Welcome to our blog

This is the story of two educators on one journey. Each day we will record our reflections on the process of being involved in an innovative educational environment. The decision on our part to leave the public education system was deliberate due to our growing frustrations over the factory "one size fits all" model of education. This model has dominated the educational landscape and is not designed to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. Step one in our journey was to find a place that would allow us the freedom to break out of the system. We needed a chance to just breath and facilitate learning in the ways that we both know are best for children. That step has led us to Rosemary Beach Florida to work with the students attending the OH Institute. The OH Institute is a unique educational environment that we find humane. The curriculum focus is on the individual learner with an infusion of technology project based learning. Currently, it has 20 students in grades 4-11 all of whom are seeking something different than what the factory system of education has to offer. This is where our adventure begins...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Tuesday September 21

Today was a nice day in terms of feeling like OH is working. The parent meeting was reinforcing of the fact that we have support and that they are on board. i also like that they are having a voice in what happens at OH.

Right now it is 9:23pm and I am tired in a good way. I feel like today was a day where we are having healthy conversations as a community. It is great to hear parent concerns but also hear the same parents offering solutions to their concerns (mainly over the cost of the trip).

Things that worked today:
  • Wow! The middle school duo of Hannah and Alyssa rock. They finished their project complete with contacting an expert in the U.K. ad also presented it in front of all the parents.
  • It was also nice to connect with Sara in South Carolina to hear her successes and frustrations with her group. We share some of the same dilemmas and I feel like we can help her with strategies. Randy is really figuring the balance out at this point. One of the things that takes a lot of time and energy up front is giving students the skills to be autonomous so that in the long run the facilitator has more time free to spend with students and projects as needed.
  • Parent meeting: went well I am excited about working on fundraising for the trip.
Daily List:
Community time: Chef Nelson, Writer’s conference, coming on time, design swap
Checked in with Hunter about what she is working on today (oral at 2:30)
parent concern over costs of trip
ilearn to follow up on getting Sara in the system
sent Sara an email to let her know that she would be set up today
Tim: writer’s conference, netrakker log in
Called and left messages for Todd and Stacey at ilearn to follow up
Talked to Stacey at Ilearn to get Sara set up
tried to log in to netrakker and could not do it
brain break
sorted through ITBS and made sure that we had enough booklets and answer sheets
logged on to netrekkar and looked at HS and MS language arts things
11:30-12:00 talked to Sara Carey about:
language arts
balancing instruction for multi levels
time management
documented the facilitator’s process week #4 PBL
Planned a community builder
updated week #5 to include current plans for community builder
worked on parent meeting:
cleaned up my role in the agenda section
slide show
Planned with Randy after school:
went over agenda and prepped for parent meeting
planned for tomorrow with Randy-since I will be out
updated document: week #5
parent meeting
At home:
Reflective journal
parent email to set up meetings

Big day here at OH today. We had our first complete, beginning to end, project done and will be presented tonight at our parent meeting. We contacted experts from all over the world and did a one on one interview with an expert in England. The project topic was the Sea Hare, a weird creature we came across on our first field experience. The students working on the project come from elementary and middle school. What a great job well done.
Elementary finished their main steps to completing their project on carnivorous plants. They spent some time finding experts and will compose emails tomorrow or even contact experts. I'm looking forward to their completed work. We are also planning a writing prompt this week to see where all of the kids are in their writing process.
High school began to move into step 3 today with some more research involved with hybrid cars. They are putting together a choose your own adventure type of project like the middle school group where the reader can choose which part of the project to view. Neat idea.
Middle school has one half of the project done today. Some members were still finishing the sea hare project and will catch up tomorrow. We will post this project to a popular tarantula online community to see what they think. We will likely encounter many comments and ideas from having so many people view it. We are excited. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

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