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Fall 2016, Volume 3

Marietta City Schools


Innovations Inspirations A collection of innovations and inspirations from across Marietta City Schools that exemplify the Marietta Difference!


Superintendent Message Excited about Marietta City Schools Innovations and Inspirations, Vol. 3 Dear MCS Educators, Before you is a sample of the innovative and inspirational practices and programs that were implemented this past year in classrooms throughout our school system. The teachers showcased in this third edition are your colleagues, and like many of you, are considered teacher leaders who personify the “Marietta Difference.� As such, they are committed not just to celebrating their success with effective practices and innovations, but also to sharing them within and across all MCS schools, and beyond.

Dr. EMILY LEMBECK Superintendent

Marietta City Schools 250 Howard Street Marietta, GA 30060

As a Georgia Charter System, MCS has flexibility from many of the laws and rules which guide the use of time, talent, and funding in exchange for accountability and commitment to innovation. Innovations & Inspirations is about highlighting instructional practices in MCS classrooms, encouraging collective accountability, seeking continuous improvement, recognizing effective teaching and successful learning, honoring our profession, and assuring that all students Graduate Marietta well prepared for life success. It is about innovation or more accurately, achieve-ovation. It is about inspiring all teachers to learn and grow together. It is, most importantly, about all students and colleagues benefiting from the best that each of you can bring to Marietta City Schools and to public education. I hope to see your inspiring innovation highlighted in future editions. With appreciation for our contributing teacher leaders and those to follow,

Emily Lembeck, Ed.D. Superintendent


Innovative Ideas to Improve Student Achievement Purpose of This Journal

• To highlight outstanding teaching practices across the district • To encourage teacher inquiry and collective accountability • To support the professional development of teachers • To contribute to the theory and knowledge base of the profession • To identify areas for improvement and systematic ways for finding solutions • To celebrate learning and to incite passion for the profession



Table of Contents Innovations

The following articles detail classroom innovation projects from the 2015-2016 school year. One-to-One Chromebooks in Advanced Composition 5 Lauren Avery & Andrea Lyons Probing into Science 9 Jennifer Barnes Project Inspire 13 LaKeasha Clark, Misty Neidig, Tynisha Robinson, & Shelley Sitzes MakerSpace at MCAA 17 Amy Crandall IB Time Travelers 21 Laura Floryance Haiti Container Building Project 25 Leon Grant, Vickie Grant, Theresa Allen, Naomi Beverly, Jillian Horsey STEMifying Marietta 31 Keisha R. Kirkpatrick Apple of my “i” 37 Shannon Lawson iMath: Part 2 41 Dana Meyer MakerSpace at Marietta High School 43 Tim Nielson Chromebooks for the Chemistry Classroom 47 Ashley Teslicka


The following articles provide examples of why and how the teaching profession matters. Why Teach? 52 Sara Cleveland Don’t Blame the Lettuce 53 Susan Donlin The Art of Teaching 54 Jacob Garcia

Inspire Awards

Teachers who are recognized for producing high levels of achievement among their students or within their programs. 57 4

One-to-One Chromebooks in Advanced Composition Lauren Avery

Marietta High School 12th Grade - Advanced Composition Number of Years Teaching 10 years Highest Degree Earned MA in Teaching Past Awards or Honors • Outstanding Collaborating Teacher Award • Herff Jones S.T.A.R. Yearbook Adviser Hobbies/Interests • Camping, Crafting, Music Festivals

Andrea Lyons

Marietta High School 12th Grade - Advanced Composition Number of Years Teaching 16 years Highest Degree Earned BA in English Past Awards or Honors • Current SGT Representative • Former PTSA Teacher Representative • Employee of the Month • American Society of News Editors Reynolds Journalism Institute Scholarship Hobbies/Interests • Spending time with friends and family, traveling, sporting events and concerts

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? Two class sets of Chromebooks in Mrs. Avery and Mrs. Lyons’ 12th grade Advanced Composition classes addressed the Marietta City Schools’ mission of preparing students for college, career and life success as well as supported specific goals from the School Improvement Plan, Graduate Marietta Initiative, and Charter School goals. It also provided students with 21st Century skills directly related to the state standards and the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI). Chromebooks were used for collaborative and web-based learning and creation and facilitated the teaching of real life skills that twelfth-grade students will utilize as they transition from the high school to college or career. Chromebooks were used almost daily for researching, writing, peer reviewing, and revising with Google Docs, Slides, and Drive. was used as a platform for students to submit work, access resources, and view and respond to the work of their peers. Students worked individually and on collaborative documents with peers and teachers, putting the focus on the process of writing. First semester focused on individual work that focused on narrative and argumentative college preparatory writing. Students researched and wrote routinely about social problems and issues of teens and their local community. They used results from classroom discussions, blogs, and writings, along with surveys conducted by the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center to guide their choices for the topic of an argumentative research paper. Using Google through the Chromebooks was beneficial for college preparation for many reasons. First, the student’s school Google accounts allow them to access their information anywhere. Teachers and students could share resources and bookmark sources of interest. Students strengthened their organization skills by using folders in Google drive. Students could revise their papers based on comments and editing from peers and teachers in Google docs. In spring semester, the students learned to work collaboratively in groups, and the focus of the writing was informative and explanatory writing. Students used inspiration from the local issues researched in first semester and turned them into service projects to complete in second semester. Students collaboratively wrote business letters and proposals on Google Docs to local organizations that explained their desire to complete a service project. This project allowed students to truly function as working, collaborative peers on a real world project. Upon completion of the project, students used Google slides and a video app to create presentations. As a result of the skills learned and strengthened throughout the year’s work, students were able to create impressive resumes with cover letters, formatted on Google docs, of course, highlighting skills learned and projects completed in Advanced Composition.


With whom was the project implemented? 12th grade Advanced Composition classes. This group included approximately 250 students, which is sixty percent of the senior class at Marietta High School. When was it implemented? The Chromebooks arrived in October 2015, and they were put to use immediately. They were used almost every day until the last day of school in May 2015. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? This year, at Marietta High School, the English department changed twelfth grade English from British Literature to Advanced Composition because there was a clear need for better preparation for college-level writing. In collegelevel courses, students are expected to acquire information in diverse ways, synthesize information from a variety of sources, and create a broad range of products to communicate the knowledge they have acquired. While preparing the curriculum for Working with Google Docs allows teachers to view the collaborative process at work. the course, Mrs. Avery and Mrs. Lyons In this screenshot, the contributions of three different students on February 5 are met with professors at Kennesaw State automatically highlighted in different colors, showing that the three students all University, and it became clear that contributed to the document as they worked together on it in class. one of the biggest problems college freshmen face during their first year is the learning curve between classroomGoogle docs also based education and the classroom-internet allows teachers to hybrid that has become the most common collaborate with class structure in college level English classes. their students. Technology is a priority of the MHS School These students in Improvement Plan, and we realized this class with one-to-one technology could further that two separate class priority as well as enhance the transition to periods collaborated nearby technical colleges and universities, like on a project. In Chattahoochee Tech and KSU by enhancing the this screenshot, the flexibility and fluency with which our students teacher left comments use technology. on the document; then, students As the only teachers of college-prep English at MHS, Mrs. Avery and Mrs. Lyons are responsible viewed comments, for sixty percent of senior English students, and responded, and together they have the great potential to impact resolved the comments. the graduation rate among seniors. Students who are not planning to attend college have the same needs for technological fluency and flexibility. Versatility and the ability to learn new technologies are crucial qualities for employees in most fields, and the ability to easily use and learn new technology enhances a person’s potential both within their current job and as they seek to develop their careers for future success. Learning and improving skills is crucial for all students, and those without the skills to use basic web-based technology and learn new programs will be left behind. We must prepare all students with the technological skills of the 21st century.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results

What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? Because this was the first year of the Advanced Composition curriculum and the first time we had use of Chromebooks in our classrooms, students were invested in providing feedback and suggestions during and after every unit to improve student learning and to meet the needs to prepare them for their future plans. At the end of each semester, students were asked to write and share reflections on the class curriculum and the use of technology. . The overarching goals for the project were: • Students will increase in comfort and confidence when using an online classroom for learning and compositiontasks.++ • Students will utilize technology to develop awareness of the revision and editing process and improve composition skills. • Students will develop flexibility and adaptability when using technology and will be prepared to learn new programs in


college-level courses across the curriculum. Present the data. The following excerpts from student reflections convey the successes and challenges of implementing Chromebooks in the classroom:


First Semester “For me, Schoology was really helpful because we were able to post assignments easily. When we missed school, we were still able to see the direction of our assignment and due dates. And I loved the Chromebook because we didn't have to go the library or computer labs when we needed to type our assignments.” Asma, 12th grader “The chromebook made class way more interesting. I was excited to come to class to use the chromebook. Finishing work was a lot easier because of the chromebooks. If we had did all our work with pencil and paper I don't think I would enjoy the class as much as I did. The chromebooks change writing from boring to fun. It helped my success in advanced composition the most.” Randy, 12th grader. “I love using schoology and the chromebooks. It makes it very simple for students to complete their assignments anywhere. I think the best thing about it is the school emails, because since it is just for school, it is easier to organize and manage.” Kylie, 12th grader Second semester “I find schoology and the chromebooks a great thing to incorporate in this type of class. Being able to log into your school assignments at home, on your phone and in class is a great way to get stuff done. Learning how to share documents with others is a great way to work on a project and make sure everything gets done in the correct amount of time. Learning new technology every day is amazing because it can benefit everyone.” Georgia, 12th grader. “The most useful part of [the chromebooks] were the collaborative google docs! It's awesome working with other skilled writers along with peers who have great ideas to chip in. #CollaborativeGoogleDocs2016” Keionyi, 12th grader. “Coming into this class I really didn't know what it was about, so I didn't know what to expect out of it, but after starting it, I felt like what I was learning was needed for college. The chromebooks were very useful this year and it made things easier to do. Since it was all connected to google, we could go home and work on it or finish it up.” Susuki, 12th grader.


First semester: “To be honest I still don't think i'm a strong typer. The chromebooks are nice but difficult for me because i can only type with both my pointer fingers. The most I got out of it was being able to type more and type a bit better, but I still need work. Sometimes they glitch out and freeze (not that often) but it's pretty annoying. It does make getting feedback fast.” Ricardo, 12th grader. Second Semester: “Last semester I had said that chrome books sucked and that I didn’t like them. And well they aren’t the best but since Mrs. Lyons taught us a couple tricks so it doesn’t seem as bad anymore. Schoology was helpful because if we missed a day we were able to log in and see all the work we had to do. And we were able to see more examples of the things we were supposed to understand.” Jenny, 12th grade.

Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? When students have the opportunity to revise existing documents with minimal logistical frustration, they are more likely to actually make revisions and improve their writing. We believe this resource is truly helping us to help our students become better writers. The Chromebooks have completely changed the way that we are able to conduct our classes. The learning management system was a truly valuable resource that our students quickly began to utilize. Additionally, through the use of Google docs, the Chromebooks have enabled us to use technology to allow students to collaborate on assignments, receive digital feedback on their work, share resources, and treat their writing products as fluid, changeable work rather than finished, un-editable pieces. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? • High school students, particularly those less likely to have regular access to technology and technological guidance at home, need to be educated in a variety of software programs. They need to learn how to learn new systems. This will be a reality of life, yet many make it to senior year without fluency in even the most basic programs. • Students feel more engaged when technology is available on a regular basis.


• Student collaboration is a research-proven motivator, but it is also an opportunity for uneven work distribution. Using technologies like Google docs, in which students can automatically share contributions with partners or groups, allows for increased accountability in collaborative work. • Chromebooks are a useful tool for differentiation and allowing students to work at their own pace; class time for typing papers is not limited to the one or two days a teacher can gain access to a computer lab. Allowing more continuous and fluid access to needed technologies allows students to build a more authentic relationship with the content mastery and skill development that the technology is intended to facilitate, rather than focusing on the processes of the technology itself. What are the next steps for this project? • One of the attractions of Chromebooks was the teacher management and control options. This is an area in which the teachers of the class could better utilize the capabilities of the Chromebooks. We will seek teacher training in this area. • Students had difficulty at the onset of our Chromebook use because they were introduced to multiple new hardware and software resources. When we recognized this problem, we created a handbook for the class at the beginning of second semester. This handbook contained all necessary login information, procedures for performing important tasks in Google docs and Schoology, which we utilized regularly. In the future, this handbook should be part of the beginning of course information, along with the syllabus and course expectations. • The use of Google Docs and other Google apps as collaborative tools are valuable and could be developed more in the class. We will seek more training in the Google platform, which will be helpful to prepare teachers for maximizing the potential of resources that are available.

Students work collaboratively on their Google Slides presentation while logged in to the document on their individual Chromebooks.

The arrival of the Chromebooks generated great excitement!


Probing into Science Jennifer Barnes

Marietta High School 10-12 Grades - MYP Biology, IB Biology 1 SL, IB Biology II SL Number of Years Teaching 20 years Highest Degree Earned Education Specialist in Science Education Past Awards or Honors • Boyce Thompson Institute Plant Biology Teacher Intern at Cornell University – 2016 • Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Teacher Award – 2014 • Teacher of the Year – 2012 (Woodstock High School) • “Inspiring Excellence” Teacher Award – Georgia State Science and Engineering Fair – 2012 • Georgia Science Teachers Association High School Science Teacher of the Year – 2012 Hobbies/Interests • Gardening, walking with my husband, and dogs – Java and Ginger, traveling to the Caribbean, and knitting.

