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 In this Section:  In the Spotlight News

List of "In the Spotlight" Features

Spotlight on: Alice Deal Junior High School, Washington, DC

At Alice Deal Junior High School, Mrs. Mary Miles' 9th grade Intensive Biology class is geared up and ready to track birds and marine animals this spring. Students at Alice Deal comprise a diverse community of 7th through 9th graders from Washington DC and all over the world. In Mrs. Miles' Biology class alone, there are students from Russia, China, and Taiwan. Alice Deal is one of the many schools in DC being funded thanks to the new partnership between Signals of Spring and the National Geographic Society. The 9th grade class has already picked their animal species and begun their research, preparing for the spring migration.

Last year, the 7th grade science class (see photos), tracked bird migrations. According to Mrs. Miles, the students did an amazing job, creating their own projects, activities, and skits, and posting their most thorough and witty analysis journals on the Signals of Spring website. The student teams presented their findings to the class, who became scrutinizing critics. They worked diligently on their hands and knees to create informative and decorative wall displays that presented all of the work they had done, both in class and on their own time.

Mrs. Miles is just as excited as the students about using Signals this spring. She feels that students are very motivated by many aspects of the Signals of Spring program. "They like the challenge," she says, "it's the kind of program that kids can relate to." For her biology class, Mrs. Miles feels that in addition to important computer and writing schools, Signals will help students in biology content topics, especially in the units of ecology and classification. She says that Signals of Spring provides a "jumping off point" and "gives them [the students] a real-life look" into the topics. "They can hear the birds' calls and see how they move," she explains, which helps them to better understand concepts that may seem abstract in a biology textbook.

Mrs. Miles is also excited about the new Signals of Spring/National Geographic Society partnership. "I think it's fantastic," she says, "[NGS] is always very supportive; they really go out of their way."

Look for analysis journals by Alice Deal students, coming soon on the Signals of Spring website.

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