Saturday, November 19, 2016

November Reflection: Gathering Momentum

When I first joined the What's the Story team two summers ago, I viewed the course primarily as a space--quite distinct from the traditional public school classroom--where students could pursue their own interests. To a considerable extent, that's precisely what the course is, but what's changed is my perception that the kind of work students do in WtS needs to be so different from the rest of their educational experiences. In my personal life, I go out of my way to learn about topics that interest me because they interest me. As a teacher, though, I've often been reluctant to allow my students the same freedom for all sorts of reasons. How will I ensure they choose an appropriate topic? Manage their learning? Assess them? When will we get to the rest of the curriculum? The framework WtS provides has helped make these questions seem much less daunting, because, through it, I've been able to see firsthand the possibilities that exist when students are given the tools and support to discover and inquire into what matters to them. This isn't to say that all classes should mirror WtS, but the structure of the course (which Bill and Tim have refined this year) has a lot to offer educators who wish to reap the rewards that come with providing students the freedom to explore.

Perhaps one way for What's the Story to continue innovating is to do what it's doing now: tapping the educators involved for their insight. Based on the changes made to the course since its inception, another effective way to keep improving it is to monitor what works and what doesn't and adjust accordingly. Bill and Tim have proven extremely adept at this so far. After only a single overnight weekend with students, I already have the sense that this year's course will run more efficiently than last time.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November Refelection-Learning to Fly

  • In what ways does WtS serve as a model that helps others think more creatively about how to design learning?

What's The Story gives students the opportunity to design their own learning in a way that support them when their endeavors go well and offers support and guidance at times when they need it most. WtS encourages students to be active thinkers an work collaboratively. This means that they are entrusted to build this rigorous course into their already rigorous lives. Sometimes that's not easy. However, with frequent check ins and feedback, WtS becomes part of our students' routine. They count on each other to build and grow together and they count on their mentors to hold them accountable and offer help when needed.

  • How can our WtS team bring an even more creative approach to how we design, orchestrate, and report our students learning?

I would love to see more of an emphasis placed on a creative element to the work that students are doing. As a lover and teacher of poetry, through conversation I know that many of our students express themselves similarly. I would like to see these elements have a chance to be at the forefront of what some of our students produce.


November Reflection: For What It's Worth

My title might give the impression that I lack self confidence. That may be true, but my title signals something else: I am brand new.

This simple study cottage in Norway is emblematic of how I see WtS? after experiencing it only briefly. The students and adults are invited into the warm light of seeking and learning. All too often students in our schools are disconnected from what they should be learning because they have never been asked to be part of designing and implementing what they do. They stand outside in the cold, looking through the window at the books basking in the warm light. 

WtS? As a Model

• Students design their curricula as long as it's under the overarching concept, in this case creating social change.
• Individual learners cozy up to a single topic by writing in public blogs using "I-Search" methodology. 
• Learners sort themselves in groups. (I witnessed amazing flexibility as students amended what they had thought they were going to research in order to form small groups, each of which focused on a single story.)
• Mentors work their way toward individual groups in order to help them achieve their goals.

That's as much as I've experienced thus far, but this is a lot! I cannot even begin to list all the pedagogically muscular work this evidences. Student choice. Differentiation. Coaching over "teaching." Learners at the helm... (For starters.)

What Can WtS? Do Better?

I've got nothing for you yet. I'm at the "totally impressed" stage. I'm sure that at some later date I'll have plenty of snarky suggestions.  


November Reflection: Thoughts so far


In what ways does WtS serve as a model that helps others think more creatively about how to design learning?

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of WtS is the collaboration between adults. In most educational settings, a course is taught by one teacher, though occasionally courses are team taught. However, the number of adults teaching a course almost never rises above two. WtS on the other hand seems to be a true team effort. Yes, Bill and Tim take the lead but all the mentors have important roles to play, whether it is commenting on blogs, brainstorming with individual teams or leading a short activity outside to stretch our legs. At the retreat last weekend, I suggested to Bill that each team report out on their initial planning process so that teams could glean useful ideas from each other. He took my suggestion and incorporated it into the agenda when all the teams came back together. I'm not sure this level of collaboration and trust between teachers exists in many schools today due to compartmentalism, departmentalism, and grade level silos. Thus far, the adults have done a good job modeling a high functioning team, which is key since we ask the students to work in teams. Each adult brings a unique skill set to the table and the high level of trust and collaboration we have allows for us to design learning experiences of high quality.

How can our WtS team bring an even more creative approach to how we design, orchestrate, and report our students learning?

