A growth mindset can be described as someone "believing that their talents and abilities can be developed through passion, education, and persistence." -Dr. Carol Dweck
So it's 12 a.m. and I should absolutely be going to bed right now, but I cannot stop thinking after the whirlwind of an amazing learning experience.
When making this blog we couldn't really decide what "lifestyle" should mean. Do we include personal things, or just stick to literally the categories we thought we could fit our activities into? Teaching is something I'm passionate about, I'm a continual learner, and I like to be flexible and try new ideas. Again, it's late, I'm going to ramble....sorry for that but it is a big part of my life.
This experience of observing such a forward thinking school was just so meaningful I just had to share.
So some background information:
Our principal wanted to try something new, to make learning more meaningful, where subjects aren't separate but connected. So, our school is piloting a new program using the strategy of project based learning (PBL) and had found ideas from High Tech High School in California. We watched their videos, researched about them, but wanted to actually see the school in action to really set goals and create a plan to achieve them. I don't think any of us truly expected what we observed, seriously, it was amazing. If you're interested I linked the page to all their schools here! We went to the Point Loma location.
Anyway, we flew from PHX to San Diego at 7:30 in the morning and our day began! P.s. this whole adventure was constantly filled with team building moments, like learning who are not morning people, or who goes to bed at 8 because they wake up at like 4 in the morning....again, sorry for the tangents!
We spent the rest of the day walking around Seaport Village and the Gas Lamp District, discussing ideas for the new program, eating together, and just learning more about each other. It was a really cool experience to spend time with this team away from work, and actually not talk about work the entire time!
In the morning we ate breakfast together and then went to spend our day visiting the school. I felt like I was on a college campus with how it was set up. The schools are all in walking distance from each other, they have elementary, middle, and high school, plus the media arts middle and high school. Oh, did I tell you this is a public school that is basically a lottery to get in? I just can't even comprehend that these kids desire to learn in this environment so much, they wait on a list just hoping their name gets pulled! It's an open campus style, kids are all over and move freely (yes there was still some structure to their schedule!) between rooms and buildings. It was so amazing to see the level of trust between teachers and students and hear how they establish this culture for learning. I was able to sit down with students during their work time and they freely answered my questions about their usual day, how they felt about the work, and the transition from the "traditional style school" to what they are doing now. I had kids politely invite me into their classroom saying I was welcome to join, or explaining their projects and what teachers to talk to because they created them. At one point we had a phenomenal, authentic conversation with 6th graders who were so honest and enthusiastic about their answers you would have thought they were in high school. They were honest though and told us positives and negatives we could take away to prepare us for our program.
I could go on and on, but after all my rambling I just have to say I feel rejuvenated about teaching and this upcoming year. This will be my 6th year at my school, I love the subject, but coming up with a different way of teaching is always a challenge with math. I flipped my classroom this year, tried (and failed) with projects and activities, and tried to grow as much as possible, but it was hard. I'm so excited to be able to work with this team and have their support so that I can be a part of projects across the different subject areas (like building catapults with social studies or making rockets with science).
Honestly I know this was more like me dumping my thoughts but I would love to hear if you've worked at, visited, or even attended a school like this. I just want to continue to learn and grow to be the best teacher I can be, and that doesn't happen without learning about others experiences and ideas.
Far and few between we like to get out as much as we can. Here are some of our travel experiences we want to share with you!
Adventuring is the best, and we only hope to share and gain new ideas of places to go and things to see!