ALCOA Eagle Eye To The World: Bettendorf Student Showcase Night Part 1

On Monday, March 18th from 5:00 – 7:00 students who are part of the Bettendorf Schools ELP program conducted a student showcase to show off their work on their independent study projects that they have been working on all 3rd quarter.

We have 85 presentations spanning from grades 4-8. The elementary grades (4 and 5) focused on bald eagles as part of the Eagle Eye to the World project that was created by several teachers and former students.

IMG_5379Students made their way into the middle school around 3:30 after being released from school at 3:20 to setup their stations. We placed 30 elementary students in four classrooms in a manner that gave each student plenty of space to conduct a presentation and to quiet the noise from the hallways. Students had from 3:30 – 4:45 to get ready and prepared. After setting up students could eat pizza with their mentors from 4:15 – 4:45 (we have our elementary students paired up with 8th grade students to offer guidance). Also, during this time they were able to talk with Allen Holloway. Outside of the classrooms we had expert painter Allen Holloway set up painting a bald eagle to show the community all the various career pathways that studying something like the bald eagle. could provide. He was in the middle of painting a current painting of a bald eagle which was just amazing. To watch him work was a sight indeed. I had a chance to speak with him and he was such a remarkable guy. He had lots of visitors passing by and stopping to admire his work. It was a great pleasure to have him for our showcase night. When I was discussing ideas with him I found a couple ideas to be important. First, by sharing his passion for painting students are able to realize that you can make a living out of your passions despite what people tell you. He told me how everyone told him he could not live as a a painter and now he does just that. His story is important for students to hear that they should never give up on their dreams. Second, he talked about how important having something like this is for students. He wished he had something like this project available to him as a student. That was a big compliment to what we are doing and what we are striving to achieve.

Our big goal with the showcase is help our students learn to speak publicly and be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas. If we can begin to develop this in grade 4 and have them speak to hundreds of people on a night like this, then think about how amazing they will be thinking on their feet by the time they graduate. They will be ready for the real world.

IMG_5380Even more important to me about this night is that it provides students a chance to showcase their hard work and talents. I have told the students from day one that if you put in the time and hard work to this project, then you will be busy all night. I don’t have to give a grade because the audience response will tell you how you did.

Additionally, this gives the students a chance to show off their work. So often in school kids turn in work to one teacher who looks things over and gives a few comments. This gives them a chance to share their knowledge with hundreds of people That is awesome!

Each student had to focus on one aspect of the bald eagle that they were interested in studying more in depth. They had to create a display and have a station for people to visit. Additionally, to keep things engaging each student was required to have one interactive component. This interactive component forced the audience to engage in the material. When they complete the task, then they are awarded a clue to our scavenger hunt. You can view our scavenger hunt and handout here – http://eagleeyecamera.wikispaces.com/Final+Showcase

I will be sharing their stations and work shortly. I have been working on some video and images. In the meantime I wanted to share just one of the things we offered during our showcase on Monday. Below is the painting he was working on. And yes, I have all intentions of buying this print when it is finished.

IMG_5408
At 4:45 we began to usher the students and anyone who showed up for the sessions into the auditorium for our next special presentation which I will share in Part 2 coming shortly once the video finishes up. Stay tuned.
You can check out all things about this night and our global project here – http://eagleeyecamera.wikispaces.com/
We are currently tracking and keeping a log on the eagles and eaglets. Feel free to help us out. We are trying to crowdsource the documentation of the eagles.
What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Liberty and Justice: Bald Eagle Updates

Sleeping in on a Saturday Morning

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 6.54.56 AM
Sleeping before the big day? Will today be the day?

Even the birds are waiting for the eaglets

Even the birds are waiting for the eaglets
Check the top left screen. There are 3 birds hanging out. They are excited for the new eaglet to arrive too!
What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Flat Classroom Debate Project: Eracism – How we operate and prepare

I wanted to create a post about our current project we are exploring in 6th grade. I am working with a small group of students for a global debate project, Eracism, conducted by Flat Class.

