I teach English 11 and Honors English 11 at Salisbury High School in the Salisbury Township School District. I team teach Honors English with Jennifer Brinson, Advance Placement United States History teacher and Advisor of Student Government. This year we are piloting an Integrated Project, a year-long, interdisciplinary, technology-driven project infused with unitedstreaming clips that make their PowerPoint presentations come alive in their culminating performances. This past summer one of our Decades teams was fortunate to present at NECC in the Student Showcase and another team at PETE&C. Stephanie Maciag, Department Chair and former Teacher-of-the-Year in FCS, and I co-chair the Graduation Project. Michele Honochick, Librarian extraordinaire, helps make our PSSA scores exceed AYP each year as we team in establishing the Academic Literacy/Reading Apprenticeship Program in 11th grade. In the summer I travel with Jen Brinson and 12-20 students to different world destinations. Our favorite trip to date: Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand, but that could change with Greece on the venue in June. In case you haven’t guessed, I am actively recruiting all three friends to the DEN.
Definitely, unquestioningly, I am looking forward to the T + L2 Conference in Denver. I can hardly wait for Digital Storytelling and all the new things I can learn about and bring back to all of you. What I am looking forward to piloting with Brinson is the “What If” project, teaching counterfactual history as a genre [an easier text than What If? America is Almost America], and finding ways to edit unitedstreaming videos and merge them with digital storytelling techniques to create counterfactual unitedstreaming. Since I teach Guns, Germs, and Steel in Honors, I am making a “What if Africa had the right stuff?” movie to model the IP technology piece. My role in the high school seems to be finding a way to do more technology integration with less technology available in a justifiable zero-budget mandate. Unitedstreaming really makes the impossible possible for me, much like Reading Apprentice initiatives make the invisible visible. I guess I do both, but what would you expect from a math-challenged English teacher with an avocation for history.
My favorite teacher [you saw this one coming] was Sister Rose Lorena. She was an SSJ, young, attractive, and in the sixties full-habit head-to-toe. She taught us Catcher in the Rye in 9th grade, a radical move on her part in a stoically parochial high school, but we hid the paperback behind our hard-cover religion book. When the principal walked by, he was [a Franciscan friar] always so impressed by our interaction in “religion” class. My favorite teacher now is Dr. Jan Fergus at Lehigh University. She is friend, mentor, and the best English professor with whom I have ever had to good fortune to study in graduate school. Good teachers change your mind; great teachers change your life.