It's research week for us, and we've been getting hands on with our research! On Wednesday, our tenth graders used a Google Hangout to learn from Ms. Ondrea Spychalski, the Water Projects Coordinator at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. Then on Thursday, we used a Hangout to learn from Ms. Emma Marris (check out the videos below). Students also interviewed staff and volunteers at Ionia's animal shelter on Thursday as they volunteered their time. On Friday, we have a crew of students cleaning the vacant lot in town across from our McDonalds, teaching Rather Elementary students about trees and bees, and we have a group canvasing local businesses about their recycling habits. We are learning hands-on!
In the upcoming week, we are pulling together all of our readings in order to think through how we have impacted our local ecosystem and what we might do to address an environmental issue in our area. Students in our class have already started to research and connect with local experts on conservation, local bat populations, the decline of honey bees, our deer population, recycling, and so much more. During the first full week of December, students in our class will be interviewing experts and planning ways to address these issues.
In fact, on Thursday, December 8th, our tenth grade students will be virtually connecting with Emma Marris (whose recent TED Talk is above) to ask her questions about her experiences researching ecosystems and the environment. We'll be recording our conversation, so be sure to check back next week to see how our conversation went!
An interest in helping young people discover and define their writing voice and reading interests drives Ms. Jennifer Ward to cultivate a student-centered learning environment, one that supports individual learning goals and incorporates purposeful use of technology. In March 2016, she was named a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and is also a Google Certified Innovator, National Writing Project Fellow, and a 2014 PASCD Emerging Leader. She is active in NCTE, the Flipped Learning Network, and an organizer with Edcamp. Jen taught for 13 years in a Philadelphia suburban district and returned to her home state to teach high school English at Ionia High School in 2015. This year, she is excited to join the Grandville High School bulldogs!