I was reading Susan Carter Morgan's blog a few days ago and she created a post called, "The Good News," in which she highlights some of the cool things going on at her school. This has inspired me to write such a post about some of the neat and innovative classroom projects and other initiatives that are in progress right now here at USM. Sometimes I get buried in the day to day responsibilities of my position and I don't take the time to reflect on all the great happenings. So, here goes...a brief description of the neat things going on right now:
1. Just received an email from our excellent 8th grade US History teacher, Chuck Taft, regarding a voicethread response project that he is starting with his students. The sample here is designed to engage students in discussion and reflection on the Kansas Nebraska act.
2. Will Piper, our excellent 5th grade social studies/world geography teacher, has been working with his homeroom class on the "Voices of the World" project. Students have been listening to the other school projects and are beginning to write a collaborative script using google docs for their class introduction. We're not officially part of the VOTW project, but we're going to do our own and follow along with the other partner schools. Will also regularly shares ideas with me about some of the creative and innovative blog activities that he is doing with students (he has students reflect on questions, classroom discussions, and videos in the form of a comment on his blog).
3. Chuck, Steve Villeneuve (our Middle School computer lab manager and tech support specialist), and I are planning what we think will be an excellent professional development experience for our upcoming Middle School faculty meeting. After a short demo of 2-3 simple tools, faculty members will break up in department teams to create a collaborative multimedia project.
4. Our 5th grade students are in the process of wrapping up their "Virtual Tours" of the school project. This has been a wonderful project with the students that I teach in my computer skills class. Students worked in collaborative teams of 2-3 taking photos around campus, writing a script for the virtual tour, and assembling/narrating their tour using garageband. Listening to the students rehearse and narrate the photos that they took around our campus has been great-their oral fluency is outstanding!
5. I just spoke with Gregg Bach, our Assistant Head of School here at USM, about a really unique mini-conference day that we're planning here at USM for October of 2008. It looks like we're going to get Alan November to keynote the day for us. The day is going to center around 21st century teaching and learning and Alan will be a great guy to kick things off for us! We're also planning on bringing in a few other presenters to run individual workshops and of course we'll have some of our teachers run some workshops as well.
6. We started a web2.0 study group here at USM this year and our first meeting was a success! This group will provide us all with the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn together about the world of easy to use web applications that promote collaboration and communication.