Artwork of famous attractions and authors adorn the walls of various English classrooms. (Julia Benedetto ('19))
Artwork of famous attractions and authors adorn the walls of various English classrooms.

Julia Benedetto ('19)

East teachers share unique classroom traditions

January 10, 2019

These teachers help make the bond between teacher and student just a little bit stronger through various methods. Some teachers put in the extra effort to decorate their rooms according to the season while others make pancakes after AP tests are over. Some teachers come up with creative project ideas like a calculus-based music video or a history-based Cards Against Humanity set to help engage their students in new ways of learning while still being creative and having fun. No matter how big or small, these teachers’ ideas and gestures have made lasting impacts on their students that have made their high school experience just a little bit more memorable.

Calculus AP students complete musical final exams

After the AP tests, most AP students have checked out of school and are ready for the long days of summer. But, for Calculus AP students, they aren’t quite off the hook yet without completing their well-known final project first. This infamous final project has been around for almost fifteen years and has proven to make students get creative with the material they learn in class.

“Students have the option for which type of final project they would like to do,” said Mr. Bill Semus, a Calculus AP teacher. “Some of the kids who are more mathematically inclined can do a project that’s purely math based, but some of the students who are more creative, they have other opportunities to express their creativity and express their knowledge of math at the same time.”

Students can make a music video, a song, or even a CSI-type presentation where they set up a mystery that they are trying to solve mathematically. The project does not have many restrictions, so students have wasted no time in getting creative with what they submit.

“I’ve heard a lot about this project from my friends who have already taken this class, so I’m excited to see what I will end up doing for it,” said Emma Stopek (‘19), who is taking Calc AP this year.

The students of Cherry Hill East have never failed to impress and the Calc AP students are certainly no exception. Check out some of their final projects below!

Video Courtesy of Jacob Berkowitz (‘19), Saurabh Shah(‘19), Anthony Fiore ( ‘19) and Brett Friedman (‘19).

Video courtesy of Charlie Hess (’19), Julia Langmuir (’19), Sophia Liang (’19) and Abbrielle Lindberg (’19).

Economics AP students participate in Mr. Pierlott’s boot camp

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the term “boot camp” is probably hardcore physical training: daily cardio exercises, weight training and workouts like push-ups and sit-ups in camouflage uniforms. However, that is not what goes on during Mr. Marc Pierlott’s boot camp.

Pierlott’s boot camp occurs during the first three days of school in his Economics AP class.

After completing corporate leadership training in his previous job before becoming a teacher,  Pierlott realized that a lot of the same things are relevant to creating a classroom culture that businesses want to create where people learn to become leaders and are able to work together.

During this boot camp, Pierlott focuses on TCORP: Team work, communication, organization and problem solving. Students are able to work on activities as classmates and learn leadership skills through hands-on activities.

“We do a series of experiential learning activities. They are very hands on, very engaging activities where kids really learn the skills of working in a team, collaborating with each other, communicating with each other, organizing efforts to problem solve together and to become leaders. We could read articles about that, we can lecture about that, but you really don’t learn how to utilize those skills until you are actually engaged in a problem, having to solve it with others,” said Pierlott.

One activity consists of three rounds where students have to get in groups of three. One student sits their back to the screen with an image so that they are not able to see the image and the other student has to verbally articulate what the picture is. Then the other student draws it and the third person observes and describes what they see.

Although it is fun and engaging, it also helps students to overcome the fear of making mistakes and asking questions.

“All these activities are about asking questions, making mistakes, recognizing that from the mistakes we go forward, and that we learn from our mistakes and that it’s okay to make mistakes because the more mistakes we make, the more we learn,” said Pierlott.

Six years of running this boot camp has allowed Pierlott to create a classroom tradition that brought joy to students and built them into stronger leaders.


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