We are debating the following topic:  “The use of Facebook by students around the world to communicate with one another does more harm than good.”

We just wrapped up our first round debates. We faced a  very powerful school from Indiana, Forest Ridge Academy. As we now prepare for our next debate and wait for the judges decision on which school won I wanted to take time to write up a post sharing how we prepare and conduct class for a global debate.

The whole process and information about this project can be found here: http://eracism.flatclassroomproject.org/

Step 1: My situation is a bit unique. I teach extensions/enrichments. Our 6th grade is currently focusing on the theme of bullying. I thought this debate topic was relevant to this theme. I talkd with the language arts teachers and we assembled 10 students who we thought could handle the workload of regular language arts class and attending class with me. I meet with these students three days a week during their language arts class – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They come out of various class periods throughout the day so we are never all together at the same time. I have a group in the morning and a group in the afternoon. We work collectively. So we are not only working in an asyncronous environment online with the other schools, but also in our very own school.

Step 2: Getting Organized: We use Google Docs for everything. We create the following documents:

1. Global Debate Research: Negative
2. Global Debate Research: Affirmative

The next time I run one of these debates we will create both of these right away. This time we created just the negative document because that was our side to argue. In hindsight we should have created both so when we conducted research we could store items for both sides accordingly.

3. Global Debate Script: Negative
4. Global Debate Script: Affirmative

We create two more documents where we can transfer the research into a script to read and practice with while preparing for our debates.

5. Google Form/Survey – We created a survey to poll our school population.

Step 3: Getting Started – Daily Classroom Operations

Each class we meet in my office around a little table
IMG_5279

The picture above is one of the groups I work with. We all sit in a circle. I have found collaboration to be more effective this way. In other groups we would go the library, but the computers are in rows so the kids don’t talk. This feels more open and the kids really open up, talk, collaborate, connect, and move around as needed. They are little professional workers.

I start each class discussing where we are and where we need to be. We always start with a small group discussion about goals, mini teaching lessons(speaking, word articulation, how to reuse key words, etc.), and then I let them sort themselves out. I will be honest it is difficult for me to not structure it all. I let them figure it out even if it is the hard way. I provide suggestions, but don’t force anything. They choose to either use it or go their own route. I really feel that this is the heart of learning. For example, my students know they can do better especially after listening to the other team speak. They followed their process and now know what to do to improve.

After having short conversation the students get to work. They divide themselves into tasks and work. I sit at my computer(to the right of this table when looking at that picture) and I read the script and notes take place. I interject as needed and make sure they are staying on task. I don’t tell them directly what to do or write. It is all on them. I give guidance. Each day I will write up a bullet point list on the document of my thoughts and ideas.

I have also made video recordings when I don’t see them for days due to scheduling. This example I give more direct insight than normal, but we missed several times to meet and had to record when we returned so I felt the need to really give some specific guidance.

Step 4: Preparing to Record and Record

The debate is all conducted online using Voicethread.

We use my own personal Mac to record because the audio quality is always the best. Before we record we will have practice runs where we time the script, study word count based on various speakers(rate of speech so we can gauge how many words needed). I make everyone speak. We have to have different speakers for all the parts. The rules state that we cannot have one person do all the talking. I go a step further and I don’t allow anyone to record twice. Everyone must try to practice and gain experience.

When it is time to debate here is what we do. We have 5 minutes to respond after listening to simulate live debate protocols. We cannot sit and prepare for days for a response. It is a highly stressful moment of time. It is high octane discussion and scramble to assemble a rebuttal. We have our notes pulled up on the laptops and we listen.

