A Tale of Two ...

Posted by William Benson on 4/15/2019

…exceptional classrooms at opposite ends of our continuum of opportunities, reading in kindergarten at Highland Elementary School and math at the Alamance-Burlington Early College at Alamance Community College.


On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of joining one of Mr. Kevin Scharen’s math classes in the Alamance-Burlington Early College. After a warm-up team competition on Quizlet to review trigonometry ratios, students were tasked with creating, and then critiquing, four real world word problems using trigonometric ratios (Remember SOHCAHTOA?). We worked in teams of two with each member responsible for two problems. I worked with Cale and developed the following problem:


Students in a high school biology class are cataloging trees on their high school campus. One of the pieces of information required is estimated height. A student who is 5 feet tall uses a homemade clinometer to sight the top of a tree and determines the degree of incline is 52 degrees at a standing distance of 25 feet. How tall is the tree? 

(Hint: The vertex of the observed angle is behind the viewer, and as such, the length of the adjacent side is longer than 25 feet.)


On Friday, I joined Ms. Blum’s kindergartners at Highland Elementary for readers’ theater. Ms. Blum divided students into three groups to take on three versions of The Three Little Pigs, including the original, a version with a big, bad pig, and version told from the viewpoint of the wolf. Student groups performed their versions of the story. Ms. Blum recorded student performances and made them available to their parents. Students read fluently and with expression -- exceptional performances all around. Students then used graphic organizers to compare and contrast the stories. I personally found the version told from the viewpoint of the wolf to be very compelling. The wolf’s intentions were completely misunderstood!


Mr. Scharen and Ms. Blum are exceptional teachers on two ends of a K-12 continuum designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to think critically and own their futures!