J-Term Courses Documented by Video Journalism Class


Below are videos created by the Video Journalism J-Term  class to report on the other courses offered January 4-19 at Mount Vernon High School. Under each video is a brief description of the content of the course.


Mr. Timm, Mr. Sotillo, and Mrs. Nichols
Students learned historical content and theories as well as how to create a visual project that corresponds with the events of September 11, 2001. Students worked in collaborative groups to create a memorial made up of visual and audio interviews while capturing still photos of the reactions of the public to questions about the events of September 11. Once the interviews were completed the students learned how to use video editing programs to produce a video. The main focus was for students to create a memorial/video to understand, recollect, and show the importance of the events of September 11.
Video created by Morgan Reilly and Zach Niehaus


Mrs. McCollum and Mrs. Young
This 12 day course focused on the mathematics and psychology of decision making. The course looked at the mathematical, psychological, and emotional aspects of games as well as calculating the risk involved in everyday situations. Students discussed, learned and played a variety of games of chance, such as craps, roulette, blackjack, euchre, Yahtzee, and cribbage. Students were able to not only play these games within the classroom, but to analyze the strategy and probability of success.
Video Created by Macy Griebel.


Mrs. Willems and Mr. Weber
In a dynamic and unique manner, students examined the era of the Cold War using James Bond and music as their medium(s). By the end of the course, students analyzed selected James Bond films, novels and short stories, as well as pieces of music, and made specific connections to the political, economic and cultural forces of the Cold War Era. In addition, students identified common elements of James Bond films, novels and short stories and effectively illustrate each element with numerous examples. Students reflected their learning in writing and in project presentations, including a life story which will reflect their own beliefs and thoughts through music. Day-to-day activities included direct instruction, student discussion, and viewing of James Bond films. Students listened to era music and will analyze hundreds of pieces of music connected to the themes of the Cold War, such as the Beatles, Elton John, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and U2. In an exciting twist, students had the opportunity to interact with a former CIA spy who is gracious enough to engage our students in an anonymous manner. Outside of class, students will complete reading of James Bond literature and research related to the learner outcomes.
Video created by Catherine Yeoman


Mr. Kuker and Mr. Murray
Consumer Automotive is a J-term course intended to introduce students to service and maintenance of the automobile. The course looked at the maintenance and repair of the automobile from the point of view of a car owner, as well as financials and planning costs of repair. The basic systems of the automobile were covered and the student participated in hands-on labs related to common maintenance and repair including safety, tools, and equipment.
This course also emphasized how automotive service and repair must develop a successful marketing strategy for their service business to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Students analyzed the differences between sales and marketing, the functions of a successful marketing plan, creating and sustaining a brand identity, and creating customer value.
Video created by Clayton Loyd


Mrs. Massey and Mrs. Tenley
Criminal Minds: Inspired by the hit show “Criminal Minds” students learned how Criminal Profilers catch evil monsters. They studied the characteristics criminals share as well as learned how the psychopathic mind works. Are these monsters born criminals or does their environment shape them? How exactly does criminal profiling work…is it like on the TV show or is the show pure fiction? Class consisted of projects, lectures, guest speakers and of course viewing episodes of “Criminal Minds” as well as other movies.
Short Film Making: Students in this course worked in groups to create a five-minute movie that used visual elements to tell a complete story, preferably involving some aspect of criminal psychology. The movie may use live action, animation, stop-motion photography or any combination of those elements. Students learned visual media terminology and technique to help them create and edit the video, but the primary focus will be on effective storytelling. The class consisted of a few introductory assignments such as 30-second video sequence and a storyboard, but much of the time was spent actively working toward the final product, either recording or editing.
Video Created by Cody Connolly


Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Henik
Through classroom engagement and hands-on experience students became familiar with the concepts relevant to sports medicine. Students learned about common sports injuries and possible treatments. Students developed a personal wellness plan to balance both athletic and emotional health. The course included a trip to the Kirkwood Community College Exercise Science Laboratory, cadaver lab and the simulator lab.
Topics to be covered during this course:
~Anatomical terminology
~Anatomy of major joints/ Injuries to theses joints
~First Aid procedures and treatment for common injuries
~Utilize proper blood pressure and heart rate monitoring techniques
~Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise
~Use of both static and dynamic stretching
~Learn how to assess body composition, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, muscle
Video created by Catherine Yeoman