Here is our rebuttal process

Here is what we do just to share our strategy for what it is worth. On our end we listen around one computer and take notes on paper. After listening we spend 2 minutes quickly sharing out what we heard and think we should focus on. We then open up our laptops and quickly tidy up our script with the remaining 3 minutes. At the 5 minute mark we start recording with our next speaker. While that speaker is speaking the rest of the crew can go ahead and finalize any last rebuttal notes and ideas. We slide those papers to the speaker and he/she then has to make sense of the notes and speak on the fly. It is very stressful and always a relief to have it done

When we record the speaker sits at my desk as shown below. While he/she records our opening remarks you can see the others working behind the scenes to get the rebuttal prepared. On the desk you can see the notes the others have placed down for him to use to speak on the fly and make it work.
IMG_5280

Here is a note exchange en route

IMG_5278

We have little note reminders to help the speakers and the note takers like this

IMG_5281

After we finish recording we always stop to talk about how it went, what we can do better, did we miss anything, etc.

As of this writing, we have reflected on the process as a whole. We do not have the judges remarks yet. We listened to the whole debate and studied it. It is not personal, but we look at what we can do better and learn from. We have many key take-aways from our first round to get better. That is the great part of this project…..we can always get better.

Now we wait the judges feedback. We are now working to create a script for the other side of the debate so we are prepared. We have to change our whole mode of thought and basically start over.

This is a great project. I hope this post helps shed some light on how we operate. I am sure I am forgetting key things that I will later realize I forgot to discuss. If you have questions, advice, or tips we would love to hear from you!

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Teaching Ideas: Eric Collard, Nikola Tesla, and Controlling The Weather

Here is an incredible inspiration for students who might like to be challenged to make a difference.
Eric Dollard has been working on recreating the inventions of Nikola Tesla – who was way ahead of his time.
It is alleged that Tesla was killed at the request of Thomas Edison. http://listverse.com/2012/06/07/10-ways-edison-treated-tesla-like-a-jerk/
Dollard forces us to dig out of the thinking ruts that we all get into.
Here is Dollard’s fascinating story:

Here is Dollard’s indiegogo presentation:

Tesla himself can be incredibly inspirational and gifted beyond words.
Inventions and the inventive process have been suppressed:
Can our weather be controlled?
One of the members of our Innovation Initiative Co-operative inventors group claims to be able to control the weather using radionics devices. While discussing this with him, I suggested that if could do what he says then he could divert a typhoon that I had read about away from Taiwan. I followed the satellite weather images and sure enough the typhoon was diverted. Peter also claimed that he arranged to have a bright sunny day for his niece’s wedding. The forecast had been for rain that Saturday. He has a team of people that he works with.
Other claims: the central west USA was in drought situation last summer. He and his team brought rain clouds down the Rocky Mountains to give rain. He and his team have diverted many hurricanes that approached the US from the Atlantic including the big one that was supposed to hit New Orleans again.
CHALLENGE : Come up with a way or experiment to try to prove that he is actually controlling the weather.
Can
What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Our Words Matter – A Personal Example

I am sorting through my Gmail account trying to get back to an empty inbox and organized online and real world life. As I was sorting through all these links, emails to myself(I send myself emails all the time), and just general decluttering I was reminded of a very special and cool moment for me.

Vicki Davis a.k.a. Cool Cat Teacher who is an education extrodainer and someone who has really helped me find my passion for flattening classrooms and making global connections bookmarked one of my projects via her Diigo account. I know not a big deal as many people do this, but her words mean so much

Here is the link to her blog and this page – http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2013/01/daily-education-and-technology-news-for_22.html

If you don’t follow Vicki, then you have missed out on some integral thoughts, visions, and ideas that can really help  you as a teacher.

A few days before this she had posted a really insight blog post – http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2013/01/3-characteristics-of-people-builder.html

I left a comment in regards to her post because I felt that I needed to. Her words spoke to me. What stood out was her taking time to respond and I cannot tell how good her words felt to me.

I am not sharing this to toot my own horn. I am showcasing this to get to an even more important idea.

OUR WORDS MATTER!

