Friday, August 29, 2008

Student Jobs in a 21st Century Classroom

During NECC this summer in San Antonio, Texas I attended a session held by Dr. Alan November. During his presentation he shared the new roles designed to engage students in the 21st century classroom. In days past a typical classroom job would be line leader, chair stacker, table cleaner, pencil sharpener and messenger. While these jobs are necessary managerial roles, November urges teachers to consider roles that will be useful in the 21st century. Consider these possiblilities as you transform your classroom for digital learning.

The Jobs of a 21st Century Learner
Tutorial Designers - select a team of students to create short audio or video available to students that reteaches or clarifies concepts introduced in class.
Official Scribes - select a group of students to serve as the collaborative word processors for class notes. This could be accomplished using a tool like Google Docs.
Researchers - assign a student or team of students to research topics or questions generated in class.
Collaboration Coordinators - select a team to interact with another class regularly from across the world and share what is happening class to class.
Contibutors to Society - select a team who works to contribute back to the world via the web like on Wikipedia about topics the class has studied or learned each week.
Curriculum Reviewers - select a team to present a review of the major topics covered from the week prior via an audio or video cast.

Learn more about how other educators are embracing these roles for students by reading Students as Contributors by Dr. Alan November.

Leave a comment and let me know what possibilities you see for the use of these jobs in your classroom?

Risk... Care... Dream... Expect...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Principal's First Day of School

I don't usually blog between the posts I do each week for my faculty - time is somewhat of a problem. But... I could not allow my head to hit the pillow tonight without telling the world about the most incredible group of people on the planet. I have long known how supremely lucky I am - I am blessed, quite honestly, to work with the best students, parents, teachers and support personnel on the planet. Today was spectacular - the kids were awesome, the teachers and assistants were outstanding and the classrooms were positively amazing. A musician was playing Carribean music for families as they entered and we enjoyed an incredible guest who told stories and showed photos of his trips to over 22 countries - we were all mesmerized!

The day for this principal was perfect - even despite the one hiccup at bus dismissal! It was my sixth first day as a principal - a feat I could only ever accomplish because of the help that seems to come out of the woodwork whenever there is need. I simply call and the support team is there and they need to be thanked by name. They herded cats (my own little analogy of what the first day with Kindergartners is like :), helped open lunches, soothed tearful faces, spoke toher languages, cleaned and moved the dining room furniture for our assemblies, loaded cars, loaded buses... they were everywhere and anywhere there was a need and I am beyond grateful. Thank you could never be enough to Melanie Holtsman, Suzanne Shall, dayle timmons, Liz Duncan, Moe Dygan, Betsy McCall, Jennifer Snead, KK Cherney, JB Boyd, Estrella Bailey, Deb Stevens, Michelle Leclair, Lori Linkous, Julie Middleton, DeAnna Morgan, Stanley Brooks, Tracy Carlin, Christine Valnoha, Karen Willett, Ralph and Pat Thomas. Every time I turned around you were there today - for me - asking what you could do. You were heroic.

For any principal out there who thinks this job is all about power - you are dead wrong. Real success comes when you empower others. I know without a doubt that I am only as good as the people I am surrounded with. Never, ever has their been a better example of that for me than today. I could not have done my job today without you. Thank you for creating the perfect first day experience for our family.

Risk... Care...Dream...Expect...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

From The Lead Adventurers' Desk:

What a grand opening we enjoyed as we greeted each other in the CCE Departure Center on Monday. I am no doubt the luckiest principal on earth and there is no place I’d rather be than traveling around the world and back this year than with you. Your excitement about coming back to school was contagious as we celebrated each other with creative skits and videos and comedic songs. Your dedication and commitment to promoting Adventurers was clear by the way you paid meticulous attention to details in preparing your classrooms for Orientation. You are the best group of Tour Guides in the world!

“Around the World in 180 Days – The Virtual Learning Journey” will be more than just a theme for us; it will be a way for us to showcase the philosophies we have practiced since the inception of our school. We will spend our time this year RISKING more than others think is safe, CARING more than others think is wise, DREAMING more than others think is practical, and EXPECTING more than others think is possible. By embracing technology as a way to broaden our horizons, retune our skills and take our students beyond the borders of a classroom we will be taking the necessary next steps towards preparing our students for the global workplace of the future. It is sure to be wild trip, with perilous times – but one thing remains certain – we’ll make it happen TOGETHER!! Pack your bags for possibilities, take your Dramamine :) and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. The journey begins…

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Journey Begins...

Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.

This is not necessarily a new quote but I can promise you it will be our mantra as we enter this next decade of leading and learning together at Chets Creek. More than ever it will be important to remember that those four verbs are what started this all to begin with and they are the catalysts for what has made our incredible work with children a reality. We are so very close to leaving no child behind ladies and gentlemen - it is time to stretch ourselves and find out how to save those last few. It is time to take all we know about quality standards based education and infuse it with all the new tools available to us through technology. We are going to go beyond the borders of our classrooms and cross the digital divide into the future - together. We are in for the journey of our lives - the adventure begins...

Where will the journey take you?