Thursday, February 28, 2013

IGNITE! NASSP 2013 Convention

As Day 1 of the NASSP 2013 convention in Washington, DC comes to a close, my mind is swirling with ideas and questions.

How can we move from our current status quo of student work to begin to integrate "crowd-sourcing"?

Technology: so many possibilities, so little time. I love the idea of "student intelligence". And it's not what you think...

Arne Duncan; hearing the executive director for the US Department of Education was a mixed bag; some of it was clearly "party line" stuff, but the Q&A afterwards was insightful and thought provoking.

And of course, there is the whole dynamic of being in DC on this, the eve of the "sequestration" train wreck.

Crowd-sourcing is an incredible concept. I had not hear that phrase prior to today. Read up on it -- it's a skill set for the 21st century and beyond. How do we help our kids develop the skills to "harness the crowd"? And, the key? It's not just the crowd in our physical proximity. It's the "crowd" around the world.

Student intelligence. When we hear that, we think about "how smart are our kids?", but in this case, it means, "How smart are WE about our kids?" I am fascinated by the idea of data mining and creating a data system that allows us to know our kids better on 50, 60, 70 different data points. NOT JUST ACHIEVEMENT!!

And Arne Duncan -- we were able to spend an hour with him, and he has some interesting ideas. I don't have any problem being called on the carpet, but I detest the phrase "drop out factories" to refer to struggling high schools. But, the idea that we need to help ALL kids be college AND career ready, well, I can wrap my heart around that.

My morning was spent on a tour of the city, visiting the beautiful monuments. I am struck with the signifant differences between today and my last visit in 1998. Now, it is rare to see people on the streets. Government buildings and monuments have strict policies and tight security. This post 9-11 world in which we live is different.

Can't wait to see what the next two days bring. The conference has only just begun!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

 Sitting in the high school library this afternoon, we are enjoying discussing the strengths and challenges of our school. I'm quite impressed with the positive energy and creative thinking that is taking place.

Our students enjoy two half-days/early release, which in turn provides our staff much needed time for collaboration and professional development. For the high school staff, our focus is on our accreditation visitation which will happen in May 2013 this year. As we work through analyzing our data, we are coming up with a variety of exciting options to consider for our kids. How can we increase the opportunity for students to earn "dual credit" in high school, meaning high school and college credit at the same time? How can we encourage our "natural student leaders" to use all their influence for good leadership, rather than... something else? :)

Meanwhile, at the middle school, the staff is exploring how better to meet kids where they are, particularly kids whose behaviors are interfering with learning. In many cases, students with emotional/behavioral disabilities are experiencing challenges at school, and the "normal" bag of tricks is often ineffective. The staff is in the process of researching different disabilities that impact some of our students and trying to learn more about what we can do.

All in all, an inspirational day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Middle School Science

Recently, as I was visiting classrooms at Chimacum Middle School, I observed some 6th grade students making doInks. I know that Mr. G has his students using a variety of technology to learn science, but I had not heard of a doInk. It appears to be a short video animation, and the kids were explaining/demonstrating Newton's first, second, and third laws of motion. I am absolutely certain we did not learn about Newton's laws of motion in my 6th grade science class. In fact, I don't remember doing much science in 6th grade.

Several of the kids posted their doInks to their class blogs. I encourage you to check them  out. You can even post comments and ask questions. You might just be able to learn something as well!