Archive for January, 2013

New Technology at SCW

January 18, 2013

Recently the special education department at St. Clare Walker purchased a new type of projector. The department was budgeted to buy a SMART Board, but the OSCAR technology proved less expensive and better fit the needs of the special education teachers and students. One benefit is the mobility of the unit which allows it to easily move throughout the school, so all students have access to it.

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The OSCAR projection system turns walls, floors, ceilings, and tables into interactive areas. Students are able to interact with images, manipulate data, and practice skills in a variety of settings. The OSCAR is compatible with all of the department’s existing SMART Board activities and software, and the projector has allowed more students to benefit from their use.

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Although the system hasn’t been at SCW for long, it has already proven to be a favorite with the students, especially in a small group setting. The system is one example of how MCPS continually enhances the education of its students.

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Teacher Feature – Lisa Hall

January 16, 2013

MHS teacher Lisa Hall has taught in Middlesex County for a total of 18 years. After teaching from 1987-1991, she stayed home and raised her children for eight years before returning to teach from 1999 to the present. Before coming to Middlesex, Hall taught for one year in Pennsylvania.

Prior to teaching, Hall earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Indiana University and a master’s degree in special education from California University, both in Pennsylvania.

Hall currently teaches self-contained math and collaborates in the math department at the high school. She herself learns best with visuals, so she offers students visuals beyond what they might see in the general education classroom. She explains, “Math is a subject with many ways to solve a problem, which is why students have trouble with this subject, so I offer diverse ways to solve each math problem.”

One of her favorite activities is to teach measuring by cooking. Her students prepare recipes which require accurate measuring to result in an edible product. She states, “They may need to double or triple the recipe, so they will need to add and subtract those fractions.”

In special education, Hall believes goals change daily and yearly. Hall feels her goals must shift as well to accommodate her students’ diverse needs. In whatever environment and at whatever level her students are performing, Hall strives to assist each student to learn to their full potential.

When Hall isn’t teaching, she spends time at her home in Middlesex with her husband. They have three children, all of whom attended school in this division. One child still lives at home. Hall is an identical twin, and her sister lives in Ohio. In addition to her sister in Ohio, Hall has other extended family in Pennsylvania, and she enjoys traveling to both areas.

Teacher Feature – Eileen O’Brien

January 9, 2013

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Eileen  O’Brien, a first grade teacher at Middlesex Elementary School, enjoys teaching by incorporating all subjects with a thematic approach. She explains, “My favorite way to teach is to plan lessons that build up to a field trip or a big event and then do follow up activities to cement the concepts.”

In her classroom, O’Brien uses a hand-on approach which keeps reading and writing as the focus. O’Brien says, “Reading is the basis of learning all the other subjects, so I want them to love to read and to enjoy good literature. I think we all learn best by a hands-on approach first and then transferring the knowledge into writing.”

O’Brien is currently in her 39th year of teaching.  Previously, she taught in a non-graded school in New York for five years and at Rappahannock Community College for three years. When originally hired by Middlesex County, she taught kindergarten for twenty years and then became a reading coordinator for seven.  This is her fourth year teaching first grade.

Her vast experience is a key element she brings to her classroom.  After teaching almost a thousand children, O’Brien feels she knows where they are and where they need to go next.  She believes it is important to recognize a student’s current level and provide the right tools, environment, and encouragement for them to learn.

O’Brien’s main goal is to improve her students to the best of their ability while helping them to learn that they can learn.  She also wants them to become self-disciplined so they become responsible adults with jobs they enjoy, excel in, and keep. O’Brien says, “I want them to be proud of themselves, their efforts, and their accomplishments so their lives will be satisfying.”

When not in her classroom, O’Brien loves to see her family, read, sew, play flute, garden, bake, and work on liturgy at her church. She has been married to Brendan for 41 years, and they have lived in Urbanna for 34. Their daughter Meaghan is married and has two daughters. Their son Tim lives in Virginia Beach.


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