Supporting Creative Learning.

News & Resources

Spotlight on: William Morrissey, Chancellor Livingston Elementary School

Chancellor Livingston Elementary School teacher Bill Morrissey was raised in Poughkeepsie and attended Roy C. Ketcham High School. From there Bill went on to study at Mount Saint Mary College. While at The Mount, Bill earned a BS in Information Technology and received his teaching certificates for Childhood Education and Special Education grades 1-6.

In August of 2007 Bill received a phone call from Dr. Edward Sullivan asking if he would be interested in the role of computer teacher at CLS. It was a no-brainer for Bill and ten years later he has happily settled himself in as a 3rd grade teacher.

Bill Morrissey

Describe your interest in math and technology, how it started and where it has led you.
My passion for math and technology started in high school. During physics class we entered into a competition in West Point to design the strongest, cheapest, and most durable bridge. I spent many hours working on this project and discovered the importance of analysis and problem solving. This competition guided me toward other technical classes in high school and sparked my interest in computer design. In college I learned several computer-programming languages and utilized those skills during several internships. Participating in all of this taught me the importance of a technology-rich classroom and how students can benefit from technology’s incorporation into coursework.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t teaching?
My daughter Scarlett keeps my wife and me extremely busy when we are not in school. Going to gymnastics class, teaching her how to swim, and wandering around looking for new adventures fills up a majority of our time. Needless to say, I do find some downtime occasionally to watch baseball, mow the grass, and relax.

Tell us a bit about the work with robotics you are doing at RCSD.
As a third grade teacher at CLS I am always looking for exciting ways to expand upon our curriculum. Finding ways to get kids to think creatively, analyze situations, and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world situations is extremely important to me. This past year my students spent many hours taking our math concepts and applying them to robotics activities. Students made graphs based on the performance of their robots and analyzed the data to help them improve. Using the programming software helped students to think logically and consider multiple situations, and they learned that a robot will do exactly as it is told, no more and no less. Students also learned firsthand that teamwork plays an enormous role in the success of the group.

How would you describe the students’ reactions to the robotics?
Student reactions are usually extremely positive. They learned early on that programming will have its ups and downs, and sticking with it and relying on your partner can be the key to success. You see fearlessness and determination radiating throughout the classroom as students engage in obstacle courses. But best of all you see a sense of accomplishment as they complete the challenge. One of my favorite things to see was a member of another group offering support to a group that had been struggling.

Tell us about the latest project you have been working on.
Last year David Woulfin, Alison Vaccarino, and I spent some time searching for ways to bring coding to life at CLS. In the spring we were able to offer an after-school class designed for students in grades 3-5 that focused on coding using Hopscotch on the iPad. After hearing a lot of positive feedback from students and parents we spent some time over the summer to expand upon the program. This year we will be offering a Robotics club to students in grade 3 and a coding club for students in grades 4 and 5.

Do you have any big goals for this year?
Last year my students engaged heavily in Reader’s Theater. After partaking in several experiences they ultimately chose to memorize their lines and eventually designed settings and props to match their stories. This year I want to enhance the experience with the incorporation of technology and allow their adventure to be shared with their families.

# # #