Whoa! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged! It’s not that I haven’t thought about it or had things to write about, it’s simply finding the time! The last time I blogged was when we first “pivoted” to Emergency Distance Learning. A LOT has transpired since then!
In an effort to “catch up” I recently sent an email to a friend at National Geographic Education. Because one of the reasons I blog is to document my learning journey for my own personal reflection I figured I’d include my email below…
Great to hear from you!
It is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. We are enjoying some beautiful weather, the outdoors and some good food!
How are you? Are you enjoying your new role? What’s keeping you busy/adventurous/active?
Thought I’d take a moment to catch you on some exciting developments in my life/teaching career since my National Geographic/Lindblad Teacher Fellow expedition in May 2019!
In September 2019 my school board invited me to share a report on my expedition with them at their Board meeting. My presentation was well received. I compiled my presentation into a photo/video blog to share with the greater education community.
It was at the Board meeting where I also introduced my “GO Explore” Initiative which was to be my deliverable for my class for the 2019/20 school year. I invited classes from throughout the world to join the “GO Explore” initiative. The idea was to share my deliverable and encourage not only my students, but students from around the world to GO Explore their local environments and share their adventures with others.
In the early fall Lakehead University asked me to speak at their annual “Report to the Community Dinner” in early January. I worked and prepared a great deal for this important opportunity to share my GTF experience with my community and this was the talk I delivered. A highlight was having my Kai and Cheryl present, as well as my two sisters and mom and dad!! My talk allowed me to share how adventure and exploration in and around my own local community at a young age instilled in me an adventurous spirit that encouraged me to seek adventure throughout my life and most importantly, bring a sense of adventure and exploration to my students.
During the early part of the school year, I took my students on an exploration of our 5 Great Lakes via the book “Paddle to the Sea” and a wide range of technologies including Google Earth. Our class invited other classes to join our “Go Explore Lake Superior”. Together, close to 20 classes travelled around the Great Lakes together! My students recorded their explorations in an “Adventure Log”.
Upon completion of our journey around the 5 Great Lakes, I had my students set out on their own “GO Explore” adventures. Here’s my assignment. Using Google Earth, students travelled virtually around Lake Superior and documented their adventures using Google Earth creation tools. Here’s an example of one student’s journey.
I was very much looking forward to the spring of last year as I was planning to have my students complete their “GO Explore” (my planned GTF deliverable). The project would encourage students to Get Outside and explore a natural wonder close to home. When the students went fully online and to Emergency Distance Learning I re-imaged the project and came up with a hybrid of virtual and natural environment activities. The project turned out to be a resounding success. Students didn’t “GO Explore” because they had to but because they wanted to! I also re-imaged the Junior Water Walkers project, which allowed water walks to continue, except virtually!
This summer brought a well needed rest and an opportunity for Kai, Cheryl and I to explore the many natural wonders close to home.
In late August, when preparing to return to my grade 5/6 classroom for the 24th year another adventure presented itself. I applied to a Guidance Teacher position at a neighbouring senior elementary school. I’m blessed to continue to be able to make a difference in students’ lives in a different way. I absolutely LOVE my new ROLE and, of course, am seeking new ways to bring adventure to it! I’ve recently applied for the Nat Geo Ed Emergency Grant for Educators to grow and expand the Junior Water Walkers and GO Explore projects to students regardless of school circumstance.
Finally, on Saturday, while walking along a favourite river I received an exciting call! I will be able to share more information in November!
Well… that’s it! You’re caught up. It has been quite a year! I am forever grateful to my National Geographic Education family. I couldn’t dream of being part of a community more supportive of teachers! Please share my thanks and gratitude!
Hope you and yours are well. Looking forward to hearing from you!
How are YOU doing? What have YOU been up to? How have you been weathering the Covid storm? I hope you are well!