Yesterday I found my way to Glen Rock MIddle School to begin a new project with my good friend Tara, and her 6th graders. Everything new and unfamiliar was exciting.
Today, up even earlier, to another gorgeous October-summer day, I was back at the the HIghland Falls HIgh School Library for season 3!
Our new techies were setting up as I entered the room. I’ve worked with Kristen before in the Intermediate School and I’ve talked often to Sheri, the librarian in the high school watching a brand new set of computers being installed in her space. By the end of our day I realized just how perfect it was to include them.
Andrea and I talked a lot about what we needed from this season.
Last year we were thrilled by the work of our Season 2 team but given the demands of high stakes testing we were shut out of finishing our project with a culminating project- a digital essay. Some of the team did get to the end, but we were hoping to have that last piece end fully and we just ran out of time in June.
So we were back with some familiar faces, supported by our two fresh faces.
We began with the reflections of three on our team. Just before the end of school I caught Lucas, Paul and Jevina and as usual they were good sports to sit with me and reflect on the highlights of their experience with our multi-genre work. Only Jevina is back on the team this year, and now a literacy coach, her challenges are exciting as she prepares to take our Season 3 challenge with her. Sure, I’m there to support her, but she is ready to work with the staff to improve their instruction. A tall order for a colleague. Many in the school remember Jevina and student in their classes. Yes, a challenge!
The team wrote into the day as usual. Considering their own experiences: Remembering, Reflecting and sharing.
We began at the end, the digital essay. I shared pieces from Lucas, a model from Troy Hicks and then with a model from Andrea, Kristen took the helm and supported the group as they were challenged to create a digital piece centered around a personal Halloween experience.
Sheri supplied the Chromebooks and together Sheri and Kristen got everyone on and working.
An hour later Kristen had everyone’s experiment on her Google Doc and we were sharing stories with links and images.
Success!!! The final challenge is getting more familiar to the facilitators.
Andrea joined us at lunch to begin the afternoon work of planning this project with it’s clear goals, full group sessions and meeting dates with me.
The larger high school team section worked with Sheri. Amy and Nicole teamed again as Social Studies teachers comfortable with the multi genre writing choice and Nicolette and Amelia as the high school science duo struggled once again to plan a project that will allow for more student engagement, moving themselves out of the lecture stance when possible. Clearly they have the most difficult challenge ahead.
It was a good start. We were will prepared for the day the team was open to dive back in with us.
I’d say, all good…