing “Ding-a Dinga-a Ding.”

“The most enjoyable song is most likely “Ding-a Ding-a Ding” because it is fast paced and very fun,” William’s states.  

 

Lots of preparations have been being made to perfect the Christmas Concert. From District Chorus auditions strengthening musical techniques, to performing carols, all of this gets the chorus into the Christmas spirit for their upcoming concert.

Young Adult Literature (YAL): Controversy in the Classroom

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Teachers across the United States are beginning to explore teaching young adult literature (YAL) texts.  These stories have a protagonist that is a young adult age or teenager who faces obstacles that many teens are going through today. Controversial texts can allow students to process and learn about hardships their peers or themselves may be facing. Suicide, teen relationships, divorce, debilitating illnesses, drugs, alcohol, and even rape are topics that are covered in these texts.

 

The Common Core State Standards are requiring texts that are a higher complexity and display more mature themes, or controversial scenes stated Jessica Keigan in her article “Teaching Controversial Texts.” These higher complexity texts are encouraging teachers to teach more controversial topics.

 

In the library Emma Bafile (12) is reading “The Selection, by Keira Cass.”

“When I teach Johnny, I ask the students to consider the perspective of the author—a man who lived through two world wars and questioned what is worth fighting for,” Keigan said. “I want my students to think about those things because someday they may be called upon to answer similar questions themselves. Growing up is a challenging thing to do—it is our job as educators to provide opportunities for students to learn ways to navigate this process.”

 

The James Buchanan English Department has been working to successfully teach controversial topics in books.  Ms. Kelley Reeder (Faculty) is one of the first teachers to begin exploring and teaching controversial texts in her classroom. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson was the first book she chose to teach.  By reading Speak the students could connect with the main character’s witty personality while also realizing the important topics discussed in the book.

 

“There’s some tough things that happen to Melinda, and she’s a ninth grade student and I teach ninth grade,” Reeder states. “But the actual book is about coming of age and and coming to high school; only a portion is about that controversy.”

 

After success with Speak, she began to teach other books in literature circles. She allows students to choose the book they would like to read and discuss it within their small groups. It is important to discuss some of these topics in books because they display what teens are facing today.

 

“I chose Twisted, by Laurie Halse Anderson. In the Lit circles we did activities where we pulled passages that were well-written,” Patrick Hicks (10)  stated.  “We also discussed the challenges the main character faced in his life and maybe how we faced some hardship that was similar to his.”

 

The English Department believes it is important to use the texts to broach topics that teens are not comfortable talking to adults about. The literature circle can allow students to discuss with other students, not just teachers, due to the age gap adults may not fully understand what today’s teens are facing.

 

“I think it is really important to have that open discussion with kids, about topics that are weighing on their hearts that they don’t have a safe place to talk about,” Reeder said.  “It is important for us as teachers to make them realize they can talk to their peers, they can talk to their teachers, they can talk to their parents.”

Now, not only will they open up to their peers about struggles they may be facing, but also adults. Which will allow these difficult issues be confronted respectfully.

 

“Ms. Reeder was there to make sure we could keep a more respectful tone towards it, where there would be some students who might joke about it or take it less seriously,” Hicks said.

 

Ms. Nicole Myers (Faculty) is another teacher that has begun teaching controversial texts in her classroom.

 

“Our world is filled with controversy, and I think our high schools and middle schools are filled with controversy,” Myers said. “Just because you want to try and avoid it in a book, doesn’t mean you will have success with avoiding it in the real world. Some of these difficult topics are better discussed in a productive environment.”

 

Myers has been teaching The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, to her classes. She believes it is important for students to read this book because it can give students an outlook on what is happening in the world.

 

“The main character faces a lot of challenges,” Myers stated. “Sometimes it is important for younger students to see difficulties that are happening in the real world.”

 

Since some of these subjects are very delicate, it can be worrisome to parents. Myers and Reeder send home parent letters before assigning books to their students.

