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Spotlight on Melissa Mondello, Media and Technology Specialist at Davis Academy

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

The Davis Academy lower school media center, we establish a foundation for independence while integrating technology and multicultural education across the grade levels. In Kindergarten, we prioritize self-determination as students manipulate templates that instruct them on how to fold bee puppets without adult assistance. I draw shapes to indicate where the students should “touch” and crease the paper. These efforts allow them to problem-solve and follow explicit instructions. In first grade, we pair the picture book Hummingbird by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Jane Ray and that tells the story of a bird’s migration from Central America to the USA. Students decorate paper hummingbirds and using iPads, create stop motion videos to reinforce sequencing skills that we relate to computer science concepts. Second grade students read the story of an Indian tribesman in The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz, illustrated by Kayla Harren. For their hands-on activity, they complete a three-dimensional tree with four sides representing each season. While improving their dexterity, this project increases their visual and spatial awareness.

In our mission to prepare students for a global workforce, we connect our students to other learners in different learning institutions from around the globe. For example, our third graders participate in the International Bookmark Exchange Program through the International School Library Association. With the objective of demonstrating how storytelling influences our unique cultures, this partnership highlights that we have more similarities than differences. Students research fairytales and folktales that originate in their own country and create a dramatic retelling to share using video conferencing technology. As a keepsake to share with their partner schools, students used Canva to create digital bookmarks highlighting the story’s morals. Our students chose to share The Gingerbread Man and in turn, learned about the Malaysian folktale Si Tenggang.

In upper elementary, our students are enraptured by an activity that merges the past and the present while connecting the accusations in the Salem Witch Trials to that of the cancel culture prevalently expressed on social media platforms. Transcending the classroom space, this activity has real world applications. As we strive to develop independent learners, with the aid of technology integration, we prioritize learning opportunities that strengthen our students’ cultural awareness and global readiness.

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