Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spotlight: Samantha Alul, Fox School District

When Melissa and I conduct professional development sessions, we often later hear from those teachers who were in attendance. One teacher, Samantha Alul from the Fox School District, wrote us this note after implementing her own 20% Time program in her class.

I attended a presentation you led on your 20% project and wanted to share this with you. Often as teachers we don't get to see the ripple effect of our work, but thanks to your presentation inspiring me to adopt this project, my students are turning into global citizens and, most recently, they are sending two homeless teens to New York with their choir. I am so grateful for your influence. Just wanted you to see the influence you are having on kids you don't even know.

We are always happy to hear from teachers attempting 20% Time and like to spotlight their work. 20% Time is a huge undertaking but the rewards for both teachers and students are immense. Samantha found this out during her own journey. Her kids did some remarkable things that changed how she thinks about education. She wrote to her technology specialist who had arranged the PD session that she attended, telling him of her classroom successes. Here is her story.

Sometimes, the most powerful lessons are not a part of the planned curriculum.

Today was by far my proudest day as a teacher. I watched as 4 of my boys organized a fundraiser to raise money to help homeless teens attend a class trip as a part of a completely self-directed, grade-free project on activism and innovation.

Four twelve year old boys single-handedly planned and executed every single aspect of the fundraiser from proposing it to our our principal for approval (an intimidating task at 12 years old), creating order forms, organizing and recording orders and money from the entire school, calculating profits and making phone calls to place the order (there is no one more nervous than a 12 year old making a professional phone call, btw).

As one of my student's eyes welled up with tears realizing what a powerful impact he and his friends could have while calculating his profits, I realized that THIS is the true goal of education, and THIS is why I teach.

So thankful to be a teacher and have these great kids in my life. John Prezzavento, the 20% project has officially changed my classroom.

We applaud all teachers who attempt to change their classrooms to incorporate more student choice, personalized learning and project/problem-based learning. The benefit to kids is unparallelled. 

1 comment:

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