Classrooms declassified

Off track equals enhanced learning

by J1 reporter Kate Kellen

The hour long lectures, the monotonous voice and the many yawns that come from the students in the desk are all common things to witness in your typical classroom.

However, Marian is not full of typical classrooms. Teachers are energetic, lessons are interactive and students are engaged. What helps promote this stimulating atmosphere?


Ms. Adrianna Magistro’s Block C Literature class

Teachers like Ms. Adrianna Magistro make Marian classrooms unique. Among others, Magistro teaches Composition and Literature to Block C freshmen. This class is full of reading, writing, learning and tangents.

The students ask questions that lead to valuable life lessons. In one instance, one girl asked what BCC and CC meant in an email. Magistro told her students what the letters stand for and then explained why people would use it. Most students in her class were blown away and they could not believe that they didn’t know this before hand.

Magistro said she believes that tangents and in depth conversations are a valuable part of teaching. Magistro said that tangents help “make the learning environment more organic and free-flowing.”

In the classroom, tangents are often necessary for a better understanding of the text. While reading “Outcasts United,” Magistro mentioned that the main character Luma relies a lot on Sharia Law to conduct her day-to-day tasks. The students had no idea what Sharia Law was, so Magistro went off on a tangent explaining Sharia Law. Although this was a tangent, and not something she was testing on, the tangent was important to what they were reading and helped the students better understand the basis of this religion.

The students in Magistro’s classes love her teaching and her quirky personality that make the class all that much better. Freshman Colleen Sully said, “I feel like I do learn well in her class. I am not a huge fan of reading comprehension, but she keeps her class fun, interesting and funny!”

Tangents in the literature class allow for more in depth conversation and for a more personal learning environment. Magistro has the respect of her students and her students seem to always look forward to the class.

Marian is unlike any other school. The teachers are fun, the students are engaged and tangents are a helpful teaching tool. Magistro and her freshman literature class are able to successfully use tangents to learn life lessons while going more in depth on each topic.

L.O.L: learning out loud

by J1 reporter Diana Elizalde

SNAP. CRACKLE. POP! Noises heard around the clock. People yelling, people crying and a person laughing her heart out. Imagine a class where whatever you say is accepted and heard. A classroom that has a comfortable atmosphere where students are open is hard to create, but not for Mme. Janet Tuttle, French teacher.

“The nature of the world language classroom is not one where I will be lecturing and the students taking notes every day, so of course it can get loud,” Tuttle said. Discussions in class can get a little rowdy sometimes, yet the trick is to let the students express their thoughts, and then get back to work. 

good tuttle

Mme. Janet Tuttle’s Block E French III class

French students look forward to their “venting” block of the day. The opportunity to be loud and still learn what is needed shows how students really engage in this class.“I always look forward to French. Mme. Tuttle always makes it engaging, so I’m learning, but I’m having fun, too,” junior Amou Majok said.

Yet, even though it can be all fun and games, the volume level gets out of whack sometimes. A classroom of about 20 students ALL talking at the same time in multiple languages would be a pain, but Tuttle has a few tricks up her sleeve on how to take charge of the situation.

“I find that starting the class with a prayer in French helps everyone to settle down at the beginning of class!” Tuttle said. She allows for the students to relieve their everyday stresses, but uses the prayer to calm them down for class, or how she says in French, “calme-vous.” 

A loud class might be a nightmare to some people, but this type of class might be the best format there is. Tuttle tries her best to make her classes fun and entertaining, so a little noise here and there isn’t the W.O.A.T (worst of all time).

Shh… class in progress

by J1 reporter Maddie Robertson

With as loud as Marian girls get at sporting events, pep rallies and even lunch lines, one would think that the classroom setting would be the same. In special cases, however, there are some classrooms filled with girls who are more reserved.

sisson quiet class - 1

Ms. Susie Sisson’s Block H Women’s Studies class

Ms. Susie Sisson’s Block H Women’s Studies class is one of those special cases. The class, which consists of a mix of juniors and seniors, is quieter than most classrooms filled with upperclasswomen.

Some teachers might struggle to teach in classrooms settings where few girls speak up, especially at a school where they’re used to teaching outspoken students. For Sisson, it’s a walk in the park.

“I read a really interesting book a few years ago — “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain — and it taught me a lot about my introverted students. Introverted people have just as many thoughts and opinions as extroverted people — but they generally need more time to reflect and get their thoughts in order,” Sisson said.

Even in her quiet classroom, class discussions can still be riveting. “When introverted people speak, I listen carefully and pay attention to what they have to say, because I know that by the time they speak, they have carefully formulated their response, and it will be insightful and interesting,” Sisson said.

Senior Alyssa Carlson said that she enjoys being in a quiet classroom. “It’s a nice change because I’m used to girls being much more vocal in my classes. It’s easier for me to focus.”

Whether her students are quiet and reserved or loud and outgoing, Sisson finds it a pleasure to teach every Marian girl who walks into her classroom.

“It’s so exciting to work with all of you at this stage of your lives. You’re figuring out who you are and who you want to be. You’re on a journey to becoming yourselves. That sounds a little hokey, but I think it’s really exciting!”

The best of both worlds

by J1 reporter Hayley Golden

Math class: the class that is stereotypically considered the most catastrophic class of high school. There’s no doubt that making math class fun and amusing can be difficult, but for teacher Miss Megan Han, it’s a challenge that she’s willing to accept.  Han takes learning to the next level.

“I think it’s important, especially in math, to have a fun class. I feel like it’s a subject that a lot kids come in thinking that ‘I’m bad at math, and I hate math.’ So, having a fun class can kind of help them realize that it doesn’t have to be that bad subject that they hate.”  While Han acknowledges that she likes to make learning fun, she also says that it’s important to stay focused.

Sophomore Roseclaire Vandevegt from Han’s Block E class admits that “If you don’t stay focused, then you won’t learn anything.”


Laughing and learning is something that sophomore Ashley Straub experiences everyday in Han’s class. “We are able to share stories and laugh at jokes while at the same time learning about geometry.

It sounds out of place to be talking and having fun during math, but in Miss Han’s room we do it daily.” Straub also explains that she’s never been a huge fan of math, but she now looks forward to the class.

Han says that one of her tactics to help spice class up is by playing review games. “It helps everybody review the material, but it also helps take a little bit of the stress off testing.” Vandevegt agrees, “It gives us test types of questions, and helps us get questions answered.”

     Although learning is the main priority, Han says that some days it can be easy to get off task; especially at the end of the day. “The last blocks of the day are always the hardest because everyone is kind of tired. It’s harder to focus on what you need to do when you know that you get to go home in a little while.”

Ultimately, Han tries her best to stay on topic by staying consistent with her notes. “I have very structured lectures, and upload my notes outline so that the students see what we need to get done.” By doing this Han says that it lets the students know that they need to pay attention and focus.

In the end, by balancing discipline and amusement, Han truly creates the best of both worlds for her class.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s