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.