 

“We understand that some of these topics are sensitive, and we want parents to team up with us, to be talking with their kids as we are reading the books,” Reeder said. “We want them to research the books we are thinking of using and let us know if they have concerns so we can choose the book that fits for EACH student and personalize our classes more, while working with the parents to provide open lines of communication.”

 

Reading “Looking for Alaska”, by John Green, Max McCullough (9) enjoys reading in the library.

By doing this it allows the parents to be involved and understand what their children are reading. The English Department also allows parents to explore other books that may be taught in the future that the department is considering.

 

When choosing what books to have their students read, Reeder and Myers consider a lot of factors. They try to choose texts where the student reading the book can relate to and learn from. Websites like Common Sense Media, and Goodreads allow teachers, parents, and students to research these books and find what the main themes of the book are and the rating to choose what will be best for the students to read. Books found on this website are rated on the topics within, for instance some may be PG while others will be more PG 13 or even R.

 

“In the book, Speak, Melinda is the epitome of a ninth grade student with her sarcasm, the way she feels about school,” Reeder said. “She gives a voice to the teenager. As soon as I read it I was like, these are my kids.”

 

Not only is the English Department choosing books students can relate to and learn from, but also what they will enjoy. When researching the novels they try to find common interests for the students.

 

“These stories are the stories that they like. My job as a teacher is to make them want to read for the rest of their lives.”

— Kelley Reeder

 

Controversial texts are a new way of running classes not just teaching about the texts, but tough life issues students may be facing. The high school English Department will continue their efforts in teaching young adult literature in their classrooms, and finding new strategies to teach them.

The Seating That Transforms the Classroom

From the classroom to Starbucks, teachers are changing the classroom atmosphere, by personalizing the classroom seating structure for each child.

The+Seating+That+Transforms+the+Classroom
Myer’s classroom set-up of long tables, ottoman cubes, and the cushions corner.


Teachers all over the United States are beginning to make a change in the way classroom seating operates. From standing desks to yoga balls, the classroom has begun to operate as a Starbucks in the way seating is personalized for students. Flexible seating has become a huge craze for teachers across the country, allowing each student to choose their own seating to learn.

 

This year English teacher Ms. Nicole Myers, faculty, is the first to implement full-on flexible seating in her classroom. Along with her, Spanish teacher, Ms. Danielle Simchick,  and Art teacher, Ms. Kayla Chambers have also began to add their own flexible seating ideas to their classrooms. 

It is talked about how important it is in the elementary levels promoting, movability, being versatile as a teacher, how it allows kids to have additional choices.”

— Ms. Nicole Myers

“It is talked about how important it is in the elementary levels promoting, movability, being versatile as a teacher, how it allows kids to have additional choices,” said Myers.  “So I thought as much as that is an elementary thing it can be a middle school and high school thing. ”

 

Myers explains how she had to make some changes to make it more age appropriate for students in middle school and high school.

 

Myer’s classroom set-up of high-top tables and four chair table.

“ I had to look for options that would work for those bigger individuals.” Myers said.

 

This led her to choose options like the high-top tables, low-top tables, and lawn chairs rather than options that would be more fitting for smaller children.

 

Making the classroom student-centered, also raises the question, “Can students handle it?”  It is believed students will become disruptive when given the chance to sit on structures, like the yoga balls.

 

Myer’s classroom set-up of yoga balls and fabric covered pool noodles.

“They’re still fifteen, they still want to sit with their friends. If they find a chance to be distracted they take it. They get it some days, and I take it away somedays.” Myers said . “What it does for me to take it away is make it that much more of an award. They take it and make good choices with it.” Myers explained.

Many teachers adopt this new method of the classroom because each student is different in the way they learn. It can be difficult to accommodate every student, but this type of seating can allow each student to sit at a different structure each day depending on what is best for them.

 

“I have had students say I really do not like this, I want this instead, ” said Myers. “And that is what it is for.”

 

The students have alternative seating arrangements, and allowing them to choose what they enjoy and don’t enjoy, helping the student be comfortable in their own learning environment.  Like Starbucks, the classroom can allow students to work comfortably work alone or in groups.

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Hannah Mellott