Why Wikis?

Dear HTS Community:

Why wikis? At the end of a literary element unit, Mrs. Werner’s class compared and contrasted the plot, setting, characters and theme between the movie and book versions of Hachiko; the true story of a loyal dog that waits at the train station every day for his master, even long after his master has passed away. The story explored the essential question: What is the bond between animals and humans?

Rather than writing individual essays seen only by the writer and teacher, Mrs. Werner’s 6th grade LA students jumped on their class Wiki to post their analysis and then to comment and build their understanding after reading and responding to each other’s answers.  Some samples:

Vivian loved the experience and even volunteered that,”… this is whole lot more fun than writing an essay!”  The literary discussion becomes much richer as Joey comments, “If someone has a great point you can jump right in, rather than waiting to be called on and possible forgetting your idea.”  Carlin felt, “When you put your ideas out on the class Wiki, other students can critique you and when we all put our heads together you get a better understanding of the theme, plot, etc.”   Scott added, “On our Wiki, everyone is talking and commenting at the same time, we understand each other and the discussion doesn’t stop when class is over.”

Mrs. Werner’s and  Ms. Poole’s 7th and 8th Grade classes also use class Wiki’s for discussion, novel based literature circles, online journaling and homework. Ms. Poole initiated the Wiki online journaling last year and has been instrumental in training her HTS colleagues on how to use it. What’s the benefit to learning and what is the result? “The virtual classroom on our Wikis extends the learning beyond our physical classrooms and engages all students and all types of learners. We love it!”  Moreover, Mrs. Werner sees the class Wiki as a valuable tool to enrich literary discussions and support student directed learning. In addition, students are eager to express their thoughts and ideas to each other via the class Wiki and blog.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone*

*with a hat tip to Mrs. Werner and Mrs. Poole.

Scary good or just plain scary???

Dear HTS Community:

I don’t know if this website is scary good or just plain scary.  State Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) has a website that compares and contrasts the current State (Unfair) School Funding Formula with his proposed Fair School Funding Formula.  Embedded in the website are links of interest and Sen. Doherty’s plan to fund schools more equitably.  Under the current formula, Harding Township School receives $180,000 in state aid. For. The. Entire. Year. Under Sen. Doherty’s plan, HTS would be entitled to $2,968,310.  Check out the above link (but not on an empty stomach) to see why Harding is considered a “nickel and dime town.” 

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

HTS testing data highlights…

Dear HTS Community:

EArlier this week at the Board of Education Meeting, the 2011 Standardized Testing Data (NJPASS, NJASK, ADP Algebra I EOC Exam) was presented to the public as a PowerPoint and is currently available on our website www.hardingtwp.org.  Although standardized testing represents a brief snapshot of student learning, we believe it is an important diagnostic tool to assist the teaching and learning process. Some highlights include:

  • Grade 3 Math – 96% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 4 Math – 89% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 4 Science – 96% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 6 Math – 97% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 7 LAL – 89% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 8 Math – 100% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 8 LAL – 100% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 8 Science – 100% Proficient/Advanced Proficient
  • Grade 8 Algebra 1 End of Course Exam – 100% Proficient/Advanced Proficient

Although there is (always) room for improvement, we are very proud of our students and teachers for all their hard work last school year.  We are optimistic that 2011-12 will be another banner year for HTS and look forward to partnering with parents to make it happen.  Opportunities for involvement are everywhere: October 21 (8:30-9:30) PTO Meeting, October 24 (7:30p.m.) Board of Education Meeting, October 28 Trunk or Treat and/or Middle School Dance, November 8 (12:00-1:00) Budget Brown Bag Lunch with Dr. Anemone and a 1:1 Committee Meeting on Friday November 18 (8:30-9:30).

If you are interested in some “light reading” in the meanwhile, please check out our 1:1 Wiki

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

1:1 Wiki…So All Can Participate

Deat HTS Community:

Earlier this fall, we announced the formation of a 1:1 Committee, consisting of parents, teachers, administrators and, ultimately, students as well.  Our first meeting went very well and we have decided to create a 1:1 Wiki on our homepage.  We understand that many of you cannot attend the meetings but would still like to be involved in helping us transform the Harding Township Upper School.  Please check out our linked wiki on the district’s homepage (www.hardingtwp.org) periodically for new and exciting information related to this project.  We will post our meeting agendas, minutes, interesting articles as well as any other pertinent infomation.  Additionally, we are inviting parents to participate in the process of as well. If you have an interesting article related to 1:1 Learning, please feel free to send us the link and we can add it to our Wiki, for all to see.  Moreover, students, parents, stakeholders and teachers can all post comments to existing articles or posts. 

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Open House Tours…coming this Friday.

Dear Harding Township Community:

Autumn is here, the leaves are changing and our students and teachers are settling in to productive routines.  Each day I come into Harding Township School and leave more impressed than the day before.  In addition to preparing our students for their state standardized tests (2011-Grade 8 100% proficient/advanced proficient in math, language arts, science and algebra!) our teachers are committed to teaching the whole child using a variety of approaches designed to build on existing strengths and shore up weaknesses.  Technology, in the form of SMARTBoards (available in every classroom), laptops, SmartTables or desktops, is integrated into most every lesson.  Our Ambassadors of Kindness Program is specifically designed to cater to the social-emotional needs of our children.  Although it is early in the year, I am thrilled to report that our students have responded very positively to this program and, overall, the state of our school is strong. 

We are fully committed to academic excellence and wish to invite Harding Township residents who currently have children registered in a private school to an open house on the following dates: November 4th, December 2nd and January 6th.  At the open house, parents and their children will have an opportunity to meet with school and district administrators, tour the building, observe lessons and ask questions specific to their child.  If you are curious about HTS and would like to learn more, please join us in the Upper School Library/Media Center from 8:30-10:00a.m. on the above dates.  We look forward to meeting with you. 

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone