I teach, or have taught, English, Honors English, English as a New Language, and a suite of Mass-Media courses at Penn High School, a Blue Ribbon School in northern Indiana. I began my tenure in 1998, and have been advising the Penn News Network since 2001. You can find us at work everyday at pnn.phmschools.org.
In my role as the teacher & adviser, I manage the television studio, advise the Penn News Network (PNN) organization, make professional development films, and help teachers and students mass-communicate better. As an ENL teacher, I have helped multilingual students gain skills in English as well as help their teachers differentiate their curriculum to accommodate new-language-learner needs. As an English teacher, I offer students instruction in reading literature, writing to learn and to show learning, speaking formally, listening to voices in context, and collaborating to build understanding and knowledge.
A television program and all the work that goes into it provides a great mechanism to teach language & communication. Project-based learning is not just a buzzword in the PNN Studio and newsroom, but a way of life. Every story is a project, and students work in teams to tell those stories.
A lot has changed since 2001. I took over an already-successful program with just one class, so I recruited students and added two more. With that group of students, we broadened the curriculum to include hands-on learning modules as well a more theoretical curriculum in developing individual media literacy. We were also making the move from an analog production to digital, and that provided its own project-based learning opportunities.
By 2005, I introduced the Seminar in Film Literature and Recording Arts Class in a new lab, and through that class we made independent films such as music videos, PSAs, mini-documentaries, and short narrative films. That year we hosted our first of nine film festivals. Since then, we have added a telecommunications class, which is a production class that focuses on shooting daily segments for students, teachers, and the administration.
During some summers, the PNN Studio stays in production by hosting a media camp. The media camp uses a cross-age mentoring model to allow for current PNN students to work with middle-schoolers both in the field and in the studio. The media camp is a week-long news cycle where students are shooting stories in the field Monday and Tuesday, editing Wednesday and Thursday, shooting and posting a news show on Friday. Sometimes the camp takes place in South Bend, and other years it returns to Penn High School.
In addition to teaching students…
I also work with teachers on a couple of different projects. Foremost, as an ENL teacher, I host professional development sessions on how to differentiate one’s classroom to help multilingual learners. As a hobbyist, I also like to work with teachers in using digital technology. I have taught graduate classes in productivity software, web design, and instructional technology integration. Currently, I work with teachers in using learning management systems such as Canvas, by Instructure. I help them design blended classes that allow them to meet their students more effectively.
Throughout the years I have produced films for educators as well. For more information or to get in touch with me, please use the contact form on this page.