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 30, 2010


Thursday September 30-


Today was nice because we are done with the standardize testing. It really brought me back to what I enjoy about being here. I started out with a bunch of students brainstorming ideas for our Costa Rica trip mission statement. The students came up with some good ideas which later in the day morphed into some really powerful mission statements.

First work block I was suppose to work with elementary students on math. However, when I got to their room they were working on projects which they indicated to me that they were suppose to continuing doing so. I did learn a little later that they were suppose to suspend project work when I came in and do math but it all worked out. We started math at the end of the block and finished it before lunch.

During lunch Randy and I had a discussion about the direction of the school and our roles within the process. There seems to be some disconnect between what we are doing with the kids, our backgrounds and the product that the director wants. Randy set up a meeting to discuss the disconnect and better communication.

Planning time was fairly productive. Mira stayed to work on catching up and I worked on looking for literary response prompts and information on how to write a good literary analysis paper. This information will be shared with the high school students next week after they have selected their books.

After the students came back from tennis the fun work began. We all looked over the mission statement brainstorming and worked in pairs, groups or individually to come up with our Costa Rica Trip mission statement. Here is what they came up with:

Kylie:OH Institute is traveling to Costa Rica to learn about other languages, help the lives of others, and learn about other cultures.

Leah and Mira:
"To immerse ourselves in the unique culture and language of a different country while enriching the community, experiencing new adventures, and conserving the environment at home and in Costa Rica."

Hunter and McKenzie:OH Institute is traveling to Costa Rica to immerse ourselves in other cultures, to learn more about the language, and to give back to other communities through conservation and education.

Mitchell:"We are going to Costa Rica to immerse ourselves in different cultures, to help the locals and to work on our Spanish."

Davis: To learn and experience new things.

Elementary sent me some powerpoint slides: http://docs.google.com/a/oh-institute.org/present/edit?id=0AU4Tckp9O_WRZGY3Mjhyc3BfMzFmMnJ3cHpmaA&hl=en

What I really like best about OH is moments like these. When students form groups together based on a common mission and create. They create really good things that capture what we are doing. We are working together to construct our learning with the world as our classroom.

The students enjoyed sharing their mission statements out and I think we came up with a good one that combines all of the ideas:

"OH Institute is traveling to Costa Rica
to immerse ourselves in the unique culture and language of a different country while enriching the community, experiencing new adventures, and learning about environmental conservation at home and in Costa Rica."

All in all a great day of learning at the OH institute.

Daily list 9/30/10:

8:00am student fundraising meeting to work on our mission statement
Elementary project work
Contacted Chef Nelson to confirm our visit tomorrow.
Brain break
Elementary Math
Community time: FLVS letter, Chef Nelson, Mission Statement work
Elementary mission statement
Clean up
Community time-sharing of mission statements
Condensed mission statement with Randy after school
Met with Tim and Russ to go over website after school
Wrote reflection

The morning was productive with hs and ms working on FLVS classes. The elementary did some inquiry early and then switched to some math lessons. During PBL time, second block, we had some strong progress on the new round of middle school projects. Davis, Mitchel and Mason are particularly interested in the Red Panda and they did some work with Mr. Russ on how to get a movie-like slide show that plays for an audience. Alyssa and Hanna are continuing their work on their Costa Rica project and have decided to construct an advanced symbaloo page. We contacted symbaloo to figure out how they got pictures to go across all tiles and we are waiting for reply.

On the HS side, we went through their project up on the board and realized we in fact do have some errors that need correcting. Most were grammatical errors and a couple of broken links. We then sent these projects to experts, which were surprisingly hard to find with hybrid cars. Some chose mechanics, others writers or articles on pollution and others.

After tennis, I was in a meeting with Tim so the students put on channel one and watched that with Amy.

The afternoon was spent on catching up on FLVS as well as writing a mission statement and sending and email to their FLVS teachers to explain what we do here. After cleaning, we got a chance to share our mission statements.

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