Monday, May 24, 2010

Educational Whirlwind Tour in Milwaukee

I haven't had a chance to catch up with my blog, which I am trying to stay more on top of now. Last week was really busy and exciting.

I flew out on a very early flight last Wednesday to spend the day with Shane Krukowski of Project Foundry. Project Foundry has been a vital tool in both of the student driven, project based schools that I taught at (MNCS and EOC). Shane hosted a co-worker of mine and I for a day of Project Foundry enlightenment. We went through topics like: project proposals, approval options of projects/seminars, time logs/journals, result forms, project assessments, tasks, individualized learning plans, learning targets & standards, periodic assessments and reports & transcripts. We also caught up about some of the new releases that are due out before school starts again in the fall. I am definitely planning on attending the Project Foundry Unconference at the end of July, were there will be lots of like minded constructivists sharing best practices of this amazing 21st Century software.

On Wednesday night, I had the pleasure to attend a meeting with the group TransCenter for Youth, who were proposing to open a new school. The most powerful portion of the testimony came from students, who discussed how they had lost hope in their previous schools. All of the students are in schools that are around 100 students and they discussed how the size of the school lends itself to a more close knit, positive environment. The students were inspiring and reminded me why I get so excited to create better learning environments that better serve the needs of students (personal and academic). As tired as I was from a 5:40 a.m. flight that morning, my mind was racing about how inspirational the student stories were.

Thursday, another co-worker of mine flew in to attend the Great Lakes Constructivist Consortium's 2nd Annual Unconference. The event was held at the Kern Center, on the campus of Milwaukee School of Engineering. This event had both students displaying & presenting their work, along with adult sessions, were we presented on The Hope Survey.

On Friday, EdVisions Cooperative had our 3rd Annual Project Fair.  We had two high schools and two elementary schools in attendance. I have to hand it to the younger students, they really surprised with me the depth of their work. Two of my favorite projects from the younger students were: 1) The effects of microwaves on water, which was a series of experiments with water. The plants that were given water that had been heated up in the microwave died. 2) My favorite student, Jacob did a project on peanuts. Who knew there was so much information to learn about this staple food? His presentation concluded with making peanut butter balls, but I missed out on the taste.

It was a crazy couple of days. I slept on the plane for the first time (minus my trip to Tokyo which was sleeping pill induced) ever. It was a short nap, since it is only about a 40 minute flight. 

Hope you enjoyed the update. As always, feel free to touch base.

Best,

Aaron

My dinner Wednesday night (Pear Salad)... magnificent!

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