Update to my friend Jim

I sent an email to my friend Jim on Friday night, giving him an update on how things are going with the collaborative project I’ve been trying to set up with my Grade 7 lovelies and the Canadian Canoe Museum here in Peterborough. It’s been a frustrated few months, which you’ll be aware of if you’ve read any of my previous posts.

But after reading it over… when I saw the things I’ve been doing laid down in print… I was surprised to see how many things I HAVE achieved! And so, I have suddenly started having a little more faith in my ability to get this project off the ground. Hurray!!!

Here’s the update I sent to my friend Jim.

Friday March 4th

Hi there Jim,

Nice to hear from you! I was wondering if you were off gallivanting somewhere. Siberia though?!?! Very very cool. I’d love to hear about it some time. And anything else going on over at the Museum.

I’m VERY happy to report that things over here have gotten back on track and have really begun to pick up.

* After 4 tries, I have finally found a blog site that actually works and loads properly here at school for the kids. We’re starting in on it for real now, and hope to make it public next week.

* The kids are in their chosen groups in class, and are busy working on becoming “experts” in their fields of endeavor. We have the 5 crews or brigades – crew’s easier to say. Video crew, Techno crew, Photo crew, Medio Crew, and Blogo crew. (Media and Blogging didn’t end in an “O”!)

* I’ve held 2 parent meetings, one a few weeks ago, and a whole group one just Wednesday night, and have garnered a fair amount of support from parents for what I’m trying to do with and for their kids,and their kids’ education.

* I’ve started educating our new principal about what I’m up to, and what I want my kids to learn and achieve.

* The Literacy coach for our school has become interested in what I’m doing, and has asked if she could be part of our “team”.

* We’re painting the north canoe on the wall outside our classroom over the March Break. One of my students’ parents owns Colour Your World (nice coincidence, eh?) and he is giving us the paint and supplies. Unfortunately the teacher down the hall is deathly allergic to all kinds of things — almost died 2 weeks ago from severe asthma attack where breathing, heart stopped — so I hope to get the main canoe(s) painted over the Break, and then the finer detail on a weekend afterwards.

* I may have mentioned this before, but I ended up sitting beside the educational contact for Apple Canada AND the next day, the educational director for RIM and Blackberry at the conference I went to last fall. So the parents are helping me put an application to Apple together for technology for our class — sometimes they even supply a whole class set of iPads or iPods; and we’re really hoping for the 10 “devices” to come through from the lady at RIM.

* I won an amazing $200 dollar-value year subscription to the EdTech UnConference by attending a 18-hour international social media conference from the comfort of my bedroom. It was phenomenal, and the group who put it on runs the EdTech site, which provides over 500 hours of video tutorials on everything under the sun, PD resources, webinars, live conferencing, etc. etc. etc. A very cool win for me — I suspect they may have decided to award it to me because I stayed up (and awake) right until the very end. (-;

* We’re following 2 scientific expeditions in class — polarhusky.com, a group of U.S. scientists travelling by dogsled going north around Alaska, over to Russia and back, and continuing along the Arctic coastline almost to the Yukon border — and Gobi2011.com, a group of Danish scientists walking across the Gobi Desert from May to July. Kids are psyched about those too.

* Starting to Skype and Elluminate with classes around the world — US, Sri Lanka, and Jordan next Wednesday for World ReadAloud Day.

* Best of all (saved the best for last), the principal walked in at the start of my parent meeting on Wednesday, announcing that she had just opened an email from the Director of Education congratulating me on having my technology project proposal to the Ministry of Education selected — along with a grant of $8225! The Ministry has a program called the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program which funds PD and resources for teacher-initiated projects. It doesn’t cover equipment or technology, but I’m really hoping we might be able to get some from Apple and RIM for that.

* And now it’s the weekend, and I get to do what I want. (-:

Looking forward to talking with you again, hope all’s well with you!
Time to schedule a visit over there with my kids,



About Cathy Beach

Recently retired elementary teacher and outdoor educator in rural Ontario, Canada. My Olympic Journeys may be over, but they lead me into some very exciting adventures with teachers and kids and the world of connected learning...
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