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Faculty Highlights: Week of September 19

  • Mr. Mota’s AP Spanish students are reading a journal written by Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer of the “New World.”  De Vaca’s journal provided a great opportunity for interdisciplinary investigation into the history of the Natives and Europeans.   Spanish IV students recreated Molas, intricate patterns made by the Kunas Indians of Panama.  Allowing students to recreate art work piqued the interest of students that may otherwise struggle in languages.  
  • Mr. Sobucki showed his students the clip from Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Arc when Indiana Jones used his understanding of the concept of density to be a hero.  Mr. Sobucki’s 4 minute investment made this science concept sticky for his students. 
  • Mrs. Pienton and Mrs. Grant have decorated the bulletin boards by the Visitor’s Center.  Our Alumni Association bulletin board now includes pictures of alumni and our other bulletin board highlights the work of SADD.      
  • Mr. Ehrenstrom played a game he calls “Tag Team Problem-Solving.”  Students were split into four teams.  Each team worked together for 2 minutes collaborating and strategizing on how to solve the problem presented (and strategizing an order for students to write on the board).  Students then lined up in 4 lines in front of the whiteboard.  Each student then had a turn writing one part of the problem on the board.  Students were highly focused and eager to solve the problem.  Mr. Ehrenstrom tapped into our students’ desire for concrete results and competitiveness to motivate his students.  This was also successful because each team was only as strong as their weakest student.  Without students even recognizing it, some students immediately became teachers and others began learning.  After each problem, Mr. Ehrenstrom reviews the work of each team. 
  • Mrs. Whitaker projects her students’ names on her whiteboard and as students enter the room, each student drags his name from the “absent” side of the Smartboard to the “present” column.  Not only does this routine take care of the often tedious task of taking attendance, it also teaches the students responsibility.  Mrs. Whitaker affably greets each student as they walk in their room – it is not by accident that she has a strong rapport with all of her students.  Mrs. Whitaker also devoted an entire lesson to fixing a lab report.  This lesson teaches students that writing is a process that requires numerous revisions.  This is also another way to promote a growth mindset in our students.  As students see their lab reports can improve, they will soon see how their skills improve and, consequently, their college readiness and ACT scores.    
  • Mr. Sweany and the Student Council organized another outstanding Homecoming Week.  Thanks to everyone for patience during special dress codes and special schedules.  Mr. LaCount’s enthused description of the Caravan Cup clearly signified the beginning of a something big for our students and Mr. LaCount’s emcee skills today helped to run a stirred pep rally.    
  • While conducting an interview about our new college readiness testing this year, senior Jack Carey cited DePaul University’s admission policy change which has made reporting standardized test scores an option for applicants.  Jack noticeably knew the debate before he came to conduct the interview.  Our Journalism program has clearly made progress with Mr. Haggerty’s leadership.  Our Journalism students don’t merely report factual information – they take on controversies frankly.  
  • Fr. Marlon taught his freshmen about religious concepts of reincarnation and rebirth by showing them a clip from the movie Avatar.  He then had students debate whether the main character’s transformation in the movie was a reincarnation or a rebirth.  Students were eager to present their argument to the class. 
  • Mr. Burke and Mrs. Pienton attended a conference given by the ACT on how to best teach the College Readiness Standards. 
  • Mr. Hansen and Fr. Marlon attended a conference given by the Peacebuilders program run through Chicago Theological Union. 
  • This year, the History Fair will be accepting web site projects for the first time.  Mr.  Himes attended a workshop given by the University of Illinois at Chicago to learn help guide our students that are interested in utilizing this new way to articulate their research.