“Playing the Whole Game” of Music: Students Compose and Perform to Master Music Theory

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What does it mean to be an “educated musician?” What should musicians know about music beyond technique on their instrument? What knowledge and skills prepare students for college or lifelong learning as musicians? University Prep Orchestra Teacher Thane Lewis embeds music composition skills in his performing classes to give students a complete view of the subject of music. […]

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Computer Game as Brain Warm-Up: Language Classes build Vocabulary, Preparation and Engagement through Duolingo

A student's Spanish translation practice in Duolingo.

How do teachers get the most effective use of limited class time with students? Teachers face many challenges planning a class period. One is the pressure of completing the day’s activities in a short period. They also recognize that students are coming from other subjects or activities. That creates a need to transition into a class period, preparing them for the […]

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Making Ancient Demons with Modern Tools: 3D Modeling and Printing Masks in Stagecraft


Masked Theatre is one of the oldest traditions in stagecraft, allowing actors to transform themselves into ghosts, caricatures or mythical beasts.  To stage Four Japanese Ghost Stories by Eric Coble, middle school students in Stagecraft explored traditional Japanese theatre and mythology. In particular, the play features three demons known as Oni, which the students had to create for the performance. […]

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Projecting to Prevent Extinction


How do you capture people’s attention? Christina Serkowski’s Environmental Ethics elective asks students to see climate change as a story. As part of the course, students design an independent project on a topic of their choosing. Students pick a topic of interest and find ways to communicate their topic to their audience.  Inspired by the documentary Racing Extinction, juniors […]

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Seniors Solve Physics Challenges with Simulated Robots and Real Persistence

Can failure be a learning tool? What’s the learning value of “trial and error?” From discussions of teaching “persistence” and “grit” to current educational trends such as making and tinkering, Design Thinking, and hands-on STEM learning, many teachers and schools are embracing opportunities for students to learn through doing and to use inquiry and discovery […]

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Calculus Class Builds Textbook from Student Demonstration Videos

In the University Prep Math Department, students record video demonstrations of their problem solving in order to show their learning and create resources for their peers. Starting in 6th grade and reaching up into the highest-level electives, these videos of assorted concepts or theorems challenge students to work math problems while narrating their process, revealing […]

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Students Practice French “Extemporaire” with Video Discussions


One of the Language Department’s goals is to increase students’ opportunities to speaking and converse in their target language. To complement their in-class activities, French teacher Holly Woodson has students record themselves speaking improvisationally and post these brief recordings to class-wide discussion threads in Schoology. As opposed to more scripted assignments, in these “vlog (video blog) postings,” students […]

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