Tuesday, May 17, 2011

PD Day of PLAY - Take 2

Last school year (October 2009) we ran a High School Professional Development Day called the PD Day of PLAY, where PLAY was an acronym for Passionate Learning About You. It was a scaled down version of the IB-MYP Personal Project based on the readings of Dan Pink and Sir Ken Robinson along with John C. Maxwell and Todd Whitaker. Teachers had the day to explore an area of Singapore, investigate a problem they wanted to solve or create a project ... all on their own schedule for the day. Teachers wrote and recorded music, some just wrote, they learned software, some explored the far corners of Singapore, a couple kayaked, one learned a new art, one worked on her Mandarin and a few experimented with some new recipes. All in all the feedback was positive. So much so that I felt I need to share the success of the day at the IBO Conference in March 2010.

My Prezi for the IBO presentation in March 2010 and staff reflections from the first PD Day of PLAY:

But as this school year developed and I wanted to run another PD Day of PLAY, something just didn’t sit right with me, I was one of the kayakers, there were two of us. There were three aspiring chefs, but the rest of the staff chose to work in isolation. Don’t get me wrong, they did some amazing things. But as an educator in the 21st Century, I can hear everyone screaming “collaboration” from the top of the internet satellites. That along with my recent ADE 2011 experience, where sharing and learning together were consistent themes ... I felt I needed to address this.

So on May 17, 2011, the basic idea was the same, full day, do what you’re passionate about. But we ran through some exercises (thanks to Rebecca Stockley) that engaged the staff in finding out more about each other, exploring common ideas and forming groups. The reflection at the end of the day was different as well. The groups had five minutes to present their findings to the rest of the staff. Here’s what came out of the day:

1. A emotional day of volunteering at an old age home

2. Photography and camera work at Jurong Bird Park

3. Writing and recording an original score

4. Creating a movie of the people of Singapore

5. Learning Yoga and biking the area around the new campus

6. Individual challenges with photography around Singapore

7. Exploring Kent Ridges Park, Science Centre and the Asian Civilization Museum

8. Learning new software

9. Risk Analysis and Golf ECA inquiries

Staff reflections on PD Day of PLAY - Take 2 are in the comments below:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

MYP Personal Project Exhibition

Today was the big day for the grade 10 students to present their Personal Projects to the rest of the school and to the parents. The students had a choice of "displaying", "discussing" or "demonstrating" their projects and they have done a great job of all three!

This is a day I've come to love because I get to discuss the students passions with them. They speak eloquently and knowledgeably about a wide range of topics. Today, I learned about making a computer, Foot and Mouth disease in Korean farm animals, wakeboarding tricks, the battle of Normandy as seen through Google Sketch-up drawings. I spoke to a student who researched child soldiers and then wrote his own short story. I saw students dance, play their own musical creations using software, perform their own musical scores, one with a Chinese guzheng and another with harp, who incidently, also sang!

Thank you to Mr. Mark Patton for overseeing the entire process from start to finish as our Middle Years Programme Coordinator. He has again raised the bar for the current grades 9 for next year's exhibition. Thank you to all of the teacher supervisors who supported the students in completing their projects, edited their personal statements and monitored the displays. It has been the efforts of many that have made today a success.

But the biggest thanks goes to the students who have put in countless hours following their passions and creating the projects that we saw in today's exhibition.


Monday, May 2, 2011

How Social Media is Changing University Admissions

Thanks to David Warlick (2¢ Worth) and his new Infographic-a-day Blog.

There was one that particularly caught my attention.

Here's the Infographic (click here for a larger version):

I think you'll agree, the simple answer is ... yes it can, both positively and negatively. As the last stat indicates, students can also find out information about potential colleges and universities as well.

Teacher Advisors will be asked to discuss the data in this infographic over the next week with their classes, I encourage the same discussions at home.