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San Domenico School News & Events

Teacher Natasha McKeown Honored by Nationwide Big History Project

Natasha M. in the Classroom

Big History Project (BHP) is a free, online social studies curriculum—connected to Turnitin—that supports skills development and student engagement resulting in improved writing and critical thinking skills. BHP delivers a big picture look at the world, and helps students develop a framework to organize what they’re learning both in and out of school. Students report having a better understanding of how we got here, where we’re going, and how they fit in.  One of the key features of the platform that allows students to type in their in-class essays and get real-time feedback from something called Revision Assistant (RA), an artificial intelligence! BHP tracks and keeps statistics on how students are doing.

The accomplishments of our SD Upper School students led BHP to contact Natasha with the news that out of 591 teachers, 21,517 active students, and 69,249 essays, Natasha was one of only 13 teachers whose students saw gains of 80% or better.

After interviewing these commendable 13 teachers, BHP found that what they were all doing was pretty consistent:

  1. Active teaching of specific aspects of writing, such as paraphrasing, making a claim, etc.
  2. Active teaching of test preparation skills, such as pre-essay outlining.
  3. Active teaching of how to use rubrics and feedback for improvement.

Of this recognition, says Natasha, "It's nice to have some data to support the benefits of having a strong focus on writing across the humanities!"