This year, Pheasey Park Elementary students in the UK asked my high school physics students to collaborate with them on their “inventions that changed the world”.
They spent some time making models of inventions that changed the world and created a SPAN Canvas. The canvas was large enough that all three Grade 3 classes had space to present each individual model.
My high school students conducted a similar activity and came up with their own list. They were quite different.
Is the UN an invention??
Then my students got to work with the Y3 UK SPAN canvas and were able to make comments and ask questions. The UK students were going to use our questions and comments to make improvements.
While presenting the work at #FETC in Orlando, there were three teachers who got teary eyed when we showed the canvas and talked the walk.
Last year, Armand’s class in my classroom was featured on a Nureva brochure talking about how we used the SPAN Wall. This year, two of my students are on the brochure describing how the SPAN wall works.
I have been to lots of conferences all over the world, but almost always by myself. This time, we were able to bring a small team, my Vice Principal and a Grade 10 French Immersion Science Teacher. Although they have travelled before, they had never really been to a large conference before. Our Science teacher soaked everything up. Her eyes were huge the whole time, both physically and metaphorically.
I think it was inspiring and encouraging to know that RHS is “in the game”. It was fun to be one degree of separation from JK Rolling, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The fact that we placed 2nd, showed that other people think we are doing great things. We can compete on a large scale and people are interested in what we are doing. It was also exciting to see all the cool directions that are possible.
Our Science teacher was beaming all day long leading up to the Karaoke. She was awesome!! Unfortunately, she was placed 1st in the roster. So many people came up to her afterwards and talked about how she should have won. She lost to ice-ice Baby and Baby Got Back.
Nureva was particularly attentive to my friends. After long days on the floor, the Nureva crew took time to come and see our science teacher perform at Karaoke. My two friends were so impressed that Nureva showed up. I have been working with them for a while, it did not surprise me at all. It is just another example of the fine people that they are.
RHS was the first international submission to the FETC High School Award, where we placed top 2. In our presentation, at an ed tech conference, we talked little about technology, rather how we structured our school day and how we do our assessment. Some of the Keynotes were there and tweeted when we discussed how we find time during the school day for teachers to get together and collaborate, and how we find time during the school day to provide tier 2 interventions for struggling students without pulling them out of classes.
Because teachers have time to plan and we are confident that students know the essentials, we have some time, creativity and freedom to take some short detours including passion projects.
RHS is a top 3 Finalist in the FETC STEM award… a whole school contribution.
We are up against some pretty big competition, science academies in the US. I can’t wait to hear what cool things they do.
If the judges are looking for advanced STEM where we are doing university word problems or research in high school, then I think we will get Bronze. However, if they are looking at how STEM is integrated into the whole school and how the other disciplines infiltrate STEM, if they are looking for a more Renaissance Education, then I think we have a great shot.
After 9 months of pondering, consulting, and planning, it looks like the BRAINSTEM Educator SYmposium is a go for MAY at RHS. How do we teach the whole child in a school of silos? There will be one day of STEAM focus, ONe day of structures, PLC, practices and culture and then a third day at the various break out sessions of Council. We are very luck to have Michael Furdyk to give a keynote, thanks to the high school council.
This was to be posted June 2016…
It has been a wonderful Crazy couple of months and I have not recorded much of it.
Armand and I have been doing some work together. One of the projects is about passion projects. How can we make a connection between what the kids love in their own life and Modern History? This is their passion projects that take all semester long. It is worth its own post all on its own.
Armand won the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching for his work that he did while at middle school. It has been interesting watching him take all the cool things about middle school and adapting it to high school. It sounds like Mr Trudeau is interested in some of the passion projects and may want to launch some Canada wide.
Nureva has invited me to ISTE. It also sounds like they might invite the twins to go as well. They speak about Engineering Brightness as well as what it was like to be a part of Armand’s History Class.
SMART Tweeted this article. I thought there were some good points in here.
Thanks Lavonne for writing this article. Things are starting to change. We are at least talking the talk, now to get more examples of walking the walk.
I was just reviewing The Making the Shift to Student Led Learning white paper that was done last June. It was fun to look at how far we have come in the past few years. Lots of pics of my room with other people in it. It has been exciting working with new teachers and seeing how the collaborative technology in my room is being used for different subject areas.
Armand Doucet has been particularly involved. He has created his own style and philosophy of education. I am glad that my room was waiting for him to arrive so that he can go one little bit further in his journey with students.