These Weeks are Running By Way Too Fast!

topperMiddle

Upcoming Important Dates

Friday, November 14 – School Dance sponsored by the 7th Grade 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Monday, November 17 – Peer Observer Training 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wednesday, November 19 – Team Leaders Meeting 2:30 – 4:00 in Melanie’s Room
Thursday, November 20 – PIE Meeting 6:00 pm in the Library
Wednesday – Friday, November 26 – 29 – Thanksgiving Break
Wednesday, December 3 – Faculty Meeting 2:30, GMS Library

Speech and Debate

I have been approached by several students about the possibility of beginning a Speech and Debate Club here at GMS. From my conversations with the students, they are genuinely interested in pursuing the establishment of this activity and they understand what it is all about. If there is anyone on the faculty who would like to lead this group of young orators, please contact me ASAP. I would hate to see their enthusiasm diminish!

GMS Civil Rights Team Project

For several years, GMS Civil Rights Team Project has been very active in our school. They have been responsible for bringing some terrific speakers into our building to expose our students to many different cultures from around the world. They even put together a wonderful conference at the University of Southern Maine for students at schools from all around Maine.

The GMS Civil Rights Team Project is responsible for our High School establishing a Civil Rights Team. Many of our students who participated in the club activities while here at GMS decided to re-create the activities they engaged in her over there.

If you could please inform all of your advisees for the next couple of weeks about the meetings and the activities of the club, I would appreciate it.

The Hour of Code

At the faculty meeting on Wednesday, Terri Dawson, Technology Integrator of the Year Runner -up, mentioned that then week of December 8 through the 14 is dedicated to the World-Wide Hour of Code. Some of us asked the question “What is the Hour of Code and how can it help us?

Here is a short video that introduces what the Hour of Code is and how we can get involved. As I watched some of the videos available for this year, as well as video from the past and from other schools, I am struck that there is so much that our kids can do. The idea that we may ignite one student to go further in this work is a real benefit. So, here is the video from Youtube introducing the Hour of Code to whet your appetite.

Early Release Day December 10

I know this is very dangerous… but, I’ve been thinking lately! [Collective groan observed!]

I have attended a couple of EdCamps in that past year, and each time I come away with a whole new appreciation for the action of learning.

We have done something like an EdCamp here at GMS a couple of times, most recently during our faculty meeting time when we all seemed to have some questions about our new Gmail and Google Platform and how to best use it. We began the meeting with folks voicing some ideas about what they would like to learn about the Google platform and some teachers explaining how they use elements of the platform like Google Classroom or how to set up mail lists, groups etc. Then, folks stepped forward to offer to lead a group of teachers in one of those areas by showing them how they do what they do.

So here comes the dangerous part.

What if we were to  run an EdCamp for kids by kids on this day? I know there are a lot of reasons for not doing it, but I think there are more reasons to do it!

Kids would decide if they want to be “givers” or “receivers”. The “givers” would provide info or instruction on something that they have an interest of a passion, and the receivers would be like students who have an interest. It doesn’t have to be technology based. It could be about something that they collect, or something that they do outside of school, like dancing, martial arts or fantasy sports. But, it could also be tech based around coding, creating games on the computer or movie editing. Truth is, my adult brain struggles to think about what might be of passionate interest to our adolescents. One thing I do know is that many of our students have some varied and unique interests.

It would require us all to be willing to go along with the program. We could also be students for the day and learn somethings that are important to our kids.

So, here is a poll that will be completely anonymous. It will allow you to voice your feelings about something like this happening, Please take a minute to complete it.

Proficiency Based Education and Kaizen

As we continue our work towards Proficiency Based Learning, I want to keep beating the drum that this work will never be completely finished. A couple of weeks ago, I offered to the Leadership Team and article about the Japanese Philosophy of Kaizen, or continuous improvement. This particular article, written by Matthew Lynch and published in Ed Week made a great deal of sense to our LeadershipTeam as we struggle through the shift to Proficiency Base Learning. For those of you who are interested Here is a Link.

I must admit, in all of my years in private business, I had never heard of the term, let alone know what it meant! Now, however, I have come across the term a second time in a  month in an article by James Surowiecki published in the New Yorker on the November 10, 2014. Mr. Surowiecki takes the philosophy to a much greater length than the Ed Week article, much greater depth and many more examples of the idea of continuous improvement.

The New Yorker article deals mostly with teacher training and professional development, but the principle of continue improvement can easily be transferred to our work as we endeavor to embrace the tenets of Proficiency Based Learning. Her is a link to the New Yorker article. Enjoy!

Live United – United Way of Greater Portland

You all should have received a Pledge Form in your mailbox for the United Way of Greater Portland. The deadline for making your contributions and being entered into the raffle drawing for several great prizes is next Wednesday. If you are interested in making a tax deductible contribution to the United Way, please complete the Pledge Form and return otto Kristen by Wednesday morning.

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