Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Keynote Mania!

We just finished our kickoff presentation at the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union and the two in-coming sixth grade presenters that I humbly shared the stage with r-o-c-k-e-d it! I will add a link to the video of the presentation once it is shared with me by the awesome Mount Abe tech crew. For now, I have some teaser eye candy as well as my speaker's comments to share with you.

Here we are waiting in the wings!

Sierra fielding questions about 3D printing while we connect via GHO with Jeremy Simon from e-Nable.

Christofer? Not one but TWO standing ovations for his programming and stop-motion demos.

Lots of ooohs and ahhhs today, that's for sure. Lots of colleagues and strangers stopping me in the hallway to thank me for putting students on the stage to share their stories. I'm one proud teacher.

A couple of plugs before I go:
My--unedited!!--speaker's remarks:

Good morning everyone. I want to welcome you forward to the year this morning. A lot of times we talk about going back to school, but think about what we go back to... The drawing board, into the saddle, Ohio... These aren't places we necessarily want to be, versus where we could go and I wanted to pass that along as we all dust off the cobwebs and get ready for an exciting year moving FORWARD. I think my friends here are going to help out and I'll turn it over to them in just a sec.

What you’re about to hear isn’t a story about a science fair or computer camp; it’s not even about school as we know it. It’s about what happens when we let our students choose their paths, when we show kids how to connect with the world around them in a way that sparks their curiosity and their sense for something bigger than their own backyard. It’s about reimagining what it means to be a teacher and what it means to be a student; about reimagining what happens “at school.”

What I hope you take away from this morning’s presentation is that sometimes, we are not the teachers… and those are the times that can give our students the most potential for authentic learning. Imagine that! Kids can sometimes learn more when we take a back seat and let them drive.

This morning, you'll meet Sierra Petrocelli and Christofer Wolak, two in-coming sixth graders at Monkton Central School who, last year, lead the pack as we showed the whole school the power of personalized learning. Their work is a wonderful example of what can happen when teachers, parents, and community members support interests, or glimmers of interests, that students already have. Passion projects like these truly give students more than just a sense that they can change and grow their own interests, but concrete evidence that making larger and farther-reaching contributions to our world needn’t be the work of grown-ups alone.

So that’s my schmear for you. What’s going to happen now is you’ll hear from Christofer and Sierra. We have assembled this almost totally through online collaboration because they have been so busy this summer, so you are essentially our dress rehearsal, opening night, and swan song all rolled into one!

After the kids share, we will have time for questions and additional demonstrations. We also have their parents here, Ric Wolak and Lianne Petrocelli, as well as Sierra’s contact in Chicago, who can speak to those sides of working with students on passion projects as well. After our show and the Q&A, you'll have time for a break before our next presentation.

Okay, here we go!

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