Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Winter 2007 - Page 5 He also noted that he directs his students to many Java applets—little animations of very specific science concepts that number in the thousands. Both he and Hall have noted that the ability to see a concept visually helps many students who, as a visual generation, grasp a concept more quickly when they see it demonstrated. “I have one student who has not had a lot of success in school, and he is sometimes very difficult to manage in the classroom but really engages when the laptops are involved,” says Amoroso. Hall also said he was finding the laptops useful to push the students to higher achievement by finding experiments and problems on the Web that are more difficult than the ones in the textbook. “If they are grasping something She keeps coming back to the easily, I can challenge them with sense of collaboration the laptops higher level assignments by just have brought to the teachers. “We having them click on a link I’ve set have always collaborated because up,” he notes. we are organized around teams, Amoroso says his teaching but this was such a rejuvenation style is now quite different than of that collaboration since much of in the past. With all of his notes the curriculum had been set, but now online for students to review, this is a new methodology.” he writes She very little believes the “If they are grasping something on the collaboration board and easily, I can challenge them will reach the stuout into all with higher level assignments dents take departments by just having them click far fewer since some notes. on a link I’ve set up...Solidly of the things “This they are connecting on a personal level allows learning are is the most important thing.” for more applicable to interactive all teaching. time, time —Chris Hall, to take Editor’s science teacher questions,” Note: About he says. a month Hall, Amoroso and Lajoie all after the majority of the technical make a point to note that the lapglitches were ironed out, students tops, while excellent tools, are no were asked to complete a survey substitute for the teacher-student about their laptop usage to create relationship. some baseline data. While some “Solidly connecting on a students reported seeing little difpersonal level is always the most ference after one month of having important thing,” says Hall. the laptops, the majority reported Lajoie notes that with the lappositive experiences they were tops teachers are “being empowhaving themselves or observing in ered to discover new methodology the classroom. In the next issue of but also discovering when the Postscripts we’ll talk more about laptops are not the most effective their experiences. method of delivery.” Thornton Academy’s Science Department invites the public to view some of the class content accessible by the science laptops by going to TAOnline and registering as a guest of the class. To do this, visit Thornton Academy’s Web site at, and click on “TAOnline.” Campus Roundup Davis Named National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist Thornton Academy senior Matt Davis has been recognized as a Semi-Finalist in the 2007 National Merit Scholarship Program. To earn the honor of National Merit Semi-Finalist, Davis placed among the top Maine students who entered in the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in October 2005. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation Web site, of the 1.4 million program entrants, roughly 50,000 Matt Davis ‘07 qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of the 50,000 high scorers, roughly one-third or about 16,000 students qualify as Semi-Finalists by being designated among the highest scoring entrants in each state. As a National Merit Semi-Finalist, Davis is now in consideration for National Merit Finalist recognition, which includes further eligibility for several scholarship awards. The finalists are expected to be named in this month. TA Celebrates Pink Week For the 10th year in a row, Thornton Academy faculty, staff, students and administration united in October for the celebration of Pink Week—a weeklong effort to raise awareness about breast cancer, honor families and friends affected by breast cancer, and to collect donations to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, recently renamed as Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This year, Thornton staff and student efforts raised over $2,500 to give to the Foundation, more than double last year’s roughly $1,200 raised. Pink Week kicked off