Friday, February 28, 2014

The Value of Mentors

As part of our 20% Time projects, groups had to secure mentors.  These individuals serve as available experts on the project topic.  Kids can communicate with their mentors through e-mail, during school time (provided the mentors can schedule some time with us), or outside of school (some of the mentors are parents of our students).  Mentors are important because so many of the 20% Time project topics are things about which Melissa and I know little.  With mentors, students can get real experts to work with them.

Today, one of the groups, The Brainy Bunch, is putting on a special event at school, Hat Day.  The idea is that each student can pay a dollar in order to wear a hat throughout the day (it is normally against the school rules to wear hats).  This morning, the group raised over 150.00 for their charity, Friends of Kids with Cancer.  They are planning on three more Hat Days before the end of the school year.

To execute this special event, the group had to meet with our assistant principal, Dr. Miller, and, with her help, develop a plan of advertising, money collection, identifying which kids paid to wear hats, etc.  Through the experience, they learned to create a plan which would conform to the school expectations and make this event as painless as possible for the teachers and administrators while also making it as popular as possible for kids.

Another project group, Steger2Hixson, needs to create a website for their project.  One of our team parents is an IT Professional.  She has agreed to conduct a "Creating a Website" workshop next Wednesday, March 5, for all of the groups who need to create websites (4-5 groups need to do so).  Kids are completing some work for her before she comes in so that they are more prepared for the workshop.

This kind of adult guidance is essential for our students' success.  The kids are learning from real experts in real-life situations.  It is experiential learning that will stay with the kids for a long time.  - Don

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