Comstock is Committed to Incorporating Technology
Math Classes Use Aleks
Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces is a
Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions. A student who shows a high level of mastery of an ALEKS course will be successful in the actual course she is taking. Every student at Comstock has an ALEKS account and works on it at school, at home and on-the-go. Achievement in Math has been unprecedented this year since we have used this program school-wide.
In Digital Storytelling, students work in the Mac Lab to produce documentaries, PSA's, stop-motion shorts, and music videos. They use video cameras, microphones, green screen, and computer programs such as imovie and Garage Band.
Next year, students will begin producing a weekly news program for Comstock, promotional videos and PSA's for local charitable agencies, and profiles of inspiring local citizens.
Students Compose their OWN Books on Computer
Students also use technology for authentic writing tasks. Our advanced 8th grade English students wrote novels during November, 2012 with the National Writing Project. All English classes
continue this trend with blogs and other projects combining creativity and technology.
NEW: MESA Elective
We offer MESA (Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement)
elective in conjunction with the Santa Rosa Junior College and Piner High School. In this course, activities to develop sound mathematical practices that are part of the Common Core State Standards will include:
•Exploration of mathematical problem and situation stems
•Connecting mathematical representations of real-world problems and situations to each other
• Using available technology to support student communication of mathematical understandings and to provide additional structure in developing strong mathematical practices
Kuder Navigator & AVID
AVID students work on developing their skills and their preparation for high school and beyond. All Comstock students have their own account in online Kuder Navigator, where they:
• Watch videos and read about different careers
• Quiz themselves about interests and discover how to connect their interests to careers
• Create a four-year educational plan
English Classes Use Study Island
Study Island provides engaging, differentiated online support for English standards that students can access at school, at home, and on-the-go from their smartphones and ipods. Differentiated instruction is enabled with built-in remediation tailored to each students progress, immediate feedback, and actionable, real-time progress reports.
In English classes, students use applications such as Prezi, Google Presentations, Google Earth, and Powerpoint to explore and showcase their ideas about topics that they are learning. They then share these presentations with the class and parents.
Project Make Summer Camp & Project Make Elective
Project Make Summer Camp was introduced at Comstock during the summer of 2012. Students in grades 7 & 8 participated in creative, project-based learning with a practical engineering focus. Students experienced hands-on, technical education, that promotes problem-solving and real-world applications.
Given the success of the camp, and the interest of the students, Comstock has been able to continue this program during the school year with an elective "Maker Class." This elective is a precursor to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math ) focus at our feeder high school, Piner High School, which also has a Project Make elective.
Our Project Make Elective is led by our Art Teacher, Dawn Thomas. She adds artistic and aesthetic influences to the work: adding an "A" into STEM to create a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) focus for our school going forward. This is compatible with our other electives that combine technology and the arts: Digital Storytelling, Performing Arts and our After School Programs. Middle School is the time for students to explore their capabilties to help them decide on a direction for their future.
The Project Make curriculum (both Camp and Course) is an outgrowth of the Maker movement associated with the work of Dale Dougherty of O’Reilly Media in Sebastopol, CA. The Maker movement is a growing worldwide collective of people of all ages and backgrounds who are using simple and complex equipment, materials and technologies to find solutions to real-world problems as well as communicating their ideas, processes and findings, with one another through various media.
Link to Press Democrat feature article on Comstock Maker Programs
Link to www.comstockmakerprograms.weebly.com
Every Friday, Sasha Oster and the 21st Century Learning Team train together on Google Apps to prepare for Going Google with Chromebooks. They are working through tutorials in the core Google apps like Forms, Docs, Calendar, and Blogger, along with other apps and extensions such as WeVideo, Edmodo, Screencast-O-Matic, and Synergyse.
English Department Website
The English Department uses a website to enrich lessons with digital media, to catalogue those lessons, and to collaborate within and across departments.
Teachers Sasha Oster and Sue Cleek hold our first two Chromebooks, which were awarded through a Jordan Winery grant, in February, 2013. We currently have two carts of 40 more Chromebooks and are piloting Google Apps in Sasha's and Sue's English classes next year. More mobile labs are needed. We were able to purchase another cart of 30. In 2014-2015, teachers will be released to provide technology integration support to the school in our soon to be developed media literacy center.