Sunday, August 26, 2018

Are you Ready?

Every year, a new group of students walks into the CAPS Teacher Education program in the Blue Valley School District.  Never knowing the students' backgrounds or abilities, it is always a great deal of fun watching emerging leaders and shaping our activities to the interests and passions of each of them.  

Last week, students were able to join other students in the other CAPS Strands for an all-CAPS Hackathon.  The Teacher Ed students worked on varied teams with other CAPS students to come up with solutions for issues presented by some of our business and professional partners!  It was fun listening to all of their pitches, and the clients were blown away by the professionalism of all of the students!

Just this past week, we had our first full week of classroom time.  Though we only had five days, we packed a great deal into our schedules.
  • Students brainstormed on topics for presentations of concurrent sessions at conferences and came up with "Relationships, Technology, and Mental Health:  A student-focused conversation" The thoroughness of our discussions is revealed in the conference session description: "Technology has had a positive place in education with its resources for learning and communication, but it also has received negative press considering addictions to devices, time on task, and isolation of students.  Students, however, feel that they are not connected to devices but rather connected to a network and community in which they live. Educators could feel more comfortable with this concept if technology could be viewed as an asset rather than a distraction.  Join us to hear from students on how teachers can leverage technology to not only build better relationships with students and each other, but also as a way to promote mental health, confidence, positivity, and acceptance into a lifelong community of learners.
This session is created by and presented by eleventh and twelfth grade high school students who are a part of a Teacher Education program at the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies.  They work with practicing teachers and their students and also research and study innovations in learning."
We have submitted our proposal to present at the Greenbush Educational Technology Conference this Fall and are now waiting to see if our proposal will be accepted to present.

Students, this week, were also introduced to the professional side of Twitter, many being asked to create a Twitter account just to use with education professionals with whom they associate as a part of our class activities. Time was also spent playing a game of Family Feud and participating in an activity to get to know each other better. In addition, the students went on a virtual scavenger hunt using the Goosechase App, to learn more about the CAPS building and some of the people in it.

All students set up their Educators Rising accounts at so that they can collaborate with future and practicing teachers across the nation.

Projects were discussed, and students had an opportunity to designate some as those they might want to pursue because of their interests or passions. We are still coming up with project ideas as well. Some of the projects we are planning are the following:
  • WHITEHORSE-working with the Indigo Project on developing curriculum for students of the Navajo Nation who attend school in Utah
  • STEM virtual teaching-working with Dr. Lucas Shivers, Director of Elementary Education in Manhattan, KS, to design a STEM workshop for 5th graders and teach it virtually using a Double Robot
  • LITERACY project-working with Stanley Elementary on reading strategies and mentoring 5th graders as Instructional Coaches as they work with 2nd graders
  • CAPS KIDS--what would happen if we could start our own school?  Many students are interested in researching and looking at the possibilities!
  • …and other projects are possibilities as well!
Students also took the INDIGO surveys this week which provides to them information about their strengths, skills areas, and dynamics of group interactions.  We will continue to look at these results as we work with each other and with students and teachers in classrooms.

Very soon, our students will be entering classrooms to work with students and teachers.  After this week's discussions on design thinking, growth and fixed mindsets, and project/problem based learning, our students will have a very authentic approach to working with their students and creating learning activities.

I'm sure this next week will be packed with more incredible genius and fun!  Please watch our website for upcoming events and information: and follow us on Twitter: @wevegotclass

I have seen the future of education,( I see the makers every day), and it is great!

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