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Chromebooks Transform Teaching and Learning at Middle School

Chromebooks Transform Teaching and Learning at Middle School

Across every subject area, Chromebooks are serving as valuable learning tools at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. Every student in seventh, eighth and ninth grade received a device in February for use both in school and at home.

Teachers say that one of the biggest benefits is having the technology readily available, so students can easily access information and participate in interactive learning experiences. Through Google Classroom, teachers can share course assignments, reading passages, worksheets and more. 

Eighth and ninth grade math teacher David Takseraas posts multiple choice questions and can see student responses right away. This allows him to know how well they are understanding a concept. He also posts daily videos reviewing the homework, which students can watch on their own so more class time can be devoted to teaching new material.

“This is what they’re going to be doing in college,” Mr. Takseraas said of technology-centric learning. “We’re preparing them for their future educations and future careers.”

Seventh and eighth grade English teacher Justin Uliano had his students use Chromebooks extensively during a recent poetry unit. Using various online resources, they located and read different types of poems to inspire their own writing. Students then created poetry anthologies filled with original works. 

“It’s really opened up options for them as to what information they can find,” Mr. Uliano said. “It gives them a lot more independence and a lot more choice.”

Mr. Uliano added that having students use Google Docs for writing assignments makes it easier to edit and revise their pieces. There is also a comment feature which allows him to give feedback to his students throughout the writing process. Additionally, he has students use a program called Plot Factory to plan out the different elements of their stories for better structure and organization.

Social studies teacher Frank O’Brien said the Chromebooks allow students to easily access the historical documents he regularly shares. He also likes that the devices provide opportunities for easy collaboration on group projects.

To bring excitement into his lessons, Mr. O’Brien also uses interactive games for review during each topic. With Kahoot, students independently answer questions on the Chromebooks, and the class results are displayed on the SmartBoard, with rankings based on both correct answers and speed. Quizlet creates a competitive review session in a team format. 

Science teachers Ann Poulin, Christine Quigley and Jennifer Sanchez have found numerous ways to support the curriculum with Chromebooks. Students can take part in virtual labs, which gets them familiar with equipment and terminology before conducting hands-on experiments. They like to use Nearpod, an interactive learning platform featuring slideshows, videos and quizzes. Teachers say they particularly like the interactive games because they get every student involved. 

“When you don’t have technology, you can only pick on two or three kids who raise their hands,” Ms. Sanchez said. 

Teachers noted that because today’s learners are very proficient in technology, there is almost no learning curve when a new program is introduced. Students are quick to grasp the features of the different learning tools, maximizing instructional time.  

Middle School Drama Club to Stage ‘Fame Junior’

Middle School Drama Club to Stage ‘Fame Junior’ photo

The 1980s comes to Amityville this weekend as the Edmund W. Miles Middle School Drama Club will perform “Fame Junior.” The show is set at a performing arts high school in New York City and follows the journeys of student actors, dancers and musicians throughout their four years.

The cast and stage crew consists of approximately 30 students. Lead actors include Wilnori Bouzy as Carmen Diaz, Aniyah Law as Serena Katz, Javier Rodriguez as Nick Piazza and Ashley Diaz as Schlomo Metzenbaum.   

There are several musical numbers including “Hard Work,” “There She Goes/Fame” and “Bring on Tomorrow.” Director Shannon McCann and Assistant Director Carolyn Mejia say the show has a great message about the importance of the arts in education.

Show times for “Fame Junior” are Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium. Tickets are $5 at the door. 

Monday, June 24, 2019