Being new to the program, this is tricky for me to answer at the moment. However, I would echo what Ben said about required reading on the new group topics. There were some specific requirements around research when students were looking at their individual topics and I wonder if students will be as well-read on their group topic if they dropped their original topic and picked up a new one last weekend. I also wonder if there will be opportunities for feedback from the group at upcoming retreats. Will groups report out on progress and get feedback from others on things like depth of research, presentation methods, even writing conventions in blog posts or other writing?

Friday, November 11, 2016

November Reflection



In what ways does WtS serve as a model that helps others think more creatively about how to design learning?

WtS invites students to use personal experiences to engage in the process of learning. Inquiry, reflection and experimentation provide WtS learners a framework to imagine and create.

How can our WtS team bring an even more creative approach to how we design, orchestrate, and report our students learning? 

Provide space for WtS learners to develop an understanding of what matters to them, in order to imagine a life focused on what's personally important. Purposefully create opportunities to practice math and science proficiencies as measures for student learning. Move students to embody the methods of WtS by "teaching" different audiences. 

November Reflection: Stronger Together



Problem solving--the kind we need to solve our nation's and our world's real problems--takes collaboration, compromise, and maybe most importantly, a powerful, irrepressible, deep care for something larger than ourselves. I saw all of these last weekend at the first What's the Story retreat. I listened to adolescents talk with passion (and nervousness) about things they cared so deeply about: migrant farm workers, gender inequality, educational opportunities, animal cruelty, the opioid crisis. Listening to them share their research and present their plans--such lofty and idealistic and abstract plans--made me hopeful for the future, but also reminded me of the importance of teaching students the transferable skills they will need to turn these abstract plans into actionable realities.

The structure of WtS encourages idealism, but grounds it in the practical skills necessary to achieve change. Students are asked to dream, to research, to ask questions, to find answers, to seek perspectives, to deepen their understanding, and to find their place as change-makers. And as they do this, they are provided structures to support them, space to mess up, a net to catch them if they really fall, sign posts to direct them, adult mentors and blog readers to ask questions, time to discover and think, and instruction to push their skills and help them communicate. These are all provisions that could be replicated in our schools. None of these parts is all that innovative, really. The innovation is in putting them all together and trusting that students have the agency and maturity to learn beyond the traditional boundaries we set for them.

As WtS continues, we'll get better at guiding our students to dream big, but act small; we'll improve how we support their long-distance collaboration, a key to the future of problem-solving; and we'll progress in our ability to communicate what creativity and innovation and personal growth looks like. What we're all doing here feels really important. These students will find new passions and stumble on new problems they want to solve in the future, and I am confident that they are leaving this course not only feeling like they can make change, but having the skills and understandings to know how to do so.

November Reflection: Discussing Issues That Matter

Image result for socratic dialogue

  • In what ways does WtS serve as a model that helps others think more creatively about how to design learning?

For a variety of reasons, What's the Story is a functional and innovative approach to learning that serves as one positive model for how to design a pedagogical strategy that works. One reason is that it allows students to take agency in their education -- that is, students choose what they're interested in and explore topics of their own choosing. Another reason is that it then encourages students not only to consider different viewpoints about or approaches to that topic, but it requires collaboration with others who share similar interests. Moreover, WTS habitually offers students the time and space to reflect on their own learning: how do I learn, what are my struggles, what is working, and what do I need in order to be successful? Among MANY more examples of how WTS serves as one good model is that it gets students out into the community to examine real-world issues that won't just be forgotten at the end of a paper or an exam.

  • How can our WtS team bring an even more creative approach to how we design, orchestrate, and report our students learning?

I would actually qualify the question and suggest that we need to blend more traditional approaches with our creative approaches to design, orchestrate and report on our students' learning. For instance, I think there should be required reading on the topics of our students' choosing, and they should be asked to synthesize, summarize, and make arguments and counterarguments about certain reading. And the blog posts are AWESOME, but I think they could be balanced with more traditional forms of writing that we would assess. This is all to say that what we are doing now is great and creative, but I do think we could strengthen our students' "school" skills a bit more.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

November Reflection: "Getting Better All the Time"

In what ways does WtS serve as a model that helps others think more creatively about how to design learning?

For me, the greatest asset of WtS is the sheer amount of one-on-one time we get with our learners. We've all known for a long time that a huge key to educational success is that students need to feel valued and connected; however, fostering these relationships in the traditional classroom is not always easy.

