Sunday, October 19, 2014

Students Actively Learning Together....

All last week I had the pleasure of visiting many classrooms on campus. I was able to work with the entire English department three days straight; observing, planning, and debriefing. I was invited to visit two science classes on Friday that were engaged in a lab. What I saw was solid evidence of students engaged in real learning. I don't just mean students sitting compliant completing a worksheet, I mean active learning, critical thinking, and application. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few to give you a glimpse of the learning & engagement going on at FHS.

It all starts with a solid objective. The objective tells the students what they should know and be able to do by the end of the period. Many teachers are now incorporating their agenda directly underneath the objective, that way students see the steps they will take in class to reach the objective.

 Lynn Bocca's Reading Lab objective:  Students used four different colors to annotate the text. Blue: Who, Green: What, Orange: How, and Purple: Why. 
Laura Shafer's Biology objective: Students were using models to replicate DNA.

Peter Gelpke's Physics objective: Students were proving if Newton's Second Law was true.

Kelly Tomlinson's English 12 objective: Kelly modeled the process for students so they knew exactly what was expected of them. 

What struck me were the conversations that students were having with one another. This is when I knew that students were actively engaged and making meaning. 

Here are a few student quotes:

"The air track is being used to cancel out friction to show that Newton's Second Law is true," Tramale Hughes.

"Weight is dependent on the force of gravity.  Mass is constant, weight can change," Kelly Ann Bautista-Ong and Iman Ereiqat.

"I have finished highlighting the who, now I need a green highlighter to highlight the what," Dalaun Grady. When asked about the highlighting he explained that it helps him understand the article better. 


Assistant Superintendent Malcolm Butler visiting a lab group in Gelpke's Physics class. 

Lab groups working on proving that Newton's Second Law is true using the Air Tracks.

Students working together to place the DNA molecules. 

Student annotating his article with the color coding rules. 

Student taking a measurement before placing the mass on the air track. 

Student piecing together her DNA molecules. 

Student painting her ceramic work of art. 

Student painting her original ceramic work of art. 

Student in Computer Science Engineering class working on building his app. The tablet shows his artwork and original app and the Chromebook shows the lines of code.


As you plan your lessons continue to keep in mind that 
we are preparing our students to be successful in both college and career. This visual is a great reminder of that! It is all about BALANCE. 

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 



  1. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing the fabulous things that are happening at FHS. These are exceptional examples of posting objectives and students being engaged in learning!

  2. Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o, Falcons! Great activities - great learning!