A Week of Awesomeness at EHS 10/14/16
Happy workday Cardinal Land! I hope you find today a nice time to get caught up with grades, lessons, and everything else that is consuming of your time! Did this week fly by for anyone else? Do I say that every week? I'm pretty sure I do. Anyway, I want to take a minute to say thanks to those who have provided feedback on how our early release time went on Wednesday. The technology committee and I will take a look at your feedback, and try to shape future days with some improvements! Overall, I was excited to see the collaboration that took place on Wednesday. The groups that I was a part of had some really good conversations, and I hope it was the same for your groups. I challenge you to think of ways we can improve those types of collaboration days, and let me know. I'll post the link to the feedback survey below, if you'd still like to fill it out. Take a moment to reflect on what went well, and what could be improved. Perhaps it was the structure of the day that you did or didn't like. Perhaps it was your own personal effort that affected whether the collaboration was a success or not. I find that with collaboration activities, not only do you get out of it what you put into it, but your colleagues also benefit from your efforts. I was encouraged to read that several staff members are starting making some cross curricular connections, and if there is anything that we can do, from a structure standpoint, to help these connections go even further, please let us know. I thank you for your collaborative efforts, and I'm looking forward to more collaboration in the future! Did you think it was possible to use the word "collaboration" that much in one paragraph? Well, now you do. Collaboration. :)
Students As Learners
This week, Mr. Hofmeier was having his students work on coding, using the program Scratch. One of his peer mentors was leading the lesson, and Mr. Hofmeier and his students were creating their own animation based off of the coding that they were learning about. It was so neat to see their thinking in action, and to see his students creating their own product while being introduced to STEM concepts. It was also a great teaching experience for the peer mentor to share something he's passionate about with others, and to give him the experience of teaching students with disabilities. Great lesson, Hof!
Kati's seniors are currently reading "Tuesdays With Morrie," which is such a heartfelt book that students are able to make so many connections with. Kati is doing a wonderful job of helping students evaluate the text, and make those connections to their own lives. When I walked in the other day, students were reading an article comparing sports to religion, and answering journal questions that connected the article to the novel, and then to their daily lives. There was a lot of personalization going on, as well as higher order thinking skills. It was a great lesson! Now just remind me to not go into her classroom as they are finishing the book, as no one wants to see me break into tears. :)
When I visited Chris this week, he was demonstrating to students how to use the paint booth, and giving them important instructions and tricks of the trade. I then got to see him in action, as he painted the hood of a customer's car. I was happy to have seen this, and I learned a thing or two about painting cars, in case I ever need that in the future! Thanks for the lesson, Chris!
I enjoyed the heck out of a lesson that I saw Noah doing this week. In his journalism class, he was teaching how commas can change the meaning of a sentence. He went through some great examples on the board that got some serious laughs out of me in the back of the room. Then, he directed his students to Google Classroom, where there was an assignment for them to analyze sentences and demonstrate how the comma changes the meaning of the sentence. During their work time, he worked 1 on 1 with students to help them through the examples and to help get them started on the assignment. It was strong teaching all the way around, and it was a fun lesson to observe. Thanks, Noah!
(Also, a side note, I've re-read this paragraph several times to try to make sure I have no comma related errors. I'm not 100% sure that I don't need to complete the same assignment as his students.)
Instructional Strategy of the Week
When I visited Nate's class this week, I saw creativity, engagement, and a whole lot of fun happening. His video 2 students are working on creating their own mini-series, and it's shaping up to be hilarious. When I was in his class, students were rehearsing their next episode. Everything the students are doing in this mini-series is created by them. They write the script, outline the shots, shoot the video, and they add their own flare to scenes as they run through them in rehearsal. They are constantly evaluating their work and the work of their peers and improving upon their work every day. Collaboration is happening day in and day out, as it takes a lot of minds coming together to pull something like this off. I think one of the most important aspects of this, however, is that the students are loving it. They have totally bought into the idea, and have taken complete ownership over it. You can tell they have a deep pride in creating a quality product, and that's a direct reflection of what Nate has taught them - not only the technical aspects, but that if you're going to do something, you're going to do it well. Great work, Nate. I can't wait to see a finished product.
I can't brag enough about Angie's lesson this week. She was completing a lesson on product placement in movies, and used a lot of technology to get the most out of her students. She showed the movie Transformers, and used technology to check for student understanding, and to collect data from the students. First, she created a Google Sheet that the students used to record and tally the products they saw in the movie Transformers. Additionally, she had the students fill out a Google Quiz to check for their understanding of product placement throughout the movie. Utilizing this, students were able to receive immediate feedback on whether their answers were correct or incorrect, and why. Finally, she also had a class discussion question posted in Google Classroom. Students were to answer the question in Google Classroom, and Angie felt as though this gave a voice to those types of students who don't normally want to participate in a class discussion. Using a variety of approaches has allowed Angie to see the best in all of her students. Some really benefit from the presentation-style assignments, while others thrive in an environment such as those with an online discussion. Giving voice to all of her students, and catering to the various learning styles that exist within her class, Angie is doing a great job of reaching each of her students. It was such a wonderful lesson to observe, and the technology helped Angie and her students work seamlessly to accomplish their goals!
Articles Worth Reading
This week, I don't have an article for you, but this quote from George Couros that is pictured above. It's from his book "Innovator's Mindset." I give you this as a quote to reflect upon before heading out for the weekend. There are multiple ways to interpret this quote, and I encourage you to think about the lessons you provide that spark curiosity in students. How do you make them more curious about the world we live in? How do you spark that passion for learning? How do you encourage them to continue learning once they leave our walls? All great questions to reflect upon!
Videos Worth Watching
Our EHS Video Club makes a video each year for the Kansas Turnpike video competition. Last year, their video got first place, and this year, we took second place! It's a great PSA about safe driving, and I wanted to include the video so you could see it. It's pretty powerful!
It's Not My Fault
Thank you for another great week!! I hope you are able to get a lot accomplished today, and that you enjoy your weekend! Thanks for everything that you do!