With WtS, its quite literally easy to form great relationships with students because we, as mentors, are working along side our learners (as opposed to monitoring them from afar), and we therefore the moments we spend together go a very long way.

So how does this encourage me to think creatively as I design learning experiences for my students in my "traditional" classroom? Unfortunately, changing the number of students in my classes and the amount of time I get to spend with them isn't under my control. That said, WtS has encouraged me to think differently about how I interact with my students in all the other moments of the day -- in the hallways, in study hall, and in other precious times when I find the opportunity for good, unhurried conversation.  

As always, I continue to think about ways that I can balance both the standards and the values I hold dear with the cutting-edge and ever-changing ideas reflected through educational frameworks such as Universal Design or courses such as WtS. For example, I am currently working with my grade-level teaching partner at Middlebury Union Middle School to brainstorm ways in which students can respond in non-print formats to traditional print texts. (We're recruiting Tim's help in this endeavor).

Perhaps the most powerful message for teachers that WtS has to offer is the reminder that students are very motivated by choice. When provided with just the right -- and personalized -- mixture of structure, support, freedom and delicious food (and yes, it's a magical formula that requires time, space, expertise and adequate funding), students, as evidenced by WtS, flourish in ways that they never have before. 

How can our WtS team bring an even more creative approach to how we design, orchestrate, and report our students learning?


In my mind, reporting out is the trickiest aspect of WtS? My experience with teaching is that speedy and frequent feedback is crucial. With the weekly blogging phase of our course, students are getting timely and thorough responses to their thinking.


It would be tough to match the real-world skills -- especially around technology, digital storytelling and collaboration -- that students glean from WtS. However, last year, once we broke off into our separate groups, honest, effective, individualized and documented feedback seemed to wane. While I absolutely love that this course is about the learning and not the grade, we want to make sure that the rigor, quality and quantity of work matches that of the traditional classrooms from which some of these students are now absent. I don't have an immediate answer to this question, but I would like to continue to think about ways that we can separately report out on both students' progress with work habits (timelines, responsibility, active engagement, commitment, etc.) and their products. Ideally, we would do this in one comprehensive, effective document that is transparent, honest and collaborative. 

Much in the way that our new blog space streamlined students' work and brought all the personalized thinking into one dynamic yet cozy platform, it would be great if students could track their progress in one spot and if mentors had a way of contributing to this feedback.





Sunday, September 4, 2016

Erik Remsen's Opening Volley

Hi all. My name is Erik Remsen. From 2008 to 2016, I taught social studies and helped to oversee the Global Studies concentration at Rutland High School. I am now a stay-at-home dad, but I have not completely left the field of education. I am part of the ACSU Community Partnership Council and, because I strongly believe in student voice and choice in learning, I was eager to sign on as a mentor with What's the Story VT. I am excited to watch how students shape their own learning as they design and carry out their projects this year.

The highlights of my summer include hiking and camping with my 3 1/2 and 2 year old daughters, Kaisa and Maƫlle.



  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Brad Blanchette's Opening Volley

Several years ago, I retired from teaching English at Colchester High School. I taught for over thirty years, most of which were in the same room. You can imagine that leaving students was difficult, especially when I could barely remember who I was before I became a teacher.

How do I spend my time now? Well, for six months I live with my partner, Tim, on the Lake in North Hero, and the other six, in Hinesburg. I travel hardly at all. I read somewhat obsessively. I love my dog, Tadpole, more than I should. (So would you; just look at him!)

I will admit that I have never quite shaken the feeling that something is a little missing in my life since I stopped working with young people. To that end, I look forward to my role on the WtS team and to meeting students who have something to say about the world and how to make it better.

Why would my best summer memory be the time I fell asleep in my zero gravity chair while fifteen or so of my neighbors in North Hero were next to me practicing yoga? Instead of feeling ashamed of myself as I awoke around the same time they were emerging from their bliss state, I felt proud of myself. This can't reveal anything good about me, but there you have it.




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Courtney Krahn's Opening Volley


  • My name is Courtney Krahn, and I teach English at Middlebury Union Middle School.  I'm a mentor on our WtS? team.  I am most excited about working with students to develop meaningful relationships and pursue important issues. 
  • Highlights from my summer included taking a yoga class, eating all the delicious Vermont summer foods, accomplishing projects such as pressure washing our decks, lots of reading, and spending lazy stretches of time with friends and family.  One of the best moments of summer was jumping off a colleague's sailboat into Lake Champlain on a hot July afternoon.   


