Monday, November 25, 2013

Genius Hour - Take 1

Today we had our first day of presentations for our first genius hour of the year.  For the first attempt at genius hour I told the students to try to research something that connected to Social Studies...some of the projects were a bit of a stretch, but when it came down to it, the students were researching and loving learning, and that is what I really wanted to have happen.

On day 1 we had the following presentations:

We started the presentations off with a first student researched the Beatles.  He then shocked us all when he got out his guitar and played "Love Me Do".  Not only did he play, but he also sang.  Holy braveness Batman!

 My next student researched vegetarians & even interviewed our principal and head of food service about getting vegetarian options on the menu.  She brought in some tasty "Vegetarian Hummus Chicken"...which is not actually chicken (in case you didn't figure that out).

 This next stuent researched the history behind banana splits & taught us how to make them...then every student got an opportunity to build one of their own...yum!

We also learned about Hernando Cortes from one of his distant relatives.

We took a trip to ancient Egypt after that.

We also learned about how to make different types of traps if we were to be stuck in the woods and had to survive.

Animal cruelty took center stage after that and we learned about how to treat our animals with love.

Then we took a journey into the arts where we learned about different types of music, Michael Jackson & Elvis Presley.

We then got to meet Pablo Picaso and see some of his famous pieces of art.

Next up we learned about the Mexican culture.

Then we got a crash course in dinosaurs.

After that we learned about Native American art.

Finally, we had a student create an anti-bullying video.  We worked together using Camtasia to create this beauty :)

I can't wait until tomorrow when we have day 2 of presentations...One thing I really love is how excited my students are, and how much they are already looking forward to our next project.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My dirty little secret...sometimes I don't know what I'm doing!

This summer I had an opportunity to attend a leadership training called the Leadership Blueprint.  At the end of the training we were instructed to email a survey to 6 people who work with us professionally.  The survey was about 300 adjectives & the person taking it simply clicked all the parts that applied to me.  After everyone completed the survey, the company that did our training had a coaching call with all of us...and I had mine last week.

I'm going to focus this post on my constraints, because they have been weighing on my mind. My constraints are:
High self-esteem

The thing is, I don't necessarily see myself as an extremely confident person.  When it comes to using technology I am confident...I feel like I just get that, and I love learning about it.  But there are many other areas of my teaching I am much less confident in.

This is not the first time I've had someone say that I am confident in myself, but this is the first time I've heard it on the cusp of having gotten some negative feedback about my teaching, and for some reason it really bothers me.

Total side very cautious about feedback you give people because it can take a LONG time for negative feedback to go away.  Especially when you're dealing with someone who puts their heart & soul into their work...words hurt.  Ok, off my soapbox now.

Lately, whether I've asked for it or not, I've been in the public eye a bit.  I wrote a chapter that is going to be published in an upcoming book, and I was just interviewed by Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine.  Not to mention I have various teachers around my district who are interested in coming and observing my flipped classroom.  Don't get me wrong, I could talk flipclass all day long and love every second of it, but all of these things are making me seem like an "expert" on elementary flipped classrooms, and that makes me really uncomfortable.

To be clear, I'm NOT an expert.  I'm someone who's in the trenches, trying it out, and constantly changing/tweaking what I do because I'm still not entirely happy with what I'm doing.  To be completely honest, sometimes I don't feel like I don't know what I'm doing at all!

I don't know that I really have a point to all this, I guess I just feel the need to get that off my chest.  So there you have it, my dirty little secret has been exposed to the world...For some reason I don't think I'm alone in this.