Members of the WCS faculty have already implemented the use of new technology into class curriculum and instruction.  English teacher, Mrs. Catherine Tinkler assigned her 7th and 8th grade students a project that required the use of Macbooks, and programs such as Garage Band and iMovie, to create a ‘book trailer’ to bring to life the novels students have selected.  “I feel the project went very well,” she said.  “I was immediately encouraged by the work that took place in class as they built their projects using the Macs we have here at school.  There was so much fun (and learning) taking place that I even built a trailer myself to advertise Fahrenheit 451 which is the next novel that the 8th graders will read.”

Robert Browning, one of my favorite British poets, once wrote a poem titled “Andrea del Sarto.”  It is about a real painter who would only paint portraits. He was very good at portraits, but he never tried anything else because he was afraid of failure and criticism. In the poem, Browning takes a shot at him for this reasoning, and he famously wrote, “Oh, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp / or what’s a Heaven for…”  He expresses the idea that we must strive for more than we are capable of because this will push us to new limits and expectations. We will exceed our “normal”.

Mrs. Tinkler has set about working with her 7th and 8th grade classes on a book trailer project, integrating new technology to bring to life the novels students have selected. Not only has she ambitiously pursued this project, she has taken time out of her busy schedule to give all her students a chance for success.  Last week she stayed after school late (even on Friday) to provide students the opportunity to work on their projects with the COW.

Due to her diligence and the fine student work on display, I would like to publicly acknowledge her efforts (and those of her classes). I would like to award Mrs. Tinkler with the first ever Browning Award for English Department Excellence, an award to recognize creative teacher use of technology and learning to increase the zeal for reading, writing, and critical thinking in the English Department.

Her classes have inspired me to present this award in a creative way on Friday–if she can spare me a few minutes.  However, I didn’t want to let a moment pass without praising and acknowledging her hard work.

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