SMS: Pen-palling Around in German I with Frau McGuinness

January 2016

SMS: Pen-palling Around in German I with Frau McGuinness


In early December, with just a few months of the language under their belts, 8th grade German students wrote letters to the 8th grade English students in Haßfurt, Germany. Over the last few weeks they have received handwritten letters back. This is the same school with which Frau Spradlin at SHS has developed a German-American travel exchange. So, potentially, our students may get to meet their pen pals if either participates in the exchange.


Later this month, as students continue to develop their skills, they will also write to English language learners in Dortmund, Germany. Last spring I traveled to Dortmund to meet the students we exchanged letter with previously and the students with whom we will communicate this year. Letter exchanges with both schools will continue throughout the year via snail mail and digitally.

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A Student’s Reflection on Social Studies Class-January 2016

There are many different opportunities to engage in activities of your choice under the direction of Miss Brinson. I have her for three classes, and each provides new opportunities to work with different materials and learn in new, collaborative ways. We are able to create and innovate, as a unit or singularly, to solve problems and create engaging projects for our peers to participate in. Currently, I am creating a Breakout scenario with my group members in Rebels, Robbers, and Rogues, that the class will solve through clues. She presented us with the ability to choose the activity we desired and the focus of study for that desired project.

My favorite learning tool is the 3Doodler, which I have used and plan to use in the Maker Space Falcon Period offering that promotes creativity and innovation, and allows students to tinker. Nearpod was advantageous in viewing presentations in class and I found it helpful to have everything in front of me. This is engaging and incorporates drawing aspects and mini quizzes to assess the students and chart how we’re understanding the material. I am very weary of group work and projects, and Miss Brinson’s classes have led me out of my comfort zone and helped me work better with sharing responsibility. The last project I completed with a group was a map of westward expansion in the United States. While some may not be excited by the sound of that, Miss Brinson provided us with a twist: it must be edible. This opens so many doors and made our group reconsider how we would attack a seemingly streamlined project. We decided upon a Rice Krispie treat map with colored icing to denote varying land purchases. Students have the creative liberties in how they choose to present information; whether it’s an infographic, a short film, a Prezi, food, or something else your group decides on.

Not only personally, but through discussions with my peers, I have come to the consensus that enjoying what you do produces a better product. When you allow students to decide what kind of project they’d like to create or what topic they want to research, there is an undeniable benefit. Students take pleasure in learning, they stay engaged during the research process and desire knowledge, and the class is excited to learn from their peers. This is a formula that never fails. Miss Brinson’s innovative and creative tools have made this a reality.
Submitted by: Alexandra Freeman – SHS Junior 1/19/16




The “Arts Departments taught the students to use Google Sites to create their own Digital Portfolio. The Portfolio contains information on the students likes, interests, class projects and achievements. This will be a running project that will follow them throughout the middle school years.

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Submitted by Mrs. Jackie Miller, Art Teacher

Salisbury Township School District

English Honors 11

Students in Mr. Pacitti’s Honors English 11 course are conducting research regarding the nature of true happiness. After formulating their initial hypotheses, students have gone on to conduct interviews with respondents based on a particular metric: age, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, religion, or another approved measurement. These interviews, which have included subjects ranging from published authors to Syrian teenagers, garnered interesting, organic data, all of which will be analyzed and synthesized with primary and secondary sources. Currently, students are finalizing their analyses in the form of individual, fully-interactive iBooks. The final publications of these iBooks will be made available via iTunes through the Salisbury Township School District, as they’ll offer perspectives from a variety of community stakeholders.



Submitted by Joseph Pacitti-SHS English Teacher-1/20/16

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.33.41 PM is a website dedicated to all of my (Mr. Ruiz) mathematics classes’ lessons, units, notes, video lessons, and assignments in one convenient place. If a student asks

“Why did we do last class?

“What did I miss?”

“What am I going to miss?”

“What should I do with my life?” or any other meaningful question, I simply reply “mathisperfect” plus or minus a little clarification. The goal of the website is to continually make the website more robust with better lessons and better resources. Over the past few years, it has grown from a few chapters to the entire course.

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    My video lessons are screen recordings of myself teaching classes with students’ questions, comments, and concerns. It is also is unedited with the pauses, corny jokes, and all the normal day to day classroom activity. It allows my classroom to easily take on a “flipped” model as needed. Further, it allows students to work ahead or catch up as needed. If a student or parent is unsure of what happened during class, they can go back and watch the video and pause and fast forward as needed as well as check the notes the students’ should be taking.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.37.12 PM is not only my classroom website, it is the culture of teaching and learning in my classroom.  It is a constant reminder that mathematics gives us a language for understanding how we see and explain the world. If we want to know how to speak about why the world works the way it does, we use math. We use this language through applied mathematics–called science. Not as interesting or rich as mathematics, but still mathematics nonetheless. If you missed it there, there is no subject called science, it is simply applied mathematics.

Students inevitably ask, “When are we going to use this in real life?” My reply is more than just the science application behind the math. It focuses on two parts. Math is perfect and it is frustrating.  Mathematics is the only discipline that regardless of culture, religion, political party, or country in this world, everyone agrees on.  Secondly, mathematics can also be frustrating (I own that domain name too, I remind students that working through this frustration is a skill to learn to develop or grow in that they will take with them everywhere they go. Everyone is good at doing things they like to do, but doing something you do not want to do and doing it anyway…that is a skill that no one has. Oh, and #mathisperfect.


Submitted by Jon Ruiz, Math Department, SHS

Studying skeletal system in A&P

Anatomy & Physiology students in Mrs. Wilson’s classes are studying the skeletal system during the months of December and January.  Students in the photos are using color coded diagrams of the human skull to learn the individual bones and bone markings. After practicing with a partner, students demonstrated their knowledge by taking a lab practical using a labeled model of human skull. The final activity of the chapter will involve exposing chicken bones to varying pH solutions to test for mineral and collagen deterioration within the bone tissue.

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Submitted by Susan Wilson, Science Department, SHS 1/19/16

Students Skype Across District

Mrs. Wied’s 5th grade students at HST and WSE communicated via Skype to discuss their grade level project that will be presenting to both schools in June.  Their theme this year is~ Get Involved and Be Active.  Students are currently researching either a sport, an athlete, or creating their own sport and transferring it into a learning trail for the entire school to learn about. We look forward to checking out their presentation later this school year!