“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire
The original student response to our announcement that we would be streaming their oral defenses live through the internet was shock and panic. Simply put, no students wanted this event captured or shared. Four days into seven, the mood has completely changed. Grandparents, friends, cousins and strangers are watching, and commenting. Students have been asking how they can capture the footage for use on everything from FaceBook to college and job applications. I am receiving multiple calls everyday; family members preparing to see their son, brother, and/or friend shine (and they always end up watching more then one!). I feel strongly that the audience is part of the reason why so many of these oral presentations are so well rehearsed, and so well delivered.
Set high standards and few limitations for yourself.
– Anthony J. D’Angelo
Often reminders come to you when you least expect it. Today is the beginning of a celebration of seventy-five years of the Carol Morgan School. We had a long assembly which was classy, entertaining and a good reminder for us gringos about the bigger community which we are a part of. It made me proud to be a part of Carol Morgan. This however is not what this blog post is about.
It’s about something far simpler.
At the beginning of this year the band program at CMS was big. Class sizes were at or near to their maximum. This didn’t last long as the new director made it very clear that students would work for every grade that they received. Class sizes dropped, dramatically. Students rumbled about fairness and change but the experienced director had a vision and held the students that remained to it. He has worked tirelessly this year with his students and with his instruments towards that vision. Today i heard the band for the first time since early October and they blew my mind away. They were tight, they were focussed and they sounded great.
It’s a simple model really – but one proven time and time again: have a clear vision, expect lots, work tirelessly towards it and never settle. It’s also a model that is not only applicable at all levels – administrators with their teachers, teachers with their students, directors with their staff, students with their work – but its also highly contagious.
not much of a ed-tech post, but for certain this works here too. The reminder just hit me powerfully today and i wanted to write it down.
I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled, the more I gain.
– Susan B. Anthony
like so many things ed-tech our oral defenses live on Ustream continue to stretch the learning experience. The parental response has been wonderful but now we have lots of viewers coming from the world over so with a couple of clicks we open a chat room and now invite all viewers (regardless of location) to get involved in the discussion and to take part in the Q & A period.
Those words jumped to my mind when i took this picture this summer in Marin County, California.
In fact i even included it in a personal blog post at the time. Then today i was presented with this blog entry – written by a fifth grader. It blew my mind – actually it still is blowing my mind. Make her day while extending her learning experience, drop her a comment or send her a reader.
The progress that has been seen in the writing of CMS fifth graders this year is nothing short of amazing. Huge thanks is due to four great teachers and a great writing specialist. However from where i sit everyone owes a huge thank you to Jeff Dungan the elementary tech facilitator who has worked and pushed hard to ensure that the computers which were placed in each fifth grade classroom as an experiment did not sit dormant and allowed to collect dust. He has taken old machines and given them new life; the teachers, students and parents have bought in and are on board. Thanks Jeff.