This past weekend I went to the IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Conference in Chicago, IL. I had a good time making a presentation, networking with colleagues, and learning new things. On Saturday, I had the pleasure to attend Jim Burgett’s key note address entitled “Doom to Zoom.” In his talk he highlighted the challenges we face as educators across the country and specifically in Illinois. I will not spend time mentioning too much of the “Doom”, we have already heard enough about those things. I was inspired by his talk about moving into “Zoom”. I feel I have been my own worst enemy as of late because I have allowed myself to be caught up in the hand-wringing educators are doing because of the movie “Waiting for Superman” and the constant call for reform to be done to education and its practitioners. It is time, my fellow educators, to focus on the question “what did I do to today to make my school better?” I want to ask more about what we are doing as opposed to what we should be doing. I want to blog about what the fantastic teachers in my building are doing to help our students fly. They don’t need Superman, they simply need teachers that care about them and are willing to dive into this wonderful world of information and tools that are exploding around us and learn to build. Some examples of flight plans that have been filed at PCHS:
PCHS students are already creating some of the most amazing digital arts learning how to use Adobe CS4.
Creative writing students are connecting to the world with their blogging project.
All English 9 sections are using a ning-like network to share their learning about Romeo and Juliet with each other and are creating Facebook-like pages for characters and interacting with the Great Bard’s famous work.
The English 11 classes are creating the “Perfect High School” which has them working with resources throughout the community and with renowned school architects to complete this project. I watched a student the other day working with Google Sketchup and was impressed with his ability to represent architecture with it!
The Drama class is working with Audacity to create a pre-television era radio broadcast of a Twilight Zone episode which they adapting to radio and are producing themselves. Cannot wait to enjoy the finished product if it is anywhere near as good as the production of “Up the Down Staircase” the PCHS Drama students performed this fall!
Geometry students created videos showing real life applications of geometry concepts found in structures around town that they see and interact with everyday.
AP Literature students are using the #pchsap hashtag on Twitter to hold backchannel discussions during class about literature they are reading both inside and outside of class.
Momentum is a powerful thing! Instead of allowing negativity to dominate our daily work, we need to accentuate the positive! We edubloggers and members of the EdPLN need to quit preaching to the choir and move our conversations outside of our virtual networks. There are so many educators who have yet to plug in to the resources and ideas that are available here. Hook them, drag them, bribe them….whatever you need to do to get them to join us in our learning here! PCHS teachers (and educators everywhere) please add the great examples of learning (flying) that are going on in your learning spaces!