Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Setting the Stage!

Where do we start?

(Please read the blog entry before this one to get the context)

The question that was on the mind of all Spurgeon factor members was, where do we start?

Collectively we acknowledged that we want to create an environment that encourages academic success as well as an institution that students are proud and excited to be apart of, but we just did not know where to begin.

We decided we would start by looking at other successful Project-Based Learning schools. This decision drove my visit to High Tech High.

I have not formally introduced myself. I am Ivori Tennelle, Project-Based Learning Curriculum Specialist for Santa Ana Unified School District and the narrator for this Blog. This is the only time I will mention my name because all of our work is a collaborative effort.

So... I visited High Tech High in San Diego and I noticed how every wall is adorned with student work. Student work is even falling from the ceilings (ok well it is hanging). When you walk down the halls students eagerly stop you to talk about their projects. High Tech High was able to create an in atmosphere that welcomes student inquiry and discovery. There is a clear feeling of pride and excitement when you enter a building that celebrates your work.

I decided to create a photo collage and a video to bring back to the Spurgeon Factor. It was during that meeting that it all clicked and our driving question was born.

Driving Question: How can we create an atmosphere that fosters Project-Based Learning?

In an effort to create an environment that supports PBL, we discussed revamping Spurgeon's culture to celebrate student work.

During our Spurgeon Factor meeting we broke into groups in the C-Quad and discussed ways to revamp the school's environment.

Based on our discussion we decided to do the following:

  • C-Quad: Themed area for student work: Teachers can display student work that coincides with Spurgeon's quarterly theme. 
  • Hallways: Content areas will be assigned designated areas for teachers to display their students' work.Teachers will be free to select the projects they would like to display. 

Next Step: During our next meeting we will walk the campus and begin mapping out department designated project display areas.

Stay tuned!!!

So...Where do we start? CHANGE THE SCHOOL CLIMATE!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

And Our Project-Based Learning Journey Begins!

"Spurgeon Intermediate is a school that focuses on PBL (Project-Based Learning) with a Flex Learning Environment"

In the future when we look back on this time we will reflect on how it all began with 8 teachers, 2 counselors, 3 administrators, 2 district specialist, and a vision; a vision of a school that excels in the 4 C’s (critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration). This group of visionaries call themselves “The Spurgeon Factor”. The plan of the Spurgeon Factor is to take 21st Century Skills to a new level and beyond!


Photos of just some of the Spurgeon Factor members!

When did it begin?...

It all began in the Spring of 2014 when principal Todd Irving, asked if there were any staff members who would like to take part in an opportunity to do “something big” at Spurgeon.  Not knowing what this “something big” was, a number of staff stepped forward with faith and a desire for transformation.

Fast-forward to Summer of 2014…

Mr. Irving, informed district officials of his vision to create a college driven community of learners at Spurgeon. In order to achieve this goal he was promoting AVID strategies, lesson design and Full Circle Learning. After Spurgeon’s newly renovated computer lab and collaboration space, appropriately named “C-Quad” by Spurgeon students, was completed, Mr. Irving decided that it was time to add two more ingredients to Spurgeon’s recipe for success. The final ingredients are Project-Based Learning and a Flexible Learning Environment.

Vision: “Spurgeon Intermediate is a school that focuses on PBL (Project-Based Learning) with a Flex Learning Environment”

The goal of this blog is to document year one of our journey. The reader will be able to follow our journey from creating our PBL/Flexible Learning environment vision statement, to the end of year one of induction.

We hope that you gain something from our challenges and successes.

Please feel free to provide us with feedback!

Let the fun begin!