World Languages


Spanish IV students were introduced to vocabulary that deals with health and sickness, such as “emergency room, broken bone, sore throat, headache, pills, medicine, cast, x-ray, ambulance, nurse,” etc. In order to use this vocabulary in a real-life scenario, rather than just on worksheets and quizzes, the students were asked to create iMovies. The iMovie needed to take place in a doctor’s office, ambulance and/or emergency room. Requirements included the use of at least 20 vocabulary words, the future tense, in order to determine a solution for the health problem(s), and a minimum of 10 props to make the movie more realistic. The students were graded on meeting these requirements, their creativity, their effort, their pronunciation, and their fluency. Two groups of students have agreed to share their iMovies. The students in the first iMovie are Andrew Fletcher, Brooke Rogers, Ruben Fermin and Kevin Esslinger.  The second iMovie was created by Jessica Safi, Kristen Bucchin, Sophie Niesenbaum and Briana Zielinski. These students did a great job!

Submitted by Donna Buzdygon, Spanish Teacher SHS

Piktochart Used in Business and Food and Culture Classes


Piktochart is a free web based application that helps users create infographics, presentations, posters, and reports in an infographic or visual format.

Mrs. Wetherhold’s marketing class was divided into teams that created products from a box of miscellaneous materials given to them. The teams used Piktochart to create print ads as one piece of their marketing plan for product they created.

The students liked how creative they could be using the application and how professional their ads looked when they were done. Some students created their print ad from scratch while other students appreciated the templates they could use.

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Mrs. Borthwick’s Food and Cultures class used Piktochart recently as well. Students used the pictograph format and templates for their U.S. Regional Foods Projects. The assignment required students to create an attractive and informative piece that could promote tourism, food, and culture for locations in the R.S. Pictographs have become a very popular way to present information. Students encounter pictograph publication on the web when researching topics such as food and child safety.

Foods students enjoyed creating their own professional-looking products. Cool patterns and snazzy graphics made this web app a real hit! Several students chose to use Piktochart again for the following unit on hunger. Students were asked to increase public awareness about hunger by making pieces that were eye catching and presented the facts. Students created printed wall posters from their designs as well as shared web links to their creations.


  Submitted by Sherry Wetherhold, Dept. Chair, SHS, 2/23/16

















Research and Revolution in Social Studies Class

Research and Revolution

The World Cultures II classes have entered the Industrial Revolution through research and project presentations. Although each teacher structures the process differently, each student was required to conduct various levels of research on technological innovations of the time period and create class presentations which highlighted their research and findings. Many students used i-movie to create the video portions (advertisements)of their projects which included voice-over descriptions of their products. Students found themselves engaged in a variety of learning activities which sparked not only their learning, but also their creative sides.

In Mr. Barna’s class, students focused their research on a particular area of concentration which they selected.  These areas included: The Agricultural Revolution, The First Industrial Revolution, the Second Industrial Revolution, Criticism and Philosophy, and Artistic Movements.  Student’s presentations included five separate components: a trifold presentation board, video advertisements, historical analysis of data, creation of a product (working steam engine, tenement apartment, cholera cells) and a paper on the economic, social, and political impact of certain aspects of the time period.  Students then set up their displays and  were given the opportunity to view each other’s work in  what was known as the “Barna Crystal Palace”.  The original Crystal Palace Great Exhibition occurred in London, England in 1851 as a type of “World’s Fair”  exhibit about the technological progress of the industrial era.  Mr. Frick’s class took on a “Shark Tank” assignment in which students created informational videos and to pitch their  products to their peers.

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Submitted by Michael Barna, Social Studies Teacher at SHS-2/22/16

High School Chorus uses GarageBand

Students in high school chorus have been using GarageBand to learn their music, in voice sections, when Ms. Reinecke has been out while accompanying students to music festivals and when she has lost her voice.

The program files are set up so that the students can hear the entire song, or just select parts such as the piano accompaniment and their own voice part.  Students break up into groups according to their voice part and use the file to learn their part to the song.  They are able to repeat small sections until they are comfortable before moving on to another section of the song.  As they become stronger, they can add the piano accompaniment and ultimately rejoin the whole group to put the song together.