It might be that one sideline comment that students overhears or that one little phrase that we don’t think twice about that can make all the difference – good or bad. Her words helped me. They still help me and still hold a place in my mind(obviously here I am writing about it a month later). It is a reminder about how we phrase our words and statements to students, family, friends. Are we really delivering the true message that we want to get across?

Sometimes we need these little positive urges to continue our journey. There are times where I question why I am up late working and up early prepping for the day. I question if it is all worth it when I sit and converse with educators and other professionals around the world to find something to make me better in my classroom. I connect and hear positive things and I am reminded that it is worth it. I always go back to my own kids and what would I want? I would want that teacher always striving to be their best and expecting the same for their students and my own children. I want my kids to come home and tell me that their teacher(s) have a burning passion for what they do. I want to provide this same feeling as an educator.

This weekend I will return the favor of positive words. I am going to handwrite a few positive notes to people and send out. I need to remember how important these words from Vicki were to me and return the favor. Maybe, just maybe, that is all that person needs to keep the journey alive with whatever their passions might be.

And maybe sharing this will spawn others to do the same.

Have a good weekend.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Brainstorming Power Needed!

We have a cool showcase night in the works to broadcast our students knowledge and expertise of their independent study projects. We are working on a way to to bridge all 30 of our projects together. Our current idea is to have each student provide us(teachers) one fact/question that they want each person who visits their station to walk away with as the most important fact. Our current plan is to take these 30 facts and create a handout mystery/scavenger hunt paper to give each person who attends our showcase. Our theme is bald eagles so each presentation is focused on bald eagles in some capacity.

What we need are some ideas to create cool interactive approach to the community finding answers to these 30 questions. We want it to be more than just a piece of paper with questions.

Any thoughts?

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Liberty and Justice – 2 Eggs!!! We have another Egg!

2.10.13 Sunday night around 6 pm the world was given another great surprise as Liberty and Justice brought us another egg. That brings us up to two eggs in the nest.

The eggs are about 4 days apart. Eagles will produce anywhere from 1-3 eggs so there is still a chance of one more egg, but no more after that.

Last night I took a picture around 10 pm showing how the eagles were burying their faces to stay warm and trying to get some sleep. They are not nocturnal so sleep at night is a must just like us humans. I don’t know how they sleep in this wind. The wind has been crazy lately with the nest swaying all over the place.

Sunday also brought us a ton of rain. The eagles were soaking wet and had to endure the rain and wind all day.

As the day went on the camera was blurry from rain so it was hard to track the eagles for a few hours.

Monday, 2.11.13 I was finally able to see both eggs. How exciting! This is just too cool and these eagles are slowly taking over all my free time!
The wind is giving them a bad hair day!

Here they are exchanging egg warming duties. It is always a quick transition. One flies in, they do a little shifting around and off they go their separate ways doing whatever it is eagles do when they don’t sit on the eggs.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Round 2 Reflection of Eracism: Global Debate, An Amazing Learning Experience

photo.JPG
The team at work

This morning I was lucky enough to have another group of students take part in a championship round debate in bracket B of the Eracism project. We came to school early arriving around 7:15 to get ready for a 7:30 am debate. This is a small sacrifice to make compared to our friends and debating opponent, AISG from China, who had to stay at school until 9:30 pm to take part.

I have not had the luxury to actually meet with my students since the semi-final debates which were a few weeks back. Between then we have communicated through some emails back and forth. I was just hoping that we would have enough students to come in early to debate as I had not heard from many of them. However, they were all there except for a few so we were ready to go.

photo.JPG
Trying to make sense of notes and rebuttals

photo.JPG
More random notes to organize on the fly!

We did have a major scare. I am not sure where the miscommunication was between the students and myself, but my students came to my office ready to debate the wrong side of the debate. They had all their notes and information ready for the negative side. We did not catch this error until 7:27 am which was three minutes before we started. In a mad scramble and panic we printed off a few notes for the affirmative side and the students were left to quickly change their mindset, their arguments  and really to have all plans fall to the wayside.

