Ms. Ho gets students to retain their math skills through activities that apply previously learned math concepts. Students have created board games, a paper tower from a single piece of paper, and played math games. Students report they appreciate the relevant ways Ms. Ho applies the math concepts to their daily lives. Students are excited to learn in Ms. Ho's active, engaging classroom.
Ms. Leyda creates interactive learning experiences to engage students in Human Anatomy & Physiology and Biology concepts. In Biology, fake murder cases help students apply their knowledge of DNA. As a way to memorize parts of the body, students in Human Anatomy & Physiology used yoga to connect their own bodies with the anatomic structures being discussed.
Many people know that Chinese characters are pictographs, but, surprisingly, they only make up around 5% of all Chinese characters. Phonetic-semantic components, on the other hand, make up almost 80% of all characters. Funny that most material online and in textbooks tend to focus on the former and not the latter. Indeed, most textbooks Ms. Mao has seen give at most a few lines defining what phonetic-semantic compounds are. In recent years, Ms. Mao has been focusing on teaching Phonetic-semantic components concepts to her students, which have elicited huge learning results. Students no longer memorize characters randomly. Instead, they try to figure out the semantic and phonetic components of the characters. While learning these Chinese characters, students are also leaning so much Chinese history and culture at the same time. They also feel pronounce Chinese character are not that difficult any more.
The students who nominated Ms. Mao were impressed by her creative storytelling, relating Chinese characters to ancient China and their root meanings. Congratulations Ms. Mao on your creative approach to teaching Mandarin.
Mr. Barraclough uses common objects, such as potatoes, to make statistical concepts like type 1 and type 2 errors more relatable. Several students recognized his visual approach to mathematic concepts as creative, fun, and useful.
The creativity trophy is awarded to Mr. Monteleone for his creative use of storytelling to make health concepts more relatable. Congratulations to Mr. Monteleone!
Jessica Lew is awarded the Creativity Trophy for her Gabweek Activity involving an escape room type adventure, encouraging students to collaborate to find the solution. Congratulations to Ms. Lew!
Lovelyn Chang is recognized for integrating performing arts into her Shakespearian The Taming of the Shrew unit. Students collaborated in groups to create a scene using their own parallel setting. They demonstrated the skill of writing their own parallel literary devices and acted with subtext in mind. Props and costumes made the experience memorable and engaging.
Marguerita Drew has earned recognition for her creative approach to introducing a lot of information without resorting to reading through handout after handout. Congrats Ms. Drew!
The Hamlet grab bag
In preparation for reading Shakespeare's Hamlet, I do something called "Hamlet Grab Bag." as in "into" activity for all of my senior English classes. Because there is a lot of information to cover/introduce the students to (e.g. language, puns, background on the play, essential questions for the play, etc.) and because reading handouts is boring, I created this "game" of sorts to get the information across.
First, I cut up slips of paper indicating a specific activity related to the handouts and/or the play. I ask for volunteers to pick the activity out of a bag or a jar.
The various activities are as follows:
1. Glossary Sheet: each student gets the sheet and they have to choose one new word to memorize with the definition in ONE MINUTE. Then, in quick, random, round robin fashion, I call on students to stand up, pronounce their word with the definition. No word can be repeated, so if someone takes a student's word, they must quickly memorize another.
2. Act One Handout: This handout has several different activity slips because the sheet had four different topics on it. One is about the ghost in Hamlet so the slip says, "Read the section on the king's ghost, then have a class discussion: do you believe in ghosts?" Another section is called "Incestuous Sheets" and the slip tells the student to read the section then we discuss where we have seen this scenario before (which inevitably brings up a discussion of Oedipus the King which the students just read). There is also a section on puns and students are called upon to think of a pun on the spot.
3. Shakespeare's Dictionary: This handout has over 60 words and phrases that Shakespeare made up, many of which appear in Hamlet. The slip initiates a Pictionary game during which the class is divided into two teams and they each send representatives to the board to draw various phrases and the team that guesses the term first, gets a point and an explanation of what the term means. The team with the most points after 5-10 minutes, wins.
4. Shakespeare's Insults: This handout has various components of an Old English insult and two students are presenting with a fictional scenario which results in them taking turns creating insults from the phrases on the handout.
5. Read Lines 1-80 aloud: This slip forces the class to jump into Hamlet cold but it is effective because, after explaining that the students CAN understand Shakespeare if they relax and let the language come to them, the play begins with the line, "Who's there?" I immediately stop the reading and ask the students what the line means. They look at me incredulously and tell me what it means using the same words. I say, "See, Shakespeare's not hard!" And, they laugh, breaking the tension. The remaining 79 lines (the exposition) are read and explained as we go.
6. Class Discussion: What is the purpose of revenge? We spend some time discussing the topic since the plot of the play revolves around the issue of revenge.
7. Hypothetical Situation: The slip says, "Imagine that you go away to college and when you return at the end of the school year, your father has died and your mother has married your uncle. What would you do?" This, of course, is the plot of Hamlet and the students offer shocking, and sometimes humorous responses.
Although there are various activities for "Hamlet Grab Bag," and hence the information covered is jumbled, I find that the kids have much more fun than they would if we simply read handout aloud or I lectured. (One AP student said to me, "This is the most fun we've had in AP all year!"
Mike Huang was selected as the first winner of the Creativity Trophy for his innovative approach to teaching coordinate plane graphing. He had students create a map (x & y-axis), and plot points for 6 various sized battleships. The students then had to label each of the points with their ordered pairs (x,y). Eventually, the students will play against each other.