School News From Reaching Heights

Math Carnival a Rich Learning Experience

At Oxford’s Fifth Grade Math Carnival, students had fun while carefully recording data and solving problems with a refreshing and inspiring enthusiasm. The Carnival, an annual event in Sean Sullivan’s classroom, culminated a unit on mean, median, mode and range. 

 “Kids devised their own games, came up with ideas, worked on them at home and occasionally talked to me to make sure they were going in the right direction,” explained Sullivan.  “By the time they’ve created the game, taught it to their classmates, and figured out averages four different ways for each game player, the math really sticks with them.”

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 2:06 PM, 04.16.2010

Math Lessons With a Side of Fun

Seventh graders in Damion Creel’s math class at Wiley Middle School get plenty of math conversation, solid life coaching and just a little silliness in each 90-minute class.  

“One of my goals is to help kids get over their fear of having the wrong answer,” said Creel. “I try to create an environment where they feel safe to talk about the problem-solving process.” He may also ask a student who describes an equation clearly to stand on a chair and repeat it.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 2:32 PM, 04.16.2010

Future Poets Find and Project Their Voices

Anna Gregory’s sixth grade English Language Arts students are developing into poets, readers, writers and critical thinkers.The classroom reflects a richness of teaching and learning. Posters feature the work of literary greats while others clearly and concisely train a student in stylistic techniques.
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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 2:35 PM, 04.16.2010

Grading That Measures Learning

The Homework Opportunity Club at Roxboro Middle School reflects a fundamental rethinking of what grades mean. Grades historically have reflected the completion of activities, but across our district and beyond, educators are working to have grades reflect learning. In the past, when a student did not complete an assignment, they received a zero.
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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 2:43 PM, 04.16.2010

Q&A with Heights Grad Jimmie Hicks III

What’s your major?
Public relations. 

How about your dream job after graduation?
To represent the Walt Disney Company, doing media and community relations.

Do you have a favorite memory or two from Boulevard Elementary?
My third grade teacher, Mrs. Axner, reminded me of Mrs. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus books. She turned science and history into adventures. In fifth grade, I went to France for two weeks in Boulevard’s exchange program. That was amazing.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 10:59 AM, 04.16.2010

Q&A with Heights Grad Kim Hackman

What’s your major?
Photo journalism with a minor in French.

How about your dream job after graduation?
It feels like a dream, since journalism is undergoing such transition, but ideally I’ll make documentary photographs. I’d enjoy teaching French or translating. I want to travel! In fact, when this is published, I'll be studying in Avignon, France.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:04 AM, 04.16.2010

Q&A With Heights Grad Jordan Zirm

What’s your major?

Journalism.

How about your dream job after graduation?

I’d love to write for a music publication. I’m especially interested in hip hop music and culture, and I’d like to review releases and write artist profiles. It’d be great to discover and introduce new music to a wide audience.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:18 AM, 04.16.2010

Q&A With Heights Grad Deidre Walker

What’s your major?

Early childhood education.

How about your dream job after graduation?

I’d love to be a kindergarten teacher. It’s important for kids to have positive influences as early as possible, while they’re still young and impressionable.

Do you have a favorite memory or two from Gearity Elementary? Making friends. I went to Heights schools all the way from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Many of the kids I met at Gearity stayed my friends all those years. 
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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:33 AM, 04.16.2010

Q&A With Heights Grade Damara Davis

What’s your major?

Psychology.

How about your dream job after graduation?

I want to be a therapist or counselor, or work with a non-profit on behalf of animal welfare.

Do you have a favorite memory from Noble Elementary?

I loved my kindergarten and second grade teachers. I enjoyed show ‘n’ tell, because we could bring in pets, and art and music.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:23 AM, 04.16.2010

Q&A With Heights Grad Bryan Lorenz

What’s your major? Business management, with minors in political science and economics.

What’s your dream job after graduation? I want to go to law school and start a private practice. I’d also enjoy working in international marketing.

Do you have a favorite memory from Oxford Elementary? Many teachers really helped me. Playing soccer with Mr. Sullivan, my third grade teacher, got me interested in sports. My fourth and fifth grade teachers helped get me ready for middle school. Mr. Wells showed us many cool ways of approaching math.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 1:11 PM, 04.16.2010

Q&A With Heights Grad Victoria Williams

What’s your major?

I have a double major in urban studies and economics, with a minor in Spanish.

What’s your dream job after graduation?

I’d like to help run a non-profit, maybe a food bank or shelter for battered women, and consult with large corporations on community outreach. I’m thinking about law school or a degree in public administration.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 1:20 PM, 04.16.2010

A Classroom Hums With Active Learning

One size does not fit all in Angela Hoang’s first grade class at Gearity Professional Development School. She frequently assesses students’ knowledge and differentiates the lessons they receive. Hers is a classroom full of active learners, experiencing many targeted levels of instruction, each with its own richness and rigor.


At the beginning of a recent double block period, students find their names on a chart directing them to one of six work centers containing a range of math, reading and writing assignments. Some students work at the computer, others read independently or help a classmate.
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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 1:16 PM, 04.19.2010

Data-Driven Differentiation (AKA Targeted Teaching)

Teresa Taylor-Ware, a second grade teacher at Canterbury, tells her students, “I’m going to give you a ‘tiny test’ of four to ten questions that will take five minutes and will tell me how to teach you better.”


Students know that the “tiny tests” don’t count for a grade, so they aren’t nervous about the outcome. Unlike a test that comes after completing a unit, these assessments are timed to help Taylor-Ware see more clearly how much of the material each student has mastered. The information allows her to target lessons to specific groups, either re-teaching or introducing new material where appropriate.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 1:39 PM, 04.16.2010