To say that I was proud of these students is an understatement. Here we are hearing the beep of Blackboard telling us it is time to speak and we have nothing prepared. Our first speaker took our notes and crafted a great opening based off the bullet points of our research from months ago. During this time we quickly assembled small squads –

photo.JPG
The winning pose!

  • some were developing a framework for our second speaker for rebuttal, which when even organized and prepared proves to be the hardest speaking part of the debate
  • some were constructing a conclusion to wrap up and drive home key points that we were speaking on the fly 
  • some were simply working on organizing any notes that we had and preparing for the other team and getting prepared to argue back
photo.JPG
Our secret ingredient: donuts!

If you read my first reflection on this project then you have seen the office that we work in. It is small and quite cramped. We have to shut all the doors which makes the room cook us like hot dogs as the heater in the ceiling pumps a ton of hot air. As we started and continued through the debate not only were we sweating from the heater, but from the intensiveness of this debate as we scrambled to sound intelligent.

In the end, both teams did an amazing job. The topic is difficult.  It is not easy, but to listen to these students articulate their thoughts is impressive.

I am not going to be redundant from my first post reflections because many of those ideas still reign true(click the link above to read), but I would like to reflect on some other ideas.
  • I love the ideas that AISG brought up in the debate. The whole notion of new emerging leaders who are empathetic is a great thought to absorb and think about. I need to follow the new emerging leaders and start to figure out how their empathy affects the countries that they lead. We argued back stating that conflicts of many lands go back generations to almost the beginning of time and a new leader cannot make change, but I would like to believe that this is perhaps a start of something positive
  • I love the whole notion that AISG brought to the table about education. Projects like this where students from all over the world work together to increase their learning is powerful. How can we continue to push this global education concept to the next level? We debated against one another, but how can we take these projects further where students can begin to build empathy and understanding of one another so that when these students become leaders the acceptance and equity of all people are just common nature? As I was wrapped up with the idea of current events and education from the debates last week, this new thought of mine is also taking hold of any extra brain cells that I have.
  • Debating and communicating with students from all over the world does two great things
    • Raise the local bar of expectations – Our students knew that they had to bring their A game in order to be ready for these debates. We came across some amazing students, research, rhetoric, and speaking skills. This was a good wake up call that perhaps we are not as amazing as we sometimes like to think. (I don’t think the students would ever admit this, but just an observation from a teacher perspective)
    • With all the hype in the media about American schools falling apart and not being ready to compete globally with other children is just that….hype. Our students proved that despite all the negative press of education in America, our students are doing high level thinking and can do anything they want to do. The key as a school system is create more opportunities for them to feel motivated enough to challenge themselves while they are within our walls and school days. If we don’t provide the necessary challenges and relevant issues we miss opportunities for our youth to expand and explore.
As I bring this post to a close I just want to say that all credit goes to the kids. I shared our victory with my staff and they were all very happy. The kids were ecstatic who participated. It is the joy of their emotions that reminds me that projects like these must continue. They were beyond the notion of grades. They were beyond the notion of just doing school for the sake of school. They wanted to do well. They wanted to make sure they could articulate their thoughts. Even during the moments of this debate when we struggled here and there to figure out what to say they continued to work hard and take measures to do all they could do(being ready for the correct side would have helped with this :)) The intrinsic motivation to learn was beyond anything that I could create in a regular room.
My new favorite line that I read on another blog was –
 I’m the chief learner in my classroom of middle school students.

