Highlands Teachers, Students Present at ABC CREATE Show & Tell Showcase
Highlands High School Spanish Teacher Mrs. Laura Proano and her students, High School Social Studies Teacher Mrs. Michelle Dickerson, and Middle School Math Teacher Mrs. Jennifer Kosior had the honor of sharing their STEAM projects and instructional ideas at the ABC CREATE Show & Tell virtual event in April. This annual STEAM showcase is held for inspired and inspiring educators to reflect, to connect, and to honor the persistence and the resilience of educators within the ABC CREATE community.
STEAM Projects Motivate Spanish Students
Highlands High School Spanish Teacher Mrs. Proano and her students were excited to share videos and pictures of their STEAM projects during their session, Motivate with STEAM: Hybrid Adaptations and Student Reflections. They addressed the challenges of hybrid learning and how they stayed motivated with hands-on, collaborative and student-led STEAM projects that incorporate Hummingbird Robots, Finch 2.0 Robots, Google Tour Creator and Ricoh Theta 360 cameras. Student presenters included CHS Spanish IV Seniors Josh Beck, Austin Burchell and Robyn Schreiber; Spanish III Juniors Hannah Blythe, Maria Fabregas and Alli Love; and Spanish I Freshman Haley Dixon.
“During this difficult year of constant change, my students inspired me again as they thoughtfully reflected on the challenges they faced with hybrid learning and the ways in which they adapted and overcame those challenges,” said Mrs. Proano, whose students were among only two presentations that included students. “I am thrilled that they agreed to participate in the session. Our student voice should be front and center in all that we do, particularly this year,” she said. The Spanish STEAM projects provided a bright light for Proano in a year where everything seemed overwhelmingly difficult.
“I’m grateful to ABC CREATE for providing the robotics kits, 360 cameras and training that enabled us to learn, grow and stay motivated with these Spanish STEAM projects,” said Proano.
CHS Spanish IV Video: Click on the settings tool to turn on narration.
Google Slides Agenda Helps Students Stay Organized
High School Social Studies Teacher Mrs. Michelle Dickerson shared how and why she creates a Weekly Agenda in Google Slides. “Providing an agenda in Google Slides has helped my students and I stay organized and has helped alleviate some of the confusion on their end about where to find assignments and what we're working on,” she stated.
Students start each period by going to the daily agenda slide and use that to review essential questions, goals for the day, and a linked list of tasks – putting an end to "What is that assignment called?" as students click around in Google Classroom. The Agenda also incorporates helpful instructional tools such as JamBoard, Padlet, Quizlet, Quizizz and PearDeck.
“I moved to this model in part because of my own experience as a parent trying to help my kids find their assignments, to incorporate tools from the ABC CREATE Summer Workshop, and to provide consistency for hybrid students,” said Mrs. Dickerson.
Gimkit Tool Gamifies Instruction
Mrs. Jennifer Kosior, Highlands Middle School Math Teacher, presented a session about a unique technology tool called Gimkit, which she uses to “gamify'' instruction. It provides a variety of game choices, from individual to teams, and students can also use it to create instructional reviews. “Gimkit integrates with Google Classroom as well, and I have used it for pre-test, post-test, review, and student created games. It is the most frequently requested tool from my middle school students,” said Mrs. Kosior.
Throughout the year, Highlands teachers are highly engaged and involved with ABC CREATE, which includes a community of educators from fourteen school districts in Western Pennsylvania. Penn State New Kensington serves as the coordinator of ABC CREATE and supports the development and implementation of a collaborative action plan aimed to amplify and disseminate best practices from schools and educators. ABC CREATE reaches out to connect with other schools, educators, organizations and businesses in an effort to enhance and strengthen education in the greater Pittsburgh region.