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? The Innovation Grant allowed my students and me to integrate more science-based technology into the classroom. Probeware is designed with a main unit – called a Lab Quest – that attaches to different probes that can measure various parameters. These include things such as pH and temperature, with others that can measure gas pressure in a closed system or oxygen levels in a closed system. The read outs on the Lab Quest are digital, and give very precise measurements. Students had access to this high level probeware that allowed them to expand on the number of labs they could do, as well as increase the depth of understanding of the concept. Additionally, the probes allowed investigations to be designed “from scratch” as multiple variables could be tested, making the labs different from each other. The use of the probes has also allowed students to do inquiry-based and student-centered labs, versus the standard “cookbook” style labs where students are given directions and all achieve the same outcome. Since the data collected is variable due to differences in design, students have been tasked with spending more time analyzing the data and developing critical thinking skills. Using this technology has also given students more control over developing their own labs and exploring variables of their choosing. Finally, students have been able to do more trials during each experiment to collect larger amounts of data, as well as do more labs. Traditional labs typically allow only one element to be tested, take longer amounts of time, do not allow precise data collection, and involve elaborate set ups. The use of this technology allows the streamlining of set-up, materials, and implementation of the lab. Even if a trial does not work as anticipated or seems to give an outlier of data, the probeware takes less time, so additional trials can be conducted with minimal time lost. One example of a lab that was done with the probeware was an enzyme lab. Students used catalase from activated yeast cells. For the baseline test, students used the gas pressure sensor probe to determine how much hydrogen peroxide to use with how much yeast as their control test. Then, students tested a different factor that can affect enzymes. Some students chose temperature, others pH and others the amount of hydrogen peroxide used. Students identified the constants within their design, then determined – using the probes – what the impact of their variable was on the activity of the enzyme. The higher the gas pressure, the greater the activity of the enzyme. Students could then graph their data to compare their results to the baseline test to find the optimum conditions for this particular enzyme. With whom was the project implemented? Juniors and seniors were primarily involved in the project this school year. Student were in IB biology 1 and 2. Approximately 65 students used the probeware and Lab Quests this year. When was it implemented? October 2015 – May 2015 (and will continue to all future years) Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? Any time a student has access to something “different” in a classroom, their eyes light up. Using technology that is not readily accessible to them allows them to be intrigued, and then they become more engaged in the course. With science, the idea behind teaching is “hands-on and minds-on” – meaning that the activity or lab should be physically and mentally engaging. The probeware is the perfect fit for this. Students are engaged in the lab – but the lab has purpose, and that purpose is to have students spend more time thinking about how to analyze data to answer a question. The probeware


provides very precise measurements and allows easy set-up for the lab – often times data can be collected in as little as three minutes, and setting up the experiment may take only three to five minutes. Rather than taking time to set-up very unwieldly equipment, with less precision in data collection, students spend more time thinking about what their data means, rather than spending an excessive amount of time collecting data.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results

What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? Data has been collected throughout by reviewing the scores on labs, as evaluated using the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme rubric for science Internal Assessments. The data was noted after the labs were complete. Qualitative data was also recorded as notes and reflections by myself from observations made of students during labs. Present the data. The trend of the data has been up. Initially, lab scores were low – in the 1-2 range (mean of 1.7) for lab work scored according to the rubric. On the most recent lab received, the scores have been in the 4-5 range (mean of 4.4). Considering that a 4 is deemed “passing” for an IB-assessed assignment, this shows growth in lab skills and critical thinking skills in the course of eight months. From the qualitative data noted, students were more engaged when working with the probeware. There have been two other labs where probeware was not used, and students were noted to be more off-task and were more frequently reminded to focus on the lab. This was notated in a qualitative format through observations made by myself during labs.

Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? As previously known, data collection is much more streamlined using the technology than without using it. As early as 1987 (Braswell), data loggers (another name for probeware) were seen in classrooms as a method to not only increase student engagement, but also to make data collection less time-consuming and allow trials of the experiment to be repeated quickly by students, increasing the amount of quantitative data that can be analyzed. The engagement of students in the lab is higher, with less off-task behavior. Midway through the project, I discovered a free app on their devices that allows the probeware to stream data directly to cell phones and then to analyze the data on their own devices! This has been another huge time-saver. Although students still use a lab notebook, just like a scientist would do, to record information on the lab procedures and data, the ability to use their own device in a productive manner was an unexpected bonus. Students are able to produce more authentic work that is based on actual data that can deviate between groups. Unlike “cookbook” labs where students are provided with instructions that yield almost identical data to confirm what might be already known, using probeware generates very different data between groups – especially when groups are given more control on how to design their lab. When an outlier comes up in data, the option to improve upon the procedure or simply evaluate the outlier is available when probeware is used. This is in part because of the ease of use to set-up experiments and the decreased amount of time needed to run individual trials. With traditional labs having a known outcome and little variance in data due to much more standardized procedures, less critical thinking was required as the results were very similar. When an outlier did occur in a traditional type of lab, there was not time to re-run the trial – thus limiting data analysis. The integration of this technology has promoted more independent thinking and critical thinking. It has also allowed students to become more creative with developing labs around a concept being studied, and has given more time for in-depth study of a topic. For example, early on in the year with the buffer lab, students were tasked with determining the best method to present a large amount of data to answer the question “Which substance is the best buffer?” Students collected 14 data points for each substance tested throughout the lab. They then calculated the change in pH over the course of each trial, and finally determined the buffer range of each substance using their change in pH values. This lab allowed students to look more critically at a variety of data points and decide how to present their data to answer the question under study. This lab is easy to set-up and test, so the focus is more on analysis of the data, rather than set-up of lab equipment. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? • Engagement is increased when using technology that is new to students. • Students like using the technology for labs versus labs that do not have a technology component to them. • Lab skills have improved as students take more ownership of their work. • Critical-thinking skills and data analysis skills have improved over a relatively short time period with the use of technology. • Lab set up and breakdown is much faster for the instructor when using probeware. Therefore, the teacher can spend more time designing subsequent lessons or assessing student work. • Less chemicals and materials are required for labs using probeware – allowing funds to be spent in other needed areas. • Larger amounts of data that is more precise can be collected for analysis by students. This process fosters students’ critical-thinking skills and encourages their ability to conduct scientific inquiry. • Probes are FUN!!!


What are the next steps for this project? After being at Marietta High School for only one year, there are several steps I would like to implement in future years. First, being new to IB and MYP and getting my own feet wet with the guidelines of both of these programs, I was a bit pressed for time to attempt implementation of Probeware in all classes as I had hoped and planned to do. As a result, the next step is to develop labs that are MYP-aligned that can use the probeware and technology to implement with the 10th grade students. There is a definite need to increase critical-thinking skills in the MYP biology courses, and using the technology to keep students engaged as a method to improve these skills is a priority for the new year. Second, Google Chromebooks will be available in the biology department next year. I would like these as the device that students use for data collection instead of using their phones. The app for the Chromebook is a bit more user-friendly than the iPhone or Android app. Additionally, not every student has a cell phone for the app, so the use of Chromebooks would make the access universal for all students. Third, I would like to use ManageBac more to show trends in lab skills. I had barely scratched the surface with ManageBac earlier in the year. Now that I have had more time to learn the program, I can see how useful it could be to see trends in very specific areas of their labs – particularly the Analysis section. Finally, there is equipment that is yet to be used. This was, in part, due to delays in trying to have the program loaded onto the existing laptops for using the digital microscopes. Fortunately, there are several other labs that will be done in next year’s classes that require the use of a microscope, and having the digital cameras will allow all students to see the same image at the same time, making it easier for discussion of not only what they are viewing, but also for making measurements of the images. In short, there is more technology to be implemented and more engagement in a hands-on, minds-on environment as we continue Probing Into Science!

Three IB Biology Juniors using the pH probe in the buffer lab to test different substances and their ability to buffer against changes in pH when acids or bases are added to them.

IB Biology Junior, Michael Crowe, enjoying using the gas pressure sensor as he collects data during the enzyme lab.


innovation noun



: a new idea, device, or method

: the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods



Full Definition of INNOVATION 1 : the introduction of something new 2 : a new idea, method, or device : novelty —in·no·va·tion·al I \-shnәl, -shә-nәl\




Project Inspire

Misty Neidig

Marietta Middle School 8th Grade - Mathematics Number of Years Teaching 15 years Highest Degree Earned MA Hobbies/Interests • Traveling, playing with my son, and hiking

LaKeasha Clark

Marietta Middle School 8th Grade - Mathematics Number of Years Teaching 16 years Highest Degree Earned MA Past Awards or Honors • 2012 Innovation Grant Recipient Hobbies/Interests • Reading and traveling

Tynisha Robinson Shelley Sitzes Marietta Middle School 8th Grade - Mathematics Number of Years Teaching 16 years Highest Degree Earned MA Past Awards or Honors • Apple Award Winner • Rookie of the Month Hobbies/Interests Reading, playing trivia, and spending time with family

Marietta Middle School 8th Grade - Mathematics Number of Years Teaching 13 years Highest Degree Earned BA Hobbies/Interests • Hiking and reading

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? This year we implemented Project Inspire using the TI-Nspire CX Navigator system. This system includes teacher software that allows teachers to create lessons and track student progress through a wireless access point. A wireless network adapter “hat” attached to each student’s handheld calculator allows the teacher to send a lesson to a student. When the student is finished, the work can then be sent back to the teacher, or the teacher can collect work from the entire class through the network. The teacher can then view student responses, and even share those responses with the class for immediate feedback. We believe TI-Nspire calculators are user friendly for middle school students and will prepare them for use of similar technology in high school and beyond. With whom was the project implemented? The Ti-Nspire Navigator system was implemented in all Math 8 Team-Taught classes totaling 109 students in addition to 23 students in a small group setting. Two complete Navigator sets were purchased along with 60 handheld calculators. When was it implemented? This project was implemented from September 2015 through May 2016. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? As mathematics educators of students with disabilities, we were compelled to find a way to reach all of the students that we taught. We were reminded of their gaps in mathematics by a barrage of data that never addressed specific solutions to problems associated with mathematics education. We believed that we could help close the gap between students with disabilities and their peers by implementing Project Inspire. Project Inspire’s mission was to close the gap by incorporating the use of TI-Nspire technology in the special education 8th grade classrooms. It allowed students to learn mathematics using multiple representations with high engagement. Using the TI-Nspire calculators allowed teachers to conduct formative assessments in an interactive environment so that learning could be adjusted. In the past, there was a tendency for teachers to focus on rote memorization goals for special needs students, which does not meet their needs


or address the legal requirements for these students to have an equal opportunity to learn. We used formative assessments and differentiated instruction to enable special needs students to meet high expectations. "Even in the face of widespread failure in learning mathematics, we seem to want to cling to educational methods with a nostalgia for them that has long outlasted their usefulness and has perpetuated failure." (Marilyn Burns, 1998) The approach for the project was to have students engaged by using this technology and have them use it to build conceptual understanding. We believed that engagement and understanding the big picture were the key to closing the gap and that the TI-Nspire calculators would help aid us in achieving these goals. Because the TI-Nspire software allowed educators and students to respond in real time, Project Inspire allowed teachers to differentiate instruction by identifying misconceptions, uncovering prior knowledge, and forming focused collaborative groups. Through carefully crafted common formative assessments, warm ups, polling, and tasks we were able to make students’ thinking visible, and therefore provide efficient and effective instructional strategies for successful understanding.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results

What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? We collected data from warm ups, common formative assessments, unit tests, polls, observations, a student survey, and benchmark assessments over the course of the school year. The warm ups, common formative assessments and polls were taken using the TI-Nspire calculators and accessed through the wireless technology that allows students’ responses to be captured by the teacher. We collected data using Performance Plus, our online assessment system, for all unit assessments and benchmark assessments as well. We observed students interact with the TI-Nspire technology and also surveyed them at the end of the project to determine several qualitative facts. We collected data daily from students as we implemented the daily warm ups. We collected data along with our PLC by using the TI-Nspire technology as a tool to capture students’ responses to common formative assessments. When our students took unit tests, about every 6 weeks, we would have them enter their responses into our online system so that we could compare their progress to their peers. Benchmark assessments were handled in a similar fashion. Present the data. • On the Math 8 benchmark, our students in the team taught math classes scored 55.8% developing and above compared to the overall Math 8 PLC who scored 54.9% developing and above. • Students with IEPs increased 81.66% from the fall benchmark to the spring benchmark. • Students in the team taught math classes scored higher on every Math 8 unit assessment than their counterparts. • On a survey, most students reported that using the TI-Nspire calculator was engaging, comfortable, helped build mathematical understanding and allowed them to learn a new technology. • On average, students showed 42% growth from the TI-Nspire formative assessment to the unit assessment. • Quick polls used as formative assessments showed an increased retention of content from introduction to application. • Teachers observed an increase in engagement while using the TI-Nspire calculators as well as an increase in collaboration.

The data displays evidence that the team taught class has a higher proficiency level than the other Math 8 classes and the overall district. What’s important to note is that the percentage of students scoring at the beginning level is also lower than the district.


Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? • Students enrolled in the team taught math classes scored higher on the Math 8 Benchmark than the math 8 PLC over the course of the Project Inspire implementation. We attribute this success to students in our classes being provided opportunities to build their own conceptual understanding. • Students showed an increased engagement level in the team taught classes due to the utilization of the TI-Nspire technology. • Students improved their ability to interact with the TINspire technology. By the end of the project implementation they were able to make connections between concrete, representational, and abstract forms of learning. We noticed increased confidence and the ability to work independently on tasks. • Students were able to apply math concepts using a more hands-on approach because of the implementation of Project Inspire. • Students received immediate feedback through the polling feature and daily warm ups and were able to remediate or extend their learning while working in collaborative groups. Research has shown that meaningful immediate feedback helps students develop awareness of their learning and improves their ability to recognize mistakes. • Students were able to connect mathematical ideas to interdisciplinary tasks during classwork through the use of rigorous performance tasks. For example, students made mathematical connections to science using a CalculatorBased Ranger which modeled distance with respect to rate and time. • Students took more ownership of their learning because they were more engaged by using the TI-Nspire technology. Increased ownership in math makes students more invested in the lessons. Students are more curious and willing to share what they know with others, which contributes to the IB philosophy of life-long learning.

Students are using the TI-Nspire calculators to work through a task.


What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? • Teachers provided the opportunity to use TI-Nspire technology in order to give students the confidence and ability to solve challenging real world problems by eliminating mathematical barriers for success. • Teachers created relevant mathematical tasks that encouraged students to explore concepts through selfdiscovery. For example, students could graph two linear functions on a coordinate plane to find their point of intersection and understand the intersection is the solution to the system. • Teachers structured technology-driven learning environments to prepare students for 21st century learning. • Teachers used the TI-Nspire polling feature to uncover misconceptions and immediately adjust instruction to meet the needs of all students. • Teachers built a positive learning environment in which students could use the TI-Nspire technology to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. (Standards of Mathematical Practice-3) For example, we were able to use the review feature-to-display student responses, which led to meaningful mathematical discourse. What are the next steps for this project? Project Inspire had a positive impact for students and teachers in our team taught classes. However, we did experience some challenges along the way. There were technical issues when TI-Nspire did not register all student responses, creating challenges with grading student work. More time is needed to explore TI-Nspire resources that are geared toward Math 8. Teachers need more training on how to use different aspects of the software. We will continue to use the calculators for formative assessments and to work through tasks that we have already tried. We will extend the use of the calculators to connect with science and social studies lessons where possible. Since the TI-Nspire technology allowed us to connect with these learners, we would like to expand the use of this technology to our math 8 colleagues and their students. It is our belief that all math 8 students would benefit from engagement, increased retention, building mathematical understanding, and being comfortable with interactive technology.

