30 August 2005

Two Down...One to Go

Today I wore my "Curriculum Specialist" hat all day long. Everything went very well, but I admit that I will be glad to take it off at the end of tomorrow and put my "Teacher" one back on for Thursday's events.

I gave two workshops this morning on my Holy Grail Lesson Plan. I had been provided a room for 30...and ended up with closer to 50 participants for the first session and 35 for the second one. The first time, things seemed to go more smoothly. I think because of the crowd, there was a good positive vibe and the energy was contagious. I had a good time with them and received a lot of great feedback in return. They were constructive with their comments at the end of our time together and if I ever do this presentation again, I will definitely use their ideas.

The second presentation also went very well. The interesting thing that happened was that we took a detour and spent time talking about blogs. We had been talking about ways to get students involved with discussion and I mentioned how I wanted to use a blog with my class this year in order to do this. (Please note that a school board member was attending this session.) No one in the room claimed to have ever seen a blog. A couple of people had heard of them, but more in reference to personal blogs students have---especially when someone posted nasty comments about another student. The idea of having a blog (once I explained what it was) as a classroom forum or even as a way to promote some reflection about their teaching was completely uncharted territory. (Warning to the Education Wonks: I gave them your site to check out as a sterling example and also find links to other edublogs. Warning to self: I could be "outed" if they follow them.) With their comment sheets, almost every one mentioned blogs and blogging as something they thought was interesting and would like to try. The school board member thought it a marvelous idea and asked me to keep him updated on my quest to allow blogging from school. Perhaps in the future, I could do a presentation about blogs.

The afternoon was devoted to meeting with secondary science teachers---all of whom I enjoy as individuals...but they can be a bit unwieldy as a group. This, too, seemed to go well in spite of some wailing and gnashing of teeth about certain topics. I really hope to spend more time in the various buildings this year getting to know a few more people better. I also need to make some inroads with the few who are still reluctant to even acknowledge me---let alone district initiatives. It's going to be a very big year for wearing my Curriculum Specialist hat.

Tomorrow morning, I am working with elementary school teachers (grades 3 - 6) to talk about doing inquiry with their kiddos. I have a plan, but I admit that I have spent the least amount of time thinking about this one as compared to the two things I had to do today. I think it will be all right. I have a buddy helping me tomorrow and I am looking forward to not shouldering everything.

I do have a reward waiting for me. My desk at Curriculum has finally been built and I can now move and have a home base for my work. So after lunch tomorrow, I can check things out and then start taking my belongings and getting them organized. I'm very happy about this. I've been "homeless" for a few months now. I'll also feel like I belong in that office and I'm very much looking forward to that. Hat and all.

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