Mrs. Lynner and Mrs. Wilkinson
Everything from meal planning to party planning to auto care to self-defense to repurposing your trash to treasure was covered in this class. The class took field trips to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City which including eating on a budget and counting your calories. Other stops will included library, store scavenger hunt, car dealership and using public transportation. The class also learned some self-defense moves, repurposed items in do-it-yourself projects, and put on an open house for guests.
Video by Mason Stanbro


Mr. Stephens and Mr. Wilkins
This course was divided into five key areas:
1. understanding theatrical terminology, etiquette, and safety
2. basic operation of the sound and lighting consoles
3. selection, production, and staging of a script (group)
4. research of a historical theatre era (individual)
5. comparison of professional spaces and productions
There were field trips to Cedar Rapids to tour the Paramount and Theatre Cedar Rapids facilities (during the school day) and to the Cadillac Theatre in Chicago to view The Lion King. Additionally, many students elected to attend a performance of Newsies in Des Moines.
Daily classes were split between the District Auditorium and high school classrooms.

Video by Kate Liberko


Mr. Wilkinson and Mrs. Gage
Outdoor Pursuits is an outdoor conservation program focused on interactions between people and wildlife. This course taught students how to interact with the natural world by developing basic skills used to bow hunt which focuses on getting close to animals. Students developed an appreciation for what is around them and enhanced their enjoyment of the outdoors. No animals were harmed.Students learned preparation and skills for archery, hunting, recreation and outdoor survival. Skills learned during this course apply not only to hunting, but to outdoor photography and outdoor recreation.

J-Term Documentary was a course which culminated in groups within the class reporting on the other J-Term classes. Students leared the basics of photography and videography. The hope is the videography will be used to archive the first-ever MVHS J-Term.
Video created by Elijah Dorn-Recalde, Ian Reid, and Brian Harris.


Mr. Scearce and Mrs. Appley
Project Standard – You and a partner will be assigned one of the following options:
 Ask a question then perform an experiment to test it.
 Analyze a problem, then design and test/model a solution.
 Capture digital imaging using an unmanned aerial system (UAS) and then edit it to produce a movie.
 Build a UAV from a kit of parts.
 Apply knowledge of engineering and material science to evaluate the design of a modern product.
 Communicate well with others by collaborating in group discussions and by writing ideas in a portfolio.
 Demonstrate the ability to operate an UAS with an attached camera. Apply the UAS to capture and edit digital imaging.
 Demonstrate knowledge of legal, ethical, career opportunities and applications of an UAS.
Overview of daily activities: Daily project time will be determined by project choice.
Mrs. Appley
 Daily video clips of modern technology, problems, or inventions. We will focus heavily on the latest new technology for cell phones, clothes, medicine, cars, consumer projects or anything of interest in the news.
 Multiple experiments will be performed including testing challenges, board games, playing with plastics, and taking apart items
 Modern additional topics include: Power and Computers, Artificial Intelligence, and Science Ethics.
Mr. Scearce
 Watch UAS video tutorials and studying UAS instructional manuals and pilot training guide.
 Practical hands-on instruction and operation of an UAS.
 I-movie and/or Windows Movie Maker instruction.
 Debate ethics and legality of the controversial nature of UAS’s.

Video created by Colin Cross



Mrs. Erickson and Mr. Voigt 

The Social Justice class raised money and collected donations to benefit the Rise Program which helps people who have recently been released from jail. They took field trips to make and serve food at the Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids. They built learning libraries and helped with Habitat for Humanity. These projects helped them understand the struggles of disadvantaged people in their own communities and gave them the opportunity to communicate with people different than they are.

Video created by Ben McGuire


Spanish Trip

Spanish teacher Sue Deibner and nurse Linda See took students on a trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Video by Macy Griebel and Clayton Loyd.