An Invigorating Day – Four Successes and Planning for More

Lately, I have been coming home exhausted. I guess the accumulation of this year’s events, both professionally and personally are finally catching up with me. It has kept me from reflecting here in a meaningful way. I miss it and have a series of ideas for conversations that I am not going to let go and still may post, even though they may be a bit dated.

Today was an invigorating day. It started with me coming to the realization of  what my next huge goal for both me and the school has to be and I began to planning on the next action steps to take towards achieving it. I will share the details of over the next four weeks to five months, depending on how successful I am.

I worked with one of our high school algebra teachers today. I showed her how to use a wiki and how to embed mathematical notation into it, thanks to some help from Darren Kuropatwa. Based upon the ease of use, I have set her up using PBWiki rather than Wikispaces, since it handles the mathematical notation in one step rather than two. I showed her how to use Windows Journal with Jing to create short tutorials to embed into the wiki. It is my hope that she will introduce this to her class and allow them to create the Ultimate Reference Sheet to be used by the students during their final exam. What a novel concept, students collaborating on what the essential lessons were in their algebra class, helping each other review for the final.

I then had the opportunity to work with two groups of seniors in the history electives on their final projects. The first was the group I worked with on Monday, which was the subject of my last post. Today, they used Google Presentations to import all of their PowerPoint files that the three groups had created and began to individually edit them. Their project is to take a look at the events which may result in long term closures, such as tornadoes,  epidemics, or acts of terrorism. They are examining the issues from a national, state, local, and school community perspective. Their goal is to be able to present their findings, which include strategies on how to deal with these emergencies, so that school could continue as normally as possible, to some of the adults in charge of planning with these contigencies. Once completed, I hope to share their final presentation.

The second group of seniors are in a psychology class. Using the model of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, the students are creating digital stories which they are going to share the significance of their lives as they prepare for the next part of their journey, graduation and matriculation in a college or university. I answered a few technical questions and both the students, teacher of the course, and I added to the supporting wiki we are using for the project. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of their projects and will share when completed.

I next worked with a third grade teacher who is creating a blog to support his North Shore Names, a series of audio projects he and his students have been doing for the past two years. While the blog is still being tweaked, it presents a wonderful example of the type of research that students can do and the types of projects that they are capable of producing. This year, the students created stories to be sent to Moshi, Tanzania, by our seniors who are going to do a service project that there. This is the culmination of a service project that they begain 18 months ago after reading Greg Mortenson’s  Three Cups of Tea. We are fortunate to have Greg coming to campus one week from today and I look forward to meeting him once again. As the teacher said upon my leaving, “It is good to work on a project once again.” Yes, it has been too long.

And what did I do in my spare time you ask, well I taught my programming class and began researching for and planning on creating some VoiceThread tutorials that we will be kicking off for our AP US History class next week. More on that next week. I also attended our Lower and Middle School band and chorus concert Morning Ex (assembly) and faculty meetings in the afternoon. So yes, I have a reason to feel tired and worn down today.

But it is a good tired.

One thought on “An Invigorating Day – Four Successes and Planning for More

  1. That sounds like a fantastic day! We had Greg Mortenson come to campus too. He does a great job spanning the age ranges. You will really enjoy it! I’m really intrigued with the senior project on long term closures. That said, Darren and Algebra had to be great fun too. Congrats on a great day!

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