Students use slope and TI-Nspire technology to create a geometric art design.


MakerSpace at MCAA

Amy Crandall

Marietta Center for Advanced Academics 3-5 Grades, Media Specialist and Technology STEAM teacher Number of Years Teaching 14 years Highest Degree Earned M.Ed. Instructional Technology Past Awards or Honors • Kiwanis Club of Marietta’s GEM Award at MCAA (2014) • Outstanding New Employee at MCAA (2013-2014) • Teacher of the Year at MCAA (2015-2016) • SMARTamp Champ • SMART Exemplary Educator Hobbies/Interests • Reading, going to concerts, cheering on the NY Yankees, and spending time with my family at any beach.

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? One of the most exciting new practices in education is the incorporation of Makerspaces. A Makerspace is a designated environment where students may go to design and create through collaboration, innovation, and critical thinking skills. Makerspaces provide opportunities for students to invent new processes and participate in forward thinking, by finding solutions to problems relevant in their world. The Makerspace provides students with an opportunity to see why their class work is relevant through real world connections. At MCAA our schedule includes an hour STEM class. The leadership team believed adding a Makerspace to the school would elevate the student learning experience. In this room, students are given a unique opportunity to explore personal interests through the engineer design process. The experience provides students with a unique opportunity to apply many music, art, science, ELA, and math standards including,

1. Scientific inquiry – observe, investigate, analyze, and explain processes; 2. Demonstrate the nature of force and motion; 3. Demonstrate and explain physical changes; 4. Create using their knowledge of electricity and magnetism; 5. Identify arithmetic patterns; and 6. Solve problems using the standard operations and algebraic thinking that may incorporate fractions and decimal.

Students either came up with problems to solve on their own or chose a problem from a list of suggestions available in the Makerspace. Once a problem is identified students must complete the following process: Research, establish criteria and constraints, imagine, plan, create, and improve. It is through this process that students demonstrated the relevant need for their classwork. Some examples of problems students approached included:

1. developing flotation devices for non-swimming students, 2. designing shoulder pads to help make holding a backpack less stressful, and 3. creating a pencil holder with 3-D printing software.

With whom was the project implemented? All students at MCAA participated in six 50-minute Makerspace visits throughout the school year.


When was it implemented? MCAA students worked in the Makerspace from October 2015 to May 2016 during the Technology STEAM class. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? As a STEM certified school, MCAA students are already familiar with the engineering design process because it is used daily in class. It has been our goal over the last few years to take STEM education to the next level, known as STEAM, which incorporates the arts. With the edition of a Makerspace students engage in higher levels of learning across multiple disciplines, including the arts, making this an authentic STEAM experience. The projects in the Makerspace would demonstrate student learning of the science, math, music and art standards for each grade level. Although improving student achievement was the primary goal for the Makerspace experience, I stumbled upon an unintended outcome, which seems more relevant at the beginning stage of implementing a Makerspace. Students are very comfortable completing engineering design challenges prepared by teachers, but less confident about designing their own constraints and criteria. For example, a group of three fourth graders wanted to create maze for a Sphero. They were excited to jump into the project, rather than considering many factors, like taking time to think about materials needed and how it would affect the Sphero’s force of motion. Also, their plan needed to consider how much time they had to work on the project. Though they are young students (8-11 year olds), I believed the students would be able to understand and take responsibility for the Engineering Design Process.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results

What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? Initially, student data from MAP and science benchmarks was the intended evidence I would use. However, as the year went on, it became apparent that informal data was critical to decide the next steps of the project. Realistically, we are at the introductory stage with the Makerspace for all grade levels, so I believe formal data from MAP and benchmarks will not be relevant information for another year. Establishing routines and procedures is imperative to a successful Makerspace experience in the future. For this reason and for this year, I am providing informal data through a survey for teachers, interviews with students, and observation of student work collected during the year and in May. Present the data. During October 2015 through May 2016, 12 homerooms visited the Makerspace six or seven times. I took the students there most of the time while 52% of STEM teachers also took classes there. It’s only natural for a teacher to feel the need to provide activities that keep students on task throughout the school day, rather than students independently creating teachable moments. This notion was a common concern regarding the Makerspace and the independence students were given during that time. The comment, “I would like students to work on a focused project instead of having it totally open,” was expressed by 50% of the teachers. While in the Makerspace, students were observed to be focused on the different tasks. On a scale between 1 (not engaged) to 5 (completely engaged) 60% responded that they felt all students were completely engaged while another 25% observed that many students were engaged. As teachers, our number one priority is to always provide experiences within the instructional time for students to show success with the standards. Individual projects ranged from pencil holders for their desks, metal detectors to find a lost pendant in someone’s backyard, and deconstructing a laptop to learn how it is made. Every project had to go through the same engineering design challenge. I recognized the importance of this, regardless of the project, because students benefited from practicing how to design a challenge independently. A fifth grader, stated “If I didn’t use the engineering design process, I would have had more problems with my design.” One of our fourth graders began a business of her own this year. (SEE PICTURE BELOW) She makes headbands that she now sells at the Farmer’s Market at Marietta Square. I asked her if she used the engineering design process to start her business and was impressed to hear how she applied the engineering design challenge. “I definitely did! I made a plan. Then I asked people what they thought about it and I showed them my product.” This is a powerful example of applying the engineering design process independently.


It was also clear to me after interviewing the students that they understood the value of their classwork in making these real-world connections in the Makerspace. Here are some examples of their answers: “We used division to make a device to help me swim because I don’t know how.” (5th grader) “I used the information I knew about force of motion to make a course for the Sphero. I had to think about friction and momentum.” (5th grader) From observation many projects went the “safe” route (i.e. pencil holders), but some were great examples of thinking outside the box. For example, a third grader, exposed to reading notes on a staff in music class, decided to explore his curiosity with composing songs during time in the Makerspace. (SEE PICTURE BELOW.) His composition may not musically make sense, but he demonstrated that he understands the placement and look of the notes on a staff. Not to mention, he was very proud of his work. Most students are proud when they share what they made. Positive reactions from classmates encourage students to dig better and try something new the next time they come in. This, in turn, creates a confident student willing to apply the engineering design challenge naturally.

Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? Students overwhelmingly agreed that they looked forward to going to the Makerspace because they worked on projects that they enjoyed doing. A fifth grader explained that the Makerspace allowed her to express her creativity by making what she wanted to make. Two fourth graders explained to me that “having access to lots of tools and supplies in the STEAM store gave us a lot of ideas.” From the teachers’ perspective, open-ended projects were not conducive to the time spent in the room. One teacher responded, “I think that the Makerspace is GREAT! The students always loved getting to go in there and looked forward to it. I think that I would have been able to use the space better if I had an assigned time to go- that way I could plan for it. With everything else going on it became one of the things that unfortunately fell through the cracks.” The Makerspace provided our students with unique opportunities to apply their knowledge of the standards learned in a natural way. By not giving students a teacher-directed design challenge the students were motivated by their curiosities. This fact is again emphasized in the students’ comments. However, applying the engineering design process did not come naturally for them. With teacher guidance and the engineering design packet, students learned to write problems about topics from pencil holders to metal detectors to gamification. Towards the end of the year, I noticed students falling into a routine with this process and accepting the importance of it, as evident in these comments. “If I didn’t use the engineering design process there would have been more problems with my design.” (5th grader) “It helped me learn how to build things correctly rather than doing what I originally thought.” (4th grader) What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? Project-based learning through the engineering design process is important to formally teach students the problem-solving cycle. However, authentic learning experiences provided by the Makerspace give students the support they need to apply the standards learned, as well as, the design process itself. I agree with teachers that using our curriculum map and helping students choose problems that coincide with their classwork would be a more substantial use of the time. What are the next steps for this project? The Makerspace and STEAM Store will remain an important part of MCAA next school year. I plan on taking the information collected through this journey and work with the leadership team to make decisions on how we can continue to provide students with opportunities to personally explore their curiosities. One teacher pointed out that she could use lessons procedures and tools in the Makerspace. I have already prepared a schedule for professional learning next year to orient teachers on more of the technologies in the Makerspace. I have also created a Makerspace Manual and edited it as the year went on. I will collaborate with teachers on ways they can apply the resources in their classrooms. I believe that when students use these technologies in the classroom they will feel more comfortable exploring ideas that form about them in the “I used the information I knew about force of motion to make a course for tabout friction and momentum.” (5th gradn


Students collaborating on their engineering design challenge.

Student applied his knowledge of notes on a staff by “composing� his first song.

Our 4th grade entrepreneur displays the headbands she made for her new business.

A student’s engineering design packet.


IB Time Travelers Laura Floryance

Sawyer Road Elementary First Grade - Elementary Education Number of Years Teaching 23 years Highest Degree Earned Master’s of Education Past Awards or Honors • Authored Congressional Resolution H.Res-901 • Letter of Commendation, Mayor Tom Barrett 2010 • Letter of Commendation, Governor Deal 2015 • MCS Employee of the Month, May 2015 Hobbies/Interests • Photography/Video Production • Dance • Gardening

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? I decided that, if there wasn’t enough money to take students on all of the fieldtrips we desired, then I needed another low-budget option. After watching Dr. Who with my daughter, I realized that if my class built a Tardis a’la Dr. Who and used Green Screen technology, we could virtually go all over the world! A great idea was born! Thus we began our big adventure… We received the Innovation in Education Grant to purchase an IMac computer, Final Cut Pro editing software, a Lighting/Green Screen Package, a Sony digital camera, and money to purchase supplies for construction. Students created their very own Time Machine using a box, wood, paint, lights, etc. and used movie making technology to make movies showcasing places they studied around the world. Students were involved in every aspect of movie creation from script writing, acting, prop selection, cinematography, editing, sound production, and directing. The student-created movies highlighted places the students had learned about and focused on content and facts they wanted to share in a kid-friendly format. For instance, the movie they enjoyed making the most was called “1F Time Travelers: Chinese New Year”. The kids had been learning about how people in China express their culture during holidays. After studying about Chinese New Year, the kids made a movie in which they “flew” to various parts of China and gave reports from various historical locations. With whom was the project implemented? My first grade class was comprised of 21 students: 9 boys, 11 girls, 5 gifted students, and 10 ESOL students. Seven students qualified for EIP reading services, and 10 students qualified for EIP math services. Initial M.A.P. (Measure of Academic Progress standardized testing) scores for these students ranged from the 1st percentile to the 99th. When was it implemented? Beginning in August, the children took a SmartResponse pre-test on cinematography careers/terms and then learned the initial sequencing, math, and problem solving skills necessary to make movies successfully. By the end of October, the children were making their first movies about gardening, farms, and weather. The project concluded in May 2016 with our final movie about Chinese New Year. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? After last year’s successful Movie Making Innovation Grant project, I decided to try something even more challenging. With the lack of resources available to take the children on multiple field trips, I felt that we could use movies as a way to “travel the world” virtually. I already knew from last year that movie making was an excellent way to teach problem solving skills, but I wasn’t certain if students would be able to use ChromaKey (Green Screen) successfully. I hoped that not only would the students be able to learn problem solving but also that this project would provide students with another unique way to demonstrate that they had learned the content. I expected that ESOL students in particular would be able to show a command of language in a very engaging way as they explained concepts to their intended audience. Another intended outcome was to continue to support the Graduate Marietta Initiative by providing students with exposure to careers they could pursue in the real world beyond high-school and college. Students would be able to see the need for the literacy, math, engineering, and science skills as they apply to these careers.


Part 2. Data Collection & Results

What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? *Smart Response Pre-Post Test on cinematography terms given in August/May *District Benchmark Assessments given quarterly *MAP testing given August/December/May Present the data. *Smart Response Pre-Post Test results: Students increased in their knowledge of cinematography terms from 21% to 93%. *District Benchmark Assessments: Quarter 1 Math 66.7% Proficient Quarter 2 Math 88.9% Proficient Quarter 3 Math 95% Proficient Quarter 4 Math 100% Proficient


77.8% Proficient 100% Proficient 100% Proficient 100% Proficient

The children worked hard painting the Time Machine inside and out!

*M.A.P. Assessments: Fall to Spring •average projected RIT score gain READING = 17 points •average actual RIT score gain = 31 points Fall to Spring •average projected RIT score gain MATH = 18 points •average actual RIT score gain = 30 points

Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? •Students became better problem solvers as they built their Time Machine and learned to use the movie making technology. • Although the Final Cut Program is used by professional cinematographers, children were not apprehensive at all about using it. They were very adept at controlling their clips and edits in the program. • The movies created became an excellent way for ESOL students to showcase their grasp of language. ESOL students were required to ask and answer questions on a variety of topics, which they did as well as many of their native Englishspeaking peers. • The enhanced problem solving required to make the movies definitely enhanced student ability to perform well on standardized and district assessments. This could be because students were able to clearly verbalize their thinking strategies throughout the movie making process which translated quite clearly to them verbalizing and demonstrating their thinking strategies on their assessments. • The STEM thinking process was modeled throughout the movie making process. We all learned to problem solve as we enhanced our Time Machine and movies to make them work better. We often had to use the internet and community members as resources to learn how to build things or edit. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? All students should be given opportunities to engineer items for real-world purposes. The students used the STEM process to design, build, test/use, and re-build their TIME MACHINE over and over until it looked and performed the way they intended. Even our youngest students can work through this process effectively if they are taught and modeled this way of thinking.

Leslie used the Final Cut Pro program to edit her movie.

Deniz and Di’Anna used their Time Machine and Green Screen to report on the Chinese New Year Dragon Dance.


Movie Making would be a great way to assess and exit students in the ESOL program as movie making requires quite a bit of literacy to make and perform. Students were extremely proud of their performances which made them more confident speakers in the classroom. Student Movie Making combined with Virtual Fieldtrips would be an excellent way to bring the outside world into the classroom. What are the next steps for this project? We will keep the Time Machine at school and use it with next year’s first graders as well as the classes from 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 classes that graduated from my classroom movie making experiences. We will continue to use the ChromaKey and Final Cut Pro technology to create movies, and we will explore using movies to create a visual portfolio for our ESOL learners. The kids already have their first movie planned for next year!

Julissa had an important job as class cinematographer.


