Pittsburgh Private School Blog - Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

S. E. Hinton Tweets to 7th Grade English Class: “Good Thinking”

10/27/14 7:00 AM

 

In 7th Grade English with Ms. Hecht this week, where students are reading the classic coming of age novel, The Outsiders, several students paused on this passage and began to ask more questions.

“We killed time by reading Gone with the Wind and playing poker. Johnny sure did like that book, although he didn’t know anything about the Civil War and even less about plantations, and I had to explain a lot of it to him.”

Students wondered why the author had chosen Gone With The Wind as the book the characters were reading. Was this an allusion to civil strife happening in their own town?  The students wanted to know if the author had done that purposefully so Ms. Hecht pulled our her iPad (thanks to Home & School) and together they wrote a tweet mentioning the author, S. E. Hinton. Within an hour, the author saw their question and sent her response to the class!

See below for the question from the class and the author’s reply!
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Lessons from My Week Without Google

10/21/14 10:44 AM

I had heard years ago about Google’s personalized search algorithm that delivered different results to different individuals based on the sites they had previously visited, but it wasn’t until about three weeks ago that I noticed my search results were looking overwhelmingly familiar. It made me wonder what I was missing. What were other people viewing that I was not?

So with a little bit of bravery – and a contrarian spirit – I put myself on a crash Google diet: no more Googling for one week. Could I do it? What revelations might this Google-free week reveal? Here are my lessons from my week without Google.

First, it was not as hard as I had thought it would be. I did not want to go a week without learning new things, so I had to find other avenues for finding answers to questions. There were plenty of alternatives. Twitter, Pinterest, and people I know were my most successful alternatives.

I turned to Twitter when I wanted to find some resources to talk to students about the dangers of perfectionism. Instead of opening a browser and using the Google search, I opened my Twitter app on my tablet and used the Discover tab. The app returned all the tweets that contained the word “perfectionism”. I read through the first 25 or so tweets, in chronological order. They had all been sent in the previous 24 hours. I scanned past the unhelpful ones quickly and found several that were on target. I liked the diversity of the sources people sited. One was from a professional conference being held that day, another was from a business managerial blog, and one was from an article for psychologists. I shared several of these sources with students in Tuesday’s announcements. Here are the tweets:

Notes from @falkowata’s talk at #dareconf about how to free yourself from perfectionism. Really enjoyed this!pic.twitter.com/vdfnmqfJA7

— Elisabeth Irgens (@elisabethirg) September 22, 2014

 

Here are 8 reasons being a perfectionist is holding you back – by @Inc http://t.co/qSreVVoeIE

— BI Strategy (@BI_Strategy) September 23, 2014

Lessons from My Week Without Google

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How To Make The Best Granola Ever

10/1/14 11:52 AM

How To Make The Best Granola Ever
I found a delicious recipe for Vermont Maple Granola in a King Arthur Flour catalog and I've been using the recipe ever since. The jar is getting empty so it's time to make more. Here's the recipe the way I make it...

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What Is Design Thinking in Education?

9/22/14 5:00 AM

One of the notions that is helping to shape thinking in 21st century education is design thinking. Inspired by the work of San Francisco Bay area corporations like IDEO, integrated programs offered by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, and the wildly creative K-12 Nueva School in Palo Alto, California, design thinking offers anyone who uses it a structured, creative and useful way to solve meaningful problems. The more I learn about design thinking, the more it reminds me of a decades-old research method in education called “action research,” a research process in which problems are defined, studied, and solved in a deliberate, slow-and-steady way that acknowledges that the significant challenges facing social organizations (like schools) require an iterative approach involving all of the organization’s constituencies. This strategy is one that we use more and more at Sewickley Academy because even when it is really messy, it works.

Below, I have shared a diagram from www.designthinkingblog.com that gives one take on explaining the what-is-design thinking process. This particular example defines design thinking as a six-step process: understand/observe/point of view/ideate/prototype/test.

What is Design Thinking?

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Grandma Book Club

9/18/14 5:00 AM

Septuagenarian_Fangirls

Over the course of the summer my 12-year old daughter acquired two new reading buddies: her grandmothers. If the story ended there, with the bridging of generations through a love of literature, it would be a neat one. What makes this reading and sharing arrangement truly noteworthy is that they were reading and sharing novels geared towards my daughter.

Young Adult fiction, better known as "YA," has been around long enough that the 70-year olds who were reading today's favorite titles had their own when they were teenagers (think Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden). Many of the current YA best sellers differ from their predecessors by being having story arcs which are plotted over several books, like the Harry Potter series, and are often dystopian in nature. Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) and Tris Prior (Divergent) certainly face different types of predicaments than their forbears.

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While the Facilities Are Great, It Remains about the Teaching &​ Learning

9/15/14 5:00 AM

Oliver Building Science LabHow wonderful to be starting a new school year with a newly renovated Oliver Building for Senior School science and Middle and Senior School robotics! 

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The Real Social Media on 9/11

9/11/14 5:00 AM

 

The_REAL_Social_Media_on_9-11I remember the incredibly blue sky, probably the most beautiful blue sky I have ever seen.

I remember the scarce, wispy white clouds dotting the horizon.

I remember the clean, crisp, cool air fill my lungs.

I remember the exact spot were I was standing when I heard that a plane flew into the first tower of the World Trade Center.

I remember standing in the parking lot outside of the dormitory where I lived at the boarding school where I worked at the time. I remember looking at my apartment on the second floor thinking of my wife.

I remember Todd Weaver.

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The Art of Storytelling with Prezi

9/4/14 5:00 AM

As a history teacher, I look for creative ways to communicate stories of people and places. Many mediums tell these narratives such as memoirs, film, art, and music, which add voice and depth to students’ understanding of the past and present.  In the past couple of years, I have discovered that Prezi is a tool that not only allows me to curate many of these sources into one place, but also adds its own artistic dimension to the art of storytelling in history and the humanities.

Three years ago, I worked with a Jordanian teacher, Ms. Noor, and her class over Twitter to compare perspectives on the Middle East and the United States. I was able to sum this experience up visually through a Prezi, “What is the Middle East?”, which combines word clouds, animations, and representative zooms.  The goal of this exercise was to develop perspective and empathy, as well as a broader understanding of how identity, culture, and environment influence each other.  Questions in the Prezi allow for pauses and reflection and the Prezi flips around to represent “thinking another way.”  The assignment was intended to give students and others a glimpse inside the mind of “the other” and the Prezi is designed to take us on a tour of that complex mental process.

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Believe You Can and You're Halfway There

9/2/14 9:33 AM

 

A little inspiration for the first day of the 2014-2015 school year from Theodore Roosevelt.

 

"Believe you can and you're halfway there." ~Theodore Roosevelt

 

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3 Steps To Transition Your Child Back Into a School Schedule

8/28/14 10:02 AM

3_Steps_To_Transition_Your_Child_Back_Into_A_School_ScheduleAs we near the end of the summer holiday, our attention fades from planning vacation trips to getting our children ready to return to a school schedule. Of course, stores began their “Back to School” clothing and supplies sales in late June when we had hardly started to enjoy the break, but now it’s really time to get back in the swing of things. In my opinion, as a parent and an educator, there are a few general areas where you can assist your child to prepare and transition into the new school year:

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Sewickley Academy

A private school located 12 miles northwest of the city of Pittsburgh which enrolls 720 students in grades PK-12. Our elementary school, middle school, and high school are all located on a single 16 acre campus with our athletic fields located on an additional 14 acres.