Gladstone teacher transforms Spanish class using technology
How is classroom learning changing with more computers in schools? Brad Kuntz, a Spanish teacher at Gladstone High School, created a program that includes a flipped classroom instructional model, student choice, self-pacing and gamification.
First, Kuntz created a series of online video lessons and activities that students can work through independently on Chromebook computers.
"The flipped classroom model changes the teacher's role from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side," Kuntz said. "Delivering more content electronically freed me up to circulate through the classroom to work one-on-one with students who need help."
Each unit offers several levels of difficulty, allowing students to challenge themselves and build skills at their own pace. Advanced students could move through coursework by starting at a higher level, and students who need more practice to master a concept can get more practice before moving on.
Kuntz knew a game-like instructional model would engage students through competition, encouraging them to challenge themselves and stay on task. He designed his course around the theme of a trip through Ecuador, with each language lesson focused on a different location.
Cultural topics related to each location were embedded in the curriculum with maps, photos and videos. The more challenging the lesson or test, the more miles a student earns, allowing them to "level up" from sightseer or tourist to backpacker or trailblazer as they move through the journey.
The benefits of this instructional model include more time for one-on-one student/teacher interactions, the opportunity for advanced or academically-challenged students to move at their own pace, and increased student engagement through student choice and a competitive aspect.
"Most students — over 84 percent — were really happy with the program, and 75 percent did better on tests using this instructional model," Kuntz said. "I really had students engaged because it was new, exciting and different."
Laier rehired by OCSD
Kyle Laier has been selected as Oregon City School District's assistant superintendent for teaching and learning beginning July 1.
Laier is currently the principal at Newberg High School. He will fill the vacancy left by Carol Sanders, who will retire at the end of the school year.
"I'm excited to come back to Oregon City in a capacity that allows me to work collaboratively with past colleagues," Laier said. "Spending many years in Oregon City provides me with a great understanding of the community and the potential of our school district. I've always believed Oregon City has the potential to be the best school district in the state."
Laier returns to his roots here in Oregon City where he previously worked for 12 years as teacher and principal. He was a social studies teacher at Ogden Middle School and served as principal at both King Elementary School and Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences before taking the job in Newberg in 2016.
"Throughout his career, Laier has demonstrated a relentless drive to serve all students. His passion, integrity, and dedication inspire others," said Larry Didway, Oregon City superintendent. "He is an innovative and future-focused leader who will be a welcome addition to our district leadership team."
Laier started his career in Palm Desert California where he spent four years building a new high school program. He has been an educator for nearly 20 years and has spent 15 years as a high school and college basketball coach. He holds a master's degree in education from the University of Portland.
Summer recreation programs offered
Gladstone and Oregon City's community schools programs offer low-cost summer classes, day camps and activities for children, teens, and adults.
Youth classes range from theater, guitar, hip-hop and ballet to martial arts, sports camps, day camps, driver education and babysitting classes.
Adult courses include watercolor, mosaics,and garden art as well as canning, yoga, first aid, investing, ukulele and much more.
To register, visit gladstone.k12.or.us or call 503-650-2570 in Gladstone; visit ocsd62.org/community-education or call 503-785-8520 in Oregon City.