This site is designed for students and parents of Steve Chisnell’s programs at Royal Oak High School (MI). Public readership is welcome. You are welcome to use portions of Steve Chisnell’s posts with appropriate credit or citation. Student-authored work may be used by permission only.
This site is new for the 2015-2016 school year. Students are encouraged to monitor the site for functionality, errors, and aesthetics. Want to see a change? Let me know by reporting here.
Most Recent Updates
I teach Language Arts courses at Royal Oak High School. Here are links to these classes, including some that I am not currently offering. Students and parents will find all of the necessary information about their courses here!
Being a part of the broader ROHS community means connecting into some of its many extra-curricular activities. I sponsor several, including Royal Oak Model United Nations, Interact youth Rotary, The Roost Student Union, and student service trips.
It doesn’t matter what class you’re in: understanding basic technology use, learning some writing tips, or refining your presentation skills–here are some ideas for everyone.
While my main goal with students is to improve their literacy, what that means becomes a bit complicated. Literacy means thinking critically–both deeply and broadly–about the culture in which we live and learn. Literacy means composition in traditional written forms but also oral performance, close reading skill, and digital composition. Developing literacy is a process rather than an end (I am still learning!), so experimentation, risk-taking, and failure are common: but growth as a writer composing within a dynamic world is not optional. This means authentic assessment projects, cross-disciplinary challenges, democratic participation and service, collaborative teamwork, professional discourse, and an inherent desire to learn are expected behaviors of the literate student.
Most all of my classes and clubs operate online as much as they do in live classroom meetings. Live human interaction is important, but students involved in online learning, communication and collaboration, portfolio production, and multimedia publishing is also a large portion of my courses. This frees our in-person class time for relevant discussion, teamwork, and student-driven inquiry rather than quiet work-time.
Learning By Controversy and Inquiry
In a social environment which seems increasingly contentious, learning to navigate arguments and approach difficult subjects with an inquisitive and critical eye is essential. Expect me to raise challenging questions, provoke inquiry into common assumptions, and raise issues of historical, academic, and contemporary cultural concern in classes, all as a part of developing a critical literacy.
My expectation is that all students succeed, but I recognize that not all students succeed in any skill on the same timetable. Therefore, any scores that fall below the “successful” standard (a “B,” a 3 of 4 pts, or a 6 on the AP 9-pt scale, etc.) may be revised until success is achieved. The conditions for revision vary for each assignment.
MYP and College Board
All of these points fulfill the expectations of two driving influences on our curriculum: IB/MYP and the College Board AP Curriculum.
The MYP Learner Profile, in particular, demands that students be open-minded, principled, risk-taking thinkers. Many of the projects in my ELA9 classes will follow a cycle of Inquiry–>Action–>Reflection.
The AP Curriculum from the College Board promotes not merely an examination of the Western canonical literature, but a provocative discussion of how meaning is constructed, a healthy practice for all university study.
While you can find more on this with the individual course pages, understand that the “game” elements of our coursework (The End of Theory, Nomads, The Source, badges and Karma, etc.) are designed to enhance and add complexity to the curriculum as well as motivate productivity. However, in no case in any course do they affect the academic marks students receive on report cards. And they’re also kinda fun.
Technology Access Expectation
Today, successful participation in society depends upon access. While there is no expectation that any student own a particular tech device, students will find that greater success comes from building a reliable place for quiet reading and for having internet access with a usable email address. Cameras, smartphones, software, tablets and laptops, all provide opportunities to create and learn, but none are required of my courses or clubs. The RO Public Library and ROHS both provide access to the internet; RO Schools also gives every student a working Gmail address.
- Paulo Freire
What will destroy us:
When dialogue ends,
- Mikhail Bakhtin