A Week of Awesomeness at EHS 1.8.16
Welcome back! 2016 is off and running, and I've got to say, it's been a pretty great week! We started off strong with EdCamp on Monday, and we haven't looked back! Thank you for all of the hard work you put in during our inservice days, and for the great lessons that you've put together for our students. This week, I made it to a few classrooms, but hope to make it to even more in the weeks to come. I hope you feel refreshed and ready to take on the semester. Before we know it, it will be May, and we'll be asking where the year went! Here's to a fantastic second semester and 2016!
Students As Learners
Julie started the semester off strong with her Physical Science students. With little to no background knowledge in laws of motion, Julie wanted her students to gain their own background knowledge, and learn by doing. As a fun introductory activity, rather than take notes or read, she had students use foam ramps and marbles to test how different shapes of ramps affected the speed of the marble going down the ramp. There were students who wanted to try their own shapes, after completing the ones that Julie recommended. They were excited about learning, having fun, and gaining some excellent knowledge before starting their unit on motion. Now the students have something concrete in their minds to refer back to when learning the "nitty gritty" of the unit. Excellent lesson, Julie!
In Sara's Animal Science and Vet Science classes, they have been learning about pet handling, and in particular, in the setting of a veterinarian's office. Students have been learning the proper procedures of how to handle an animal for various settings - getting them out of a cage, wrapping them in a bandage, etc. If they go on to vet school, they will be judged on how well they do these things, and Sara provided students with the criteria for all of those procedures - it was quite the hefty packet! In order to bring these skills to life, Sara brought her pet Corgi, Annie, for students to practice with. It was a fantastic hands-on experience!
Staff As Learners
When I walked in to Chris's classroom this week, students were eagerly using the new Chromebooks. Chris had created a Google Spreadsheet to gain student input on upcoming sociology projects. Students were able to submit their information through Google Classroom, and Sheets created a nice pie graph for everyone to see the results. There were a couple of exciting things going on here. First, Chris was working with students to figure out the best solution on how to go about submitting their information. Students were doing some problem solving, and helping one another. Secondly, I asked students how they liked the new Chromebooks. They responded pretty enthusiastically, saying, "It's nice to have something that actually works!" and "They're so fast!" It was great to see the Chromebooks in action already - great work, Chris!
On Tuesday, Melanie spent part of her day researching new, fun activities to do with her classes, and she implemented one already on Thursday. Her students are learning how to express what other people like, so she used an interactive partner activity to get some great speaking practice. Students each received a paper "Spongebob Squarepants" and also a chart of verbs (to dance, to cook, etc.). There was then a barrier between the two students, so they couldn't see each other's paper. "Student A" would place Spongebob on a verb, and "Student B" would have to guess what verb Spongebob was on by stating what Spongebob "likes" to do by using complete sentences in Spanish. When I walked in her room the entire class was engaged, speaking Spanish, and having fun. It was a great way to get some good speaking and listening practice!
I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed EdCamp on Monday! I was very excited to see the various presentations, and the amazing dialogue and collaboration that came out of the day. To those of you who took the time to present, thank you very, very much. It will be my goal to do something similar each year, and hopefully, allow EdCamp to grow each year as well. Thank you to those who filled out the survey at the end of the day. I loved reading through your reflections, and was thrilled to see what each of you gained from the day. Your ideas also help me to have a better event in the future, so thank you for the constructive comments as well. Below are a few photos from the day.
Instructional Strategy of the Week
Angie has been working diligently on creating a blogging project for her Business Economics classes, and she launched it this week! She worked hard to outline what she wants the project to look like, options that students have for their blog, WHY blogging is important, and the content that their blogs will contain. Angie has some really fantastic writing prompts laid out for her students, and additionally, students have the opportunity to also express their ideas through images, video, and other types of multi-media. When I walked into Angie's room on Thursday, she took a break from explaining the project to give students time to do a little bit of investigating on their own on what various blogs look like, what content they possess, and how they would want their blog to be set up. She said that she could tell that students were excited for something new, and some of them even said they blog on their own! This is an excellent way to blend technology with content to get the most out of your students. I'm excited to see where these blogs go! Excellent job, Angie!
Professional Library Reminder
In this week's "Articles Worth Reading" section, I'd like to take a moment to remind you all about the great professional literature just waiting for you to read! Several of these books highlight "student centered learning" and could be a great resource for you if you're interested in implementing some Genius Hour type of projects into your classroom. Below is a link to see the books that we have. A simple Google Search can give you reviews and synopses of the books. Enjoy!
Video Worth Watching
Genius Hour - Promo
Several people have been asking about this concept of "Genius Hour." I'm going to provide you with a "teaser" today, and a lot more information if you come to Tech Tuesday next week! Tech Tuesday is "technically" about alternative presentational tools besides slideshows that can be used for student presentations. Embedded within this lesson is going to be several links to resources for Genius Hour. Below is a very brief video that gives you some very basics on the idea of Genius Hour. Hopefully I will see you Tuesday!
What is Genius Hour? - Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom
Doesn't it always seem as though when you get back from a break, it was as if you were never gone? We always seem to pick up right where we left off. Thank you again for your hard work and dedication. I know it's not easy to set that alarm after being gone, but I commend you for your efforts! I hope you have a fantastic weekend! Thanks for all you do!
P.S. - How about Alex Gordon being #ForeverRoyal? That right there was enough to give me a little pep in my step midway through the week! Hope you enjoyed that news as much as I did!