December at FI School: A Jolly Gathering of High School Teachers

December at FIS
By Ellanora L, Jack M., and Sam W.

Engaging Math Activities
By Ellanora L.

Fishers Island School’s math teacher, Ms. Sue, has been working with her 7th and 8th grade students on engaging math activities.

8th grade students’ transformation activities

Recently, the 8th graders did a transformation activity where they created their own emblems using geometry. Ms. Sue said the activity went well because the students were able to create their own project. This allowed them to imagine their end project as they worked and demonstrate math they are comfortable with.

7th grade students play “integer war”

The 7th graders used a new game called “integer war” to learn about whole number mathematical operations. In this game two students each pull two cards from a regular deck of playing cards and then flip a coin to choose if those numbers will be added or subtracted. Whichever student ends up with a higher value gets all four cards. When time runs out, whoever has the most cards wins. Ms. Sue said this game was engaging practice for the 7th grade, and even older students wanted to play.

As well as incorporating games and projects into her classroom, Ms. Sue says her current focus is making sure her classes are on track to complete their curriculum. Her 7th-11th grade classes have many topics to cover before their standardized tests at the end of the year and it is easy to get behind with added absences such as the school trip and snow days. Ms. Sue is also looking forward to the holiday season and recently put up strings of lights in her room.

Science Activities and the Step Challenge
By Jack M.

Mrs. Giles, who heads the Fishers Island Science Department, continues to push her students as their ISTEM (Independent Science Technology Engineering Math) projects come to a close. For the past two months, these participants have been conducting research and concluding their experiments. They plan on presenting their results for submission to the Connecticut Science Fair in March.

In her high school classes, Chemistry has been focusing on Stoichiometry, the mathematical relationship between matter. Her Oceanography class is concentrating on the historical exploration of the ocean. Mrs.Giles incorporates our island environment into many of her classes. Her Oceanography class follows the migratory patterns of seals and conducts chemical analysis of our surrounding waters.

Mrs. Giles has also teamed up with English teacher, Ms. Hall, for the “FIS Gets Fit” High School Step Challenge. Students and teachers were divided into teams to record who could get the most steps in the week-long challenge. The competition had a great turnout and offered leadership opportunities for the team leaders. The challenge encouraged group bonding and teamwork in the high school, as well as keeping students both physically and mentally fit. Mrs. Giles wants to continue the Step Challenge in the future, as it enhances the Fishers Island School spirit for everyone involved.

By Sam W.

The past couple months English teacher, Ms. Hall, has been working to bring a more effective curriculum to the class and is pushing to help get kids more engaged and physically active during the school day. Ms. Hall is a new member of the Encountering Survivors extracurricular activity, where students meet children of Holocaust survivors and learn about the story of their lives. Ms. Hall says that this new program is important because it helps teach kids about real-life experiences that may be missed in a book. Ms. Hall says that in doing this, students can gain empathy and realize just how significant and devastating the Holocaust was.


In the classroom, Ms. Hall is looking to connect writing and literature with more real-life application. With the underclassmen, Ms. Hall is using texts that have a real-life or historical connection including: The Kite Runner, Inside Out & Back Again, and many more. Whether in a film review, an editorial piece, or in peer editing, Ms. Hall is looking to prove the importance and value of a strong English foundation in life beyond school.

Ms. Hall is also a leader with Mrs. Giles and participant in the “FIS Gets Fit” Step Challenge. The step challenge is a way to get students more active during the school day and weekends. Each team has to monitor the amount of steps per day to try and get the most steps over the week. After the first challenge, Ms. Hall was surprised to see how sedentary many students and faculty are during the school day. She is looking forward to working with student team leaders to help get everyone active by either holding class outside, or doing activities after school or during free periods.

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