Marietta City Schools was Named the Georgia Charter System Innovator of the Year Marietta City Schools (MCS) received the Charter System Innovator of the Year Award and was presented a $10,000 grant from Comcast to further enhance the school district’s reforms. The award was announced at Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle’s Second Annual Charter System Foundation Awards Luncheon, highlighting the numerous achievements of Georgia Charter Systems. “Georgia Charter Systems are truly the incubators fostering new innovations in our schools, setting the stage for what education will look like in the future,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. “Marietta City Schools could not be more deserving of this award as they actively remove barriers to success so that every student cannot only thrive, but graduate college and career ready.” The Innovation Award recognizes the system that demonstrates instructional innovations at the classroom, schoolhouse, or system-wide level with a focus on unique programs that increase student interest and drive achievement. MCS was selected to receive this award for the innovative Graduate Marietta Student Success Center (GMSSC), a one-of-a-kind program at Marietta High School (MHS). In partnership with 37 community organizations, the GMSSC is providing students support and addressing barriers to success through its Center for Academic Support, Center for Behavior Support, and Center for Community Partnerships and Services in ways that will potentially offer appropriate services that meet the needs of all MHS students. “We are honored to be considered the top innovative Charter School District in the state and greatly appreciate the commitment of so many critical agencies, organizations, civic groups, businesses, volunteers, and individuals,” said MCS Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck. “In just one year, the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center has flourished into a model program that touches the lives of our students and their families in ways that go beyond the walls of a classroom. This innovation came from the need to have more of our students ‘Graduate Marietta’ as well as the MCS strategic mission of preparing each of our students, through academic achievement, for college, career and life success. Therefore, providing the services and supports necessary to accomplish this for all students requires an innovative and collaborative approach.” MCS, along with every other state approved Charter System, outperforms its traditional public school counterpart in every academic milestone. Of Georgia’s 180 school systems, 40 have been approved as Charter Systems by the State Board of Education. For more information on the Georgia Charter Systems Foundation, visit:


Haiti Container Building Project Leon Grant

Marietta High School 9-12 Grade - PreEngineering & PreArchitecture Number of Years Teaching 17 years

Vickie Grant Marietta MIddle School 7-8 Grade - STEM Magnet Program Number of Years Teaching 21 years

Theresa Allen Marietta MIddle School 7-8 Grade - STEM Magnet Program Number of Years Teaching 25 years

Naomi Beverly Jillian Horsey Park Street Elementary School k-5th Grade - Special Education and STEM CLUB Number of Years Teaching 9 years

Hickopry Hills Elementary School 5th Grade - Science Number of Years Teaching 11 years

Project Awards and Related Honors • Haiti Container Project featured in MDJ, AJC • Presentations given at Georgia Capitol at the USGBC Award Luncheon • Featured in American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal & students presented at Georgia ASCE November meeting • Students project won 1st place in the Georgia Science & Engineering Fair, with multiple special and grand awards • Student project won 4th place in the International Science & Engineering Fair • Student won a 6-week architectural summer experience at Harvard University • Presentation given at Piedmont College Educators Renewal Conference • Two papers presented at the 2016 DCA (Design Communication Association) Conference in Istanbul, Turkey

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? The Engineering Pipeline Initiative is building on Marietta City School’s rich history in STEM education. The Pipeline is providing a focused effort across several grade bands to excite, expose, and strengthen the interest of students in STEM. The Engineering Pipeline is seeking to expand STEM capacity by expanding the flow of students remaining in STEM pathways beyond high school into post-secondary levels. The Pre-Engineering and Pre-Architecture instructor at Marietta High School, Leon Grant, forges a paradigm shift in K-12 engineering and integrated STEM education. Students are deeply immersed into the design problem and move beyond conceptual models to develop working prototypes through multiple iterations. The Innovation Grant funds provided valuable resources necessary to expand the Engineering Pipeline initiative. Each school received an IMac computer or multiple IPads. This technology provides an AV platform for capturing, cataloging, sharing, and producing digital content that documents student research. The grant funds were also used to purchase Raspberry Pi automation equipment that was used to monitor weather, water quality, and more. Grant funds were also used to purchase equipment for the industrial aquaponic system designed and fabricated by Hatponics at the middle school. The grant was also used to purchase data logging equipment, sensors, and graphing/ analysis software to collect and analyze data on prototype systems such as aluminum melting furnace, solar oven, and more. The grant provided funds to purchase supplies and components for prototype systems such as aluminum melting furnace, solar collection/storage system, solar oven, sustainable furniture, aquaponics systems, and research display system. With whom was the project implemented? This yearlong, integrated STEM initiative engaged over four hundred K-12 students in the development of real-world solutions to issues faced in l’Abre, Haiti. The Engineering Pipeline employed vertical and horizontal collaboration to provide a deep and rich continuum of STEM education. Vertical collaboration takes place between elementary schools (Park Street & Hickory Hills Elementary), middle grades (Marietta Middle School), high school (Marietta High School), colleges (Kennesaw State, Ball State, Georgia Tech & Louisiana Tech State Universities), and industry professionals, such as the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), Hatponics, Marietta Non-Destructive Testing, Frontier Mechanical, and more. Horizontal collaboration takes place as students integrate the knowledge obtained in science, mathematics, engineering, English, and social studies classes to develop real solutions for real problems. Students also collaborate with industry and community partners as they seek to develop viable solutions. When was it implemented? The first phase of the Engineering Pipeline was implemented in 2013-2014. The concept and goals for a K12 engineering pipeline were vetted with a nearly fifty-member Pre-Engineering Advisory Council. The makeup of the advisory council was diverse and distinguished with deep representation from industry (engineering and architecture), engineering education (Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University), and K12 education (elementary, middle grades, high school, and school and board level administration). Phase two of the Engineering Pipeline took place in 20142015. A formal partnership was established between Marietta High School’s Pre-Engineering Program and Marietta Middle School STEM Magnet Program. The first Engineering Pipeline Open House took place in the fall of 2014 with Marietta High School and Marietta Middle School. During the year the high school mentored the middle school in


establishing a Technology Student Association Chapter and provided teacher training for STEM magnet teachers on Solidworks and 3D Printing. During the 2015-2016 school year, the third phase of the Engineering Pipeline was implemented with the aid of innovation grant funds adding two elementary partners, Park Street Elementary and Hickory Hills Elementary. The year started with the Second Annual Engineering Pipeline Open House introducing twenty Engineering Pipeline partners to the pipeline teachers, students, and parents. Dr. Steven Jones, Associate Dean of Villanova University’s School of Engineering, was the Keynote speaker. The Engineering Pipeline utilized the Haiti Container Building Project as the real world context for age appropriate projects. During the school year Engineering Pipeline teachers and students received training (Solidworks, WebEX, 3D Printing), resources (Apple iMacs, iPads, WebEX, Raspberry Pi, Lego NXT, and Solidworks), project materials, and access to mentors and industry professionals. Throughout the school year students engaged in engineering projects related to the Haiti Container Project. The year concluded with the 2016 Engineering Pipeline end-of-the-year Review as Dr. Tom Iseley, ASCE fellow and Director of Louisiana Tech’s Trenchless Technology Center, provided a keynote address. Approximately 350 people were in attendance as students from three grade bands set-up displays and presented their research finding. A summary of each school’s research is listed below. The fourth phase of the Engineering Pipeline will take place in 2016-2017. Students in conjunction with Engineering Pipeline partner will build the Engineering and Architecture Research Laboratory for Sustainability (EARLS Lab) from repurposed shipping containers on the Marietta High Schools campus to serve as a sustainable technology laboratory for years to come where students can conceive, design, prototype, and test future solutions. Hickory Hills Elementary • Developed Aquaponics Systems Students used new and repurposed materials from Ms. Bonin’s seventh grade science class to produce prototype aquaponic systems. Working in small groups, the class modified units, added a pump, additional tubing, tape, and a lift. These modifications produced a working prototype by stopping the unit from leaking and overflowing. • Fabricated Solar Cooking Working in small groups, students created four solar cookers. They used various household materials such as saran-wrap, aluminum foil, cardboard, tape, scissors, and black construction paper. Students also used the solar ovens to cook tortillas using only solar energy. • Produced Audio Visual Journal. Students collected visual data in the form of photographs and videos creating a photo journal of the year’s activities. Park Street Elementary • Introduced Raspberry Pi MHS pre-engineering students mentored elementary students using a Raspberry Pi controller, which is a small computer system that can be configured as a security system, water quality monitoring system, a computer tablet, and more. Students experimented with using Raspberry pi for simple automation projects. • Developed Aquaponics System Park Street students and teacher used Solidworks to design an aquaponic system. Solidworks is an industry standard parametric computer-aided design and engineering tool. Students designed parts on Solidworks and can printed prototype part with a 3D printer. Students also used new and donated aquaponics components from MMS to enhance their prototype. • Fabricated Solar Cooking Students produced solar cookers from various household materials such as saran-wrap, aluminum foil, cardboard, tape, scissors, and black construction paper. Students also used the solar ovens to cook tortillas using only solar energy. • Produced Audio Visual Data journal. Students collected visual data in the form of photographs and Videos creating a photo journal of the year’s activities. • Engaged in other STEM Activities Park Street started a STEM Club. The PSE STEM Club’s Science Olympiad Team won third place overall in the Paper Rockets Event at the 2016 Cobb Regional Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational event. Students were required to use their engineering skills to build a rocket and launch it at a target, and the team who landed closest to the target won! It was Park Street’s first time competing in the Science Olympiad in the event’s 30-year history. Marietta Middle School (7th Grade) • Developed Aquaponic System Through the study of aquaponics, students analyzed and developed systems that created a sustainable model that is transferrable to the EARLS Lab, and that can be replicated on a larger scale in Haiti. Ryan Cox, of HATponics Sustainable Agriculture, and Dr. VanGinkel, of Georgia Tech, partnered with the seventh grade to educate them on proper care, maintenance, and insight to the importance of sustainable agriculture.


o Aquaponics group- designed a model for EARLS Lab, building automatic fish feeders, monitored and maintained the aquaponics system. o Solid Works Group -3D printed cups for plants in aquaponics system, Constructed aquaponics system, 3D printing parts for automatic fish feeders o Computer Programming Group-Building the hardware to monitor pH, water leak, humidity, temperature, water level; writing code in C++ and Arduino • Promoted Community Awareness o Advertising Group - Solicited community interest & support, publications for the cause and other groups, AJC publication, donations, raffle, production of materials (social media, website, posters, PSAs, children’s books, etc.) o Community Food & Garden- researched, designed, created, presented and implemented a community-based project that helps and enhances the health and well being of our community. Marietta Middle School 8th Grade • Developed Playground Equipment that Produces Energy MMS sketched, designed, constructed, and evaluated 3-D conceptual models of playground equipment that used simple machines and transformed energy. Students integrated science and mathematics standards during the engineering design process. • Participated in Lego Robotics Competition Marietta Middle School STEM Program, in collaboration with Marietta High School Pre-Engineering Program, developed a robotics competition based on trenchless technology. Students used the Mobile Robotics curriculum developed by Carnegie Melon to become familiar with the capability of the NXT and EV3 robot systems. Students then had to solve robotic challenges that mimic real-world challenges to detect and repair buried infrastructures using robots. • Conducted Primary Source Research Seventh and eight grade students engaged in dialogue with Professor Megan Sharpe of Ball State University about her recent trips to L’Abre, Haiti via a WebEx conference. Professor Sharpe shared photos and findings about the conditions in L’Abre, Haiti. Students also had a face-to-face assembly with Mr. Ray Rene, an environmental Engineer and native of Haiti, who shared about living in Haiti, and heard from Dr. Ryan Cox, CEO of HATponics, a company that provides sustainable agriculture solutions around the globe. Mr. Leon Grant, Marietta High School Pre-Engineering Teacher and Founder of the Haiti Container Building Project, shared the project’s vision. • Produced Audio Visual Data journal. Students collected visual data in the form of photographs and Videos creating a photo journal of the year’s activities. Marietta High School Pre-Engineering and Pre-Architecture Program • Designed and Produced Architectural Models Students Jeffery Hughes and Barbara Cantu develop conceptual and CAD models of both the five-acre site of the Haiti Container Building Project in L’Abre, Haiti and The EARLS Lab at Marietta High School. Students also conducted sun studies; produced plan, elevation and perspective renderings; and produced virtual walk through of EARLS Lab. Student Zoe Crisp produced scale models of the Haiti Container Building Site and the EARLS Lab Site. • Designed and Produced Site Plan for EARLS Lab Student Lexi McPherson produced multiple site plans based on the “as build” prints and the sites physical features. The Architectural plans along with the site plans were reviewed by Mr. Mark Rice, City of Marietta chief building inspector and EARLS Lab building partner. Construction of the Earls Lab is set to begin during the 2016-2017 school Year. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Sustainable Furniture First year pre-engineering students designed and modeled sustainable school furniture for Haiti. One design for a drafting table was prototyped and is being evaluated for improvements. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Aquaponic System Second year pre-engineering students researched, designed and modeled various aquaponics and work composting systems. Zion Martell’s design has been developed into a prototype aquaponic system and is being evaluated for improvements. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Solar Collection and Storage System Fourth year pre-engineering students led by Mattean Azari researched, designed and prototyped a 200 watt-hour photovoltaic solar energy system. The system uses 3 deep-cycle batteries to store collected energy, has safety fuses, control switches, quick power disconnect, and DC/AC power outputs. The system is used to power a 50” LED TV, HAM radio, led signage, and aquaponic system completely off the grid. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Solar Oven First year pre-engineering students researched designed and modeled various solar ovens. Lesli Hernandez and Maimuna Jallow’s design was prototyped and was evaluated for possible improvements. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Off-Grid Aluminum Melting Furnace Zoe Crisp, fourth pre-engineering student, researched, designed and prototype aluminum melting furnace that melts 1200 aluminum cans per hour on a 12-hour duty cycle. Her design won her top honor and the best overall engineering award at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair. Zoe also placed fourth at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Raspberry Pi Weather Station Third year pre-engineering student, Travis Holmes, researched, designed, and prototyped a weather station


capable of collecting and transmitting wirelessly weather data such as wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, relative humidity, rainfall and more using raspberry pi and arduino systems. • Researched, Designed and Prototyped Static/Electronic Project Display Unit Multiple pre-engineering students researched, designed and prototyped the mobile static/electronic display unit. The display is powered by the solar collection and storage system. The display unit includes an LED illuminated sign, two static display panels, scale models and 50” UHD TV. The 50” monitor interfaces with an iPad to deliver a dynamic multimedia presentation of the Haiti Container Building Projects and the EARLS Lab. • Produced Project Video Documentary and Photo Journal Pre-Engineering students Ronnie Thomas and Romel Bandela captured and catalogued digital still and video content chronicling the project. Students also produced a video documentary of the project that provides a full overview of the research. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? The Engineering Pipeline was designed to establish an engineering pipeline that systematically reaches all students and intentionally expands STEM capacity by: o Exposing elementary school students to engineering and architecture through fun and exciting activities, o Exciting middle school students through project-based engineering and architectural challenges, o Engaging high school students in real-world engineering and architecture, o Equipping students for success in college and career, o Expanding partnerships with STEM & community stakeholders. The intended outcomes of this K12 initiative are three fold: o To have more students enter Marietta City School’s STEM Magnet Program in elementary and middle grades, o To have more students enter and complete the Pre-Engineering and Pre-Architecture Program in High School, o To have more students pursue STEM (especially Engineering and Architecture) post-secondary training options.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results

What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? Over 400 elementary, middle and high school students were engaged in real-world engineering projects in various educational settings. Over 300 students, teachers, parents and partners attended the Engineering Pipeline Open House, and over 350 were in attendance at the Engineering Pipeline End of the Year Review where elementary, middle, and high school students showcased their research. The number of students in the middle school STEM Magnet Program has increased approximately 15% over 2014-2015. The number of students choosing the PreEngineering & Pre-Architecture Program has increased to require an additional half-time instructor for 2016-2017.

Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? The Engineering Pipeline has had tremendous outcomes for students, teachers, and partners. The Haiti Container Building Project was awarded the 2015 Carl Perkins Community Service Project Award and is currently in the running for the 2016 South Eastern Carl Perkins Community Service Award. Twelfth grader Zoe Crisp was a grand and special award winner at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair for her engineering project entitled “Recycling Aluminum in Resource Scarce Regions.” Zoe also took fourth place honors at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair. Jeffery Hughes, as a result of his work on the EARLS Lab, earned an opportunity to participate in the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s six-week Career Discovery Program with all expenses paid. Students also won multiple opportunities for summer internships and camps. Elementary, middle, and high School pipeline students present their research at the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) High Performance and Healthy School Award Luncheon at the Georgia State Capital. Students also were guest presenters at the November meeting of Georgia ASCE Chapter. Elementary, middle and high school teachers presented about the Engineering Pipeline at the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education Conference and the Piedmont Educators Renewal Conference. Pipeline mentors, Professors Marietta Monaghan and Theodore Grouch, both co-authored papers with Leon Grant about the Haiti Container Building Project. The Papers were presented at the 2016 DCA (Design Communication Association) Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Marietta Middle School (MMS) Magnet Program earned their STEM Certification bolstered by the engineering design projects involving the Haiti Container project and their STEM focused projects from last year. MMS Students involved in this project spearheaded a campaign to collect clothes and to raise money for the Haitian community and raised $630.00 as a result of their involvement in this project. MMS students also wrote a children’s book entitled “Saving Haiti” about Haiti and aquaponics. The book has been published and a copy will be placed in all MCS elementary school libraries. After analyzing the data, it can be concluded that the Engineering Pipeline provided students with a deeper and more contextual understanding of the problems plaguing Haiti and sustainable technologies that can help the people of Haiti. The Engineering Pipeline also proved prudent sharing resources and community partners that benefitted all pipeline members. The Engineering Pipeline provided a relational construct that promoted informal mentoring and improved student self-efficacy. Students formed relationships and learned from each other across grade bands. Older kids mentoring younger kids added a cool factor to STEM and encouraged some kids to do


more. The Engineering Pipeline also informed us about the delivery of engineering in a science context. Elementary and middle school teachers found that a regular science block is not enough time for effective completion of the engineering design process and/or conducting experiments. Many options were experimented with to address this issue. Park Street Elementary utilized an after-school STEM club to provide students with a deeper immersion. Marietta Middle School experimented with a STEM block that provided students with an extra time for robotics and engineering projects. The STEM block also provided an integrated context for applying foundational concepts taught in math and science classes. The High School offered a capstone course for credit after the normal school day. More work is needed to develop viable engineering delivery models that work in various contexts. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? According to research, students are not choosing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as career fields, and therefore, students have decreased motivation for these subject in schools, which impacts our global competiveness (Atkinson & Mayo, 2010; Glatthorn et al., 2012; NRC, 2012; PCAST, 2010; Schmidt, Burroughs, & Cogan, 2013). Although many groups agree that science reform is integral for effective preparation of students for the global economy of the 21st century, there are various approaches and methodologies about how to reform such a complex discipline as science. The National Research Council (NRC) offered an infrastructure in their A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012) for integrating engineering practices into the science curriculum. The focus of the NRC publication, as it related to K-12 science education reform, was to integrate engineering into the science curriculum and to provide a segment of learning experience for engineering, technology, and the applications of science (NRC, 2012). Students would develop their understanding of the relationships between science and engineering primarily through integration of the engineering design process to solve problems. The NRC (2012) argued that this integrative approach was most effective in exposing all students to STEM and in producing critical thinkers and problem solvers in any career field, thereby adding value to the global community. The NRC believed this option to be the most effective way to meet the needs of students of science education to prepare them for the 21st Century. What are the next steps for this project? The next phase of the Engineering Pipeline is to expand the Pipeline to include Marietta Sixth Grade Academy and three additional elementary schools. And as detailed earlier, the next phase at Marietta High School will include constructing the EARLS Lab on campus. Figure1

Figure 1: Students and Mentors at Engineering Pipeline End of Year Review Figure 2 and 3: Engineering and Architecture Research Laboratory for Sustainability Figure 4: Off-Grid Aluminum Melting Furnace Design Figure 5: Off-Grid Aluminum Melting Furnace Prototype Develiopment


Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5


Atkinson, R.D., & Mayo, M. (2010). Refueling the U.S. innovation economy: Fresh approaches to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Retrieved from Glatthorn, A. A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B. M., & Boschee, B. F. (2012). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. (3rd ed.) Los Angeles, CA: SAGE. National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (2010). Prepare and inspire: K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for America’s future. Executive Office of the President of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Retrieved from Schmidt, W. H., Burroughs, N. A., & Cogan, L. S. (2013). On the road to reform: K-12 science education in the United States. National Academy of Engineering. The Bridge. 43(1), 7-14. Retrieved from


STEMifying Marietta Keisha R. Kirkpatrick

Marietta High School 3rd Grade Elementary Students & IB Chemistry I High School Juniors - Science Number of Years Teaching 14 years Highest Degree Earned Educational Specialist Degree Past Awards or Honors • Kennesaw State University Bagwell College of Education Outstanding Achievement in Co-Teaching • Kiwanis GEM Award Recipient “Going Above and Beyond” • Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Outstanding Teacher Mentor • National Youth Leadership Forum Honorary Member of the 2015-2016 National Nominating Committee Hobbies/Interests • Reading science fiction novels • Traveling the world and exploring different cultures • Creating innovative youth programs • Mentoring and coaching adolescents

Part 1. Description of the Project What innovative practice was implemented? Chemistry is a course that thrives on integrating all prior knowledge, cultures, and experiences to enhance the productivity of results. To spark an early interest in chemistry, Marietta High School International Baccalaureate Chemistry I students visited neighboring elementary schools to increase science awareness, facilitate hands-on science activities, and most importantly illustrate how science integrates core subjects, experiences and prior knowledge. Grant funds allowed all third grade students at neighboring elementary schools to rotate through ten inspiring science demonstrations. During the one-hour session, students were able to observe how science fits seamlessly into all core subjects while having fun. IB Chemistry students viewed third grade as a pivotal year that shaped their career path and work ethic; therefore, only third graders were invited. The IB Chemistry students did an excellent job facilitating inquiry, discussing the importance and relevance of science but most importantly modeling what studying science in high school can yield. With whom was the project implemented? Marietta High School International Baccalaureate Chemistry I students and third grade students at the following Marietta City Elementary Schools: • Sawyer Road Elementary • West Side Elementary • Marietta Center for Advanced Academics • Lockheed Elementary • A.L. Burruss Elementary When was it implemented? STEMifying Marietta visited one elementary school each month. The project commenced in October 2016 and concluded in April 2017 and occurred during the school day. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, IB Chemistry I students were paired into heterogeneous groups to design and cultivate innovative science demonstrations for third grade elementary students. To ensure student demonstrations were interconnected to the third grade science curriculum, students were required to use the Georgia Performance Science Standards. Each demonstration was thoroughly tested and approved by their instructor to effectively yield a direct


correlation to Georgia Performance Science Standards. The Chemistry students earned over 20 hours of community service hours for their participation. The title and purpose of each demonstration is briefly summarized below:

Title of Student-Designed Experiment

Purpose of Experiment (as written by the student)

Hot vs. Cold (Exothermic vs. Endothermic: A Change in Energy)

We will be demonstrating the concept of heat energy (physical science standard) through showing the reactions of both Calcium Chloride and Ammonium Nitrate in water. We will also connect this to our current unit, thermodynamics by explaining what an exothermic and endothermic reaction is, the difference between heat and temperature, and the concept of the transfer of energy.

Measuring the movement of heat through temperature

Our experiment will show how an increase or decrease in heat affects the energy or movement of food coloring molecules. The difference of the temperatures measured will showcase the amount of heat.

Pollution Experiment

Test to see how and why oil can pollute water

It’s Getting Cloudy!

Students will watch as hot water meets the cold ice cubes. You've made your very own cloud!

Elephant Toothpaste

To demonstrate the chemical reaction of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, potassium iodide to illustrate an exothermic reaction to third graders.

The Effects of Acid Rain

The purpose of this investigation is to observe the effects of solutions of differing pH values on chalk, relating it to the effects of acid rain

Bouncing Polymer Ball

The students will learn the importance of lab safety and learn how to follow detailed procedures in a lab setting. Students must be able to record data and observations using quantitative and qualitative analysis. Students will also be able to form a hypothesis and be able to acknowledge the suggestions performed by other experimenters as well as provide their own suggestions for future experiments.

Particle Size Comparison in Rocks

Recognize the physical attributes of rocks and minerals using observation (shape, color, texture), measurement, and simple tests (hardness). Use observation to compare the similarities and differences of texture, particle size, and color in top soils (such as clay, loam or potting soil, and sand).

Colors of Chemistry

Teach third graders about the basics of chemistry. Give them information regarding the importance of acids and bases in chemical reactions. Explain the levels of pH and its significance. Compare the different colors that are produced

Magnets and their properties

Teach students how we can manipulate a magnet in order to strengthen it. If the amount of loops are increased, then the amount of paper clips picked up by the nail will also increase, because the more loops increase and concentrate the magnetic field.


Part 2. Data Collection & Results What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? This goal of this project was to use the power of student-led demonstrations and facilitation to inspire elementary students to pursue advanced science courses in high school. Marietta High School Chemistry students modeled science behaviors, language, and safety to highlight what higher-level science courses can offer. They shared their experiences and emphasized the importance of science. Through this innovation, high school students and elementary students worked side by side to explore the exquisiteness of science. Marietta High School IB Chemistry students did an amazing job modeling science and confirmed to elementary students why they should “Graduate Marietta” and explore STEMrelated careers. Present the data. The project was such a success that the participating IB Chemistry students were invited to assist with the “STEAM”apalooza event at Lockheed Elementary. Principal Devonne Harper and science lab teacher Mr. Jim Vaughn welcomed the high school students back to facilitate science stations with parent volunteers and community leaders. The Stemifying Marietta team members were elated to witness their effort pay off as we are building a science community. We were also requested back by popular demand as the third grade students at Sawyer Road Elementary, MCAA, and West Side Elementary demanded another visit. We received multiple thank you cards, posters, and pictures from the third graders at MCAA. The most exhilarating moment of the project was witnessing my students return to the elementary schools that nurtured them and making their former teachers proud.

Science Coach Mrs. Susie Throop with her former MCAA students, returning six years later to give back and motivate others to pursue science. Students L to R: Lana Cross, Brianna Ramsay, David Combs, Cole Forgerson, Nicole Hartley, Federico Piriz

Part 3. Implications What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? Science affects us all in many different ways. However, STEMifying Marietta unified the school community as one. The entire school district became aware of the program’s initiative and looked forward to supporting the effort. As a result of the program, there was an increase in IB Chemistry enrollment and student engagement in the course. The IB Chemistry


students became instant role models within the school district and local Science heroes. Even though we targeted third graders, we ultimately inspired more than expected as the community witnessed the impact of STEMifying Marietta through our social media platforms, school visits, and effective modeling. The IB Chemistry students were able to relay the importance and relevance of science while having fun! It is imperative that our future generations understand and embrace science because it affects our everyday lives. Students should be advised on the merits of taking as many science courses in middle and high school as possible. These courses should be viewed as engaging and enthusiastic classes that students know will consist of inquiry, hands-on and minds-on learning activities. Making science courses fun and interesting will not only help students to learn, but might also plant the “seed of interest� that could grow into an exciting and rewarding STEM career. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? Increasing science mastery has been identified as a national priority, but science teachers can’t do it all on their own. The entire school community has to become more interested and knowledgeable to increase awareness. A survey conducted by USA Today showed that only 26% of those surveyed believe that they have a good understanding of science, and forty-four percent could not identify a living scientist. Science is the main ingredient to prosperity and sustainability. From the energy that lights the classroom and the technology that allows teachers to take their students all over the world, science is the foundation and the future. Teachers must build a cohesive partnership throughout the community to motivate our students to pursue STEM-related careers. What are the next steps for this project? The next step is to commence the 2016-2017 school year with the newly enrolled IB Chemistry I students visiting neighboring elementary schools. The new STEMifying Marietta crew will continue to model professionalism, perform demonstrations, discuss the relevance of science, and inspire students to pursue advanced science courses at the high school level. The goal is to establish a partnership between elementary and high school science students and teachers to increase STEM awareness. Every part of our daily lives requires us to use science. Chemistry protects us from harmful substances, cures us when we are sick, and regulates our food and drug administration. Each day of the school year, from the first day of class throughout the last day of class, teachers use science to enhance their learning environments. Science is a subject that truly has the ability to bring out the best of all fields. For example, teachers reflect, hypothesize, experiment, compare data, conduct research, and make observations to improve the quality of learning--which is the scientific method. Why not teach elementary students how to use science to improve how to learn. This innovation shows that third grade students are excited about science and are capable of learning how to use it to investigate and explore. It is important to start teaching our students early about how to integrate subject mastery to critically think and problem solve. Our greatest inventions came from the integration of core subjects, prior knowledge, and cultural experiences.

