With just two weeks left in school, students at Loveland High School weren’t watching the clock or counting the minutes until summer. Instead they were taking time to express the impact kindness has had in their school and community through the American Stories project. It’s been referred to as the Peace of My Mind project, exploring the impact of peace, one story at a time. We joined right in, eager to contribute. Due to scheduling, we had to jump the cue and go before other students. They were so focused on their written statements to accurately share their joyful stories they waved us on, barely looking up from their papers.
Watching these students motivated us to take a moment and reflect on the amazing educators that we have had the opportunity to see every day have a positive impact on the learning and lives of Thompson students. A culture of innovation, passion, and trust has led countless staff members to implement new ideas in educational technology and instructional design, because they will help students to succeed. Early on, this motivated us to witness these concepts in action and share them with the rest of the district and community, in order to facilitate collaboration beyond the four walls of TSD schools. What we weren’t prepared for was the flood of incredible instructional practices shared at TSD, making it impossible to do justice to the overwhelming levels of outside the box thinking of our district’s educators.
Without even recounting our previous spotlights, we’ve seen Thompson staff inspire creativity with student-centered devices, rethink Presentations of Learning with digital portfolios, use social media to model and inspire positive interactions, develop a culture of non-stop inquiry with flipped classrooms, facilitate moments of high-level critical thinking with STEM projects, provide anytime supports in digital classrooms, and give students the chance to engage with real-world experts in the field through online chats. We’ve seen first year teachers collaborate with retiring educators to re-think instructional design together through learning management systems like Schoology and Google Classroom. We’ve seen staff members from one school to another work together, on their own time, to figure out how they can best meet the needs of their students in a not-seen-before way. We’ve seen content and grade-level teams capture the successes of what they were already doing and figure out what tweaks can take it to the next level. Dual immersion schools collaborating to engage students in video calls in another language was an incredible thing to witness, and we wish we’d been able to include that story. Ah well, a great starting point for next year!
If only we could write a blog post every day, maybe we could spotlight all the inspiring ideas of Thompson educators with the district and community, but even then it probably couldn’t be done. All in all, EdTech wants to express its gratitude to Thompson staff for inspiring us, each other, the community, and our students in making learning a passionate, creative, and empowering process, helping students rise with the tools that they need to be a positive force in this changing world.
By EdTech TSD, Jeannie Sponheim & Joe Zappa