Day 75: T Shirt Cannon Robot

Friday, 11 December 2015

So our football team made it to the state championship game for the first time in 37 years. That means the school-wide pep rally was the perfect time to unveil our t-shirt cannon! The kids worked all week to get the cannon ready to shoot, our division head gave us a bunch of shirts to shoot, and we made parachutes to get the rest down to the ground in a less forceful manner.

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Day 74: Extra Exam Review

Thursday, 10 December 2015

It’s exam prep season. My kids take their physics exam next Thursday, Dec. 17. Keeping in mind I teach freshmen who’ve never taken an upper school exam, my main goal is to guide kids in preparing while keeping stress at an appropriate level.

I have a few traditions that work for me: 1) I publish a practice exam on Moodle to aid in studying, 2) I re-open all their Moodle homework assignments from the semester so kids can work those problems (the assignments have random questions meaning kids get like-new questions), and 3) I post some challenging questions around the room on whiteboards (pictured above).

The last picture above is of one class watching the project wrapup video from our automated irrigation project.

Day 72: Electricians

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

We used time today to wrap up work on the automated irrigation project. Above, the team of electricians from one class are caught in a genuine moment of discussion about how to install the probe into the raised garden bed in front of them.

Shoutout to Tim from Vegetronix for creating a quality soil moisture sensor and relay control board. We found the materials easy to work with and well-documented. Tim is also super-responsive to emails.

The project’s far from done but we’re out of time. I’ll finish the project on my own over the winter break because the greenhouse managers need a working system.

This project definitely requires more reflection from me — look for it on my full-length blog.

Days 69-70: PoCC

Thursday and Friday, Dec 3 & 4 2015

I’m in Tampa for the annual People of Color Conference. (Top left: the Southern contingent of teachers attending PoCC.)

Given that I’m not a person of color, my attendance here is interesting.  According to the conference website, PoCC is

“designed for people of color as it relates to their roles in independent schools. Its programming should include offerings that support people of color as they pursue strategies for success and leadership. Its focus should be on providing a sanctuary and networking opportunity for people of color and allies in independent schools as we build and sustain inclusive school communities.”

Practically, this mission means that unlike most independent school settings, the majority of the PoCC attendees and presenters are people of color.

PoCC is not my space and my presence, even as an ally, is actually detrimental to the last part of the conference mission. I never thought of that before and it’s tough to know what to do with, though I do know I want to preserve this space as a haven for people of color in independent schools.