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RIDE supports several blogs throughout our website where Rhode Islanders and RIDE staff share their thoughts.

On this page, we have collected all of the blogs on our site - many of which share posts from Rhode Island educators other than RIDE staff. Blogs are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Commissioner's Corner: Commissioner Wagner's blog posts and messages to the Rhode Island community.
  • District Teacher of the Year (DTOY): Posts from the Rhode Island District Teachers of the Year, past and present, who share about instructional successes and challenges they encounter in Rhode Island classrooms.
  • Equitable Access to Excellent Educators: Rhode Island educators and RIDE staff explore factors and perspectives on the importance of ensuring that all students are taught by high quality educators.
  • Leadership: Reflections and insights from RIDE’s Leadership Fellow and other district and school leaders on the challenges and opportunities of being a school leader.
  • Rhode Island Poet Laureate: Reflections and poetry focused on teaching, learning, and the experience of education from Tina Cane, Rhode Island Poet Laureate.
  • Rhode Island Science Education (R.I.S.E.): A communication blog to update stakeholders in education and in the community on important developments, events and accomplishments in science education in Rhode Island.
  • Student Voice: Because student voice is an essential component of our discussion on education, RIDE will post essays written by students from around Rhode Island.

Click on a category below to filter by a particular blog:

To Mitosis and Beyond

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 2/16/2018
Ari Dulchinos
Barrington High School

My name is Ari Dulchinos, and I am a sophomore at Barrington High School, currently enrolled in Ms. Siliezar’s AP Biology class.

On the first fateful day of this school year, I reluctantly took my seat in Room 315, expecting aimless note taking, monotone lectures, and another year of traditional, conventional learning methods. Unbeknownst to me at this time, I could not have been further from the truth. The class is nothing short of extraordinary, and Mrs. Siliezar is one of the most innovative teachers I know. Thanks to this class, I have experienced some of the most engaging, memorable activities and lectures in my high school career. I can attest that this class not only changed my (academic) life, but has ignited a higher level of thinking within me, encouraging me to pursue my passion for life science.

“We must not be content to memorize the beautiful formulas of our illustrious predecessors. Let us go out and study beautiful nature.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the meanings of life, and the mechanisms by which it works (life science). Ignited by my inquisitive nature and driven by constant research, I was curious about science beyond that of the average student, and I wanted my learning environment to reflect that. This desire for deeper knowledge cannot be quenched by simply looking up answers in a textbook, taking notes, or filling out a worksheet. To truly understand biology, I needed to seek out a greater understanding.

My honors biology teacher was phenomenal in accomplishing this, and the knowledge I acquired in that class inspired me to continue my studies at the AP level, and rekindle that spark that had been ignited freshman year. This following year, in Ms. Siliezar’s classroom, I have not been disappointed. She truly is an extraordinary teacher, working tirelessly to broaden our understanding of biology through her vast knowledge and resourcefulness.

One time, there I was, studying for the upcoming biochemistry test, and struggling with a particular topic. Almost instantaneously, there was a digital notification from my AP Biology classroom, indicating that some informational videos had been posted by Ms. Siliezar, helping me study for the test and score an A grade, but most importantly, learn and understand the concepts at a deeper level. From staying after school to clarify information before a test, to providing links to countless online textbooks and resources, I have had more unforgettable and positive experiences in that class than I can list.

But I cannot exclude the experience that I am about to describe to you: one that was so memorable, and so notable, that, when I was asked to write this post about class activities that helped me learn, it instantly popped into my head.

It all began during the unit of mitosis. Before taking AP Biology, I knew about formulas like “2n =46” and vocabulary like “chromatin” from Honors Biology, but did I truly know how to apply them in a real world setting? I thought so, but in hindsight, probably not. Suddenly, my teacher announced the objective of that day’s lesson: to help familiarize us with cell division.

After materializing a set of neon erasable markers and jumbo pipe cleaners, Ms. Siliezar, like usual, emphasized the importance of group work, arranging students five or so to a table. We were told to draw a cell in interphase and mitosis on the wooden tables, representing the number of chromosomes using the pipe cleaners. What made this activity so memorable, not only as a learning tool, but as a life experience, was the tactility of shaping the pipe cleaner “chromosomes” with our own hands, while at the same time experiencing the inexplicable charm of trying something new (it’s not every day that you get to write on a table at school!).

Throughout the process, if a student got puzzled, Ms. Siliezar would push them in the right direction: not giving out the answers outright, but providing enough of a hint to encourage problem solving and higher level thinking on the student’s part. And that’s not all: after we had drawn and labelled our diagrams with precision, we had a gallery walk, where each student wrote comments and constructive criticism about our diagram on the table.

Ms. Siliezar made sure each and every student walked out of the classroom bursting with new complex information. I can safely say that this exercise has helped me learn and understand mitosis at an AP level, and I’m sure my classmates would agree. I am confident that even when the year draws to a close, my higher understanding of these topics gained through this class will be retained, and for this, and for having a phenomenal teacher in the form of Ms. Siliezar, I am grateful.

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