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music #1

Submitted by Rachel Reinecke, Arts Department Chair, 2/22/16

Using Collaboration, Hands on Experimentation, and Technology to Understand and Explain Biological Concepts.







Teams of biology students used eggs as their models in order to gain understanding of how substances move into and out of cells. During this lab, they worked together to remove the shell from the egg and then placed the egg into various solutions to observe what happened. As they worked they collected data on the mass of the egg. This data was added to a collaborative Google sheet. Using Google sheets, students were able to create graphs of their own data, the data for their class, and the data for all classes. These graphs were then used to interpret the changes to the egg based on the solution. Finally, students predicted what would happen to cells in a variety of situations and were able to explain these predictions using the Smartboard.

                                                  Please visit the Egg osmosis album to see more students in action!

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Submitted by Meghan Basile, Science Dept. Chair, SHS-2/16/16

Explorations through Sketchpad


The students in the Algebra/Geometry I class have been using Geometer’s Sketchpad to investigate, explore and discover various postulates, theorems and relationships in their geometry curriculum. Students learned to use the various components of Sketchpad by doing an activity involving placing, naming, and doing various measurements of geometric shapes on the coordinate plane.They investigated angle measures by animating an angle to help them see that the length of the sides (segments) didn’t determine the measure of the angle rather it is how far apart the sides are that makes the angle increase or decrease in size.

Another investigation had them investigate the two types of angles that are formed when two lines intersect. (Examples attached.) They saw that the Vertical Angles (the nonadjacent angles) were equal in measure but the Linear Pairs (the adjacent angles) were supplementary.

The third investigation they have done is with the measures of the interior angles of a triangle. They saw that regardless of how they changed the look of the triangle, the sum of the interior angles remained 180 degrees.

The Dynamic nature of sketchpad allows for student investigation and discovery as opposed to the lecture method of just being told what a theorem states. With the discovery process and having them write out what they discovered in their own words, reinforces the concept more.

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Submitted by Cathie Meholic, Math Teacher at SHS



HST Student Led Leadership Gatherings

The following post was written by 4th Grade Members of the HST Student Lighthouse Team: 

Helping With the Leadership Gatherings! 

This year, Riley and Tamya, 4th graders at HST, are helping with the leadership gatherings. We have been trying to make every gathering a big success. First,we always get the positive habit Trackers. Then, we take them to Mrs. Cross’ room. Next, we type them up into  a shared slideshow in Google Slides. We work our hardest to get these names perfect and not to misspell the names. Then, we have to work on typing in all of the student birthdays. After, we start to do the upcoming months. Now, we are on the June birthdays. Last, we put the habit trackers in Mr. Brem’s mailbox and head down to our classroom.

Also we have been helping kids on Mondays  mornings to practice for our Leadership Gatherings. One Monday,we got to lead the Leadership Gathering,on January,25 2016. It was GREAT! We had a lot of hard names to read but we still loved doing it. We always had a good feeling this year would be a great year! This is how we are Helping With Leadership Gatherings!


Class Dojo Scores Big in Third Grade at WSE!

Third graders in Mr. Somishka’s and Mrs. Moyer’s classrooms are experiencing a new and exciting way of managing classroom behavior using an online resource called Class Dojo. Class Dojo allows Mr. Somishka and Mrs. Moyer to customize their Class Dojo page to encourage positive student behavior. It also aligns very well with Leader in Me because it provides students (and parents) an opportunity to view a timeline of their individual progress. Lastly, it is a helpful way for Mr. Somishka and Mrs. Moyer to keep the lines of communication open with parents/guardians, as it easily and almost effortlessly engages the students’ families. Mr. Somishka and Mrs. Moyer have enjoyed reaching parents directly and confidentiality using the instant message feature. It also includes features for posting photos and making classroom announcements. Overall, Class Dojo has been a wonderful addition to the third grade classrooms at Western and we look forward to continuing to use this online tool in the future.


Dojo mobile Positive Dojo Traits TL2020 WSE GRADE 3