Thursday, October 17, 2013

pirates, skateboards, and leeches

Our school runs on a modified block schedule.  This means that two days per week we see only half of our students for 80 minutes.  On one day we see periods 1, 3, 5, and 7 and on the next day we see periods 2, 4, and 6.  Teachers are actively discouraged from lecturing or testing for 80 minutes.  Instead they are encouraged to engage students in new ways, to build lessons that take advantage of the extra time to creatively do many things or just give one thing the time it needs to be done really well.

There's no coffee in my building and in a brief stroll across campus yesterday, I saw so many wonderful things.  

  • Photo teacher Ryan Bowden was zipping down our driveway on a skateboard to assist our students in learning to photograph motion.  
  • Fortunately he did not spook the horses invited to campus by art teachers Kym Moreland-Garnett and Irina Ashcraft as they encouraged our drawing classes to expand their skills. 
  • Georgia Parker greeted her students dressed as a flight attendant and handed out boarding passes in a student recreation of the opening of "Lord of the Flies."  This time students invented their own characters and wrote about what would happen during and after that fateful flight. 
  • Speaking of crashes, a crash in the physics lab meant Mike Arney's students were exploring the difference between the theoretical and experimental acceleration of falling objects.  (It turns out they are not the same)
  • Outside on the quad, Susan Lilley's students recreated a scene from "Much Ado About Nothing" as a pirate adventure complete with costumes. 
  • In Lali DeRosier's Animal Diversity class, students spent the morning studying the behavior of leeches, positing that they would be attracted to heat.  One student told me he had a "bad leech." 
The good news is that I didn't have to try hard to find great things happening.  Teachers given the time and encouragement to bring learning to life will do so eagerly and in amazingly unexpected ways. 

This makes me want to take a lot more coffee breaks...

Photo Credit

1 comment:

  1. ...and these are just a few of the reasons I love working at TPS. Our teachers are very special!