Category Archives: In the Classroom

Honors Reading Groups Kick Off

Ms Riesers's middle school DEAR group.

Ms Riesers’s middle school DEAR group.

Our DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) silent reading program just got a little louder. All students now have the option of joining one of seven honors groups and talking is encouraged. Lead organizer and humanities department chair Henry Seton believes the new groups will spark students’ interest in reading as well as sharpen their comprehension and discussion skills. Students can earn a GPA bump on their humanities grade based on their participation in the student-led discussions and the annotations they make in the texts (not literally in the books but on stickies!).

_DSC0496Over 100 students opted into this fall’s honors groups, which meet once a week and are themed to touch on topics outside the regular curriculum. For instance, Mr. Seton is leading a group on books about food and cooking, and the group’s first text is a memoir entitled, “Yes, Chef” by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. Head of School Caleb Hurst-Hiller, a former humanities teacher, is leading a group on sports in society. The students in Spanish teacher Laura Efron’s group on gender are reading a graphic novel “Fun Home” by Allison Bechdel. Math teacher Tabitha Schober is facilitating a group on race, and history teacher Eva Lam’s group will delve into readings on current events like the Ebola epidemic and same sex marriage. There are two middle school sections, each led by Katie Rieser, formerly a humanities teacher and now dean of curriculum and instruction. Both Ms. Rieser and Mr. Hurst-Hiller are excited at the chance to take off their administrator hats and get back in the classroom during DEAR.

Ms Schober's group

Ms Schober’s group

Mr Seton's group

Mr Seton’s group


Summer Academy Welcomes New Students & Teachers

Summer Academy Faculty

Summer Academy Faculty

We are midway through our Summer Academy for new students. About 100 rising 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th graders are at CCSC every weekday morning for four weeks, taking humanities and math courses and learning the ropes, from the dress code to classroom systems like Homework First boxes, Do Nows, Shout Outs, merits and, yes, demerits. Continue reading

All in the Family

Author Andrea Cheng leads a discussion as her mother looks on.

Author Andrea Cheng leads a discussion as her mother looks on.

It’s not often that high school students have the chance to meet the author of a book they are reading in class. Even more rare is the opportunity to meet the person whose life story inspired the book. So the students in Ann Cheng’s 9th grade humanities class hit the jackpot last week when both the author and the subject of Marika, the historical novel they have been reading, visited their classroom. Continue reading

Hamlet Soliloquies for Modern Times

Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet in the 1948 film

Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet in the 1948 film.

The seniors in AP English Literature are reading Hamlet. While Shakespeare’s language may be unfamiliar to the millennial generation, teenagers of any era can relate to Hamlet’s angst-filled internal debate. Teacher Chase Ferree asked students to compose and read aloud a soliloquy about a personal dilemma. Here are three examples, each reflecting a modern anxiety Hamlet might have trouble understanding. Continue reading

Top 5 Reasons to Go to College

Radio 107.1 broadcasting from Mr. Seton's classroom

Radio 107.1 broadcasting from Mr. Seton’s classroom

“Why go to college?” was one of the prompts given to 7th grade students for a humanities assignment to write an ear-catching radio ad. In addition to providing students with an opportunity to hone their persuasive writing, the unit also helped them develop the public speaking skills and the confidence to “sell” their ideas in front of an audience that also included faculty and staff guests – great preparation for Roundtables, which this grade will do for the first time at the end of the year. Continue reading

Have No Fear, the Common Core is (almost) Here

commoncore1We hardly had a chance to celebrate our students’ performance on the 2013 MCAS exams – in case you haven’t heard, CCSC 10th graders earned a #1 ranking in English for the second straight year – when the Boston Globe ran a front-page article with the headline, “Online exams may replace MCAS tests.”

As the story explained, the new online tests will be piloted this year and next as part the state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards. Continue reading

Choosing to Succeed…Because

New mural painted by 2013 graduates Charde Hunt and Shadia Ahmed.

New mural painted by 2013 graduates Charde Hunt and Shadia Ahmed.

Our school motto (“Because success is a choice”) is a daily reminder that everyone here has chosen to attend or to work at CCSC and that success is the outcome that we hope – expect — will follow from making the choice to join our community and to embrace the values of commitment, citizenship, scholarship and courage. So, as we begin another school year, it’s good to reflect on why we made that choice and on what we hope to gain from the experience of being at CCSC. Continue reading

Find the Good and Praise It

Words of encouragement we hope will stick with students.

Words of encouragement we hope will stick with students.

During one of this week’s professional development sessions, the entire CCSC faculty shared some of the phrases they use to motivate students to always do their best work and to encourage them to keep persevering, no matter how hard it seems. Teachers jotted down each phrase on yellow stickies and read them aloud to each other. We’ll be hearing a lot of these words of encouragement in classrooms when classes start next Wednesday. Continue reading