       

Tim O'Leary's Opening Volley

My role on this team is as Lead-Teacher, which means that I collaborate closely with Bill and develop the scope and sequence of the course, keeping an eye on the finest of details and staying focused on where we are sailing and when to readjust our course and/or our technique in getting there. It is also so rewarding to work with such wonderfully intelligent and passionate mentors who give critical feedback on what we are doing and plans for gatherings as a way to tune that trajectory. Mostly, I love the young people with all of their the struggles, energy, and intensity to see parts of their worlds for the first time and see themselves as meaningful parts of those worlds

Like Emily, I am stepping out of the classroom this year, which has been soul shaking. I have loved teaching more and more every year for 15 years, so it still confuses me, sometimes to a gut-wrenching degree, why I chose to do this. The situation presented itself, and I'm always one to try something, if nothing else... that's the most concise way I can explain why this transition is upon me. I step into a new role with our school district (Addison Central Supervisory Union, soon to be Addison Central School District) as the only Technology Innovation Specialist as I work to strengthen the capacity of educators across 9 schools to employ technology in meaningful ways and deepen their students' learning (no small task). It's all new to me and the district. It's a monumental work-in-progress.

Best summer moment: spending time with friends and family. Feet up on the beach in Cape Cod or Fenway or on our back patio: all good times to energize. For those of you who know Michael Armstrong, attending a celebration of his life at Bread Loaf was one of the more moving moments of the summer.








What excites me the most about the coming year: I really think that WTS transitioned a whole lot from year one to year two, which has set the platform for not just refined and nuanced movements in our work together and with students this year but will allow us to also compose and package ways to tell Our story for others to borrow and imitate and make their own. Already, Paul Barnwell is replicating a WTS experience in Louisville, KY during this coming academic year. I look forward to creating open-source material not just for Paul but for anyone willing to invest so deeply in the ideas of young people and give them the unyielding syntax and resources to let those ideas take shape and take off.

Emily's Opening Volley

Hi! I'm Emily, and I work at CVU in Hinesburg, and throughout the CSSU district. This will be my first year in 19 years not teaching students. I am 50% instructional coach at the high school, and 50% instructional coach at the four K-8 schools that feed into CVU. My focus is on helping the district transition to standards-based learning, a transition that is now complete (though still a work in progress) at the high school! I have been involved in WtS for 2 years, and I'm excited to be involved as a mentor again this year.

I had a great summer, and one of the highlights has been spending quality time with our dogs. Stella is getting old, so we have been enjoying every moment with her.






I'm excited to meet the new group of students and see what they are passionate about changing in the world!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bob's Opening Volley



Happy new school year, all. I'm Bob Uhl. I teach seventh and eighth grade English at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington. This will be my second year on the What's the Story? team, and, as I did last year, I'll be serving as a co-instructor this time around. Bread Loaf Santa Fe was easily the highlight of my summer, but aside from that I'd rank the hike I took to a place called Trampas Lakes. What most excites me about being a part of WTS? is the chance to work with a variety of young people from around Vermont who are interested in making real social change. Looking forward to our kickoff event at Middlebury next month!

Nate's Opening Volley

My name is Nate Archambault.  I teach at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, VT.  I will be a mentor on the team this year.  I had a great summer at Bread Loaf and had a wonderful time working with Andrea, Dixie, Tim and others in a class titled Writing and Acting For Change.  I'm excited about reconnecting with and working with young people and educators from across the state.

Casey's Opening Volley

My name is Casey O'Meara, and I am a social studies teacher at Middlebury Union High School. I am most looking forward to participating in a hybrid learning model where personal experiences are valued as "content." I am excited about learning the role of a mentor in this type of learning environment and am happy do so as part of a team. 

Ben's Opening Volley

My name is Ben Krahn, and I'm an English teacher at Middlebury Union High School. Starting my 13th year of teaching in high schools, I'm excited also to join Team What's The Story in my second year as a mentor. I'm most excited to see the topics that students choose this year. I love watching the initial curiosity turn into actual learning. Here's to the beginning of a great year!

Kicking Off 2016-2017

Welcome to Pause for the Cause: Our Team's Learning Space

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Pause for the Cause, the digital place where we--this year's What's the Story? team--will make sense of how we and our learners are doing. At certain points throughout this year, we'll pause to consider a few timely prompts to make sure we're in sync with each other and our learners. (Feel free to look back at last year's prompts / posts to get a feel.)

To kickoff this year, please follow these directions for making a post, sharing a photo, task by the end of Tuesday, September 6.

