HIghlight 1. What a difference 24 hours make. When I first arrived just 23 hours ago, students were locked into their range of devices breaking focus to talk to only those they knew. Now, the groups have morphed and morphed again, welcoming new members both shy and confident. Students tackled an assortment of tasks set for them by Tim. They also began to form the personality of their groups; I watched in my group as three particularly strong high school students both encouraged and kept tabs on the middle school students who are working in their group as well.
Highlight 2. Last night's slide presentations from students touched my heart. The unifying theme of improving our communities and the intensity these students brought to their topics shone bright. This project gives students the mechanism to put their voices forward. Through learning how to create documentaries now, I can only imagine with maturity what kind of change these kids can create. I was talking with Brennan during dinner (I had been reading his blog before this gathering.) While I gushed about the overall maturity of this group, he rightfully pointed out that the kids here are not necessarily typical. This is true; I think the gift of this experience will then have an even greater impact down the road.
Top three "Ah-Has"
Tim has amazing resources about filming videos which I can steal for my work at Hunt.
The mixture of high school/middle school provides a natural mentoring opportunity.
The blog preliminary work prepared the students for a rich conversation when they formed their groups. I was impressed also by the grace the students displayed when they let go of "their" projects to search for a common project.
Three "I Wonders"?
How would this exact project work with more disengaged/disadvantaged/lesser proficient students?
How will the group dynamics "sugar out" in our group about DCF as deadlines and the real world seeps in?
How do I take this weekend back to my own Hunt students (in addition to stealing Tim's work.)?
This work is so Bread Loaf. This is evident by the strength of student voice and choice, the reliance on writing to reflect and learn and the presence of Bread Loaf teacher/students who epitomize a sense of craft, diligence and questioning about their teaching practices. I do believe this portfolio-based,
student-initiated learning could be replicated in a typical school; I do wonder how it could happen without quality professional development and teacher buy-in.
This was a physically perfect place for our work. Lots of attention to detail to make all feel welcomed and comfortable. Even though we did not have time to work together as teacher groups, we had lots of informal time to talk about our work. I feel really fortunate to hang out with both the students and the teachers who are here. Thanks too to Bill, Tim and the magical funders who let this weekend happen so gracefully.