Passion begins with a spark. Any time you allow yourself to get excited about the future, a new idea, a tool, an instructional strategy, or a lesson your passion overflows and starts to positively influence the students in your charge and it permeates throughout the building as well.
This year AJ Julianni came to our district and he lit a spark for us on an inservice day. Instead of a boring sit and get, we found ourselves immersed in a day of PBL, 4Cs and PSAs where all attendees were pivotal parts of teams driven by timers and goals. After that day I saw some sparks in a few of the teachers’ eyes as the left. Overheard a few whispered, “What ifs.” I saw notes being written down and teachers willing to try, innovate, and create.
Those tiny little sparks have slowly built in intensity throughout the last quarter of the school year. Elementary classrooms participated in launch challenges with their technology integration specialist where each grade level had a different challenge to complete. The kids were super excited about their prototypes and making boats, arcade games, and mazes, etc.
At the secondary level, we have watched students invent and prototype urban gardens, Innovation products and promotional ads, as well as coding robots to complete a variety of tasks. These tasks fed our sparks and kept the flames growing.
This month I was overcome by the roaring fire lit in the 8th grade math department as they replaced a final exam with a launch project in which the students worked in teams to share 4 minutes in the life of 8th grade math.
The students were working hard, sharing ideas, screen casting content to teach concepts learned, editing film clips, and actively involved in the mastery of their learning! I walked in and out of class after class and besides a bit of tech troubleshooting and one on one conferences with their teachers, these kids were taking the reigns and running with them! I can’t wait to see some of their final products.
It’s the end of the year, and instead of feeling like I’ve been washed ashore by the pounding shore face first, I am feeling invigorated and innovative and am looking forward to more amazing sparks to come from one great day of PD and some open minds. In the mean time, I am looking forward to roasting some marshmallows over the fire as I reflect on another amazing school year!