1.  Make a Post
  • To make a post, look at the upper right hand corner of the blog screen (way up there in small print)  and you'll see: "New Post." Click on that there thing. 
2.  Title Your Post 
  • Let's all go with the same format / title: "My Name's Opening Volley" (example: Bill Rich's Opening Volley)
3.  Post a Photo in Your Post
4. Write and Publish a Response to These Three Questions
  • Remind all of us, in a single paragraph: Who are you, where do / did you teach, and what's your role on this team?
  • One of your best summer moments? 
  • What  most excites you about being on this team?

If I can lend a hand, please email (redhouselearning@gmail.com) or give a call (578-9786).

Bill Rich
Director VT-BLTN

Monday, May 16, 2016

Emily's Final Reflection

Hi Everyone!

What a great year. There were so many wonderful moments and experiences, but a few of my favorites happened right towards the end of the course. First, watching the Breaking Binary group receive such incredible reaction from teachers, students, and the public was so rewarding. They were able to see how passion and hard work lead to success...and more importantly, perhaps, to change. Just yesterday someone who showed the film in his class told the story of how a student was so moved that he started the conversation he has been afraid to have with his parents for years. Second, watching the students in my group grow as learners was amazing. This is not an easy course because of the independent nature of much of the work, and I truly think the students learned more about themselves as learners than they could have in a traditional course.

Getting to know the team I mentored was the highlight for sure. The first Saturday work session, when we were in the media lab at CVU, was a real turning point for the team. We were all able to have fun, be productive, and get to know each other a little better. It felt relaxed and purposeful. Another moment which was powerful was watching our school's GSTA watch the finished film. The students were so moved by the student voices (their own in a few places) and the way the team had made some of their own struggles come to the surface.

I'm not sure this was a challenge or an irritation, but I think an area where WtS could really grow is in instruction. As a mentor, I didn't see the results of the midyear skill reflections, but I assume there were areas where each of the students could have used some real targeted instruction and practice. It's great for students to be reflective and self-aware, but if we aren't then using that information to help them improve their skills in a really intentional way, then I think we're missing a really important component of a standards-based course.

I would like to continue to be a part of the team for sure, but I need to think about the level of commitment due to family issues that will take up time and energy in the coming year. Being a mentor is a good level for me, I think, but there were certainly times when the responsibilities and time required to do things well became significant, even at this level.

I will be around this summer, for the most part!

I have been so impressed with this course, with Bill and Tim's leadership, with the students, and with my fellow mentors. This is such a cool opportunity for students (and for us), and I hope it continues!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ben's Final Reflection

1. When you look back over this year’s experience, what are 2 - 3 of your favorite things about being part of the WtS Team?
1) Friday night's "celebration" of the students' products was simply awesome.
2) Watching the growth and development of ALL of the students -- certainly some more than others -- was seriously amazing to witness. 
3) I'm not going to lie: there were moments, here and there, throughout the entire year when my skepticism got the better of me. I lost hope at times, but the kids truly followed through despite any and all barriers blocking them. This was definitely one of my favorite things. 


2. Please describe one or two specific anecdotes that convey your best experiences with this year’s WtS learners.  
During our April Saturday work session, I was at my desk in my classroom, and after an unproductive stretch of time where things were messy and inefficient, I remember one student was working diligently on a website while two others had headphones on while narrating and editing their video. I don't know why, but this was such an awesome moment for me as an educator. It was a Saturday morning and, after some initial frustrations, here were kids doing work that they wanted to do and taking ownership over their own learning.
3. What are 2 - 3 challenges / irritations of being part of the WtS Team this year?
1) I wonder if the overnight retreats could be less structured? I'm not sure if there is any way around this, but they felt longer than they needed to be. Again, I don't know if there is any way to change this, but having had a full week of school only to go and do more "school" work was tough.
2) Working with and talking to some of the students who were not 100% devoted to their topics was definitely an initial struggle. (However, as I pointed out earlier, things turned out great in the end!)

4. As we head into this summer, we’ll be looking to make an even stronger WtS Team, and we’re interested in learning whether, and to what degree, you’d like to continue with the team. In this upcoming round, we’ll have more flexibility this year to create a variety of ways for individuals--Bread Loafers and non Bread Loafers--to join our team and serve our learners. Would you like to remain on our team, and if so, please describe bullet / list the way(s) you’d like to contribute to our team?
The easiest, most obvious answer with regards to next year is "yes!" Honestly, I don't see many more important and better things going on in education than WTS. However, as of this writing, it's May 10th, and, weighing coaching and other options for next year, I'm not 100% ready to commit to next year's calendar of 4 overnight retreats and 4 Saturday work sessions. I certainly want to stay involved in some capacity, so once you've figured out what roles you need fulfilled, I'd love to consider one or more of those.

