I recently sat down with Mrs. Chayer to talk a bit about her newly-named Indigo Team. I started off by asking her about current team projects. First, Mrs. Chayer told me that her (and Mrs. Daigle’s (the other Indigo team teacher)) students were currently doing a “new thing” this year called Citizen Scientists where students have gone out around the school three times and heard lectures about the plants and animals in the area before completing worksheets and short videos about the different sites visited. In addition, she told me that in science class, they were working on their biome postcards. Biome postcards are written by students (after researching their biome) to seem as though they are actually writing back from the part of the world that contains that particular biome. For instance, if a student is researching the desert biome they might decide to write from the Sahara Desert and they might tell the reader of their postcard a bit about the clothing they’re wearing, what animals they may have encountered and a few thoughts and impressions pertaining to the Sahara Desert. On the front of the post cards students must draw some plant or animal that can be found in the area, so if a student was writing about the Sahara desert, they may draw a fennec fox on the front of their post card*. This is a very busy time for the Indigo team, as they are in the midst of yet a third project, Canada Travels. Canada Travels is a unit in which students form groups within their class and together with their group, map out an actual trip to Canada where they travel through each territory and province. To do so, groups must choose their vehicle for their travels, determine the sites to visit, and locate local restaurants, hotels and activities along the way. After figuring out the logistics of the trip, groups must put together a slideshow showcasing all that they did on their “trip”to Canada.

On top of lots of projects, the Indigo Team has already had two academic field trips to North Beach for their ecology unit, and a third field trip to Ethan Allen Park, which the students earned by filling a jar full of “Indigo gems,” which as you would guess, is, a jar of Indigo colored stones awarded for good deeds and accomplishments. Up in the near future, according to Mrs. Chayer, is a social field trip, but details of that trip are yet to be determined.

Finally, I asked Mrs. Chayer about her thoughts about having the newly disbursed i-pads in the classroom. Mrs. Chayer said, “I think it has both pros and cons. I definitely feel like we have a pretty good… working relationship. Students know to come in and not have them turned on until the teacher asks for them to be turned on. You’re always going to get a kid or two who tries to sneak it, but we also know they’re going on them a lot at home so we don’t want it to be overload.” She added that in addition with “everything going on, the canvass program and all the new stuff for teachers it can be hard to decide which apps are best to use. We are trying to make them useful, but… it’s an ongoing process.”

* When I was in Mrs. Chayer’s class I wrote about the Sahara desert and drew a fennec fox on the front of my post card.

By: Bella Farkas
November 29, 2015