Monday, January 7, 2013
Moving in! The Service Leadership Team traveled to Joplin MO to work in areas devastated by the tornado. Tune in to the class blog here: http://joplintrip2013.blogspot.com/ or click the JOPLIN link on the side of the Spirit Lake Blog...
Thursday, November 15, 2012
As of Thursday, November 15th, registration is OPEN for Junior and Senior students. Many seniors are choosing the INTERNSHIP option, which will allow SLHS students amazing opportunities to partner with area businesses and professionals for once-in-a-lifetime workplace adventures. Last year's interns created website, helped to manage business, designed display cases, organized budgets and engineered roads and streets! The response from the whole town was, "WOW! SLHS students are amazing!"
Many of the January LIVE 2013 classes are already filling with eager students. The best part about January LIVE is that every class can be personalized for learners of diverse abilities and interests. That is the beauty of project based learning--if you bring your best, you won't be disappointed.
Monday, November 5, 2012
|CLICK FOR JANUARY LIVE 2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS|
Dream Big. It's a whole new world.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Spirit Lake’s first January LIVE resulted from the countless hours of preparation and tireless support that every teacher invested in the creation and implementation of new our Project Based classes. The work began last year, as teachers considered the Iowa Core Curriculum, and carefully crafted “Driving Questions” which would engage our students at the highest level of academic rigor. Many courses were interdisciplinary, and all courses were designed to allow students to solve real-world, relevant challenges using 21st century digital technologies, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving.
This past month has been a truly remarkable example of the exceptional professionalism and quality of our high school educators. We simply could not have imagined the way that our staff and students would work together to advance this initiative well beyond our wildest expectations for student engagement and achievement. Well done, Spirit Lake High School!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
For pretty much the first time ever, I heard students complain about having a snow day. When Day 14 of January LIVE was covered in a fresh blanket of 6 to 8 inches of snow, SuptSmith sent the Twitter message to cancel. Shortly after, kids starting calling the High School office to ask if they could come in to work on their projects anyway. I actually heard myself saying, "No, it just isn't safe. Get out your computer, and work from home."
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The process began two weeks ago, as the students selected lots in the housing development according to the city engineering diagrams. Two dimensional paper and pencil drawings then became virtual, 3-D images using Google Sketch Up.
Now the project is entering its final phase, as students begin the process of creating a scalar model of the homes that they have each individually designed.
The "moment of truth" arrived this afternoon when the "lots" were pieced together. As the students assembled the housing development, every measurement counted. Were the angles correctly calculated? Did the scale conversions remain consistent? Would the puzzle pieces meld together to create a seamless whole?
And the answer is, "YES!!!". The remaining few days of January LIVE will be spent bringing the project together. Student differentiation, choice and real-world applicability are certainly a highlight of this January LIVE class. One day at a time, the dream is built as students combine their creative ingenuity with their mathematical skills.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
This January LIVE class filled quickly, as students recognized an opportunity to be a part of something truly special. Travis and Kirchner enrolled in a welding class themselves this fall, in preparation for Jan LIVE.
Welding demands highly skilled craftsmanship--which our January LIVE students are learning, day by day. Take a look at the video blog page to see the kids in action!
Monday, January 9, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Thursday, December 22, 2011
- Practice tests with real ACT test questions
- Practice essays for the new optional ACT Writing Test, with real-time scoring
- Comprehensive content review for each of the ACT's four required tests—English, Math, Reading, and Science
- Diagnostic test and personalized Study Path
- Anywhere, anytime access via the Internet
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Click the link here: REGISTER NOW.
We have had an amazing student response to the first-ever schoolwide Project Based Learning adventure. The course descriptions will give you a good idea of the type of rigorous, real-world out-of-the-box learning that the whole school will explore from January 4th until January 24th, 2012. Still, to really understand how innovative these classes are, you need to talk with the teachers! Travis and Kirchner are buying plasma-cutters and signing up for extra training for their class, The Art of Welding! Toews is exchanging emails with the folks at Ancestory.com to allow our students free access to this powerful family-tree search engine. Reinking is working out the details of bringing teams to the state-wide Rube Goldberg contest. Speaking of contests, Friederich and Sierck fully expect to take the History Day team to the National Competition!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
- "The Art of Welding" -- Larger than Life Metallic Sculpting
- C.S.I. at SLHS
- The Rube Goldberg Challenge
- Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History
- Winter Ecology--Aquatic and Terrestrial Life under the Ice
- Project Runway -- Textiles for the 21st Century
- Saving the Planet -- the Science of Superheroes
- The Psychology of Marketing
Monday, September 5, 2011
The January Term is an inclusive opportunity for every teacher and every learner to experience Project Based Learning in a highly supported environment, for three weeks in January. Starting on January 4th, every learner will be enrolled in one Project Based Learning class, meeting for either 180 minutes per day (2 blocks) or 270 minutes (3 blocks) per day.
