Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hey? What's the Big Idea?

I have ideas. I have a lot of ideas. Many of them do not work out because of something called physics. For other ideas this thing called genetics gets in the way....oh and money.  The last filter for my amazing ideas is money. But for those ideas that make it through those very tough barriers they have a fighting chance at becoming something real. I will typically do anything for my ideas. I have flown across the country, re-learned biology, and bought a ridiculous amount of stuff for these ideas.

In my school model (which is bound to be different from yours) I have a student in pre-k and I have a junior in my 39 student class. They have a computer with virtual lessons for about 60% of their school-year content and then I come in and fill the gaps the virtual curriculum doesn't cover. This means on any given day I can literally be teaching a student the sounds the "au" makes and the many words you can now recognize with that letter combination. OR/AND I can be teaching independent, dependant, and controlled variables in an experiment. It is very taxing as a teacher, but I LOVE it. And while it is a lot of work to keep up with all grade levels, it is insanely rewarding to make over the top lesson plans for only 40% of the school year...not 100% of it.

Sidebar: I love capital letters. My vocabulary lacks the skill set of some of my peers to use the right words for that expression, I however use caps when showing levels of tone.

My original idea...a one room schoolhouse for the digital era. The first year was dodgy at best.  Halfway through the year I really started feeling the impact I was making socially on the kids. I have joked a few times telling people about the work I am doing, calling it my own little social science experiment. I will not list all of the crazy things I do with the kids. Like a puzzle with no box, I am hoping to reveal myself little by little to you.

I am now in my 4th year of the set-up, and have a pretty clear understanding of what the virtual curriculum can do and what I must do, because they still have to be able to pass that test in April. Notwithstanding, learning should be fun and self paced (for the most part) and I have thrown tradition out the window. The students, because I get to keep them year after year, are quite used to my antics and big schemed ideas. They were reluctant to participate early on, but like a swimming pool in early May, they are willing jump full in with me now.

I am ready and want to take this a step further. I want to expand what I am doing to a whole new level. I will not spew all of the ideas coming through my brain in relation to the next step. That would be an absolute mess. The only thing I can compare it to at this point is a shaken bottle of soda pop. If I start speaking the lid will explode off the bottle and drench you, me, maybe the old guy sitting next to you.  I cannot even say everything I want to say about it; i am in think-tank mode. But I know I will need money. I have started looking at grants and it scares the mess out of me. 

SO here it is. The reason for the post, this is the action part: Which of my readers have applied for a grant? What kind of grant did you apply for? What did you do with it?  My ideas fail, sometimes. What happens if your idea for the money fails?

Monday, March 9, 2015

#EdCamp OKC person's reflection on the top trending events of the weekend from a post EdCamp depresh point of view...

I love the the EdCamp movement. Everyone is talking about it. Whether they were at EdCampOKC or EdCampLiberty or EdCampRowan or EdCampSWCT it blew up The Twitter this weekend.
While at EdCampOKC i started getting the feeling. For those of you that were there or at another EdCamp across the nation, or if you have ever been to an EdCamp before, you probably know the feeling. As you are sharing an idea that you are using and watching people take notes Or YOU are taking notes because someone is sharing exactly what you needed to hear...that feeling in your gut and heart at the same time. That feeling of:
 "Freaking. YES!!!" There are others like me. Finally someone gets what I have been trying to do in my classroom - building - district. Finally I found a group of people that I can truly have a conversation with.  These people will not easily dismiss my ideas because the people right here are will to put in as much blood, sweat and tears as I have been putting in.  Freaking. YES!!!!!! 

This was my eighth EdCamp to attend in a year. Each time is something new. Maybe it has something to do with the organic coming together of the day's schedule, But I don't think so. I see many of the same topics on the boards each time. Maybe it's is because I am so invested in what I do and I love surrounding myself with like minded people. Maybe it's the shenanigans we pull making us the adult version of Band Camp. I was on quite a edu-high coming off the day. Now it's Monday and I feel a little like a bride the day after the wedding. I feel like I am on the long ride home after an amazing is what we call it in our family.

EdCamp is about connecting the dots. I pushed myself for this EdCamp. I wanted more, so I went beyond previous experiences and volunteered to help this time. I was an organizer. It was a way I could try to get more. But now I do I continue to get more? How do I as a giver at these conferences now get or continue to receive? How do I connect to the next dot? Is there an EdCamp 2.0? Not yet. I have been planning with Hadley Furgeson, the executive director of the EdCamp Foundation Board. We have shared some ideas on how to take EdCamps to the next level for folks that still like riding the edu-high but are not receiving at the rate they used to. Also, with my wonderful #oklaed PLN we are working on planning a new experience. Possible name that Anthony, aka @MrP_tchr came up with was OklaTalks, modeled after the TED Talks. I look forward to what this can become. All I know is I need more. I want more.