Monday, October 3, 2016

September Teacher Spotlight - Matt Soltysiak

For this month's teacher spotlight, we are highlighting Mr. Soltysiak and his broadcasting students! Mr. Soltysiak does some fantastic things within his Spanish classes as well, but for this spotlight we are showcasing the hard work of creating, producing, editing and sharing the high school announcements every other day!

Each day in the broadcasting class, students rehearse, film (in front of green screen), use specialized software to add backgrounds and effects, edit the production in Adobe Premier and finalize the clips into a finished product - Whew! While the students rotate through the different roles, some have become experts in certain areas and are able run parts of the production completely independently. Mr. Soltysiak stated that because the class is completely project-based with a finished product due by the end of the period, students gain experience troubleshooting and collaborating on the fly with a short turnaround time. In addition, he shared that the class "gives students a different perspective on what all goes on behind the camera to produce a news show". The announcements are posted to our Laker Media YouTube channel as well as posted on the website every other day.

Tommy and Grace, current broadcasting students, shared about their experiences in the class so far. Tommy said he was "intimidated at first" but now that he has gotten used to the roles and procedures the class is fun. He was surprised by all the work that goes on behind the scenes that you don't see on camera. Grace shared that the class has helped with her public speaking skills and confidence on camera. She also did not realize all the work that went into creating the secondary announcements.

Great job Lakers!

Laker Media YouTube Channel





Monday, September 26, 2016

Elementary Announcements are Back!

Our elementary students are back to writing, producing, filming and editing their student announcements! These students work so hard each week to prep, practice and film their video. They film in front of a green screen, choose backgrounds to fit their theme and edit in the iMovie app. Their teacher then uploads the video to our Little Laker Media YouTube channel.

The current group of students are in 2nd grade. Not only are they practicing their reading fluency, tech skills and project planning, they are working together to create an authentic final project for the entire elementary school to watch! Way to go little Lakers!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Middle School Project-based Learning


How do we inform the general public about how to prevent spreading the invasion of nonnative species? This was the driving question that guided Mrs. Vann and her 8th grade English students through a challenging and relevant project this spring.


To answer this question, the students first did in-depth research on their chosen invasive species in collaboration with our librarian Mrs. Besselsen. They used this research to write a formal research paper highlighting their chosen species including how to prevent the spread of this species in our local region.

In addition to their own research, the class hosted three park rangers from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park to learn more about the park service and the invasive species that threaten our natural areas. The students also spent a day at the park learning through hands-on experiences. Mrs. Vann explained, "Students adventured to Glen Haven to complete dune restoration along the shoreline as well as beach and trail clean-up. Students started their work at different areas in the park, including the Dune Climb Heritage Trail, Glen Haven Cannery and Sleeping Bear Point Trailhead."


Park rangers visiting the 8th Grade English classes to share their knowledge and expertise.

Students playing a "deer and wolves" game to learn about predators and natural selection.

The top of the dune climb!

As a culmination for their project, students were tasked with using a variety of technologies to share their new knowledge and understanding with a specific audience in order to make a positive difference in the world. Students created items such as bumper stickers, t-shirt designs, children's games, video productions and brochures. See the pictures below for a few examples. Mrs. Vann had this to say about the project "There's nothing that makes a person appreciate something more than giving of one's time and energy. After watching my students clean up the beaches for the piping plovers and the Heritage Trail for our community, I know they appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Knowledge is power."

What an amazing experience for our students. Great job Mrs. Vann!


The tough guys with their tough message on how to prevent the spread of invasive species in our local lakes and rivers


Spencer's informative tri-fold brochure for park visitors.

An informative and fun matching game for kids!