Weekly Wrap-up: Anticipating Challenges

It’s been a short week at Innovation Lab – our high school had a half day Wednesday and midterms on Thursday and Friday. A few thoughts from early in the week:

1. Making our model work within our high school’s rotating block schedule proves to be as challenging as anticipated. We’re drawing up hypothetical groupings and rotations that work for us and have bounced a couple ideas off of guidance counselors to get their take. It continues to be a fun and empowering process. A lunch discussion raised the point that we are five subject area teachers who value various parts of our own disciplines. Creating a next-gen learning environment that’s ideal for students may not include all of our favorite activities all the time, but our discussions this week reflected our own need to compromise and adjust as we develop what students are actually doing. The question “are we doing x for the sake of being different or because there’s a value add for students?” is important to keep in our minds.

2. Mark Hines at Mid-Pac’s eXploratory continues to be a mentor for us in this process. We video chatted Tuesday for nearly an hour before he had to run out to a metal shop to get material for the electric bikes his students are building. Listening to the bike project’s year-long arc is fascinating. The science, math, and environmental impact of the project engages their students in a way we hope to accomplish with Innovation Lab. He offered math-specific advice and explained the frank realities they face walking the line between applied and theoretical math. The highlight? His talk about their community. The camaraderie of the group is developed by carefully thought out norms and habits of work. We do this in our classrooms now, but the group effect is exponential.

3. Mike and Brian will be posting during High Tech High’s Winter Residency next week. Look for posts and resources we find along the way.

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