Sunday, December 9, 2012

Positive Publicity Makes for a Long and Exciting Week

Last week was one of the longest weeks of all time.  It started out normal enough on Monday, but Tuesday turned into something altogether different.

For this all to make sense, I need to give a little background information.  My class has partnered up with a class in New Jersey (taught by John Fritzky) and a class in Texas (taught by Todd Nesloney).  We have been attempting to have the kids in our classes blog with each other about math (as we are all currently flipping).  We barely had one post under our belts when Hurricane Sandy struck.  The hurricane hit New Jersey pretty hard, and Mr. Fritzky's school was powerless for 2 weeks.  They ended getting back to school in a week & a half, but in a different building.  Needless to say, our blogging got put on hold.  As often happens when something devastating occurs, the good in people starts to come shining through.  In this case, the good came from my students.  As we were watching CNN throughout the week, and seeing the photos of New Jersey, my students first reaction was concern for their buddies in Jersey!

"Mrs. Bush, are they ok?"  
"Mrs. Bush, have you talked to Mr. Fritzky yet?"  
"Mrs. Bush, how are they handling not having power?"

And on, and on, and on...But the most powerful comment came from one of my quiet kids...

"Mrs. Bush, what can we do for them?"

I know, goosebumps, right?!? This made my heart happy, and I knew we needed to plan something, but we weren't sure what.  Then our music teacher mentioned that our music concert was coming up early in December.  We decided that we would sell carnations, and have all the proceeds go to the families in Mr. Fritzky's class.

I contacted a local flower shop, and they came through...BIG TIME!  Alpine Floral donated over 350 carnations to our class.

Fast forward to Tuesday.  My students were wired all day, looking forward to the concert and the carnation sale...but it was a good wired :)  About 10 minutes before the bell rang, the office called and informed me that a reporter from our local paper was wondering if he could talk to me for a few minutes after school.  This was the same reporter who interviewed me last year about my flipped classroom, so I figured it was just a follow up.  I walked the kids out & came back to talk to the reporter.  He noticed my room was in shambles (we'd been making posters and buckets for donations).  I told what we were doing.  He was impressed.  We then spent the next hour and a half talking about the flipped classroom.

I had to take off, at that point, and get to the music concert, we had some flowers to sell!  I had students beat me there (and I was plenty early).  Throughout the lower elementary concert, my students sold well over half the flowers.  We sold out by the end of the upper elementary concert.  At some point in the evening, the reporter showed up: he snapped a few pictures, chatted with the kids, then took off.

Once I finally got home (8:30...still hadn't had dinner), I was oddly energized.  My kids did amazing, and we made over $350.  Our next step is going to the store, getting some gift cards & sending them out to Jersey!

My hope is that I can actually bring some of my kids to the store with me, but I'm not sure if the logistics will work out or not.

So are you wondering about the article yet?  I expected that I would get a small article...I was not expecting this:

Kenowa Hills Teacher Becoming Expert in "Flipped Classroom" Concept

I don't really know how I feel about this article.  It's really nice and very complimentary, I think I just have a difficult time patting myself on the back.  And I certainly don't feel like and expert.  None-the-less, it is still reassuring to get some positive press right now.

As I mentioned, this all happened on Tuesday...which felt like a Friday...which made the week take forever!  As exhausting as the whole experience was, I would do it again in a second.

Some days I love my job.