For me, one of the most moving presentations was by the 4th Wall Kids company. They provide theatre and dance to students with special needs. Their philosophy is that students can develop social and communication skills through the arts. However the most important piece is having them be part of a community who lifts them up, gives them voice, and raises their self-esteem. Then they had some of their students who had down syndrome come out and sign a beautiful song. I thought it was really amazing. I wanted to take a video, but I really wanted to be a 100% present in that moment so I didn't. I'm sure you can see a recording of the TEDxDetroit event if you Google it. It's worth it.
Also, I have to mention how magnificent the Fox Theatre is. Here are some shots (above and below) so you can get an idea of the space if you've never been. We were lucky enough to get on stage and see what the presenters saw all day. A little bit scary, but I can see how exhilarating it could be to perform in front of thousands of people.
At the end of the day, I was so happy I went and was able to experience this with four amazingly awesome students. I say this quite a bit, but I do feel very lucky to work with such talented individuals every day. When I was driving home it dawned on me that it's possibly experiences like these that students will remember the rest of their lives. It won't be the lectures they listened to or the tests they took. The papers they wrote. The chapters they read or the slide shows they watched. It will be the learning experiences that teachers have created for them. It will be the projects they did. The hands-on interactive activities. It will be the teachers they had and the challenging, fun, learning experiences that were provided for them at Royal Oak High School. This is what they will remember.
"It's not about working harder. It's about working smarter"
Let's work together and create innovative learning experiences for students! Great day to be a raven... every day. : )
It was a quick sign-up and an even quicker day. My friend Tim Foreman at the middle school told me about Google's Expedition program that he signed up for. Google Expeditions is Google's push into education with virtual reality 360 views of unique places to pair with lessons. The sample expeditions primarily catered to ELA, Science, and Social Studies subjects, however it was interesting to see some career focused education expeditions that followed the day in the life of a professional in a specific job role. I can only imagine the expeditions will keep getting better and better.
I didn't think we would get chosen since Google had a very small window of time that they would be in the Detroit area, but I thought, might as well give it a go and see what happens. So, I signed up and within a couple hours a representative got back to me saying we could be part of it, but needed 18 unique classes scheduled by the next day.
It seemed impossible, but I went door to door in order to get some risk-taking volunteers. I got over a dozen willing participants within a couple hours, created a schedule and we were ready to go!
There were some hiccups, but the students and teachers who participated thought it was a pretty worthwhile experience. Fieldtrips without leaving the building. How cool is that? Some students went to holy Jerusalem, others checked out different biomes, ELA went on a tour of London and Earth Science went to the moon!
Thanks to all the teachers who participated in the event. Thank you for being risk-takers, for coming in early and for your patience through the process. You guys are the best. : ]