Salpointe Lancers joined teachers and students across the globe who turned to technology for remote education during the pandemic. After 10 months of online or hybrid classes, Salpointe’s teachers share some of their recent educational innovations. Fostering a spirit of creativity across campus, teachers found new approaches to help their students learn and stay engaged.
Paint Color Poetry
After a trip to the hardware store, Ms. Elena Malovich randomly assigned her AP Literature students with paint colors. Students were tasked with writing a poem based on the names of the paint colors, which were often rather obscure. Paint color names included dandelion wishes, solitary tree, red my mind, death by chocolate, gardener’s soil and honesty. “It turned out beautifully,” remarked Ms. Malovich. “It was a fun, magical week of interaction in the otherwise muted world we are in these days.” To read some of the paint color poems, click here
Many have wondered how a music program can continue during a time of online learning. Salpointe’s instrumental music teacher, Mr. Jim Howell ’91 found a way. With only a quarter of his students on campus at times, Mr. Howell implemented SmartMusic technology in the place of sheet music and playing beside fellow musicians. This program allows students to read the music on their screens, record themselves playing along, hear or mute the other instrumental parts, and change the sheet music based on what instrument they’re playing. Each component is customizable to aid students as they learn music. The program can even provide grades based on accuracy that the teacher can modify later. “In normal times, SmartMusic is a practice tool,” said Mr. Howell. “In pandemic times, it’s a tool for everything. This will benefit the overall musicianship of our students. Music is staying alive despite the current challenges.” Salpointe’s marching band was the only one in Southern Arizona to play at football games last fall with distancing and very little movement.
Engineering with a Mission
In the freshmen level Engineering Fundamentals course, Ms. Amy Ball is guiding students to connect the engineering design process to the Carmelite values. “As a class in a Catholic Carmelite school,” she said, “we connect our designs to empathy for the people who would benefit from the product/service and consider ethics in the production, testing and availability of the product/service.” While in remote or hybrid learning, students are tasked with reinventing Time magazine’s Top Inventions of 2020, interviewing senior citizens about the greatest inventions of their lifetime, or reverse engineering a click pen. Upcoming projects include developing simple, inexpensive solutions to the root cause of a problem, for example, how to keep premature babies warm or how to carry water to a rural village. Ms. Ball makes the most of any opportunity to integrate Carmelite values into her engineering and physics classes.
How can students continue with labwork at home? This is a question all science teachers have considered this year. Ms. Abbey Zaepfel developed a chemistry lab that got students away from their screens and doing a hands-on lab at home, which thrilled students and parents alike. Chemistry students made a batch of chocolate chip cookies following a recipe that had every ingredient listed in moles or molecules. To bake the cookies, they first had to convert each ingredient measurement into grams, then into standard measuring units i.e. cups and teaspoons. “Students could quickly realize that a full cup of baking soda must have resulted in a miscalculation,” said Ms. Zaepfel. “Many students reflected how fun it was to make cookies with a family member and told me they enjoyed their cookies during family night.”
Gathering In-Person to Pray and Play
Salpointe’s Crossing the Goal Club is partnering with Campus Ministry to host students back on campus to live out the Carmelite values of prayer, community and service. Students gather weekly to pray the Rosary which is followed by a fun game of flag football or soccer. Afterward, students engage in a service project such as picking up trash around the school and the neighboring area, creating personal-sized compost bins and making jump ropes out of single-use plastic bags. Students are eager to build community in person and have enjoyed this unique opportunity.
Salpointe’s Model United Nations Club hosted a Google Meet interview with the Mexican Consul who resides in Tucson. Students enjoyed hearing about his work and experience as a career diplomat. Perhaps such an opportunity would not have been possible if not for the ease of video meetings. “It was a very cool experience for everyone,” said club moderator Mr. Nick Sitzman, “and I know the students were really grateful that he could take the time to meet with the club.”
All across Salpointe’s campus, creativity and innovation are paving the way for students to continue learning through re-imagined classes and activities.