New Library Technology Specialists Offer Electives to Middle School Students

ElectivesCambridge Street Upper School
Library Technology Specialist (LTS) Norah Connolly is teaching two groups of 
students, 6th grade and 7/8th grade, at Cambridge Street Upper School to learn how 
to use SCRATCH, a computer coding language to create and collaborate with each 
other. SCRATCH was developed by the MIT Media Lab.

Putnam Avenue Upper School
LTS Marianne Bees is collaborating with Paula Feynman, Academic Challenge & Enrichment Support Program Manager to work with students Gr. 6-8 who wish to participate in National History Day. This national program allows students to choose a historical topic related to the annual theme, conduct research and present their new knowledge in a variety of ways. Last year, four students went to the State finals and one continued on to the nationals in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is Leadership & Legacy in History.

Marianne is also facilitating a “Catchy Commercial” elective with 6th graders. In this elective students are taking a previously read novel and identifying literary elements such as setting, plot, main characters and their traits with supportive evidence, 
problem, resolution, and theme. After describing these elements the students will be 
working in VoiceThread to create a ‘commercial’ or book trailer to sell their book to others to read. VoiceThread is an interactive application that allows students to create, comment, and share their work using a variety of media

ElectivesRindge Avenue Upper School
Vanessa Vartabedian, LTS at Rindge Ave. Upper School, is facilitating a Verizon 
Innovation App Design Challenge elective. A team of students will “develop an 
original concept for a mobile app that incorporates STEM principles and content and addresses a real need or problem in their school or community. While designing their apps, students consider marketplace need, usefulness, audience and viability and align their app concept with one of the three Verizon Foundation focus areas of Education, Healthcare or Sustainability. The team will submit their design concepts online through an App Concept Overview and Summary, a three-to-five minute Video and Essay Responses.” (Verizon Foundation). Vanessa is also offering a SCRATCH 
afterschool class every Wednesday for her students.

Vassal Lane Upper School

Nora Clooney, the new LTS at Vassal Lane Upper School, is leading three electives, at each grade level, as students learn to create a school online newsletter. The goals is to produce two newsletters before the end of the semester. Students will collaborate with each other as they brainstorm ideas, create content, capture images, and design this communication tool for their school community.
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