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2017-2018 Features

Early Release/Teacher Collaboration at Mountainside HS

In today's digital age, we are bombarded with information. Anything you want to know is at your fingertips, just a Google search away. Sifting through that information to determine what sources are reliable, as well as recognizing obvious or underlying bias, is a daunting task for any adult. Now imagine trying to teach a student to make those distinctions while doing online research.

During Week 4 of Early Release/Teacher Collaboration, Mountainside High School Library and Information Technology Teacher Rosa Rothenberger, is sharing an extensive list of digital resources with the social studies team. The resources, which teachers will use in their current events unit, will help students further develop their critical thinking skills. "Without Rosa's help and expertise, the Individuals and Societies teachers at Mountainside would not have had the time or the knowledge to provide our students with so many great ways to learn about and critically analyze the news," says Mountainside MYP Coordinator Jeremiah Hubbard.  

Rosa also shares multimedia and digital storytelling resources students may use for classroom presentations. The teachers discuss how students might be able to use the tools in their classes for critical thinking and communication learning targets.

Says Hubbard, "The Early Release Time has been invaluable so far.  Having time to work with your colleagues makes all of us better.  I think of it as like a Greatest Hits album.  Each teacher does some things well, has some great lessons, but also some weaknesses and blind spots.  When we get the time to work together and discuss our practice, the result is the Greatest Hits of teaching - all the best stuff is recognized and adopted, and the weaknesses are addressed.  We've known this for a long time, but finding the time has always been the challenge.  I think students and community members will see the difference that structured professional collaboration makes in real and tangible ways."