The Great Conversations That Occur When The Bells Don’t Ring

There are several reasons that I love working during the summers. Part of the appeal is that the weather is still nice and there is still plenty of daylight left when I go home, so that I can still enjoy outdoor activities. I also appreciate the pace of the day, especially when the bells are not ringing every 45 minutes, often denoting the need to change the task that I am doing. I am able to immerse and become engaged in flow if the mood strikes.

What I really enjoy is the conversations that I am able to have with teachers and administrators during this time of the year. Since there are no bell schedules, no distractions to all of the essential aspects of school, like meeting with students and other faculty, we are able to have the deep conversations which have a greater chance of affecting change than we are able to have during the course of the school year.

During the first two weeks of “summer vacation”, I have been able to:

Meet with our new eighth grade humanities team. After introductions and hearing what their goals for the use of technology in the classroom are, we were able to have conversations about new technologies and communications tools which may help them meet their goals. They will now have the summer to think, play, and create to determine whether they are the right tools to use.

Have a Technology Refresh with the Division Heads/Principals at our school. I was able to show them the tools we have been using in various projects and conduct interesting and deep conversations on how these tools can be used throughout the various grades/departments in school. While we were showing technology, we mainly talked about how to change teaching and learning practices in the upcoming year.

Meet with our 9th and 10th grade History teachers, who are looking to reshuffle the history curriculum in 2009-2010. We have been able to talk from the beginning about how the new tools can help students learn and I have been able to shift them in their examination and development of new essential questions by using the principles of Understanding by Design. It is been great to watch their shift in thinking.

There have been countless other smaller conversations which I have currently had, with new teachers, administrators, and current teachers. I am also scheduled to meet with other groups as the summer progresses and other teachers visit campus. There are new units on the election, using uStream and screencasts in the classroom, and ideas to implement tablet pcs that are still be had. And I look forward to each and every one.

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