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...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday March 28:


It has been awhile. Today was the day that I was thinking to myself that the thing that will be the death of this model is not that it is not a great way for kids to learn but rather than in being flexible nothing is defined. Questions that come up for me are things like: When the schedule/attendance is flexible to allow for students to travel and play sports where is the line drawn. Today we have two students leaving at 3:00pm to go and see a movie. I think a lot about all the mixed messages that we have received this year in terms of saying that we stand for "student choice" in their learning to "wait a minute why are the kids not reading the classics and other things that they need to be prepared for their SAT test and college?" It is the constant message of "be innovative,do what you want to do, make it your own" but really just kidding you need to "get kids into a box, deliver the traditional curriculum in a recognizable way, and measure all students using the same measuring stick." Frustrating...

I feel really good about the curriculum that we have designed this year and am very comfortable talking about it to anyone that comes through. What I am not comfortable with is being held accountable for things which were not made clear to me. I am use to working at a very high level but I am also used to being held accountable by someone that has made it very clear to me what my job is. That is not to say that I have been given a simple checklist in my previous work but rather I have been given a framework and allowed to create systems based on my areas of expertise and by collaborating with other professionals.

The environment I am in this year is amazing in so many ways but expectations and what this school is all about is not clear.

What I do know for sure is this:
  • I would choose this journey again even if I knew then what I know now.
  • Students learn so much more through PBL.
  • I have learned an amazing amount of things this year.
Today was a busy day but a creative one for the students. It was nice to see them buzzing around and working on planning their projects.

Wednesday February 9


A good day. Mysterious package takes a good deal of time and after music I felt like I had completely used up my patience. I even took about 2 minutes after they left to sit quietly before going back to school. That was actually very helpful. Today we accomplished a good deal of work including our writing, mailing our package and skyping our friends in Wisconsin. I will check later to see the results of destination math and I feel guilty missing the math because of music.

Speaking of music, it went well with both older bands today. The second group did VERY well with all songs and they are progressing way ahead of schedule which is interesting as they have less overall musical experience.

We also got some work done on Social Studies for MS with the idea of using a venn diagram to compare and contrast differences and similarities between Inca and Maya civilizations.

Monday February 7


It's been awhile since we wrote on this blog. For me it is partially because I am now blogging on my PBL blog daily and partly because things have gotten extremely busy in a good way.

Today was a good day overall. Students are working on projects and they are all in different stages. This always becomes a challenge to manage. Some groups are practically wrapping up while others are still digging around and writing really high quality entries in OHpedia. It is interesting to see the quality and depth of student work. Certain students just really get into the process and create some amazing projects while others are just skimming the surface. However, what I do think is that even the ones skimming the surface will remember their content better than a traditional lesson. There seems to be something about the way that they have to interact with the content that makes it stick a bit more than the traditional style of content delivery.

I am pretty tired overall and need to go to a meeting.