This line is so true. I have acquired many new thoughts, ideas, questions, and development of my teaching skills through the observation of these students. Eracism has given me a new sense of how amazing students can really be and when we don’t think students can do this or that, they can(that is a great reminder for ourselves as teachers!)! Today they could have just quit and said no when we realized we prepped incorrectly. Instead they thought on their feet and did awesome. Their quick thinking to prepare in 2 minutes was more impressive than actually thinking on their feet during the debate. 
Thanks to everyone who judged, participated, and helped to organize. There are too many to name. However, I would love to create a Google Hangout to talk with others about their takeaways, questions, thoughts on global ed, etc. Let me know if interested and I will work on setting a date.
As Vicki and Julie state, “Once you go Flat, you never go back!” My passion for global education has only gotten stronger through the participation of this project.

All of these students that I had the opportunity to work with through both teams that we operated have done nothing but remind me why I love my job! Kids are amazing! Simply put. When they shine and show their talents and you know that it is all them that have done the work, then as a teacher/leader you know you have done your job. I simply sat back and watched them blow my mind. It is amazing what kids can do when you place them in a situation where there is no ceiling but the ones they place on themselves. When they remove that ceiling WATCH OUT! because it is a spectacle to behold.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Eracism: Global Debate, An Amazing Learning Experience

I am not going to blog about the whole journey of this amazing project. You can find all information about Flat Classroom and this particular online global debate project here

You can check out my other thoughts after speaking to Dr. Zeitz from UNI earlier this week

Rather, I am going to reflect about the final championship debate for Bracket C. I want to start off by sharing an email I sent out the students who I was so lucky to work with for this project. My students were 8th grade students that were pulled from social studies for about 6 weeks to do this project. I am ever so thankful for the teachers willing to work with me and being flexible to allow this happen.

Here is what I shared with my student via email this morning. I have removed parts that are not necessary for the sake of this blog post.

Happy Friday everyone!

I have a couple of things to address and final confirmation on the debate against China.
First, team 2B did an outstanding job on Thursday! With little prep leading up the final debate this team did amazing. I am so impressed by the work and articulation of your arguments  I know you were bummed to not win, but I hope you took away some vital learning concepts and life skills. As mentioned that day, you have crafted your skill set to be able to sell your ideas or yourself when you are in the workforce, applying to college or a job! I have received several emails afterwards from teachers who attended the debate speaking on behalf of how impressed they were by you guys! Remember you were in the high school division and you held your own. Great job! I really mean that.
Second, the team 8B you debate has been finalized. It has been very difficult to overcome the 14 hour time zone difference and seeking permission for students to stay late or come early. After many negotiations we have found the following time to work. We will be debating on Wednesday, December 19th at 7:30 am. You will need to be at school no later than 7:15 am to make sure we are ready to go. This is a small sacrifice for us to make considering that this means the students in China will be debating at 9:30 pm. They will probably not get home until midnight due to transportation issues and such. They also don’t get to leave school and will be at school for almost a full 24 hours. Please don’t make excuses and come prepared. Let us give them a debate they deserve and make the time worthwhile. I have not heard from any of you on this team so I hope that you have been reading your scripts and slowly getting prepared. I will bring in donuts and juice. You will be done with your debate around 8:30 am so missing TA and part of 1st period. 
Some tips we received from the judges when they spoke about why we did not win that could benefit this team are
1. Impact Statement – What is our impact statement? Our slogan/motto that we want to use to drive home our entire debate? This has been missing in all scripts and has been discussed before. Think about it and see how we can incorporate one.
2. Current Affairs – a very interesting statement from a judge from another country and one that has me thinking things over as a teacher and in my curriculum. She mentioned that we need more current affairs in our research. She stated that anyone can pull from a historical text, but students should be able to show understanding of the world in which they live in. Pretty powerful and therefore if you see anything in the news that could be used bring and perhaps work it into our already existing script.
3. We need to be able to have judges feel that what we are saying is important to them. Why is what we are saying important to me(judges, you, students, the world, etc.)? Bring that passion and prove that what we speak about is urgent and important!
When debating we need to make sure we debate face to face. I think this is what cost us our victory this week. When they bring up facts or points we need to debate them directly and head on. We tend to quickly talk about a point and then resort to the script. We need to really pick apart what they opposing team speaks about.
Have a great weekend and please let me know that you read this will be here on Wednesday!

