Submitted by Evelyn Beaulieu, Director of Curriculum and Academic Achievement at RSU 25.
On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, Bucksport Middle School (BSM) hosted teachers from around the state in a Learning Lab, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education. The Learning Lab’s purpose was to demonstrate how BMS uses technology to enhance learning, and for the visiting educators to take new ideas and skills back to their community.
One of the day’s main focuses was to have students and their experiences be front and center. Members of the school’s Digital Media Club discussed the process of establishing, then writing and distributing the school’s first Digital newspaper. Members J-Lynn Farren, Abbigail Farricker, Kasey Findley, Dylan Wombacher, Emily West, Brianna Grass, Hannah Varnum, Kelsea Gaff, Wynn Therrien and Ella Orcutt also answered guest questions regarding the success and struggles they had experienced establishing the newspaper, and what the group’s long term goals were for the upcoming years, and plans for video announcements and more.
“My favorite part was teachers asking us questions and us being able to teach them how to do stuff,” said Kasey Findley, writer of the paper’s Kasey’s Korny Korner. “I think they gained a lot of resources that they will be able to bring to future classes.”
The school’s GT Art Program had students Ella Hosford, Ayden Maguire, and Diego Harvey working with GT Coordinator Amanda Hoffert doing photo manipulation. They were able to show examples of their photos, and go over the process and technology they used to manipulate the photos.
8th graders Alyx Frazell and Wynn Therrien were on hand to show the amazing work they did with 8th Grade Social Studies teacher Donna Short’s Greek Mythology Research project. Mrs. Short used project based learning to have her student’s demonstrate their understanding of the research process. Through student voice and choice 8th graders used a variety of genres to express new learning, from posters and slide shows to Ms. Frazell’s pottery and Mr. Therrien’s computer program written in Scratch. Guests were able to see the various types of technology that were used, and how Mrs. Short integrated them into project based learning in her classroom.
The final group, were students Wynn Therrien, Dylan Courtney, Andrew Braley, Bo Provencher and Kasey Findley to demonstrate BMS’s 3D printing program. All BMS students take Information Technology class with Mrs. Braley and learn coding, and 3D printing engineering and design. Mr. Provencher and Mr. Courtney showed the boats they had designed in 6th grade, Mr. Findley discussed the bubble wands they had made in 5th grade, and Mr. Therrien and Mr. Braley demonstrated Tinkercad, the program the students use to create their 3D projects. The students went over the design process, the engineering skills that were taught, and how they used problem solving to fix issues that arose when designing their projects.
“I was incredibly proud of all of our students.” Mrs Braley stated. “It was important to us to have the students be front and center, so that instead of teachers listening to just Donna, Mandy and I, they were getting first hand testimonies and examples from the students that we are teaching, and they were able to ask them what they thought was successful and what needed improvement. Having our students be able to demonstrate their learning in such a positive way was incredibly rewarding for us.”