The Grand Finale!

Hard to believe how quickly Summer A passed. On the Topic of the Day board, we wrote three words to describe our GRS Summer A experience.

Topic of the Day-my favorite may be Ryan’s “KaBlam”

Since this was also a Science Seminar day…here is an important recap of that portion of our gathering:

  • Summer B schedule-11:45-12:45 Monday (before 486)
  • Things to keep on our “to do” lists:  Safety Essay; DKP; and Addendum to chapter 2
  • Two short Lake Ontario news articles were assigned to be read before the first Summer B seminar as well as some facts findin to be done about Lake Ontario
  • Looking ahead: Book talks in Spring seminar-as soon as you settle on a book, share the title with Jo Ann; edTPA (one of the many tests required for certification)-should do a test-run version in November; Portfolios (due the second Monday in August, 2015).

487 started with the usual “As you enter” assignment.  This day’s: hand journals to instructors; post your meta map for review.

Team Earth Science: investigated turbidity along the Genesee and wondered if their findings could be used to inform the public and possibly change public opinion of the river.

Team “J”enesee investigated water quality from a bio-chem perspective, wondering if patterns could be found with respect to pH, temperature, and bacteria counts along the river.

Team Physics-went to the same spot in the river every day for two weeks looking for trends they could find in river quality and color

Team Biology-took samples from various points along the river and at the beach at Charlotte; they brought the samples back to the lab and fed them with various concentrations of plant fertilizers; they were testing the affect of the concentration of nutrients that flow into the river along with runoff on bacterial growth in the river

After the meta maps were posted, the cohort was instructed to get one of those small rectangles of paper Jo Ann is so fond of having us use, go on a Museum or Gallery Walk of the maps, noting three features that are worthy of “stealing”.  Tiarra thought that each map had unique and creative aspects; Jess posed a question about the meaning of a word spotted on the Team Earth Science map (geomorphology)… a lively conversation ensued with all of the Earth Science folks chiming in (but what I felt most meaningful … Jess felt comfortable enough to ask the group for information… as a course instructor, I felt that was a good indicator, that we had set up this class room as a safe place, where students knew they could ask for clarification without fear of judgement); Team Physics was given “props” for their initial model and their use of pockets that held materials that could be removed from the map for closer inspection; Team Chem was given a nod for their creative title; Kaitlin thought it was brave that folks drew right on their maps.

The share-out merged into a conversation prompted by this question..why do you suppose we asked you to steal ideas from other maps?  …next class, they will be completed by the campers, and in the fall class, by STARS… which gave the instructors the opportunity to drive home this point, one more time:  it is so important to not only do and experience the work your learners will be doing BEFORE assigning it, it is also important to think about the tripping points that arise while you are trying it out in order to be prepared for those issues when asking learners to do the task.

Before we started the rest of the agenda, we paused for snacks… this version of Warner Biscuits included:

Oreo Minis

AND… Oreo Mini stuffed brownies:

Oreo stuffed brownies– a recipe suggested by Jo Ann’s niece, Danielle, who claimed they were a must! She was right.

We also had Warner Spread (roasted red pepper humus), baby cut carrots, white cheddar cheese and wheat thins (the popped version) and two fav selections of chips:  Salt and Vinegar and BBQ…. a veritable feast!

Equipment was checked in; recognition was given for a successful Collaborative Conversation; highlights of the Final papers were shared: Team Bio for not only the inclusion of the applicable standards (state, Framework, NGSS) but bullets under each sharing “the how” each related t the study; Team Chem for reporting the unusually high E. coli counts found at one location along the river; the information was shared with a county health investigator, who asked for the exact co-ordinates of the collection area, and said he would check a map of sewer lines in the area and determine if there was a leak; Team Earth Science-for the acknowledgment… an important reminder of the ripple effect of each individual’s efforts!

To start off the class discussion, everyone, instructors included, were asked to fill in/add to the following diagram:

Integrating Science and Literacy

We shared what we had written and added the ideas of others to our own writings, after all, science is collaborative!

Sean recapped the learning accomplished in the course by citing the responses listed on the summary pages from a previous class.  Mike made a passionate speech about the foundational work done in this class and the work necessary to succeed as a leader of learners.

We took a moment to write down one item to share about our last reading (an article written by our fearless leader on blogging)…these were some of the shared thoughts:

  • Ceb: “blogging as a way of moderating growth over time as you develop as a professional resonated with me”
  • Alanna: “I am torn about the public nature of blogs, not sure about the impact on my ability to get/keep a job”
  • Ryan: really liked the meta-cognition aspect of blogging; he thought that blogging not only made him go back and review what he had done, but it made him think more about what he was thinking while he did those things
  • Tiarra: Miss Frizzle’s musings… if there wasn’t an audience, would she have continued the practice of blogging? made Tiarra think of the value of Collaborative Conversations and how important it was to not only have an audience for her work, but to be a collaborator as well.
  • Kaitlin found it important that Miss Frizzle was able to build a community of like-minded folks who were also passionate about growing as a professional.

Jo Ann concluded the discussion with offering sincere thanks for the building of this community of learners. Mike gave instructions about course evaluations. The instructors left the room while the cohort got a chance to let us know how to change/modify/improve the class… that feed back will be used!  Meliora….ever better!

As a final entry, I offer this drawing done by Mia… on the way home from Collaborative Conversations, we were all treated to a double rainbow…

Mia and Jo Ann enjoying the rainbow

A message from Mia that is echoed by Jo Ann, Sean, and Mike... thank you for a great class!

A message from Mia that is echoed by Jo Ann, Sean, and Mike… thank you for a great class!

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1 thought on “The Grand Finale!

  1. PRO TIP: Well, not from a pro, but from someone with 20/20 hindsight. Portfolios seem like they are a million miles away. There are approximately 10 billion things to do between now and August 2015. HOWEVER, create yourself 10 sheets of paper: one for each section of the portfolio. RIGHT NOW. Seriously, go do it now. Every time you complete a blog post, paper, assignment, lesson, anything…add its name to the sheet of paper that it best fits with. DKP? Write “DKP” under Section 1, content. Ditto to your river investigation papers. Don’t forget about smaller assignments, too, like Blackboard posts for non-GRS classes. It seems obsessive, but I wish so badly that I had done it as I was going through the program instead of frantically trying to remember everything that happened a full year later. Good luck! Congrats on a successful Summer A!

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