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...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday January 21

Another busy day with project work. It was amazing to see how each of the students are reacting tot he structured projects. Interestingly enough the ones that say that they do not understand PBL or know what they are working on are the same ones that are fighting against the structure. It is like they want to not have structure to allow them to have the excuse of not understanding the work. Once they get the structure they have to work and they fight against it. One student literally had Randy or me checking on him every fifteen minutes because he did not want to work.

The middle school wiki is starting shape up very nicely in terms of presentation. It looks clean and has good information on it. I do worry about plagiarism and am going to suggest to Randy that we do a mini lesson on not cutting an pasting things into the writing(unless they are quotes and cited correctly).

I am concerned about some of the high school groups. One group in particular is having personality issues. One individual in the group had conflicts with his last group as well. Two other groups are looking like one member is working on their portion of the project while the second member is sitting back and not doing too much. I am going to look into helping all of the groups navigate working together productively. One step I think I am going to see if Randy agrees with is a mini check in with all groups first thing on Monday. That will allow us to "see the work" and see who is working on which pieces. Another idea might be to have a critical friends protocol in place to view the work once it is finished. I wish that I had thought about having the groups set up some norms for working together before we actually started the project work. This is something that I want to add to future projects. The last idea that I have in this arena is to have them rate themselves and their partner privately. This might help us gain some feedback into how they are feeling and where we need to support them in their work.

Overall project days are really flying by quickly!

Productive day today with projects. I had the Mysterious Package group re-organize their blogs so that the tabs are subject specific. I hope this will help with organization and finding work as well as serving as a more efficient digital portfolio. Today was also the last day for the Florida Five and that will greatly change the dynamic for the students in terms of music, social and academic work. This will likely have it's own set of difficulties, but at the same time, provide opportunities for leadership with new students.

I worked with Mason on his project planning form and I think that I can be a big help in simplifying the process to make this OHpedia less daunting. I think the project will give the students a feeling of accomplishment when they are done.

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