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Connecting and engaging

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I haven’t posted in a while…even after the whole writers write manifesto.  I really haven’t been too busy. I’ve been distracted and lazy but not busy.  I’ve thought about a lot of post ideas, especially some revolutionary reform stuff.  Perhaps another day.

This week has been fun.  In ELA, we’ve finished a collabo with the Video class discussing 3-Act Structure for their screenplay project.  Culinary Arts has been cooking up a storm.  Although I billed it as a cooking contest, we haven’t really been formally judging the meals, just wrecking my diet. (smirk/smile).  In AVID (College Prep) the students’ 20% Time Projects have been a blast.  Yesterday’s presentation weren’t too shabby.  Lots of projects about food preparation (smirk).

What’s been cool is the feeling of connecting with the kids on stuff they like, movies, self-selected study, and…food…(smirk).


Writers write

I’ve been busy. However, if I’m calling myself a writer (professional or just professionally reflective), then I probably need to actually write.

I’ve been enjoying some good conversations with fellow educators who are as passionate about reform and even vocational education’s role in improving everything as I am. Those convos deserve sharing.

Therefore, I’ve committed myself to 20~60 min per day of writing. It may not be all publishing, but I must draft or revise during that time with a goal of one or two posts per week.

Let it begin!

Who knew lesson planning could alleviate so much anxiety?

I know. Duh.

I didn’t do much lesson planning this summer, which is unlike me. I’m usually planning on some level by 1 July and creating projects and units by August. This summer was different for a few reasons. Number one being I wasn’t really sure I would return to my school. Long story short: happy wife, happy life…and Mamma was ready for a change. We put feelers out to see if anything would jump off. Also, I had a great time visiting family this summer. Best since college days.

Although this year’s schedule is a dream come true professionally (secondary teaching wise…), it came with big anxiety. New class for me. High expectations for myself and from administrators. I talked big stuff about how I was gonna do the dang thang. I’ve spent a few of the nights this week looking at the ceiling and fretting. However, I’ve been planning and making serious progress mentally. With the big budget bump, I’ve worried about not spending enough and spending too much simultaneously.

I gave myself three days to plan each of my preps with hopes of being done by tomorrow. Luckily I added a buffer. I’m not done with Culinary, but I’m also not too concerned with making a decent start in the other classes, so I’ll work this class till Wednesday/Thursday. I also used some thinking time to rearrange the class which frees up heavy lifting time for more planning.

I used the CAI (curriculum, assessment, instruction) model to plan this year/semester. I have quarter themes, projects, and presentations set for the year and chapter focuses, recipes, and cool stuff detailed for the semester. I even have cross-curricular activities and guest presenters and tentative field trips planned.

Last big hurdle is purchasing food and inventorying equipment. I’ve never been one to sweat a daily lesson plan as long as I have a goal and activity in mind. I’m pretty swift with formative assessment and the project-based nature of vocational education fits my thought patterns.

I am 80% there.

Gotta get up…

…early in the morning. I was up at 0500 and decided to go to my class to mentally prepare for things. I’m glad I did. I did the big blue arrow planning: set my mission, created essential questions, mapped out the year with quarterly assessments, and contacted chefs who I think would give industry insight to students, and I ordered some books for the course. My quick visual inventory revealed that I have more equipment than I thought.

I also got a chance to talk the principal, which is why I was able to order some books. She told me to give her a proposed budget for the year and gave me a decent ceiling to plan. I jokingly proposed $10k, but we meet at a more realistic but reasonable number. I’m now off to figure what to get. She has high expectation for me to build the program.

I have a few cross-curricular ideas and now need to sell those visions to my colleagues. I think the business and video teachers would like what I have. I also have some STEM integration ideas for the chemistry and crew, but would love a project that delves into engineering like making a mobile kitchen in the field.

I’ll have to do the early rise tomorrow, too. Very productive.