This week we decided to take a week from their social studies class and devote each class to this project. We knew that we needed to place a big emphasis on moving our ideas forward into action mode. Students also had some blogging activities to do in language arts class.
Here is what we planned for the week.
We wrote up some key things that needed to be done by the end of the week.
Students really needed to clean up their action plans. We had them fill out a written action plan and that had to be submitted. While they were working on this we decided to give every group a folder. This folder would be available throughout the day. Many groups have students from several class periods so we were trying to help with the asynchronous communication. Sometimes paper copies work best along with the online sharing via Google Drive.
As you can see the board continued to be a work in progress. I think this is vital. The students are able to see the teachers in the room collaborate, brainstorm, and modify in class on the fly. We are leading by example on how to work together, ask questions, and solve problems. We were constantly adding, editing, modifying, and making new resources available on Google Drive, our Dropbox, and Evernote. I really believe this is vital. Many students have no idea how to work together. They are unsure of themselves and their ideas. They were able to witness their teachers go through the same feelings and struggles in real time. This is something that is lacking in education. Model group collaboration via educators to students.
I did not take a picture before leaving Thursday, but this board was twice as full by the end of the week. We had ideas from all sorts of teachers. It was a piece of art in my mind.
As students worked they had to share and submit their work to the teachers and print a copy for their folder. Many groups changed their names to be more enticing, some groups shifted in people, and it really became constant thinking process. Students started to really buy into the ideas and realize that they could do these things. The action was starting to unfold.
Friday, I was not able to be at school, but it was the most vital day. We were able to give them a two hour block of time to work with their team and just hammer things out.
I was at home networking with the teachers and students via Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, YouTube, etc. I was a multitasking machine. I was able to feel the vibes of Student Voice and Power.
When you read tweets like this
Making a presentation and speech. Its part of our action plan. Today has just been flying by. Had an amazing day. #bettpassion
— RAFANA (@BMSRAFANA) October 4, 2013
Our second contact replied. I am so glad. #bettpassion
— RAFANA (@BMSRAFANA) October 4, 2013
And messages from teachers like ” I wish you could have been here to see how amazing the kids were. The groups I had were working so hard that at lunch they didn’t want to stop….so we didn’t.”
#Bettpassion is a lot of work. It takes a massive amount of time to help 50 student projects make it. We have a long way to go, but my heart tells me we are doing something special and this is a project that the students will not forget. We still have a long journey ahead of us, but the end is going to be one heck of a WOW moment.
Next week we will get them up and running on their own websites. By weeks end these students will have a website, a blog, possibly Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and connections to the world to make their action plans a reality.
They would love your ideas and feedback. If you have not been to our website – http://bettpassion.wikispaces.com/ please take time to check it out and look at their action plans. They are just begging for people to respond to them. They want feedback and want to know people are watching. We(educators) would love others to help with giving them advice and expertise knowledge.
You can always email me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will relay it on. This might be the best way until their websites are up and running with their contact info.
I love being in education and watching students begin to believe in themselves. As always it comes down to the students and teachers.
As I shared with the amazing teachers at BMS who are working on this project who are just flat out amazing teachers!
Thank you to everyone who are busting their butts to make this happen. I apologize for not being there today. Here is our project page to our BettPassion website – http://bettpassion.wikispaces.com/BettPassion+Project+Links
Looking through these action plans makes me so proud of what we are trying to do. You can just feel the power of student voice. I know it is crazy and hectic, but reading the tweets from groups today and the emails you can just feel their confidence take off. Many were tweeting that the time was flying by and they were getting a lot done. I hope it was not too bad for the teachers.
Have a great weekend and I thank you all again for taking time to help the project move forward. This is why our school kicks butt because of teachers like you all.