I decided to share this email because I think the information shared from judges and our experience are things that apply to life in all aspects. The examples are focused on the debate, but I always like to think big picture and figure out how what I teach can transfer to real life.

IMG_4657As a teacher I cannot get over #2 on the tips for judges. How do we as teachers bring in the real world? There is so much going on in the world how does a teacher decide what to focus on? It goes back to an old idea of mine where social studies is taught backwards. You find current events and trace the history of the event backwards and explore our past this way. I don’t know yet, but I know that as we push for more global education students need to understand the world and cultures. Sometimes I think that reading about the past eliminates time to teach these broader concepts. I don’t know the answer, but I am stuck on this piece.

Perhaps at this point I should step back and talk about our debate system.

First, Mrs. Hatch brought in some super power brain food to get us started. Can you start your day any better than with some donut holes?

Next, due to schedule and conflicts we all had to cram into my office. I brought my Mac in as the mic on this is very good and I don’t always trust our school equipment. It never seems to work for me. We had to gather around the one computer and listen as best we could. It was not super loud, but loud enough.

These pictures speak volumes to process, learning, and teamwork involved.

IMG_4656

IMG_4658

These two pictures show education at a high level. We have students listening, analyzing, and trying to process new ideas and concepts in real time without much time to finalize as a team. During the short quick breaks they quickly dispersed ideas and had to quickly gather all their ideas, write ideas down and looking for that one loophole that we needed to win. It was remarkable. I sat on the floor with my coffee and just watched it unfold. I try very hard to keep my thoughts and ideas out as this is their debate. I do give them things to ponder, but never give facts or information directly.

Go to the debate – http://eracism.flatclassroomproject.org/Debate+Finals+12-2

It is bracket C.

Listen to the articulation of these students from both teams. It is amazing. I have never been part of such high level system of thought with middle school students before.

We have one more team ready to debate against China next week in Bracket B. I am excited to watch them debate and see how they argue. They are on the opposite side so it is much different in terms of thought and strategies. I hope to connect with them before the debate, but who knows. I know they will be ready and I will once again share the information and reflect as well.

I would love to hear from you about the ideas and thoughts shared in this post. What is your reaction? Do you have other food for thought? What would you like to know more about? I want to keep this conversation going because I feel like these students were pushed to a whole new level and really explored their capabilities without worry of grades and rubrics. Rather, they had a live audience that they wanted to impress and do well. THINK Global was amazing we have learned a great deal from them. It is awesome how much we can learn from other schools and students through engagements like this.

This is my first time working a debate and something like this with middle school. As a teacher I learned a great deal about myself and my teaching. I have things to improve as well. More importantly, I am excited for teaching and learning. I am now intrigued by the things mentioned above and how I can make changes to my teaching to bring these concepts to life.

I will be blogging again soon when I have time to gather my thoughts a bit deeper.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

ALCOA: Eagle Eye On the Wold – Global Classroom Project – Registration Deadline Fast Approaching

11.9.12-3
Don’t these pictures get you excited for learning, collaborating, and connecting with students and teachers from all over?
I just want to send out a final reminder that December 15th is the deadline for the Bald Eagle Project. 
If you have not yet signed up to join us for this amazing project, then make sure you do by the 15th.
Check out the project page – http://eagleeyecamera.wikispaces.com
The project is going to be amazing and super sweet as we explore eagles and other birds to work on 21st century skills.
There will be a teacher meeting coming up in a few weeks where we will tweak the project to meet the needs of all teachers and classrooms.
Join the wiki and be sure to fill out the registration form – http://eagleeyecamera.wikispaces.com/Registration+For+Project
I will be in contact soon with some videos and information. Come join us! We have several big things planned.
What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)