by Jessica Maciejewski and Mark Heintz

This is part of a blog series intended to document and define learning at Elk Grove High School throughout the 2018-2019 school year in order to increase student learning, give professionals autonomy, increase trust in our learning community, and foster a sense of personal-intellectual collegiality within the building across departments.  You can read all of the previous posts here

This is the first year that Elk Grove High School has students in a dual language program.  The students in this class have been in the same class together since first grade.  They have been enrolled in a dual language program that has been taught in English and in Spanish over the past eight years.  Now, this first cohort of students is at Elk Grove.  They take English, Spanish, and Biology together.  It’s an incredible program that values both languages and pushes the boundaries of the traditional high school experience.  It’s simply amazing.  
Jessica Maciejewski volunteered to teach this class, and her passion is helping to ensure the success of this program at the high school level.  She is an amazing teacher who gets students to have meaningful conversations, work together, and write at a high level.  

Jessica Maciejewski

What did learning look like in the lesson?

Students pre-writing in their packets then sharing ideas and responding to one another’s thoughts in a traveling debate; communication in small groups to write “grenadiers” using leadership and cooperation.

What do you hope to do for the next time?

Increase student responses to one another–I know sometimes rewards (even getting to sit down after commenting) can actually backfire. Maybe students can respond as much as they want? Maybe there is a grade for participation in Habits of Work? Maybe there are some students with roles, or partners who actively look out for one another?

What did you learn in this lesson?

I learned in this lesson that communication is key to helping each other out. If you don’t communicate, your partners will never know what things you want to achieve from the project. Like with the strings attached to the markers, we all had to come up with a plan, and maybe readjust it during the process to sort out the mistakes.

What do you hope to learn for the next time?

Next time, I hope to learn to switch off each partners being leaders, and possibly thinking ahead and strategizing. Coming up with a plan A and plan B is important because you will always have a backup plan. When your group all comes together and talks through their ideas, you can get a bigger picture and more techniques that will spark new ways to achieve your goals.


What did you learn in this lesson?

I learned that without communication no one knows what to do, for example, we wouldn’t know who will pull what string in order to make that letter, some people would work faster than others or the group can just be a mess.

What do you hope to learn for the next time?

I hope next time we can communicate better, maybe think ahead so each of us knows what we are doing. Another example can be soccer, without communication, we would crash into each other, we wouldn’t be able to know if a person is running towards us, or we can even get hurt.

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