Faculty Blog

Students, Teach Thy Teachers

A few months ago, on a dreary gray morning in mid-January, I experienced one of those moments that many teachers only dream about. In fact, it may well be the high point so far of my 25-year career. It was in my 9th grade Global Studies class, and we had been tackling the various tenets of Buddhism for several weeks. Buddhism is a tricky religion to study, in part because our western eyes have trouble comprehending what is so fundamentally eastern in form and construct, and in part because in its original form, Buddhism steered clear of the religious trappings of the Hindu culture in which it …

Posted by in John Sharon on Tuesday March 31, 2015
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Islands of Creativity and Learning

We are just finishing up the Explorer Project with presentations in my sixth grade Integrated Studies class.  The project is a long running one where students choose an Explorer from throughout history and spend several classes doing research in various note taking categories (i.e. early life experience, personal characteristics, challenges encountered, reason for exploration, etc.).  From there they construct journal entries written from the perspective of their chosen Explorer and create a map depicting her/his area of exploration.  To create the journal entries (of which …

Posted by in Patricia McCarthy on Wednesday December 17, 2014
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Going Global: 9th Graders and the World That Awaits Them

On the wall of my 9th grade Global Studies classroom hang two essential questions that guide us each day in the course: first, “How does the past, with all of its complexities, shape the world we live in today?” And second, “What are my responsibilities as a global citizen?” The questions serve to remind us of two intersecting realities—that the problems in our world today sometimes emerge out of nuanced historical processes, and that, once we understand the problems, it is our obligation to do something about them.

This is heady stuff for a 9th grader. Sometimes…

Posted by in John Sharon on Wednesday December 10, 2014
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Video in the classroom

This past June, I had the opportunity to attend an Ed Tech workshop on creating iMovies on the iPad. As a social studies teacher in the sixth and eighth grades, It’s been a goal of mine to incorporate more video into my classroom, so I was excited to head to Cambridge and learn from another humanities teacher. Attending a professional workshop is always a good reminder of what it means to be student again. I try to prepare myself for getting into the zone of learning, which translates to mean that I will be confused before I have the big picture of how my …

Posted by in Elise Mott on Wednesday November 5, 2014
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None of Us Looks Like His or Her Story

Recently, I attended the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools, where I listened to thoughtful and thought-provoking presentations about many aspects of independent school life and the opportunities and challenges before our students. One of the most compelling presentations occurred during the “Independent Matters: Dare to Explore” general session (NAIS’s version of TED Talks) when Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice-President for Walgreens, recounted his experience growing up in the Massachusetts foster care system, a …

Chaos in the Classroom

The one thing a teacher tries to avoid on the first week of school is a chaotic classroom. It is a time of community building, introductions, and an orderly classroom environment--except in my eighth grade social studies classroom. In the second week of classes, my students participate in a chaos simulation where paper airplanes are flying, pencils are being stolen, and boys are getting up on their desks and yelling. Generally the mayhem is loud enough that a colleague will stick their heads in to make sure everything is okay. This is the introduction to our year studying government.

The …

Posted by in Elise Mott on Sunday December 1, 2013
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