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Shores’ teachers always looking for interesting projects

Kendahl MacLaren

Kendahl MacLaren

Steffen Newman, Feature Editor

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At Shores, teachers are constantly educating themselves on new teaching styles and programs.

Whether it be conferences, continuing their college education, attending AP events, or even joining social networking groups, Shores teachers are doing all they can to create the best learning experience possible for their students.

Psychology teacher Heather Hall said she has benefited greatly from social media in this regard.

“Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have given me access to the techniques and strategies other teachers use in their classrooms,” Hall said. “Group chats have enabled me to learn from teachers all over the world.”

Social work has become increasingly important over the past few years. This would include group projects, presentations, and expressive demonstrations of learning.

“Nearly all jobs involve some sort of collaboration,” Hall said. “People want to be social, and a lot of times, students do a better job when they’re allowed to interact with each other.”

For example, in Hall’s AP Psychology class, students will oftentimes be allowed to work in pairs on FRQ (Free Response Question) essays.

“When students are able to write an essay together, they’re forced to converse and learn from each other,” Hall said. “Learning the concepts in the words of another student can sometimes be more effective than me lecturing.”

Additionally, in recent years, some Shores math classes now offer nearly all quizzes to be taken in groups. Math teacher Tracy Sauceda-Geoghan gave her insight into their thought process.

“Our department thinks of the quizzes as a learning process where some concepts may not be mastered yet.” Geoghan said. “Through a conversation with your peers, you may realize what you don’t quite know yet and what concepts you need to put more time into.”

Teachers have also begun to introduce more expressive projects. Students who learn using hands-on activities tend internalize information better.

“Studies show that hand-writing is better than typing for retaining information,” Hall said. “For a similar reason, students acting out or presenting information helps create a physical connection to what’s being learned.”

Education is evolving at Shores in even more drastic ways with some classes now being offered as blended, meaning students only come to class three of the five weekdays. One of such classes is Psychology I.

“My blended class involves an agreement of sorts,” Hall explained. “If their grade begins to slip, they need to show up every day to seek one-on-one assistance. My goal is for students to master all of the concepts, and if a student isn’t doing so hot, the off day is a great opportunity for those students to get one-on-one help.”

Despite the new ways Shores students are learning, no system is perfect.

“I realize this is true for all public schools, but I would love to see more flexibility in the times we come to school,” Hall said. “I see great benefit in students learning at their own pace and hope we can move towards that in the future.”

As the times change, so do styles and opportunities for learning, and oftentimes education guidelines and rules are behind in this sense. However, Shores teachers are always adapting and making their classroom the best learning environment possible.

“(Shores) has a lot of teachers who are willing to try new things.” Hall said, “We’re constantly learning and growing as a staff, and because of this, I’m hopeful and excited for the future.”

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