Thursday, March 3, 2016

Watching them soar!

As an educator, one of the best parts of my job is when students become the teachers.  Even better is when those students are teaching teachers.  I've seen this several times in my career thus far, from my students presenting at MACUL last year, to students presenting at district events.  Every single time I feel like a proud parent!

This past week, I experienced this again, but from a different perspective.  Mercy High School hosted their 3rd annual Tech Talk last week, a day filled with different sessions on technology in education from all angles.  I presented a session on how an iPad can become a teacher's best friend, and how to integrate technology into all areas of the school day.  My colleague, Trevett Allen, who is the director of the Innovation Hub, also presented.  He had a two hour session in the afternoon about collaboration using student expert teams.

And experts did he bring with him.

Watching the eighth graders, and two seventh grade apprentices walk into the building that afternoon, arms full of the resources they needed for their session, including one of the 3D printers, my heart swelled.  I was more excited to watch the kids present than I was for my own presentations.  And seeing the focus, determination, an excitement on their faces made it all the more exciting for me.

And I've only known these kids for six months.

But in those six months, I've been continuously amazed at what they are willing to try, to take on, to explore, to learn, to mess up, and to grow.  The shared their experiences with a level of poise and professionalism that I haven't seen in kids their age.  They prepared posters, props, and scripts.  They had activities planned and ready with supplies organized.  The organized the room to meet the needs of their presentation.  The seventh grade apprentices document the whole process.  And both Trevett and I sat there amazed.

When kids are given just enough freedom, just enough ownership, and just the right amount of support, it's astounding how high they can soar!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Not You're Mama's Caesar....

Recently, the 8th graders spent some time with Julius Caesar.  They read the whole story, cover to cover (which is more I can say for myself!) and developed close relationships with the characters.  So close, in fact, that their culminating project found them embodying the characters in a rather unique situation.....

with some very unique sponsors....

The neatest part of the unit is that the students shared their videos and podcasts with local members of SAG, and providing an authentic audience with which to share their learning.  Great things happen at Hillel!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Departures and Arrivals II

Departing is such sweet sorrow.... Unless you're dealing with the airlines!

Seriously, though. Despite the airlines messing up our reservations AGAIN, we had a smooth flight from Tel Aviv to Paris.  I happily slept through what smelled like a fairly unappetizing breakfast before succumbing to the fact that two hours of sleep was all I'd be getting.  The Paris macaroons were gorgeous!  I mean, the Paris croissants were amazing!  The Paris airport was beautiful!  They had these living walls throughout the terminal that were filled with lush green foliage. And did I mention the croissants?!  (My body is so stoked that it will once again be gluten free now that I'm home!)

There were these really neat pods for listening to music, several different video game kiosks, two adorable kids play areas, and tons of high end shopping. We spent the first three hours of our layover relaxing in these funky chairs and lounge couches before heading to the gate.  I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't. I was way too excited about the fact that I'd be home with Sparky in 14 hours or less.  It has was a WonderFULL trip, but a long time to be gone. 

The Paris to Detroit flight was l-o-n-g, but at least there were good movies and I had an outlet to plug my devices into. Lunch was interesting.  Curried chicken.  Thankfully, I brought a croissant with me!  I watched some more episodes of the Goldbergs, the Minons movie, The Pianist, and Pitch Perfect Two.  I played Minecraft most of the way home since for some reason, even being awake that long, naps were hard to come by.

Baggage, customs, all that crud went fine, and surprisingly quick!  Our driver was prompt and we loaded into hiss warm car. I literally dragged my bags upstairs, took the quickest shower of my life (yep, felt that gross from 22 hours of travel) and went straight to pick up Sparky and see my niece. My original goal was to make it till 7:30, but considering it's 6:20 and I can hardly keep my eyes open?  Good night world!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Israel Day 9: Farewell Tel Aviv

Our final morning of the trip, wrapping up an unforgettable adventure.  Today was a slow morning, a natural wind down to an over-stuffed week. My sister stayed with us last night, and was up by sunrise and out roller-blading along the beach before I was even awake. By the time she got back, We were awake and almost packed. Check out had us leaving our room by noon, but thankfully the Kellert's room had a late check out and we left our luggage there before heading out for a walking tour of Tel Aviv.

My sister showed us several different neighborhoods, each with it's own unique style and feel. We saw a really neat water fountain in the style of Agam, as well as a massive mall, before ending up at a cute little restaurant for brunch. Well, at least it was supposed to be brunch. I had a Belgium waffle that was more like dessert, but, you know. 

We then visited Alenby street and Rothschild, two areas that are very popular in the city. We saw cute boutiques and shops that were closed for Shabbat. I marvel at how everything slows down on Saturdays in Israel. Things stop in Jerusalem, but they sure slow down a ton in Tel Aviv, too. From there, we headed back to the hotel to just relax. It's been a whirlwind the last nine days, and as fun as it was, I am for sure ready for home. 

Sunset found us on the beach, enjoying one last dose of sand and sea.  Dinner was right next to the hotel, a cross between American and Israeli, nothing overly spectacular. We were all kind feeling a mix of everything- anxious to go home sad to leave, annoyed with the airlines for messing things up again..... And savoring the wonders of our adventure. 

A 1:00am flight to Paris, a five hour layover, and a 1:30 arrival concludes this adventure. Adventure. Adventure made all the more sweeter knowing my pup is waiting for me!