Students Danielle Garcia and Ashley Archer, leading a discussion at Sawyer Road Elementary


Students at West Side Elementary investigating chemical properties of matter.

David Combs and Neha Adnan sharing their Science related experiences.

MHS Varsity Cheerleaders and IB Chemistry majors Toni Ann Jackson and Brianna Ramsay teaching students to inquire

MCAA students sharing their prior knowledge and experience with Hydrogen peroxide, H2O2.


IB Chemistry students Lexi McPherson and Cole Forgerson discussing electromagnetic radiation with MCAA students.

IB Chemistry student and Varsity Basketball player Malik Brown encouraging MCAA students to investigate physical properties of matter.


Apple of my “i”

Shannon Lawson

Marietta High School 10th and 11th Grade - American Literature Number of Years Teaching 6 years Highest Degree Earned Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction Past Awards or Honors • Teacher of the Month at Spalding High School 2012 • Rose Wing Award Nominee for MHS 2014 • Outstanding Collaborating Teacher 2015 Hobbies/Interests • Cheerleading • Repurposing Furniture • Spoiling my dog Walking Kennesaw Mountain

Part 1. Description of the Project What innovative practice was implemented? iPads and keyboards were purchased to use in the American Literature classroom. The grant was enough to provide each student an iPad and keyboard. The iPads were used to complete a variety of assignments and activities that consisted of individual and group work throughout the year. Through various apps and websites, students were able to create and respond digitally in the classroom. Apps such as Office Suite were particularly beneficial when preparing for The Georgia Milestone Assessment and completing formal research papers. Individually, students utilized the iPads and keyboards to practice timed constructed responses and also to submit their literature papers. In addition, students practiced reading various informational texts through the UPFRONT magazine app on the iPads. One of the classroom favorites was using the iPads to play Kahoots, a website that allows students to create and take quizzes while competing with peers. In addition, the iPads were utilized for differentiating instruction during each Informational Focus Block (IFB). During IFB students had the option to work on what they felt was necessary and beneficial to them during this time. Students usually chose to work on class assignments or to practice grammar on the Grammar Up app. Over the year, the iPads aided students in their engagement and love of learning, because it allowed for a more interactive and engaging environment. With whom was the project implemented? 10th Grade Pre-Diploma Program American Literature (110 students) 11th Grade College Preparatory American Literature (50 students) A total of approximately 160 students When was it implemented? November 2015-May 2016 Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? The project was intended for the iPads to aid in best teaching practices while raising test scores in an engaging way. The Georgia Department of Education’s new state test requires expansive reading and constructed responses to be completed digitally. Within the ELA Standards, students are required to use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information. The Georgia Milestones Assessments changed the way students are assessed for English Language Arts, and I wanted to ensure students were properly prepared. The goal of the project was to motivate and engage students in their learning that aligned with rigorous curriculum


and state standards. The objective was for them to read with a purpose and practice analyzing and synthesizing ideas through inferences and evaluation of a text while utilizing technology. I wanted students to practice timed readings weekly on the iPads, while exploring complex language and topics for discussion and written analysis. By using a variety of media, I wanted students to enhance their understanding of multiple topics and master answering questions based on multiple texts, which is a vital skill to demonstrate on the American Literature Milestone Test.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? I created a survey in the beginning of the year before receiving the iPads for students to complete; the survey consisted of questions that aided me in how to best incorporate the iPads in classroom instruction. Four questions consisted of whether they agreed or disagreed with statements provided to them. 122 students completed the survey; below are the results. Present the data.


Strongly Agree


Disagree Strongly Disagree

1. I would rather use an ipad mini for the classroom UPFRONT 96% activities that are aligned with state standards and with IB requirements than write in my current journal and read from the paper magazine.




2. If I practiced for the state milestone test with an iPad and attached keyboard that process would better prepare me for the actual test that I am required to take at the end of the course.





3. I am more engaged when using technology during lessons.





4. I believe if iPads are incorporated in the classroom I believe it will enhance my learning.





In addition to the aforementioned statements, I also inquired from students a constructed response. Below is the question and a few responses: 5. Explain how you would like the iPads used specifically in this course (American Literature). “I would like to read short stories on the iPads”. “We write a lot in this class and the iPads would make the writing portion easier if we could type”. “I would like to use iPads for research and games”. “I would like to watch videos about what we are reading.” “I would like to use the iPads for presentations and to write short timed writings for class questions.” “Now that I know I have to type my constructed responses on the milestone at the end of the year, I would like to practice that, because I am not fast at typing.” Students completed a reflection piece at the end of the semester consisting of the following questions: 1. Include any comments about the usefulness of the iPads and keyboards. 2. What new skills did you learn using the technology in this class? 3. How were the iPads helpful on assessments and learning? 4. What other technology would you like to have learned, or what could've benefited you? 5. Do you believe that you were better prepared for the milestone because of the use of the iPads and keyboards? Explain why or why not? Overall, the comments consisted of positive feedback. Majority of students stated that using the iPads to practice for the Milestone test aided them immensely in building the necessary skills and confidence to excel on the test. In addition, most students noted the time saved in using the iPads. One student in particular said, “Being able to grab an iPad when entering the classroom allowed me to begin working on my assignment right away and I didn’t lose time walking to a lab.” In addition, to their reflection responses, I received the preliminary Georgia American Literature Milestone scores, and this year’s scores are improved from last year. In student achievement levels 3 and 4, which consist of proficient and distinguished learners, the overall score was raised 10%.


Part 3. Implications What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? • The iPads increased student engagement and motivation to complete assignments. I noted a decrease in missing assignments and observed students staying on task to complete the assignments. • The iPads provided a mode for students to investigate and research new concepts and ideas. Students were encouraged to reflect on daily lessons by creating questions in regards to the lesson and then trying to find an answer using the iPads. In the beginning, students worked in partners and then as individuals. We would share information through class discussions and gallery walks. I would facilitate the learning, but made sure the students drove the discussions. This allowed for a very active approach to learning as opposed to passive. • The iPads inspired and assisted with an inquiry-based learning environment. For example, students were assigned an American Literature poet and poem to research and then creatively present the material to the class. In addition, students were required to pose questions to the presenter, and iPads were used to answer the questions posed. The questions that the students asked were interesting and aided in whole classroom conversations. It also allowed for students to explore the concepts they found the most interesting about the topic. • The keyboards allowed for students to practice their typing skills for the Milestone in a timed setting. Ultimately, this allowed students to improve their typing skills, which are a necessity for the Milestone test. Multiple students stated after taking the test that the preparatory assignments with the iPads and keyboards made them feel more confident that they did well on the test. • The iPads provided formative and summative systematic opportunities for students to construct responses to global concepts found within articles, scored with rubric. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? From observation, offering the iPads and keyboards in the classroom students were more motivated to complete assigned task and activities. Utilizing iPads aided in the classroom instruction, especially with differentiation and remediation in the Informational Focus Blocks (IFB). During IFB, students were able to individually work on assignments they missed or remediate in areas such as grammar for the Milestone. The iPads allowed for more independent learning and intrinsic motivation. In addition, the iPads allowed for instructional time to be maximized; I no longer lost time in transitioning to a computer lab when wanting to incorporate technology in the classroom, which several students verbally stated to me. Due to the iPads, I was able to phase out collecting papers to grade. Instead, I started using google docs and Schoology to aid in conserving time and paper. I noticed that when changing the submission process, some students who in the past turned their papers in late or not at all were turning in their assignments on time. Therefore, the convenience of technology allowed for students to excel showing their potential and knowledge. What are the next steps for this project? • I would like to attend iPad training. Although I believe how I used the iPads was beneficial for my students, there is more I can learn from professional training, which I then can apply the knowledge to the classroom next year. • This summer, I will research more free Apps and their capabilities and have them downloaded to the iPads. • I am designing a new layout for my classroom to aid in differentiating instruction while using the iPads. My ideal classroom set-up is to have specified station areas in which group remediation and independent practice can take place, and it is an easy transition. • I need an approved way to promptly solve technical issues when they arise on the iPads. Although tech support at our school is amazing and has aided me through this process, I am not always able to get a quick fix to a problem, which is understood but problematic. • This summer, I plan to revisit our curriculum maps and adjust some lessons within the units. Mainly, I want to make sure that the units have the appropriate amount of individual and group assignments and assessments using the iPads. • My goal is to ultimately make a paperless classroom since I am blessed with these iPads and keyboards.


Group Activity: Completing a Milestone Quick Response (QR) code scavenger hunt.

Individual Activity: Completing a timed constructedresponse in preparation for the Milestone using informational texts from the Upfront magazine app.

Partner Activity: Explicating a poem and researching a poet.


iMath: Part 2 Dana Meyer Part 1. Description of the Project What innovative practice was implemented? The practice of using technology to enhance student learning, understanding, and engagement was implemented through the use of iPads, which the innovation grant was able to fund for my classroom. Originally, my intent was to use the iPads to augment my reality math innovation that I had launched under a previous grant. As an example, iPads were used to read QR codes that provided students with the problems they needed to complete “The Paper Chase” scavenger hunt. In “Mathster Chef”, iPads were used by students to look up recipes that required the ingredients they had available in the classroom. These ingredients were plastic versions of the real thing with specific problems associated with them. During the course of the school year, however, I feel that even better uses developed just by having access to the technology. I found it rather helpful to video some more complicated lessons and allow the students to watch on the iPad and have the ability to rewind if necessary so they could watch again. This also allowed them to pause the lesson to write down key notes while not jeopardizing the content of the lesson.

Marietta High School 9th Grade - Algebra/ Algebra Support Number of Years Teaching 26 years Highest Degree Earned Education Specialist Past Awards or Honors • National Board Certified Teacher 2001 – present • MMS Teacher of the Year – 2001 • ING Unsung Heroes Grant – 2013 • MCS Innovation Grant – 2014 • Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference Speaker – 2015

Hobbies/Interests • Performing with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra (flute/piccolo)

Another awesome application was the ability to incorporate the Desmos program into my lessons. Desmos allows students to explore math by figuring out how to graph functions, plot data tables, transform functions and evaluate equations, to name a few. The great part is that the teacher is able to see what every student is doing on their individual screen just by looking at the home screen. I am able to quickly diagnose problems without even walking around to each student to see what they are doing! I can create my own lessons or choose one that has already been developed. Additionally, I use the iPads to allow the students to practice what they had learned by playing KaHoot or using Socrative to compete in a space race. The students love these activities because they are able to get immediate feedback in a game-like fashion. Fun competition quickly develops as the games progress. With whom was the project implemented? Approximately 150 ninth graders from two algebra classes and four algebra support classes participated in the project. When was it implemented? January 2016 – May 2016 Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? Since the BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) initiative was launched several years ago at Marietta High School, I have experienced an increase in lack of student attention due to the distraction of their phones. Having iPads has allowed me to embrace that distraction by putting it to educational use. Although many students have phones, still many do not. In the past, I struggled with incorporating activities that used their devices because many would be left out. By having iPads, all students have access to the same technology regardless of their ability to provide their own device.


Part 2. Implications What conclusions can be made from the project? Students in the 21st century classroom have grown up with technology. In some ways, it has taken the place of interaction between human beings. Because of this, it is necessary to tap into that resource to reach our students. I have noticed an increase in participation whenever the iPads are utilized in what they are learning. It doesn’t matter if it is used as a means to introduce a new lesson, practice what has been learned, or review to prepare for an assessment. By using iPads, students are engaging in a way they have been accustomed to since their early years. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? As a result of this project, I wonder if flipped classrooms aren’t the future of education. Students could just as easily watch a video at home as I have allowed them to do in my classroom. They are very attentive to the screen, much more than they are to me when I am teaching live! Often, students don’t do homework because they don’t understand, but a flipped classroom allows students the opportunity to learn the material at their own pace at home and to ask questions when at school based on the lesson. I question accessibility for all though. If students have the technology, they may not have internet access. As for using technology, especially iPads, in the classroom, I can attest to the fact that students are more engaged and often appear to be having fun! As mentioned earlier, when using Desmos I am able to monitor what students are doing by looking at my screen alone. I am able to see each student’s screen simultaneously making it possible to help them make adjustments when needed. Furthermore, ALL students are working. I can track who is logged on and working regardless of the actual activity. Whenever we have the opportunity to practice what we are learning, the students will ask if we will be using the iPads. They inquired why other math teachers did not have iPads, and I was quick to explain this grant process. What are the next steps for this project? Since I will be able to start the new school year with iPads in hand, I would like to train the students from the beginning on the “etiquette” of using the devices. This would include things like knowing which iPad to use, when the appropriate time is to get the iPad, and keeping on task. A problem I had at the beginning was keeping ahead of the students in regards to staying on task. The students want to explore the internet, change settings and take pictures. I need to learn how to block their ability to do random things so they remain focused on the task at hand. I spent my time off learning more about the programs I have been using so I can be more effective. Ultimately, I would like to have enough iPads so that each student has their own when in my class. Although many have phones, they don’t want to use them when it is for educational purposes because they don’t want to drain their battery. I was able to purchase 22 iPads with the innovation grant money, but because most of my classes are 28 – 32 students, I didn’t have enough for individual access. Often times, when student have to share resources, there is not equity in the use. Since some students have to be paired up, I’m not always sure who is doing the work. Often times one student monopolizes the time over their partner and does not share. Since I mix groups often, it is hard to keep up with who has and who has not had to partner. To fully implement my vision, the ratio needs to be 1:1.  