Upon first glance, the January Term schedule may look like a block schedule. It isn't!! The day is divided into four long segments to accommodate students and teachers who have unique scheduling needs (AP or Dual Credit or music classes, "shared" staff, etc.)
Every Learner and Every Teacher
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I like easy questions. But, since I am a teacher, I can give a long and complicated answer to even the simplest question! The Fall Semester, 2011 will conclude before Winter Break. December 20th is the last day of first semester.
January Term will begin on January 3rd.
As I write, we have 143 days left to get ready, according to the very cool "countdown" gadget that I added to the blog. I wonder how many days it took England to get ready for the Royal Wedding? We should be able to swing J-Term in less time, since there will be no crowds of cheering Brits, no Royal carriages and, unless Queen Elizabeth arrives, very few photographers.
That having been said, we will work AS IF we are putting together a Royal Wedding--no detail forgotten. And EVERYONE is invited (formal attire not required).
Friday, September 2, 2011
Why is “Why?” the last of the five “W”s? Because it’s the hard one, always. Why is the sun yellow? (Well, actually it is radiating white light, but the atmosphere scatters the photons, and our eyes “average” the electromagnetic energy) Why did the Tooth Fairy forget to come? (ask your Dad)
And, of course, “Why are we including a January Term into our academic schedule for next year?”
The simplest answer is “Why not?” It gives every student and every teacher an opportunity to explore a creative, hands-on, real world opportunity for learning in the coldest, darkest, winteriest month of the year. Since January contains what is considered to be the most depressing day of the year, it stands to reason that anything we can do to add a little happiness to our lives during January is a very good idea, indeed.
That having been said, some other good reasons for the January Term include:
- Project Based Learning works best in an environment that supports collaborative, student driven projects. Extended learning time, small class sizes and a wide-open world of exploration will be a part of the January Term experience for our students.
- Why now? The 1:1 Tech initiative was an absolutely essential pre-cursor to the January Term idea. How could all teachers ask their students--at the same time--to design, investigate, create, collaborate and innovate without 24/7 access to the technology? Just about every possible Mac Application will naturally become a part of our student’s work. It will be a seamless integration of technology—not for the sake of technology, but for the sake of the learning!
- We owe it to ourselves to explore PBL as a part of our experience as educators. We all know that we can read every PBL article ever written, watch dozens of PBL videos and listen to PBL lectures—but until we actually jump in and give it a try, we won’t know how truly transformational it really is. Seriously, what are we waiting for?
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Question: What is Project Based Learning?
QUOTING BUCK INSTITUTE:
- PBL is organized around an open-ended Driving Question or Challenge. These focus students’ work and deepen their learning by centering on significant issues, debates, questions and/or problems.
- PB L creates a need to know essential content and skills. Typical projects (and most instruction) begin by presenting students with knowledge and concepts and then, once learned, give them the opportunity to apply them. PBL begins with the vision of an end product or presentation which requires learning specific knowledge and concepts, thus creating a context and reason to learn and understand the information and concepts.
- PBL requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new. Not all learning has to be based on inquiry, but some should. And this inquiry should lead students to construct something new – an idea, an interpretation, a new way of displaying what they have learned.
- PBL requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication. Students need to do much more than remember information—they need to use higher-order thinking skills. They also have to learn to work as a team and contribute to a group effort. They must listen to others and make their own ideas clear when speaking, be able to read a variety of material, write or otherwise express themselves in various modes, and make effective presentations. These skills, competencies and habits of mind are often known as "21st Century Skills".
- PBL allows some degree of student voice and choice. Students learn to work independently and take responsibility when they are asked to make choices. The opportunity to make choices, and to express their learning in their own voice, also helps to increase students’ educational engagement.
- PBL incorporates feedback and revision. Students use peer critique to improve their work to create higher quality products.
- PBL results in a publicly presented product or performance. What you know is demonstrated by what you do, and what you do must be open to public scrutiny and critique.