For me, bright spots have been the times that my group has been able to get together and work together. They always want Tim and/or I to be there with them, it seems, but when they actually make it to a common space, I see them take off and get right to work. They really don't need our help once they find each other, and that's good to see.
Although they are capable and independent, one day at the Ilsley Public library I joined in with two students, and we set up an efficient strategy for scanning local media resources for names of people the kids might want to talk to. In that moment, I didn't feel like a teacher with students -- I felt like the three of us were working equally and collaboratively to investigate an interesting topic. The more we found, the deeper we dug.
One other bright spot was when I received a call from Scott Waterman, the Public Information Officer for the Vermont State Police. One of our students had been sending out e-mails to various parties, and Mr. Waterman had gotten word of a group called What's the Story? He wanted to know what we were all about and why these students wanted/needed to talk to commissioner Flynn. After directing him to the WtS? website and Facebook page, I received another call from him. He had shared our work with WCAX and suggested they do a story on What's the Story?, he said. He also said that he had convinced Commissioner Flynn to do an interview with our students who are researching emergency dispatch cuts.
Pressing question: Will my group figure out a way to work together and come together? They seem to be struggling to communicate, and I worry that they are either working in too-fragmented a state or, at times, not at all. I have lots of confidence that they will overcome this lapse and learn how to communicate with each other without an adult's prompting.
2. Upcoming Overnight
I think that this agenda is comprehensive. It will be a much-needed opportunity for my group to reconnect and get some deep thinking and hard work done.
I am especially looking forward to the overnight, as I was unable to attend the first.
I like that there is downtime after 9. For an introvert, it is important to have times of self-reflection and independent work.
3. Message to Future WtS? Colleagues
Being part of the WtS? has been a positive experience. My favorite aspect of the project is getting to work with motivated students in a new capacity. I feel like I have the best of both worlds with WtS? because I mentor students who happen to be in my traditional classroom at MUMS as well, but I get to read the blogs of students I've never taught in school. I'm surprised at how much I feel I've gotten to know my "bloggers" solely through reading and responding to their work.
WtS? has created the opportunity for interested Vermont students to engage in hands-on learning with certified teachers from around the State. I anticipate that, as this project grows, it will only become more dynamic, exciting and efficient.