MakerSpace at Marietta High School

Tim Nielson

Marietta High School 9th-12th Grade - Media Specialist Number of Years Teaching 16 years Highest Degree Earned M.Ed. Instructional Technology Hobbies/Interests •Family, Music, Skateboarding, Media Production, Industrial Design

Part 1. Description of the Project What innovative practice was implemented? “Makerspaces are collaborative workshops where young people gain practical hands-on experience with new technologies and innovative processes to design and build projects. They provide a flexible environment where learning is made physical by applying science, technology, math, and creativity to solve problems and build things.” Makerspace Playbook - School Edition, 2013 It is the Media Center’s vision to create a space to host all MHS family members – from the student studying Shakespeare who would like to build a scale model of the Globe, to the U.S. History student who would like to re-create a Civil War soldier’s uniform, as well as the arts student who would like to develop a touchless, motion-controlled musical instrument. Teachers may also use the MakerSpace to create instructional materials – a World History teacher may recreate an ancient tribal mask, or a math teacher may create their own modular document camera. Our goal is to offer opportunities as diverse as our patrons’ interests. With whom was the project implemented? The MHS MakerSpace was established, and is managed and maintained by the MHS Media Center staff. Additionally , as the Media Center serves all students, teachers, staff, and administrators in the school, the MakerSpace belongs to everyone in the building. Throughout the year, over 100 students became verified Makers, and even more participated in impromptu workshops and demonstrations during the school day. Teachers and other staff members worked in the MakerSpace to create instructional models for science, homecoming parade props, event keepsakes, and even an evaporative air conditioner. When was it implemented? On December 17, 2014 the Media Center at Marietta High School opened the door to its MakerSpace. This year’s Innovation grant provided additional equipment and resources, including a screen printing press, 3D scanner, a collection of print references, and expendable supplies. Students worked in the MakerSpace before and after school, during lunch, and throughout the day. The Media Center’s general policy welcomes students any time during the school day, teacher permitting. Given the self-directed nature of work in the MakerSpace, students would often complete their work in class, and ask for a pass to the Media Center to continue their project. Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? Through the Media Center at Marietta High School, students are given the opportunity, facility, and equipment to create professional-grade digital media products including websites, instructional videos, and multi-track audio recordings. Students have access to these tools regardless of their class schedule. For example, we offer the opportunity to all of our students to take a digital camera home whether or not they're enrolled in a video production course.


Though we're proud of the services we offer to help students with these design projects, we recently reflected – why should these design opportunities be limited to only digital or two-dimensional output? What if a student would like to explore 3D-printing, but doesn’t have the opportunity in their schedule to register for our school’s Engineering course? Similarly, upon reviewing the lists of MYP candidates’ Personal Projects, many are based on manufacturing a new “thing” – from a model roller-coaster to a Victorian Corset, a baseball bat, and even an obstacle course for a pet hamster. Some of our students are fortunate enough to have family members who own or have access to the tools they need to complete these sorts of projects. But what about our students who are not so lucky? How many of our students envisioned a project they couldn’t realize because they didn’t have access to a 3D-printer, lathe, or sewing machine? How can we level the playing field? Coincidentally, there's a new initiative on the rise, both in communities, and schools – the "Maker Movement". Over the last decade, "Makers" throughout the country have organized and established their own "MakerSpaces” – a community facility, open to the public, dedicated to collaborative creation – founded and maintained by donations, dues, and volunteer work. And now, very recently, the movement is spreading to both public and school libraries. The concept is endorsed by the American Library Association through their “Make it @ Your Library” program in collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and MakerSpaces continue to enjoy positive press and promotion by the American Association of School Libraries. As Marietta City Schools continues its emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, in addition to recognizing the educational rewards of self-directed, project-based, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, the staff of the MHS Media Center has established Marietta High School’s own MakerSpace.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? • Average user hours per week (Goal: 15 hours per week) • Count of verified Makers (Goal: 200 students) • Count of students introduced (Goal: at least 25%) • Count of teachers engaged (Goal: 2 per month) • Facilitate/assist in IB Personal Project. • Equipment/resources needs assessment (informal exit surveys upon project completion) Present the data. • The MakerSpace was used an average of 18 hours per week. • Just over 100 students returned guardian-signed, MakerSpace liability release forms and attended an introductory training, verifying their Maker status. • Effectively all 9th graders (~38% of student body) in the school have been introduced to the MakerSpace through the Media Center’s Freshman Orientation. Similarly, IB teachers whose students were to complete Personal Projects attended a MakerSpace introduction. • Over the school year, the Media Center staff collaborated with nearly two-dozen teachers and staff members on creating lessons and activities, personal projects, and instructional models specifically for or with the MakerSpace. • One of our greatest successes was the complete, “start-to-finish” facilitation of one of our students’ MYP Personal Project. (see attached photo) • Informal exit surveys conducted upon project completion identified additional tools and resources needed in the future. We were only missing smaller items (e.g. ½” round-over router bit, ~$8) that may be easily acquired in the following year using local funds, or fantastic new items yet to be released (e.g. an affordable, resin-based 3D printer). • Over the school year, as the MakerSpace was available throughout the day, we found students visiting for quick repairs: a guitar cable, handbag, sandal, model rocket. We even were able to help a student who split her pants on the way to school! • I also spent time after school working with two different student organizations to print shirts for each member, over 50 garments total. • Additional completed projects included the following – screen printed t-shirts, 3D printed stake mount for GoPro camera, wooden axe handle, custom designed/cut/printed skateboards, tote bags, a ring made from an old spoon, and a “wheel-of-fortune” device for math class. • I also hosted countless attendees of impromptu workshops throughout the day, introducing 3D printing, electronic circuitry, screen printing, stencil printing, fabric craft, and creating vinyl stickers.

Part 3. Implications

What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? Overall, we consider our MakerSpace a success. In the future, we would like to get more students and teachers working in the space, and recognize that we will need to be more aggressive with its marketing. Ideally, we will work with our Video Production class as well as the school newspaper to produce and publish promotional features.


After-school workshops are also an effective recruiting tool, and next year we hope to offer at least one per month. Though not often, there were several moments throughout the year when students had to be turned away from the MakerSpace because there simply wasn’t enough room in the space to accommodate all who wanted to work. If increased usage compounds this issue, we’ll consider this “a good problem to have” and have already outlined a plan for expansion. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? Ultimately, the goal of the MakerSpace is to provide the stage for introspective experiences for students. The selfdirected nature of the MakerSpace forces students to create their own challenges, fosters a mindset of life-long learning, and requires them to take more responsibility in their Approach to Learning. We genuinely believe the MakerSpace has filled a void in the school, and offered a new service for students and teachers who lacked the resources to materialize their visions. Many of the projects completed in the MakerSpace likely would not have occurred otherwise! This sense of accomplishment will not be soon forgotten, much like the 40+ year old teacher who visits the MakerSpace for the first time, and with a distant look reminisces about the cutting board they built in their Industrial Arts class years ago – “And y’know, I still use it!” We’re excited to see the Media Center’s MakerSpace encourage the students and staff of Marietta High School to continue to Explore, Create, and Connect! What are the next steps for this project? • Create additional promotional items (school newspaper, video news, Instagram, etc.). The promotional items would publicize the MakerSpace for teachers and students. • Create hyper-concise, instructional videos for tools and techniques (>1 minute, posted to Instagram, and Media Center website). These tutorials would be specific to individual tools or machines in the MakerSpace and would provide “on the spot,” real-time instruction as needed. In addition, the videos would encourage safety and would free up the Media Specialists’ time to work on other projects. • Develop, promote, and conduct after-school workshops for teachers and students. • Maintain relationships with existing staff members, and forge relationships with new school members. In this way, we would promote the MakerSpace and the Media Center to new teachers. The new teachers will understand the value and utility of the school’s Media Center. • Continuing education for the Media Center staff to learn new techniques, technology, resources, and ideas applicable to the MakerSpace • Recruit professionals in the community to attend/lead after-school workshops. The professionals could not only volunteer their time to assist students, but also lead trainings on how to use tools and applications.



Chromebooks for the Chemistry Classroom Ashley Teslicka

Marietta High School 10th Grade - Honors Chemistry Number of Years Teaching 4 years Highest Degree Earned B.S. Chemistry Past Awards or Honors • 2015 Rose Wing Teacher of Promise Nominee Hobbies/Interests • Running and Cycling

Part 1. Description of the Project

What innovative practice was implemented? I requested a set of Chromebooks for my classroom to expose my students to problem-based learning (PBL) and participate in virtual labs. The grant only paid for the Chromebooks and not any of the activities. We did not complete as many PBL activities as I had hoped to, but I feel the students truly benefited from the two we did complete. These activities were a great way for me to teach the students how to work collaboratively and effectively with other students. PBL instruction generally puts students into small groups, and each group member is assigned a specific role. For instance, one student may be in charge of researching a topic while another is in charge of recording information. To participate in PBL activities, not every student needs a computer. Most of the collaboration done among the students is face to face. What I liked best about the PBL activities was how students could connect the content to the world around them. Students often find concepts boring and unimportant, so it is crucial that teachers help students make the connection between what they are learning in class and how it applies to the real world. One of the PBL activities I used with my students was discovering how much caffeine is in different drinks. This was an introductory activity into moles which are a huge part of measurement in chemistry. Students had to work together to figure out how many milligrams of caffeine were in each drink, and then they had to work together to convert those numbers into molecules and moles. Moles by themselves are not the most interesting topic, but when you relate them to energy drinks and soda the students are more likely to remain engaged and learn the material. The Chromebooks also allowed me to use many different tools to provide students with formative feedback. One of the websites I used quite often was Nearpod allows me to present notes to the students and then insert questions for them to answer on their screens. As a class we would look at the results and right away I would know what concepts the students are having difficulty grasping. The students loved that with this website they could use nicknames so that even if they got an answer wrong, the rest of the class might not know it was them. This created a comfortable learning environment where my students felt like they could take risks with their learning. I also used websites such as and to formatively assess in a fun and engaging way how well the students knew the material. Students love competition, so they enjoy these formative assessment programs because they can see how they rank compared to other students in their class. With whom was the project implemented? 78 students in 10th grade Honors Chemistry participated in the project. When was it implemented? January 2016-May 2016 Why was the project implemented? What were the major purpose and intended outcome? • This project was implemented because problem-based learning is an active learning approach that allows students to solve complex problems and transfer classroom learning to real-world situations. PBL focuses on student centered learning that occurs in small groups. This leads to the development of higher order thinking skills, encourages students to use prior knowledge, and teaches students to research information that can help them solve the problem. This approach into PBL was completely new to me this year. Although I had heard about it many times before, I never really


tried. This method of teaching is much different than what I used in the past couple years. In the past I would focus on giving students notes to write down, completing practice problems, and then possibly completing some labs. I love this new approach with PBL because it makes the content more meaningful to students and they seem to retain the information longer. • Another reason I started this project was to increase student interest in the IB Sciences. Tenth grade year is usually the turning point for many students to decide if they will continue with DP classes or drop back to college prep. I wanted to enhance the learning experience of these students and make them love science even if they never have. Besides increasing the IB science numbers, I also wanted to specifically increase the number of students who elect to take IB Chemistry.

Part 2. Data Collection & Results What data were collected during the duration of the project? When & how was it collected? Near the end of the semester, students were asked to take an anonymous survey on The students were asked in the survey what science they were interested in taking before they took my class and what science they decided to take now that they have finished the course. Students were also asked if they felt the computers had any effect on their learning experience.

Pre Honors Chemistry

Post Honors Chemistry

Number of students interested in an IB Science



Number of students interested in IB Chemistry



Present the data. Table 1: Comparison of students’ science selection before taking Honors Chemistry to after completing the course (66 students surveyed) • As table 1 details, five students changed their minds and actually did want to sign up for an IB science after taking my Honors Chemistry class. Also seven more students decided that they wanted to take IB Chemistry next year. Only 23 juniors are currently enrolled in the IB Chemistry class, so 27 wanting to continue in IB Chemistry represents solid growth in the DP program, especially considering that the number 27 also does not reflect other 10th grade students who are not currently in my class who might also have enrolled in IB Chemistry. • Fifty percent of the students surveyed felt that the Chromebooks enhanced their learning experience. I feel good that half of my students enjoyed having the computers in class and that they made a difference in their learning. However, I am a bit disappointed that more students did not feel the same. The other half of the students said they liked having the computers but they would have been fine without them. Some students who used the computers in class frequently did tell me they really appreciated having them because they did not have their own technology at school or home.

Part 3. Implications What conclusions can be made from the project and the data? • Students still crave teacher interaction. No matter what great video or website I gave students to allow them to discover concepts on their own, they still wanted me to go over it again with them. This was told to me by several students in each class, so I ended up reviewing concepts again as a whole class. This did surprise me because it seems like students always want to work by themselves, but once they are forced to do it one way, they want it the opposite way. What I plan on doing next year is teaching the students how to be more independent learners. I cannot assume they know how to take notes from a video lecture, so I will use class time at the beginning of the semester to teach them how to complete such tasks. • Students need lots of feedback to help guide their learning. There were many times when I felt everyone understood the material perfectly, and then half of the students would bomb the quiz. There are tons of students out there who are too scared to ask for help, so by having lots of formative practice I can address the needs of those students before they are graded on it. • If you want students to be engaged, they must be a part of the lesson. If students just sit and take notes, chances are they will not remember much about the lesson. Students must be able to use and apply the information you are giving them in order to retain it. PBL does this because the activity allows students to relate the material to the world around


them which usually helps them remember that concept. • Students still need hands-on labs so that they can learn proper technique in a science laboratory. Online labs are great in terms of time and supplies, but students still need to prepare for college and know how to use basic science equipment. Some college level science classes use online simulations but a majority of them require hands-on lab experiences. What are the implications of these findings for teaching and learning? One of the goals of the IB program is to develop learners who are encouraged to think independently and drive their own learning. In order for students to do this, we need to model what this type of learning looks like. So no matter how student centered we want our instruction to be, the students need to know how to achieve this. There were many times when I would just assume students knew how to do complete tasks such as research a topic, but I quickly learned that no one has ever taught them such skills in the past. What I had to do differently as the semester went on was take time before a Henrietta Bekor and Claire Wanjiku using a Chromebook to project or activity and have a class discussion about play Kahoot how to collaborate in a group or what to type into Google when looking for specific information. I need to keep in mind next year and in the future that I should always take time and explain to students how to do certain tasks even if they should have already been exposed to them. I always thought my job as a teacher was to deliver content to students and hope they retained the information. The true job of a teacher is to prepare students for the real world by teaching skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Our world is constantly changing, so how we educate our students should also be changing. I fully believe we should embrace technology in our classrooms instead of seeing it as a distraction. This project has allowed me to see how I can gain the respect of my students by allowing them to be the focus of my instruction through the use of technology. What are the next steps for this project? • Over the next year I would like to find more PBL activities to incorporate into every unit. One problem with the PBL activities was that they were too topic focused instead of looking at the bigger picture. I like to use activities that tie in many aspects of the unit rather than just focus on one small idea within the unit. • I would like to find more free online labs to use with my students next year. There was a lot of glass breaking in my laboratory this year, so I would love to find websites where we can do simpler labs and not worry about broken equipment. • Next year I would also like to use the computers as a tool for differentiation. This year I was using a website called to upload videos for the students to watch at home in place of notes. What I found is that not many students would watch the videos when they were supposed to, so they would be confused in class the next day. What I can use this website for now is more of a reinforcement after a lesson in class. So if a student has finished their work, they can grab a computer to watch a video to reinforce the material. Or students can also extend their learning by completing higher-level practice on websites such as Smit Patel using a Chromebook to take notes from


Innovation to Graduation

The thoughtful use and instructional integration of technology provides staff, students and families with the tools needed to maximize the learning environment and to ultimately Graduate Marietta.


