Valid email addresses are required to post comments. If your comment is not posted, I will send you an email with an explanation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Catching Up

Time to catch up on events and activities of the week.

I spent time this afternoon with an architect representing the firm we have contracted with to conduct a state mandated inspection of the school building that must be performed every five years. During the course of a discussion on the scope of the project we found ourselves in a conversation on the parallels between an architect creating a vision of a building emerging in it's entirety from a vacant field, and a school leader articulating a credible and compelling view of a desired future. Both paths emanate from a simple credo underlying the foundation of architecture: "form follows function." In other words, the operation of the school must evolve out of the purpose of the school, rather than the purpose of the school growing out of the operation of the school. It's an important reminder. I enjoyed an engaging exchange of ideas and experiences and look forward to our work together.

Now, let's look at that relationship of form following function. Our efforts at school are fueled by our reason for being - our focus on success in learning at all ages and all stages.

A return visit to the sixth grade classroom working on mummifying chickens (see posting of last Friday, October 8th) revealed that the work of the class members had progressed nicely. The chickens, secured in a large air-tight plastic bag after being stuffed with salt and engulfed by baking soda, had indeed transformed from a soft fleshy, fresh chicken to a hardened (odorous) corpse with the prospect of remaining in that condition for some time. Other than the smell, the learners were impressed with their cooperative efforts and gained a much clearer understanding of an important aspect of the culture of the ancient civilization they are studying.

Our Librarian has discovered a source which will loan us twenty copies of The Thief Lord (by Cornelia Funke) so we can soon begin the first subject of our new Book Club. We'll meet once a week and discuss the plot and characters of the novel, while also examining motives, drawing inferences and projecting outcomes. Eventually, we'll compare and contrast the novel with Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens. I am excited about the opportunity to work directly with the boys and girls who volunteered for the group and anxious to model a desired learning behavior - reading!

I met with several members of one of our high school grades in my office at the end of the school day this afternoon. I have accepted the responsibility of personally monitoring their progress and promoting their success as a special project this year because I believe they represent a crucial element in our overall improvement at Heatly. They are immersed in high school and the credit bearing classes that lead toward graduation. They need a promising path for that journey. They are a collective leverage point for creating momentum for success.
Following my remarks to all of the assembled learners in grades 7-12 in the gymnasium on the second day of school, (reference the Blog of September 9th, The Scoreboard) I met with the members of this particular grade to bring attention and clarity to their important role in our future plans. I have met with them as individuals several times since then, and last Friday and this Friday as a group. Each learner is expected to "stand and deliver" by responding to several questions - How many of you have had detentions this week? How many of you have missed school this week? What success have you experienced this week? What have you done this week to improve yourself? What have you done this week to improve our school? In short, the responses this week were forthcoming and very pleasing. It's a nice start, but it will require work, from them and from me, to maintain progress. I am optimistic - and proud of their efforts this week!

Losing my head - but not my mind. In case you've heard hat some kids had lunch with the new superintendent and claim he "lost his head!" - I'll explain so you don't think I've already lost my mind...
During separate lunches this week with first graders and fourth graders, I performed a trick in which I placed a box over my head and then opened a door at the front of the box that allowed the children to look entirely through the box and see what was in view behind the box. There was no head in sight!! This left the small audience perplexed and more than a little curious. Although I did not let them in on the illusion, we did have an entertaining dialogue on multiple areas of interest of elementary age learners. I now know more than I ever wanted to know (and probably more than anyone else my age cares to know) about Justin Bieber, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and the vilification of vegetables of all colors and taste. But, I got to know a lot more about the names and stories behind the faces of these youngsters. It's the start of a relationship, and ultimately, that's what our school is all about - relationships between and among the members of our learning community.

No comments:

Post a Comment