5. If you’d like to continue with our team, will you be around this summer and/or able to contribute to the refining / re-designing?
Even though I haven't definitively signed on for next year, I'm certainly willing to collaborate this summer if you're looking for input.

6. Finally, please share any lingering ideas / questions about this year’s and/or next year’s experience being a member of the WtS Team.
Awesome experience! Thanks to everyone involved!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Courtney's Final Reflection

Favorite moments from the year:
1. The day Emily and Shoshana left to interview Commissioner Flynn. The note they left on my desk at school said that they were on their way and that they were a "bundle of nerves." This moment speaks to the fun and funny times I had in general with these two students and with the entire Dispatch Cuts group. Having had each of the members of this group as traditional classroom students, it was especially rewarding for me to work with them in this unique environment. Seeing the progress that Brynna and Brennan have made in 2 years was encouraging and informative for me and for my practice.

2. Meeting and working with other WtS?! educators. In my mind, there's no better professional development.

3. Saturday, May 7th, 9:00 PM: I opened my e-mail to find a note from Emily: she wants to do WtS again next year!?!?! The tenacity of WtS students is inspiring! Today at school a teacher at MUMS complimented Emily and Shoshana on the "Honorable Mention" their group received (the teacher had seen this news on Facebook). A bunch of other kids tuned in and wanted to know all about the work. An eavesdropper exclaimed, "I'm going to do that next year!" Pretty cool to watch kids get excited about other kids' work.

4. (Can I sneak in a 4th?) The final products (I've seen three of them) are awesome.

5. (How about a 5th?) The impromptu snow sculpture/symbol activity at January's retreat still lingers with me as a very good moment.

6. ( I have more, but will stop after this) The speakers at the retreats were excellent.


2. Please describe one or two specific anecdotes that convey your best experiences with this year’s WtS learners.  

Maybe I did this a little above -- should have read all the questions before jumping in. 

Seeing how a group of 20-some-odd nervous 7-12th graders on opening day transformed into a (somewhat smaller) cohort of sub-teams, and tracing where these teams went and what they accomplished was powerful. 
3. What are 2 - 3 challenges / irritations of being part of the WtS Team this year?

1. The learning scales were well-designed and touched on standards-based skills that kids need to know. However, the use of the scales felt inconsistent to me, and although I am an adult educator on the "team," I feel in the dark about how and if final proficiency scores are being given.

2. Sharing this experience with Ben was great because we don't usually get to work together with kids (other than our own). However, this presented the challenge of having to switch off for the overnight dates, which left me feeling a bit in the dark afterwards (which speaks to the power of the overnights and how much is accomplished at these gatherings).

3. Lesson planning is a double edged sword: it's time consuming, frazzling and mind-boggling, but it's also rewarding and exciting. While it's nice to sit back and let someone else take the wheel, I wish there were a part of the program over which I had more personal ownership/collaborative freedom.

3. As we head into this summer, we’ll be looking to make an even stronger WtS Team, and we’re interested in learning whether, and to what degree, you’d like to continue with the team. In this upcoming round, we’ll have more flexibility this year to create a variety of ways for individuals--Bread Loafers and non Bread Loafers--to join our team and serve our learners. Would you like to remain on our team, and if so, please describe bullet / list the way(s) you’d like to contribute to our team?


I would like to stay involved with WtS, but I am taking a summer off from courses at Bread Loaf, so I am not sure what this means/looks like for me as a team member. I can see myself staying involved in a multitude of ways, depending on the need, flexibility and direction of the program:


-- community cheerleader (I have been selling WtS? to MUMS' 8th graders all year. This week I am showing them some of the final products and talking up the program. I've had many students say they want to pursue WtS? when they get to high school)


-- middle school point of contact (will middle schoolers be invited to apply next year? If not, is there a way middle school teachers could collaborate in tandem with WtS in future years?)


-- mentor (As I prepare to say goodbye to the students I've worked with at MUMS for two straight years, it's hard to imagine passing up the opportunity to work with them again in the future -- they're so awesome!)




4. If you’d like to continue with our team, will you be around this summer and/or able to contribute to the refining / re-designing? 


Yes.

5. Finally, please share any lingering ideas / questions about this year’s and/or next year’s experience being a member of the WtS Team.