Inspiration Celebrate learning and to incite passion for the profession Teacher reflections of their classroom experiences and motivation.


Why Teach? Asking someone why they became a teacher and why they continue teaching can yield two very different responses. Oftentimes, if you ask someone why they became a teacher, they will give you one of a few explanations. They could explain that they became a teacher because they love kids. They could explain that they wanted to make a difference in the world. Or they could simply explain that they became a teacher because they had a teacher in their life who inspired them to do so. If you were to ask me why I became a teacher, my answer would align with the latter explanation. Although I am extremely thankful for all of the teachers I have had throughout my educational career—for they have all had an impact on my life—there is one teacher who stands out above and beyond the rest. That teacher is my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Silverman. Mrs. Silverman had a way of making learning come alive, whether it was with a brain Jell-O mold that she led us to believe was real, math club after school hours, or teaching us about her travels to Russia and how to speak and write in the Russian language. Mrs. Silverman taught me to always see the best in others and how one person truly can make a difference in someone’s life. She made a point to ensure that every child felt loved and appreciated. It is because of her that I decided to become a teacher.

Sara Cleveland

With that being said, the most important question you should ask a teacher is why they continue to teach. And as cliché as it Sawyer Road Elementary sounds, my answer to this complex question would simply be: my 5th Grade students. The children we have sitting in our classrooms each day Number of Years Teaching face a myriad of adversity. There could be a child who is living in 6 years an extended stay hotel room with seven other family members, a Highest Degree Earned child who has lived out of a car with a parent at some point in their Master’s in Early Childhood Education Past Awards or Honors lives, a child who has a muscular degenerative disease and whose • Sawyer Road Teacher of the Year 2016-2017 body is literally deteriorating each and every day, a child whose • Outstanding New Teacher 2014-2015 mom left one day and never returned, or a child who has been Hobbies/Interests in five different elementary schools in several different states all • Reading, arts and crafts, and spending time within a two-year period of time. Despite the adversity they have with my husband faced, and will continue to face, they still come to school ready to learn. They come to school with a smile on their faces. They come to school with an open heart and an open mind. These students are succeeding and overcoming obstacles, bigger than what many of us have ever faced, before they even set foot in our classrooms. For some of them, school is where they feel safest. School is where they get to eat a meal. School is where they are given the chance to truly be themselves. Every child has the potential to learn, to succeed, and to thrive. Academics are important, but it is also important to raise children to be thriving citizens, and that is what great teachers help do. Investing in a child’s education is investing in the tomorrows of society. A failure to educate all students will ultimately become a failure to society. We must share the responsibility, or we will all share the demise. I love being part of something that is bigger than I am.  


Don’t Blame the Lettuce My favorite quote is not really about education at all, but speaks to me as a teacher. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, "When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding."

Susan Donlin Marietta Middle School 7th - 8th Grade - All subjects, adapted curriculum Number of Years Teaching 10 years Highest Degree Earned Bachelors, Special Education Past Awards or Honors • Possibilities in Action Partner Recipient • 2016-17 System Teacher of the Year Hobbies/Interests • Biking, photography, cake and cookie decorating

One year I taught in an enhanced team taught class. One of the general education students was the most annoying, silly, disruptive student I had ever encountered. He would not put any effort into his assignments, and he was a constant disruption in class. He was not mean or angry, but I was beyond frustrated. In search of clues, I went through his cumulative folder and discovered that, in addition to a history of behavior problems, he had near perfect CRCT scores. I began making small changes. I spent more time talking with him and gave him extra responsibilities in class. I invited him and a few other boys to stay after school with me once a week. I learned how heartbreaking his childhood had been thus far. That disruptive student is now attending college, working full-time and is one of my favorite people on the planet. He is charming, funny and exceptionally kind. I now teach in an adapted curriculum classroom. I have a much smaller number of students, but the behavioral and academic challenges are much greater. It is up to me to find ways to help my students become successful. Parents and administrators can’t fix the issues in my classroom; I am responsible for creating an environment where all of my students can be successful. Luckily I can collaborate with our behavior specialist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, and teacher support specialist to determine appropriate supports for my students. It may be a reward system with a high level of reinforcement. I may need to create more visual reminders or schedules. Perhaps the student needs more sensory input. If the reward system didn’t work with a five-minute reinforcement schedule, then perhaps we need to try reinforcing every one minute. As I discovered this year, sometimes you have to stick with that reinforcement schedule for months before you see improvement. Whatever it takes. Like the farmer tending his lettuce, we must look for reasons the student is not doing well. Perhaps they need more attention or positive reinforcement. Maybe they require more scaffolding or assistance with their assignments. They may require help beyond what we can provide, but then we need to locate the resources they need. Consequences play an important role in our school discipline, but I don’t believe that consequences alone have changed lives. When we stop blaming and try to understand that troubled student, attempt to find what he needs to succeed and truly care for him, we can form relationships. We can change lives.  


The Art of Teaching Jacob Garcia Marietta High School 9th -12th Grade, Drama Number of Years Teaching 6 years Highest Degree Earned • Dual B.A. Degree- Theatre Education/Acting & Directing • M.A. - Arts Administration, SCAD (currently enrolled) Past Awards or Honors • Schuler Award Honorable Mention 2016- Top 8 Director in the State of Georgia for Musical Theatre. •Marietta High School Teacher of the Year 2016-2017 Hobbies/Interests • Cooking, Playing with my 3 Dogs (Dalmatian, Husky, Bichon) Singing, Acting and Traveling!

The art of theatre is connected to all disciplines and is essential to a quality education. There is much to learn about every academic subject through the context of theatrical practice and production. I am committed to educational theatre as a basis for any student interested in developing self-confidence, critical thinking skills, and communication tools. As a teacher of theatre, I strive to provide students with a comprehensive experience involving intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual facets, which contribute to their personal, social, and political development. A commitment to ensemble work and collaboration rests at the foundation of my teaching and directing practice. All student should be challenged to realize and supersede their highest potential. I work to inspire the imagination, to encourage inquiry and critical thought, and to help students realize their own creative vision. I firmly believe that all students can succeed in my classroom if they are willing to put forth the effort. In that vein, I work hard to vary teaching methodologies in an effort to reach all students: lectures, small group activities, research projects, performances, multi-media integration and, most importantly, practical application of concepts whenever possible. I create a relaxed classroom and a relaxed rehearsal atmosphere where students respect themselves and others. This, in turn, stimulates thought, growth, and creativity. I encourage students to take risks, and I endeavor to sustain a classroom and rehearsal ambience where they feel comfortable doing so. Above all, I affirm that any learning experience must have relevance for students as they walk out the door. In my acting classes and in rehearsals, I stress skills that benefit the whole student. I know the poise and self-confidence students develop in an acting class will make them more dynamic and carry over into any vocation they pursue. I want beginning actors to focus on traditional skills including relaxation, focus, attention, understanding, and expansion of the voice and the body. Intermediate actors need a more disciplined approach to text analysis and classical performance applications including an understanding of verse, period style, and aesthetic. Advanced actors must work in nonrealistic genres and re-adjust their voice and body accordingly with the methodology of such artists as Misner, Stanislavski, and Bogart. Every lesson learned must be connected to working with a text; without actualization of technique through performance, the technique will lose its meaning. I work to provide the performative and analytical tools necessary for each student to explore vocal production, physical gesture, and text analysis. In teaching directing, script analysis is the central force. I listen carefully to the voice of my students and endeavor to help them define and defend their own vision for a text. A focus on the basics of analysis, composition, style, and communication skills best prepares students to develop their own projects. As a teacher, I use questions to help students dive into the rationale behind their choices and to aid them in discovering and playing upon their strengths. In this manner, they will recognize and work their areas for improvement. I encourage students to take chances, to experiment and to recognize the value of solid preparation. Most of all, I strive to provide a myriad of opportunities for students to become collaborative leaders and artists. Seeing


them achieve this concept is what fulfills me and brings me joy as well as gifts me with a true purpose-driven life. I couldn’t imagine teaching any other subject than theatre because in my opinion, no other subject lends itself to all other areas of study. I firmly believe that the teaching profession is strengthened and improved every day that a teacher arrives to class with the desire to impact students and with a willingness to have an open mind as they take a journey with their students. I personally see each day with my students and my peers as a journey, and oh boy, what an adventure it can be! On my own journey every day, I am diligently working to improve my students in some way. By doing so, I believe the teaching profession is strengthened in general. My focus is always on the students within the halls of Marietta High School; however this focus and my diligence to impact them will often lead to impacting my peers. For example, I recently asked Sara Burris, a past student of mine, to volunteer at the school and to partner with me in auditioning my students for a production. When she volunteered with me, she was glowing with excitement after the long day of interacting with students. As we were talking at the end of the day, she mentioned to me that she would love to have my job and be able to make a difference in students’ lives. She said this to me as if it were not possible for her to do. I immediately interrupted her and asked why she could not have a job like this? I am proud to say that she is now in her second year of college pursuing her degree in theatre education. One of the things that Sara pointed out to me that day, and something that my peers have often commented on, was the level of enthusiasm that I possess throughout each class, each day. As a teacher with only six years of experience, I feel as though more seasoned teachers may chuckle, think of me as naïve, or think I see the world through “rose-colored lenses” because of my high level of enthusiasm in the classroom. Yes, I may wear a tunic and a crown as I teach my students Elizabethan history. I may even play the role of a woman in heels, but it motivates my students to learn and have fun. With this enthusiasm comes an ability to reach my students through projectbased learning. My cross-curricular teaching style enthusiastically invites other subjects taught by those seasoned teachers to be a part of the theatre experience. My hope is that through their chuckles, other teachers are able to see this enthusiasm that impacts my students’ willingness to learn, and my ability to foster their love for learning. Ultimately, I believe that I strengthen and improve the teaching profession by impacting my students and my peers simply because I hold myself accountable. I believe accountability is an important part of being a teacher. We have a grand opportunity to witness young minds developing right before our eyes, and we have the immeasurable honor to equip those young minds for a future filled with success. It is vital for educators to ask ourselves if we are truly holding ourselves accountable for their educational responsibility. Are we providing the fundamental building blocks for success with every lesson that we teach? Do we consistently have the student and their immediate future success as our main focus? Are we seizing every opportunity as a team to work collaboratively, and to make sure that every student is being prepared with the skills and knowledge needed to face the outside world? Are we holding ourselves accountable for all of this? Our job as teachers is to hold ourselves accountable, and we must understand that we cannot just teach these students to memorize words and formulas from a textbook. We must give them the tools necessary to apply those words and formulas in the working society. We must adopt the changing teaching techniques with our students and change how we see education. It is vital for teachers to understand that it is not just about what you know in your specific content area. Many times I will have a student come to me with a problem, and at times, I have an opinion on what I feel is the best scenario or solution for them. However, I do not want my students to just come to me with a problem. I desire for them to come to me with the problem and a proposed solution. Again, it is not just about knowing the answer, but knowing the process in which they arrived at their answer and how they will apply their newfound knowledge. If we as educators can make this happen every day that we are in the classrooms, then we are ultimately holding ourselves accountable for producing artistic thinkers and problem solvers for the 21st century. In doing so, we are integrating a continuation of accountability by educating our students to hold themselves accountable. When the school bell rings, it is not about the principal, the board of education, or even the mandated state guidelines for teaching. It is, however, about holding yourself accountable. So when asked what I believe should be the basis for accountability in the teaching profession, my belief is that we should hold ourselves accountable by making sure that every decision that is made focuses around the success of ALL students and that we are


equipping them for success outside of the classroom. Being accountable is a crucial part of being a successful teacher, and I believe that it begins with one’s self. From administration to educator to student, each individual must take ownership. My six-year journey of learning, teaching and facilitating others has taught me that true and honorable success comes not only when you have learned accountability, but also when you see that same accountability develop within your own student. I couldn’t imagine teaching any other subject than theatre because, in my opinion, no other subject lends itself to all other areas of study. I believe that the Theatre Educators National Conference got it right:



Marietta City Schools Inspire Awards recognize and reward outstanding educators for producing high levels of achievement among their students or within their programs. Awards are given based on the following criteria: • Student Outcomes / Supporting Data, • Implementation of Best Practices, • Correlation to District Initiatives & MCS Strategic Plan, • Model for Inspiration / Replication. Award recipients and their accomplishments are listed below. In recognition of outstanding achievement, each teacher received a bonus check of $1,500.




Best Practice

Quiana Bryant

Dunleith Elementary

Reading and math growth among Early Intervention Program (EIP) fifth graders

Student ownership and goal setting; Accelerated Reader

Carey Callahan

West Side Elementary

First grade math achievement

Blended guided math workshop; Number Talks; Compass Learning Continuum

Ruth S. JeanBaptiste

Dunleith Elementary

Reading and math growth among English Language Learners

Technology integration; smallgroup instruction

Laura Floryance

Sawyer Road Elementary

First grade math and reading achievement

Student goal setting; specific, formative feedback; projectbased learning; focus on metacognition and student choice

Melanie Jackson

Dunleith Elementary

Reading growth among second graders

Student ownership, goal-setting, and progress monitoring; focus on formative data

Monica Jones

Marietta High School

Data-driven Professional Learning Community (PLC) – Ninth Grade Literature

Data collection and analysis; use of target standards; collective accountability

Asha Patel

Lockheed Elementary

Language proficiency among English Language Learners

Student goal setting; high expectations; collaboration with teacher teams; student-friendly resources; Imagine Learning

Sarah Pulley

West Side Elementary

Reading and math growth among kindergarten students

Differentiated, hands-on learning centers; kinesthetic approaches; guided reading groups; open-ended, challenging assessments

Caroline M. Russell

Hickory Hills Elementary

Reading and math achievement among first graders

Writers’, reading, and math workshops; data analysis; differentiation; student goal setting


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Innovations and Inspirations Vol3  
Innovations and Inspirations Vol3