High School Classroom Observations: Monday April 8, 2009 First Period



From time to time I take my camera along when I sit in on classes. Monday morning when I went around the school, I saw dedicated teachers inspiring young people. Below is a description of what I observed. The visits were unannounced. This is the heart of what we do – teaching and learning!

Two freshmen are practicing a scene from Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well.” (above) Mrs. Van Drunen in getting the students ready for our Shakespeare Festival next month. Mrs. V advised the girls no to wander away from the stage unconciously and put their back to the audience.

The seniors are preparing for the IB Final Exams. In biology they were looking at a question that asked them to interpret a graph showing the effects of a peptide on the surface of human skin, against several types of bacteria. In physics, Mr. Slough suggested to use the terms in the question as clues to the formula to use. 


Work = Energy = Force x Distance
Work = Energy = Force x Distance

The tenth grade Design & Technology students were working on their “multimedia” poems. I sat with Monty and watched his anti-war poem that he posted to youtube.com. He spent 4 hours editing scenes of war and nuclear explosions put to David Bowie’s version of Imagine. I realized how powerful video is with this generation of young people. Monty’s poem on Youtube.com had 212 views and 2 people had rated it. This is so different than writing a poem on a piece of paper and reading it to a class. You can view all of the D & T student blogs at Mrs. Nikolic’s website. 

Juniors Anja and Voja were showing me their graphic organizers. Mrs. Slough uses these effectively to teach the students to organize their thoughts and aid the writing process. Voja said that a thesis is an answer. Luka and Katharina recommended that I read the book the class just completed, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. The students were analyzing the impact of colonialism in Africa. 


Graphic Organizers Aid Students In Organizing Their Thinking
Graphic Organizers Aid Students In Organizing Their Thinking


In the language department, the Russian Ab Initio students were studying the accusative case in their grammar workbooks. The English B students were writing an essay using criteria from Oxford’s Advanced English Certificate program. Mr. Van Drunen in the ninth grade Humanities course, was lecturing on the 3 branches of US government. When he a map of the original 13 colonies of the US, one of the students Alex, said, “Why are they all on the east coast?” Pictures say much more than words and I saw teachers using different strategies to increase student understanding. 


The Humanities Classroom Appeals to Teens
The Humanities Classroom Appeals to Teens

And finally, the sophmores were playing volleyball in the physical education class. There is lots going on at ISB every period. 


Nikola sets for Lajos
Nikola sets for Lajos

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