Today, along with 12 students, 2 teachers and the Clariden School Community, I was able to realize a 20 year old dream: a school program that actually engages students, meeting them where they are and challenging them just enough for them to have to stretch into the learning. We opened the Global Strengths Program today. By 9:30 AM, the students were up and active in Office 365, our community platform; by 11:00 they had learned Prezi and were on their way to making their first nonlinear presentation introducing themselves to their classmates; when it came time to take a break, we had to coax them to turn away from their work.
“I have been here since 5:00AM waiting for you.” Mr. Samson told the students at morning meeting. They admitted being up early, too, excited and ready to start the program.
Each student has a MacBook Pro and soon will have their own bean bag chair. Today we discussed personal space, trust, the balance between freedom and responsibility and the importance of keeping up their blood sugar. After lunch, students completed a strengths discovery inventory, a learning styles and an interest inventory. These will go on their student profiles and serve as guides for our projects. Personalized learning is key to our success.
We don’t have homework, but I was asked early in the day, “Can I continue to work on this at home tonight?” We don’t have bells or silo-ed subjects to attend . Instead, we have problems to solve and questions to ask. I just heard a student say, “Wow, it’s already 1:30!” as though time had flown by. That is exactly what happens when people are energized; they lose track of time. I think we’ve developed something pretty unique and special here. I will be sharing our work and our insights in this blog for our first year. I hope you’ll follow us on our journey!