Friday, January 26, 2007

Whew! What a Great Class!

I would like to publically complement the Students in Mrs. Yodowitz's Family and Consumer Science class for the brilliant work they have done in their money management "entrepreneur" class. Although the actual "semester time" dedicated to the project was only two weeks, much was accomplished and many ingenous and insightful business ventures have been begun, planned or envisioned. Time is always the enemy in any education plan, as the curriculum is always expanding and the technology is not always available or dependable. This project was no exception to the rule-and the kids voiced some frustrations with that. They also exceeded their mentor's learning curve and could have benefited greatly from additional in world skills support. Still - most pledged to continue their projects until the end of their year and that will enable me to collect some valuable data!

What have we learned? Our open-ended tasks were met with zeal, and the kids' vision was most often the motivating force behind their skill mastery. When the students approached me with a really sophisticated idea, I tried to never respond with "You can't do that," but, rather with a, "Let me find out how we can approach this". (Then came frantic emails or IMs to Gus and Ryl who always made the time to help.)
My kids were "teaching the teacher" within a very short time.

So, for those of you who are in the formative stages of planning, try to budget for in-world mentors, invest a reasonable amount of time training teachers, and create flexible open-ended plans that allow for incremental, differentiated tasks. Encourage peer leadership and mentoring among the students - they are your greatest resource!

Next week we begin the Of Mice and Men project, the Invention Museum will open, Mrs. Braut's ESL class will be role playing a visit to the doctor's office and Mr. Jaffee's music project will get underway. Oh my!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Student Entrepreneurs Blog Their Experience

The following comments will be a running dialogue of the student entrepreneurs' experience on Ramapo.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

School Library Journal Article

Well the article is out and I thank Kelly for a fine job! The more the word gets out, the greater the potential of a rich educational experience!Here is the link:
Check it out! . If you scroll down
a bit to the current issue on the left hand side, you can see the cover, and
the article is here:

Back in Suffern, we have a few new projects brewing! Our digital music teacher (check him out, he is a monster!
is planning on bringing in his digital music classes to create music videos with the songs they have composed! We are going to need a lot of help learning the ins and outs of the movie making tools and have even considered taking the leap to Machinima. Any volunteers assistance would be greatly appreciated! (Time to give Robbie Dingo a holler I think LOL)

We also have a Family and Consumer Science class starting their entrepreneur project where they will enter Ramapo Islands, be given a stipend and set loose! Banking terminals are in the works and we are eager to see how the students attack the real world problem!

There is also a class coming in who have finsihed a unit on Inventions of the 20th Century. They will be building a museum of the same name and creating exhibits of the inventions they researched, complete with notecard explanations. As an extension
of the project, as a group they will invent something new in SL and will then have the rights to sell it. We are proud to say the Ryl Redgrave (Lyr Lobo on Main Grid)
will be problem solving with the class and with her assistance I can't wait to see what they come up with!