The Trial of Anthony Burns Comes to Chenery
On April 3rd 2013, 8th graders had the chance to witness, first hand, the trial of Anthony Burns first. Thanks, in part, to a grant from the Foundation for Belmont Education, students watched as Theatre Espresso, an acting troupe out of the Wheelock Family Theater, dramatized this critical case.
The 1854 trial of Anthony Burns, one of the first tests of the Fugitive Slave Law, brought the question of slavery into the heart of Boston. It codified the abolitionist movement and brought to the forefront questions of law and morality. Despite support by many prominent Bostonians, Burns was returned to his Southern master by the ruling of Judge Edward Loring.
After the enactment, students became participants in the simulation. Playing Massachusetts State Senators, they were invited to question witnesses, debate the issues and decide if Loring’s actions during the trial were just. Students explored the role of law and government and their intersection with human morality in this exciting, hands-on learning experience.
Archeological Excavation - Chenery Middle School Sixth Graders "Dig" into the Past (2011)
Part of the middle school grounds at Chenery Middle School were transformed into an archeological
dig site for approximately 320 sixth graders. Kimberley Connors-Hughes, a Harvard
University-trained archaeologist and Mass Cultural Council Creative Teaching Partner,
was in charge of the mock excavation. The site was "salted" with artifacts which
are typical of those found at any dig site in New England--ranging from Native American
to the Modern Era items. Students followed true archeological methods and scientific
technique as they discovered and unearthed exciting artifacts. Ms. Connors-Hughes
challenged the students to be better archeologists than the Hollywood version Indiana
Jones most were familiar with. Real archeologists utilize true scientific method
involving math, science and social studies skills. Hence, after each group of students
completed the dig, they took part in a lab to measure, draw and identify their artifacts.
This process helped students utilize critical thinking skills in order to make inferences
and interpret culture. The existing sixth grade curriculum includes a social studies
unit on Early Humans and Mesopotamia and a math unit on measurement and scale. Therefore,
this project literally brought learning outside the classroom while building on
the learning already going on inside the Chenery walls.
American Studies iPad Pilot - FBE UNDERWRITES PILOT INNOVATION PROJECT
The Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) and the Belmont Public Schools (BPS)
are excited to announce that the FBE will provide funding for a pilot project exploring
how the use of iPads might improve overall instruction at Belmont High School (BHS)
and ultimately across the district.
Students in four American Studies classes at BHS will use department-issued iPads
for accessing content and assessing independent learning. Students will use iPads
at home to read and annotate digital textbooks, access primary sources, capture
research about various topics, participate in online discussions, and prepare multimedia
This pilot program will assess how portable technology like iPads might improve
the quality of instruction and more effectively engage students. The pilot will
also explore the potential economic benefits of relying on electronic media rather
than conventional high-cost textbooks.
The American Studies project is one of several possible initiatives that the FBE
and BPS are exploring with the goal of improving overall teaching models throughout
the system. The Foundation’s volunteer board will assist district leaders in evaluating
promising pilots. They will focus on the extent to which integration of twenty-first
century technology helps students improve their learning.
The FBE just completed its successful T3 campaign, which raised funds to provide
more than 100 classroom Smart Boards, establishing the infrastructure of technology
in the classrooms. This next investment in innovation pilots promises continued
support not merely for applying technology to classrooms, but also for the training
and practice necessary to use the technology wisely.
Superintendent Kingston noted: "The Belmont teachers and students are so fortunate
to have the partnership of the Foundation and its encouragement to imagine what
innovative teaching in the 21st century might look like. The iPad project will let
us test some assumptions, try some new practices, and explore how we can improve
use of technology in economical ways."
FBE President Jamie Shea agreed: "The FBE is really excited about its new BPS partnership.
We are very interested to see how iPad usage can increase student achievement and
After piloting standing desks in 2009, we reached out to the FBE in order to expand
their use. The four standing desks, which were funded through the FBE, have been
a terrific addition to Winn Brook classrooms. They have supported students’ ability
to focus their attention on instruction and independent work production. The unique
design has enabled students not only to work while standing, but the desks also
provide swinging footrests which allow students to move and expend energy naturally
and quietly while in the classroom. Students are therefore better able to focus
while the whole classroom benefits from decreased disruptions. Winn Brook teachers,
who have utilized the desks in their classrooms, offer the following insights:
The stand-up desk has been an incredibly helpful tool for many students in my classroom.
It greatly benefits those students who need to move about as they work. The stand-up
desk, with its attached kickbar, allows students to channel their energy appropriately
and quietly while staying focused on their tasks. The result is a calm classroom,
productive learning time, and high-quality work. Nicole Torniero, grade 2 teacher
I found that all students were interested in using the standing desk in the beginning,
yet the students who actually needed it most were the ones who utilized it throughout
the year. Being elevated in the standing position, along with the motion of swinging
a leg, enabled students to truly focus. It’s an incredible classroom tool!
Melissa Gainer, grade 2 teacher
Winn Brook School Watershed Turtles Project
In the fall of 2010 I approached our principal, Janet Carey, and discussed the possibility of having Winn Brook become a part of Dr. Windmiller's, "Head Start Program for the Blanding's Turtles". Janet was very enthusiastic and like me, saw the tremendous value of bringing such a meaningful educational opportunity to the students at Winn Brook. With "respect" being one of our core values, putting it into action would be a profound and meaningful experience for our students. What better way than to incorporate an attitude of respect than to have children learning the respect of our environment by helping a species of local turtle which is being threatened? A FBE grant was written and we were given the funds to go ahead and proceed with our program.
With the funds received we purchased all the necessary equipment that Dr. Windmiller recommended to help with the turtles care. In mid December, Dr. Windmiller arrived at Winn Brook School with two young turtles. Both turtles had been born in August from different mothers according to his records. These turtles were indentified solely by a number marking system that he uses for scientific identification. He doesn't use actual numerals but he cuts small notches into the turtles' carapaces near their tails right after there are hatched. Using the design on the turtle's shell he makes notches so that they are in place value order. Winn Brook received turtles #108 and #124. Male or female determination of the turtles would take place later in the spring at the Franklin Park Zoo. Continue reading>>