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Back to School

A focus on Boston; a high-tech prize

We asked local teachers to tell us about the most interesting new thing going on in their classrooms. Here are two more submissions: one from a group at Broken Ground School in Concord, one from a teacher at Salisbury Elementary School.

Colonial history meets the Common Core

The fifth-grade team at Broken Ground School has planned an integrated history/language arts/technology/visual arts unit focusing on colonial Boston and the events and ideas leading to the American Revolution. We’ve revised and expanded a unit taught in the past to align our curriculum with the Common Core and include a performance-based assessment.

In class, students will role-play members of families living in Boston in the 1760s-1770s. Based on their developing understanding of colonial life, each small group will create a family profile that includes how many children and adults live together in their family, how they make their living, how they spend free time, and why they or their ancestors settled in Boston. Each student will also create a profile and personality for his/her character.

As they learn about events, such as enactment of the Stamp Act or the Boston Massacre, students will imagine, act out and write about their created characters’ responses to those events. Over time, each student will take a stand as a Patriot or Loyalist.

Next, students will research specific events in more depth, using books, internet sources, and information collected during a field trip to the Freedom Trail. After writing research reports, they’ll collaborate in small groups to use digital media to create virtual tours of the Freedom Trail.

These tours will be posted online, allowing interested people in our school and beyond to learn from our students’ expertise. We’re enthusiastic about launching this unit in the coming weeks!

LIZ FINNEY, LINDSEY FOLEY, WENDY HARRISON, KAREN McCORMACK, MARY WILKE and JAMIE ZIPKE

Fifth-grade teachers

Broken Ground School, Concord

Now we all have interwrite boards

Last spring Salisbury Elementary School students won the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Reading Challenge $3,000 grand prize! This was accomplished with 100 percent of our students working toward meeting the challenge.

A little bit of that money was spent last spring on a well-received magic show as a celebration. The rest of the money was spent over the summer for three interwrite boards for three classrooms.

Interwrite boards are interactive whiteboards that use touch detection for input, meaning that children can walk to the board, as part of classroom instruction, and use it in the same way as a normal computer device. The difference is that, at the same time, all of the other children in the class can see.

At this point, every classroom at Salisbury Elementary School has an interwrite board, all hooked up to each teacher’s computers, ready to be projected onto a whiteboard, and all are in use. The best part of all of this? A team effort by 100 percent of the students to answer the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Reading Challenge, as well as a little extra reading practice at home, made this happen. Let’s see what this year’s Reading Challenge brings.

BRUCE JOHNSON

Reading specialist

Salisbury Elementary School

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